Weekend VinopolPick 3-17-18

In Today’s Newsletter:

New Arrivals From:
Bow & Arrow, Dutraive, Venica, Cantina del Pino,
Ostatu, Filipo Pato and More

Willi Schaefer: Ne Plus Ultra of the Mosel
Staff Pick: The Unequaled Magic of Condrieu
Big Reds from “Other”: Italian Wines Worth Watching

New to the March Clearance Sale:
Two of Avignonesi’s Finest; Plus Chateauneuf


Featured New Arrivals

Charlopin’s Grand Cru Masterpieces

The 2015 Burgundy Vintage continues to roll in and, for the most part, immediately roll back out.  Pricing for 2016 looks very high and 2015 is an epic year, so the combination has led to demand that’s nearly unprecedented. If you’re unfamiliar with the Charlopin wines, the first two things to know are this: the wines are good, round and rich and the prices are on the low side for the quality at stake.  He’s a producer who flies just enough under the radar that his wines are still semi-affordable (there’s a lot of Echezeaux that’s 3x as expensive) but the wines always over-deliver from a quality perspective.  All of the Charlopin wines have great press and correspondingly great scores.

We’re big fans of the domain (you can view all of the Charlopin wines available on the website by clicking here) and know these are great plays for savvy Burgundy buyers—the only catch is that, as with most of the 2015’s—they’re going to disappear quickly.

Domaine Philippe Charlopin-Parizot Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($299.95) $249 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin – Wine Advocate 92-94 points
“The 2015 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, which is a 50/50 blend from Mazoyères and Charmes, has an elegant and pure bouquet that unfolds in the glass, delivering both red and black fruit with fine delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with fleshy ripe red berry fruit matched with fine acidity and harmony, long and almost languorous towards the finish. Very fine – one of Philippe’s best offerings in 2015.”
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 92-94 points “(13.3% natural alcohol; half from Charmes and half from Mazoyères, with both parcels planted 60 years ago): Saturated deep ruby! Black fruit aromas convey an almost candied ripeness. Very rich, sweet and deep, filling the mouth with ripe black fruit flavors. Finishes very long, with huge but ripe tannins. In contrast to the Bonnes-Mares, this is clearly a wine from a sun-drenched growing season. Very impressive but almost too much.”
Burghound 91-94 points “From a 50/50 split of Charmes and Mazoyères. A pungent nose of reduction and wood is difficult to assess though by contrast there is excellent volume and richness to the sleek, focused and extract-rich big-bodied flavors that possess terrific complexity on the balanced and mouth coating finish. This is really quite good and should be approachable after only a few years of bottle age.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Domaine Philippe Charlopin-Parizot Echezeaux Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($299.95) $249 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 92-94 points
“(from the lieu-dit En Orveaux): Full red with ruby tones. Sexy, slightly high-toned aromas of red raspberry and smoked meat, plus a whiff of cooked strawberry that Charlopin says is typical of this cool site, which he picks ten days after his Clos Vougeot. Fine-grained and surprisingly sappy on the palate, showing terrific depth to its raspberry and saline mineral flavors. Finishes with savory tannins and excellent lingering sweetness. As much red- as black-fruit in style, this soil-driven wine really stains the palate.”
Burghound 91-93 points “From En Orveaux. Mild reduction doesn’t completely mask the background aromas of floral and spice nuances. There is both good richness and a lovely sense of energy to the refined and seductive middle weight flavors that possess good but not exceptional depth and length. On the plus side there is fine underlying material and this may very well develop more complexity than I imagine and if it does, my preliminary range may be too conservative.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
New Arrivals

New Arrivals: West Coast

Love & Squalor Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $26.99
The average price is $29
Bow & Arrow Air Guitar, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special

This is the only listing in the USA today!
New Arrivals: France
Jean-Louis Dutraive Domaine de la Grand’Cour Brouilly Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Lurid ruby. Powerful aromas of ripe red berries, blood orange, succulent herbs and lavender take on a smoky mineral nuance as the wine opens up. Plump and broad on the palate, offering sweet, mineral-tinged black raspberry and cherry flavors and a hint of spicecake. Shows excellent clarity and solid punch on the dark-berry-dominated finish, which is framed by supple, harmonious tannins.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Jean-Louis Dutraive Domaine de la Grand’Cour Fleurie ‘Chapelle des Bois’, Beaujolais 2015 1.5L ($99.95) $89 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points “Bright violet. A suave, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red fruits, Asian spices and smoky minerals, along with a sexy lavender overtone. Sweet raspberry, floral pastille and spicecake flavors show impressive depth as well as vivacity. In a distinctly elegant, seamless style, especially for the vintage, but there’s also good structure here thanks to a core of juicy acidity. The very long, floral-dominated finish is given shape by smooth tannins that fold quickly into the plush, appealingly sweet fruit.”

Domaine Philippe Charlopin-Parizot Bourgogne, Burgundy 2015 750ML ($39.95) $33 special

New Arrivals: Italy
Venica & Venica Friulano Collio, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2016 750ML ($29.95) $17 Clearance Price

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $28.99
Venica & Venica Ronco del Cero Collio Sauvignon, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 16 750 ($29.95) $17 Clearance Price

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $23.99
Cantina del Pino Ovello, Barbaresco DOCG 2013 1.5L ($219.95) $189 special
#61 Wine Of The Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 2017
Wine Spectator 97 points “A pretty, firmly structured red, with delicate flavors and subtle power, this evokes floral, red berry, mineral, tobacco and tar aromas and flavors, remaining harmonious and long on the mineral- and tobacco-tinged finish. Best from 2020 to 2036.”

This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
The next best price is $305.98

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmont 2013 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2013 Barbaresco is gorgeous. Fresh, vibrant and nuanced, the Barbaresco captures all the pedigree and class of the year. The flavors are bright and beautifully delineated throughout. Medium in body, with notable depth and class to burn, the 2013 is superb today. The translucency and expressiveness of Nebbiolo comes through loud and clear. Even so, the 2013 is not an obvious wine, rather it is a Barbaresco built on finesse and balance. Fruit sources are Starderi, Albano, Gallina and Albesani. Don’t miss it.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Ripe and round, this red reveals cherry, earth, underbrush and tobacco aromas and flavors. Should find equilibrium once all the elements come together. Best from 2020 through 2033.”

This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
Livio Sasseti ‘Pertimali’ Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Case-12 Livio Sassetti ‘Pertimali’ Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2014 750ML (4329.95) $259 special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points
“Lots of earth and richness to this rosso with plums, mushrooms, violets and dark fruit. Full body with soft, velvety tannins and a long finish. This is masterful rosso. From one of the top producers of Brunello. Drink now.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
New Arrivals: Spain and Portugal
Avinyo Blanc Vi d’Agulla – Petillant, Penedes 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Importer note “Petillant is a vi d’agulla, the Catalan name for prickly wine. This vibrant and refreshing wine is the traditional summertime quaffer of the Penedès region of Catalonia, and it’s perfect for drinking out of a porrón. Tasting Notes: Bright honeysuckle and almond on the nose. Bracingly dry on the palate, with flavors of lemon peel and a faint brininess.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Bodegas Exopto Horizonte de Exopto Blanco, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Bodegas Ostatu Blanco, Rioja DOCa 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Importer Note “Ostatu Blanco is a light and refreshing wine made from a blend of viura and malvasia. Vinification: Fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks and bottled without any further aging’

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Bodegas Ostatu Rosato, Rioja DOCa 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Importer Note “Sourced from some of Ostatu’s oldest and highest elevation vineyards, this light and refreshing wine is a modern variation of a classic rosé from Rioja. Vinification: Fermented in stainless steel and bottled without any further aging. Tasting Notes: Floral and acidic, very light on the palete with notes of red berries.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Filipa Pato Nossa Calcario, Beiras 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2015 Nossa Calcario red is a Baga (although in the past, I’ve been told that among the old vines there are tiny amounts of other varieties) from three vineyards with an average vine age of 80 years, aged in used French and Slavonian oak for 18 months. It comes in at just 12% alcohol. This is a fine representation of the vintage and the region. Showing impeccable balance, silky texture, grace and wonderful mid-palate finesse, it has that hard-to-find ability to be elegant, but it’s never thin. It resembles a fine Barbaresco in many ways. It is also very fresh, the natural acidity of Baga coming to the foreground, mingling with small hits of wood and some fruitier nuances….This is hardly a mass market product, so don’t waste your bottles. It should age well, needless to say, and develop complexity in time. If you crack it now, give it 90 minutes in a decanter first. This looks like a potential superstar. It’s worth leaning up just now. You’ll feel refined and sophisticated drinking it, because it certainly is both of those things. There were just 4,310 bottles produced, plus 181 magnums.”


Willi Schaefer

The Ne Plus Ultra of Mosel Wine

As with many things involving the wines of the Mosel, it’s best to let Terry Theise do the talking.  He imports the wines from Willi Schaefer but we don’t find his prose to be hyperbolic in the slightest.  Ok, perhaps a touch, but seriously not by a lot—the wines are that good.  Here’s what he has to say:

“For many tasters, these are the Ne Plus Ultra of Mosel wine, and they have attracted an almost religious following. Thus my most frustrating agency, as there is never enough wine. It is hard to put a finger on exactly what it is that makes these wines so precious. There is a candor about them that is quite disarming. They are polished too, but not brashly so. They are careful to delineate their vineyard characteristics, and they offer fruit of sublime purity. They are utterly soaring in flavor yet not without weight. What many of you seem to have warmed to is their clarity, precision and beauty of fruit, so maybe I’ll leave it at that!

“If you’re new to all this, there’s a reason these wines are so beloved. Part of it is they’re so scarce; the estate is all of 4 hectares with no desire to grow. Part of is the wines themselves; they’re silly with deliciousness. And as crystalline as they are, as ethereally complex and limpidly clear, they have a quality of calm; they don’t fuss at you how amazing they are. They are, dare I say, affectionate; they just sit in the glass and love you. And so we love them back. We banish all the unruly beasts of our ragged natures, and slip into the warm pool, and let ourselves, for once, be happy.” –Terry Theise

We have a number of the wines in stock, but quantities on each bottling are very limited.  To see the full list on our website, just click here to see all the wines.

In Stock Now:

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese #10, Mosel  2015 750ML ($44.95) $37 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese #10, Mosel  2015 1.5L ($149.95)
$119 special, 3 magnums in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points
“Scents of flowers and spontaneous fermentation quickly give way to riper and creamy fruits such as yellow peach, apricot and mango. The wine proves succulently light and fresh on the palate. This feeling of lightness carries nicely over into the juicy and smooth finish. One is left with a delicately creamy feel of herbs in the long after-taste. This proves plain gorgeous. 2025-2035.”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #14, Mosel  2013 ($109.95) Was $89, Now $81.90 Clearance Price, 4 bottles in stock now
Bin End Sale !!!
Wine Advocate 95 points
“Compared to the Domprobst Auslese #11 the 7% alcohol 2013 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #14 displays a more concentrated bouquet highlighted by a flinty slate perfume. Sweet, rich and elegant on the palate this lush and juicy Auslese is structured by its refined acidity and lingering salinity, whereas the long aftertaste displays ripe fruit aromas again and still remains piquant and stimulating. However, the wine still has baby fat and thus is not that perfectly shaped or balanced as is the Auslese #11 at the moment. It just asks for some years of bottle age to polish its edges and achieve more transparency.”RP
Terry Theise notes: “Candied ginger. Rather into BA-territory now. The first of these to taste discretely “sweet.” Already balanced, albeit turbulent, but this is glaringly brassy and brilliant. The customary Schaefer serenity is elsewhere. Impressive finish here, and fathomless miles to go.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese #10, Mosel  2016 750ML ($44.95) $39 special, 11 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht – Vinous 92 points
“Golden Delicious apple and honeydew melon draped in hyacinth make for an imposingly ripe nose and a luscious, perfumed, seductively silken-textured palate. A cooling hint of wintergreen and a gentle nip of apple skin add appeal to a soothingly and refreshingly lingering finish.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This offers a gorgeous nose of pear, candied lemon, spices and herbs. The wine proves gorgeously elegant and pure on the palate. Unlike in other vintages, the fruity side of the Domprobst is already present and adds to the wine’s early charm. The finish is all about silk, finesse and delicacy. This gorgeously light Spätlese is all about elegance. 2026-2041”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese #4, Mosel 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese #4, Mosel 2015 1.5L ($179.95)
$149 special, 4 magnums in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points
“This starts off on the toffee side before fresher scents grapefruit, orange, lime, smoke, incense and tar kick in. A superb streak of acidity cuts right through the palate into the very long, fresh and focused finish, providing a gorgeous balance to a powerful and delicately creamy structure. The finish is intense and very long. While amazing now, this Auslese Eiswein styled wine should prove stunning in a decade or two. 2025-2045”
David Schildknecht – Vinous 94 points “Apple blossom and honeysuckle feature on a surprisingly understated nose, which only hints at the lime and lemon that subsequently burst like a cymbal crash on the palate. The feel is firm and palpably extract-rich, yet displays delightful delicacy to complement the wine’s brightness, invigoration and penetration. A seedy, crunchy tang of cassis and blackberry reinforces the animating effect, leading into a vibrantly electro-charged, rapier and ultra-refreshing finish such as you won’t often encounter in an Auslese. The acid-concentrating effect of lightly desiccated, healthy berries is decidedly evident. This is going to be exciting to follow.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmerlreich Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2016 750ML ($37.95) $33 special, 11 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht – Vinous 92 points
“Apple blossom, honeysuckle and clover on the nose reemerge as seductive inner-mouth perfume on a polished palate, accompanied by a juicy abundance of fresh apple, grapefruit and white peach. The delicacy and refreshment, not to mention lusciousness of fruit, conveyed on this Kabinett’s lingering finish render it almost impossible for me to spit. “It was like that already in February,” remarked Christoph Schaefer with a grin.”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2015 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points
“This “maiden wine” comes from the “new” parcel in the central part of the vineyard which was replanted after the 2011 vintage. This shows a quite smoky nose at first and only gradually reveals a fruity side driven by apricot and orange as well as mint and yellow peach. The wine is creamy and smooth on the palate, with just the right amount of acidity to keep things interesting. The unctuous feel to the finish in the finish adds to the pleasure of enjoying this deep and direct expression of Sonnenuhr Auslese. 2025-2040”
David Schildknecht – Vinous 93 points ““This was the one place where we had early botrytis,” explained Willi Schaefer, “but that was simply because of the replanting and young vines that had so few clusters, with berries so tiny and thin-skinned that they were vulnerable to botrytis and needed early picking regardless.” Mango and passion fruit wreathed in heliotrope and lily make for a head-turningly heady nose, then pick up a welcome bit of fresh apple juiciness and tartness on the expansive, buoyant palate. The lingering, lusciously fruited finish is soothing and enveloping, yet not without refreshment. Given the amazing focus, clarity and energy that characterize so many wines in the Schaefers’ 2015 collection, one has to recalibrate to appreciate the manifest but very different virtues of this Wehlener – almost the alter-ego of the corresponding Himmelreich rendered from later-picked, wind-desiccated berries.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #14, Mosel 2015 375ML ($69.95) $59 special, 5 half-bottles in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 97 points
“The nose offers quite some complexity with comparatively clean flavors of apple jelly, mango, star anise, raspberry and yellow peach, all blended into more botrytized scents of apricot and honey. The wine is smooth, creamy and almost viscous on the palate yet this is superbly well lifted up by great intense flavors of fruits. The finish proves gorgeously focused, hugely long and stunningly precise. This is a terrific Auslese in the making! 2025-2065”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2016 750ML ($37.95) $33 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 92+ points
“This offers a gorgeous nose of pear, earthy spices and some citrusy grapefruit elements in the background. The wine proves gorgeously well balanced on the palate, where a delicately smooth side is nicely wrapped into zesty acidity. The finish is all about pear-infused fruit purity and finesse and one is left with a great mouth-watering playfulness in the after-taste. This could ultimately exceed our expectations if the fresher side takes the upper hand at maturity. 2026-2041”


Staff Pick:

Cuilleron and the Magic of Condrieu

There’s a world of difference between what we see labeled as “Viognier” and the wines coming out of the grape’s ancestral home: Condrieu.  A recent taste of Yves Cuilleron’s “La Petite Cote” reaffirmed the belief that no other grape has such a gap between the highs and the lows as Viognier does, and nowhere does it get better than in the Northern Rhone.

Bad Viognier, which is to say overripe, inelegant, “powerful” Viognier, is some of the worst white wine in the world, especially compared to its most graceful form in Condrieu. The good stuff, well, the perfume is intoxicating—you just want to smell it.  It’s not shouting at you, but (to borrow from Terry Theise) it speaks in an urgent whisper.  There are all the stone fruits, freesias and exotic elements that are so hard to place, but rather than being broadcast on a loudspeaker, you’re encouraged to lean in and listen.  The palate is the same—there’s an elegance and lightness to the flavors that makes each sip beguiling.  The texture is there, but it isn’t rich in a California-Chardonnay sense.  We have more Condrieu in stock than we probably should, so here are a few of my favorites.

Cave Yves Cuilleron Condrieu La Petite Cote, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Importer (Neal Rosenthal) Note
“The vineyards of Viognier are planted on terraces with a south-southeast exposure in the commune of Chavanay. The wine is barrel-fermented and barrel-aged; the elevage is nine months with regular batonnage occurring.”

Cave Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Lieu-Dit Vernon, Rhone 2015 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 94 points
“(40 percent new oak) Light bright gold. Expansive orange, honeydew melon and violet aromas show outstanding clarity and minerally lift. Silky and taut on entry, then fleshier in the midpalate, offering vivid citrus and pit fruit and ginger flavors complemented by subtle anise and vanilla qualities. Finishes with strong mineral cut and excellent focus, leaving a suave floral note behind. Through the 2014 vintage this wine was known as “Vertige.””
James Suckling 94 points “This is super ripe with bold yellow peach and poached apricot custard. Super concentrated and extremely rich. The palate carries a fresh saltiness with big fruit presence. Orange and almond to close. Drink now.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Cave Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Les Chaillets, Rhone 2016 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Importer (Neal Rosenthal) Note
“This cuvée is sourced from the best exposed and the oldest Viognier vines of the domaine (south-southeast exposure, planted on terraces in the commune of Chavanay). Barrel-fermented and barrel-aged with regular batonnage during the nine-month elevage.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Marie et Pierre Benetiere Condrieu, Rhone 2013 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“Benetiere makes a small amount of Condrieu from the lieu-dit known as Tinal in Verin just south of the commune of Condrieu. The vines are organically grown and and benefit from ideal southern exposure. There is richness, lift and elegance to be savored in this fine bottle. Pierre Bénétière is a self-made man and staunch Northern Rhone traditionalist cut from the mold of the great icons of the region, Gentaz-Dervieux, Verset, Juge, Allemand, etc. While Pierre grew up in a wine family, his parents did not actually produce wine, but were merchants in Condrieu selling local table wines to the bars and restaurants in the area. He eventually studied Enology and started his winery in the late `80s by acquiring a small parcel of land in the southern end of Cote Rotie (in the lieu-dit of Cordeloux near Condrieu) and clearing and planting the vineyards himself. He later added two small vineyards in Condrieu itself as well as a small parcel of old vines in the heart of the Cote Rotie appellation, on the Cote Brune and right in the middle of Guigal’s famed “La Turque”!”

Big Reds from “Other”

Italian Wines Worth Watching

If you asked the average wine lover to draw a wine map of Italy, both Tuscany (Chianti, Brunello) and the Piedmont (Barolo, Barbaresco) would be on it.  The rest of the map? It would probably be roughly sketched, a dot for Amarone in a boot-shaped sea of vines—the wine equivalent of “There Be Monsters.”

This is unfortunate.

There are a lot of incredible wines made from across the Italian peninsula.  Some of them are from grapes you’ve heard of, some are not (because it’s Italy and everything is hyper-regional).  What they have in common is that they’re way less expensive than they ought to be, because they aren’t brand names in the wine world.  We’re focusing on big reds today, which Italy does well across the country, not just in the big name regions like Brunello.  These wines are delicious, powerful and rich and deserve your attention.

Montevetrano di Silvia Imparato Colli di Salerno IGT, Campania 2013 750ML ($89.95) $59 special, 25 bottles in stock now
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Aglianico, 20% Merlot
James Suckling 96 points “This is a famous red that delivers depth and finesse. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a wonderful finish of blackberry, cocoa and spices including black peppercorns. One of the best Montevetranos in years. A blend of aglianico and merlot. Drink or hold.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Cantine del Notaio Il Repertorio Aglianico del Vulture, Basilicata 2013 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93 points
“The Cantine del Notaio 2013 Aglianico del Vulture Il Repertorio is a fabulous wine that possesses the depth and noble sophistication that you should expect from this small, quality wine denomination in the deep south of Italy. The bouquet is beautifully embellished with blackberry preserves, tobacco, bitter chocolate and smoky granite. The presentation is tight and seamless with a firm tannic nature that pulls the wine together in terms of substance and length. This excellent wine should flesh out further with more aging.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

New to the March Clearance Sale

Two of Avignonesi’s Finest; Plus Chateauneuf

The March Clearance Sale is expanding again, this time with two Tuscan stars from Avignonesi, plus a back vintage find from Saint Siffren in Chateauneuf du Pape.  We have over 60 wines on sale just for March and if you want to see the whole list, just click here to view them all on our website!

Avignonesi Riserva Grandi Annate, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2012 750ML ($99.95) Was $79, Now $66 Clearance Price
Wine Advocate 93 points “You’ll notice that this wine is no longer labeled “Riserva.” Avignonesi wanted to reduce the time it spends in oak and made the name adjustment accordingly. This seems like a good idea to me. The 2012 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Grandi Annate gives new life to one of Tuscany’s most historic wines. There is more elegance and finesse here. I must say that past vintages have been a disappointment, but this expression seems to break all ties with the past. Fruit is sourced primarily from the Banditella vineyard that tends to produce more austere and concentrated Sangiovese. Indeed, this wine is highly redolent of black fruit, tar, licorice and even a touch of white mushroom. Everyone loves a comeback story and that’s what you get here.”
James Suckling 93 points “A chewy and silky wine with just ripe fruit, chocolate and hazelnut character. Fresh earth undertone too. Medium body, fresh finish. Drink now or hold.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Avignonesi Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Tuscany 2001 375ML ($219.95) Was $179, Now $169 Clearance Price
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2001 Vin Santo di Montepulciano (375 milliliters) is a divine and superbly delicious sweet blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia and Grechetto. The results are super concentrated and simmered down to a virtual reduction sauce of deliciousness. There are so many aromas to name, but some of the most evident highlights include candied orange peel, almond marzipan, caramel, toasted coffee bean, vanilla stick, mocha, dark honey and fragrant yellow rose. The mouthfeel is creamy, rich and deeply layered. I’m suggesting a slightly shorter drinking window here compared to the Occhio di Pernice. But, the truth is: I have no idea. I’m pretty sure these wines will outlive anyone of legal drinking age.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Domaine de Saint-Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2012 750ML ($49.95) Was $39, Now $33 Clearance Price
Wine Advocate 90 points “Kicking off the 2012s, Saint Siffrein’s straight Châteauneuf du Pape offers loads of kirsch, mulled spice, blackberry and garrigue in its classic, medium to full-bodied, ripe and textured style. Made from 65% Grenache, 15% each of Mourvedre and Syrah and the rest Cinsault, aged 12 moths in stainless steel and foudre, it’s an outstanding, Provencal effort to drink over the coming 8-10 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Other Highlights From the March Sale:

Adriano Marco e Vittorio Basarin, Barbaresco DOCG 2014 750ML ($34.95) Was $29, Now $24 Clearance Price
Wine Spectator 94 points “Elegant, leading off with perfumed aromas of rose, cherry, strawberry and white pepper. The profile is sleek, with a solid base of acidity and tannins. Shows terrific length, evoking fruit and mineral on the aftertaste. Best from 2019 through 2033.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Selbach-Oster ‘Schmitt’ Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling, Mosel 2014 750ML ($59.95) Was $44, Now $39 Clearance Price
Grapelive 95+ points “The brilliant and exotic Schmitt comes from the steep slate hill above the church, set back from the Mosel. There is great southern exposure here and it less affected by noble rot, a big plus in 2014.  It allowed this rich and lush wine to remain crystalline and focused. This is one of the great wines of the vintage! Johannes Selbach’s top wines are not Trocken/Grosses Gewachs, but are single block wines from Cru sites. They are also heavy weighted, dense and medium sweet, but it is not about the sugar: it is all about the terroir and overall balance. These are wines of hedonism, power, textural pleasure and vitality, especially the Schmitt in 2014. It explores the boundaries of perfection in a fantastically difficult vintage. The was a savage thinning of the crop and a tiny window to get the grapes in to make this masterpiece from the old vines at Zeltinger Schlossberg. It is truly amazing with all the problems and heartbreak endured here that a wine of this quality and gorgeous detail managed to happen at all. Somehow this block come through and made one of the most glorious Riesling wines of the year. The 2014 Schmitt by Selbach-Oster starts with a sweet perfume. This wine shows white roses, dripping jasmine, hints of gardenia and tropical essences that lead to a full bodied, Auslese weight palate with apricot, green apple, lime and mango fruits leading the way along with a mix of spicy mineral and flinty stones, briny sea shore notes, soft honey decadence, creamy verbena and sweet peach flesh. The finish carries over the core of fruit and richness, but there is a burst of dynamic acidity and vibrancy. This is not a flabby wine and you are left with a dreamy/haunting impression with lingering tangerine sorbet, crushed stone and wet steeliness. This is fabulous Riesling and one you’ll want in the cellar. This has 100 Point potential and it will also drink well young. It already has poise and elegance, but should last two or three decades! Don’t be afraid of its sugar levels, it drinks like a lavish Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne and is a spectacular wine from Selbach-Oster!”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Picked with 105° Oechsle, the 2014 Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese Schmitt displays a stunning freshness and purity on the slightly spicy-toned nose, where stony and flinty flavors–but less botrytis flavors–are indicated compared to the Rotlay. Piquant and salty on the palate, with a nice grip and more purity and freshness, this is the finest and most piquant of the single parcel crus; the finish is as long as it is stimulatingly salty and grippy. White peach and nectarine flavors in the long aftertaste. Great Riesling.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Domaine Servin Les Clos, Chablis Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($79.95) Was $66, Now $59 Clearance Price
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 94 points “(bottled in April): Bright, light yellow-green. Ineffable scents of lime, white peach, fresh apricot, white pepper and crushed stone. Surprisingly intense and sweet on the palate, with lovely supporting minerality and acidity to frame the seamless orchard fruit and spice flavors. Not an austere Clos–in fact almost friendly–but beautifully balanced. Its tight, very long finish suggests that it will evolve gracefully in bottle.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2015 Chablis Grand Cru les Clos has a very composed bouquet with white citrus fruit, orange blossom, limestone and a touch of flint. It is harmonious and detailed, shrugging off the warmth of the growing season. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity. There is fine focus here, good body and depth with a hint of fresh fig interlacing the citrus fruit on the saline finish. This is a classy offering from Domaine Servin and winemaker Marc Cameron.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

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