Weekend VinopolPick 3-26-21

In Today’s Newsletter:

New Wines from St. Damien, Gigondas Star

New Lower Price for a Grower Champagne Favorite

Washington’s Paradigm: New Arrivals from Betz

Nine Hats – Columbia Valley Value Star

Perfect for Spring:
Cave Mont Blanc’s Alpine Whites & Sparklers

New Review for a Staff Favorite Barolo


Collector’s Corner:
The Pinnacle of Champagne


New Wines from St. Damien, Gigondas Star

In the difficult vintage of 2018 Joel Saurel and son Romain, who recently took over the winemaking, made the tough decision to take the hit financially and still create the best wine they can; just less of it. They produced only two of their Gigondas cuvées: the base AOC Gigondas Vieilles Vignes and the La Louisiane. Old-vine Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Syrah combine for the most pleasantly fragrant vintage from this lovely domaine. Humbly priced, incredibly well made, and there is good supply on hand for the time being.
The standard 2018 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes shows increased depth of flavor, but has brighter, black raspberry-tinged aromas that are more upfront with less decanting than in previous vintages. Still thick with herb and anise notes that add a pleasant dimension to the glass, the wildness seems a little in check this year. Instead, there are lovely floral notes that seem to come from a well-tended garden rather than from some scrubby little bushes overlooking a windswept plateau. It is graceful and lovely, yet still has a wonderful depth to the finish.
And now, for La Louisiane: the wine that puts Saint Damien in the same conversation as Santa Duc and Saint Cosme as far as being the best producer from Gigondas. The vines from the red sandy soil of La Louisiane fared the best from the attack of powdery mildew that assaulted Gigondas in the spring. The rest of the growing season treated Gigondas quite well, and the resulting fruit was delightful. The firm cherry core was accented with freshly cracked spices, cassis, smoky tea and herbs, crunchy with mineral notes. The color is intense but clear and shimmers with brightness. One of my favorite aspects of this wine is the balance between the intensity of the sweet delicious fruit and the alcohol, which at 15% is definitely present but not overpowering. While alcohol is simply an act of natural processes, this balance seems to be assembled deliberately and perfectly. While recent vintages like 2016 and 2017 may call for longer durations in the cellar, this wine could be accessed earlier. Five years will undoubtedly help it along the way, but if you’re pulling corks early, decant the wine vigorously. Air will only jumpstart all that is promised within.

Just Re-Arrived, In Stock Now:

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhône 2018 750ML ($41.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhône 2018 750ML ($239.95) $199 special (that’s only $33.17/bottle!), Arriving Friday!
Grapelive 96 points
“The Domaine Saint-Damien, founded back 1821, is a small family winery in the southern Rhone based in the famed Gigondas AOC and is run by Joel and Amie Saurel with their son Romain who is the current winemaker. This is one of the Rhone’s great properties and treasures, especially for me. These wines are some of my personal favorites like this fantastic and nearly perfect 2018 old vine La Louisiane… This vintage has more vitality and fresh detail than the warmer and more lavish 2017s, which don’t get me wrong were incredible wines too, it is just that extra sense of purity and the mineral notes really stand out here and there is excellent fruit dimension and definition that is fully on display here. These old vines give outstanding concentration without overt jamminess or heat of alcohol. In fact this 2018 delivers a performance that would rival the best from either Burgundy or Bordeaux for elegance, presence and complexity, while still be a soulful and ultra pleasure filled wine. Influenced by its terroir in the des Dentelles de Montmirail, the Domaine Saint-Damien, named for the Christian martyr, has vines set in the rocky hillsides on marls, a mix of limestone and hardened clay soils, in terraced vineyards that get plenty of warm sunshine through the days and high elevation coolness at night that allows for perfect ripening of the grapes, which include mainly Grenache of course as well as Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah. This wine is beautifully proportioned and divinely textural revealing succulent layers of black raspberry, plum, pomegranate and a deep sense of creme de cassis along with violets, peppercorns, dried herbs, a hint of baked earth, cedar and anise accents that dance on the full bodied palate. This is riveting stuff that is surprisingly well integrated at this point, which makes it drink stylishly and with subtle rustic notes and this Gigondas should prove to be a stunning age worthy wine with its velvet covered muscles and underlying structure, depth and energy… I really am taken with this 2018 Saint-Damien and the mineral tone it has, as well as the opulent mouth feel and its lively pop of spice and lingering kirsch note, don’t pass up a chance to try this opaque purple/garnet hued and top notch Gigondas!”

Also In Stock Now:

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes, Rhône 2018 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes, Rhône 2018 750ML ($219.95) $159 special (that’s only $26.50/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92-94 points
“The 2018 Gigondas Classique Vieilles Vignes shows impressive levels of black cherry fruit, joined by hints of garrigue and licorice. It’s full-bodied, silky and easy to drink, finishing long, briny and savory.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92-94 points “The base Gigondas, the 2018 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes is a blend from both the La Louisiane and Pigière lieux-dits near the estate (due to the dismal yields, there’s no Souteyrade cuvée in 2018) and is 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah brought up in foudre. It has a wonderful flowery incense and blue fruit quality as well as medium to full body, a ripe, rounded mid-palate, and a great texture. It’s a more forward, charming, sexy wine that’s going to drink nicely in its youth yet also evolve gracefully.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $31

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas ‘Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes’, Rhône 2015 1.5L ($109.95) $89 special, 6 magnums in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The most opulent and voluptuous of the 2015s, the 2015 Gigondas Les Souteyrades is heavenly juice that, again, drinks well past its humble price point. Just loaded with notions of strawberries, framboise, spring flowers, dried orange peels and spice, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a thick, unctuous texture, sweet tannin and a great, great finish. This cuvée is the normal 80/20 split of Grenache and Mourvèdre, aged all in foudre, and there’s just 750 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Like the La Louisiane, the 2015 Gigondas les Souteyrades spent a year in foudres prior to bottling. It a similar blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre, but grown on north-facing gray clays. There’s more pepper and herb here, still wonderfully ripe raspberries but less chocolate. Full-bodied, it’s still silky and refined, with tremendous length on the finish.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Additional Souteyrades Re-Arriving This Month:
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas ‘Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes’, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“A blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre, the 2017 Gigondas les Souteyrades—from a clay-based, north-facing site—is rich and earthy, with cinnamon and cola notes accenting dark plums and black cherries. It’s full-bodied and velvety, adding hints of chocolate on the long finish.-JC”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Black cherries, garrigue, leather, and a kiss of spice emerge from the 2017 Gigondas Les Souteyrades, which is Grenache and Mourvèdre brought up in foudre. It’s medium to full-bodied, has light tannins, beautiful balance, and a charming, elegant style. As with the other releases here in 2017, it’s a seamless, layered, complex wine that relies more on elegance and complexity than overt power and richness.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93 points “Deep magenta. Deeply pitched aromas of red and blue fruit preserves, candied flowers and allspice show excellent clarity and mineral lift. Seamless and alluringly sweet, offering palate-staining cherry, blueberry and spicecake flavors that show noteworthy depth and back-end thrust. Finishes very long and smooth, with fine-grained tannins and resonating cherry and floral character.”


New Lower Price

For a Grower Champagne Favorite

In Stock Now:

Pierre Paillard ‘Les Parcelles’ Bouzy Grand Cru Extra Brut XV NV 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Case-12 Pierre Paillard ‘Les Parcelles’ Bouzy Grand Cru Extra Brut XV NV 750ML ($599.95) $459 special (that’s only $38.25/bottle!)
Case-6 Pierre Paillard ‘Les Parcelles’ Bouzy Grand Cru Extra Brut XV NV 750ML($299.95) $239 special (that’s only $39.83/bottle)

No reviews available for the current disgorgement. Prior reviews provided for reference.
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92 points “The NV Bouzy Grand Cru Les Parcelles XIII is based on the 2013 vintage plus roughly 40% of reserve wines from 2012, 2011 and 2010. The assemblage consists of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, fermented in stainless steel and in a few demi-muids. The nicely colored wine (white gold with a pink reflection due to the late harvest and no fining agents) offers a very clear, precise and delicate bouquet of cherries and red berries. Pure and filigreed on the palate, this is a beautifully pure, clear, fresh and delicate blend that reveals impressive mineral structure and length. Simply fascinating. Dosed with 3.5 grams per liter and disgorged in October 2017. Tasted in April 2018.”
Decanter 91 points “A very complete and harmonious example, the savoury Pinot undertow of red fruit complemented by elegant Chardonnay, with a gently beguiling creamy texture. Unpretentious and quietly persuasive.”


Washington’s Paradigm:

New Arrivals from Betz

Washington State isn’t an old enough wine region to have a “classic” style or set of producers, but if you were forced to come up with a set of wineries that define what it means to “taste like a Washington wine” then Betz would be one of the first names agreed on.  Bob Betz (a Master of Wine) has been making some of the best wine in Washington for several decades now and the current releases are at least as good as the winery has ever made.

He’s a winemaker who’s extremely influenced by the great growths of Bordeaux, and the wines show it. Built to last, with a powerful structure that’s hidden inside generous fruit, there’s a reason that Betz has helped to define the style of Washington wine—these are spectacular. 2017 was a fantastic vintage in the Columbia Valley, and the new wines show all the qualities we hope for out of Betz wines.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Betz Family Winery Clos de Betz, Columbia Valley 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Anthony Mueller-Wine Advocate 94 points
“A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, the 2017 Clos de Betz has a vibrant expression on the nose, with plush, generous fruit aromas and an underlying brooding tightness. Full-bodied on the palate, the fleshy, plump fruit tones deliver a velvety lushness over the mid-palate, then the wine becomes more dusty and rigid on the finish, ending with oak spices that linger. I will revisit this swine in 36 months, as I suspect it will show better at a later date. This will easily last a decade and more. 750 cases produced.”
James Suckling 94 points “This is really beautiful with chocolate and tile aromas and flavors. Medium to full body, round and polished tannins and a flavorful finish. Refined. Nice balance here. 60% merlot, 21% petit verdot and 19% cabernet sauvignon.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Merlot makes up 60% of this wine, with the rest near equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, with the latter the most this wine has had. Partially fermented in concrete, it has violet, flint, bay leaf, raspberry and dark berry aromas out front. The palate is broad and flavorful, showing a knee-buckling sense of balance with a finish that carries. -Sean P. Sullivan”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Betz Family Winery Pere de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, 2017 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points
“The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille showed beautifully. Coming mostly from Red Mountain (which I think excelled in 2017), it has beautiful cassis and black cherry fruit as well as notes of violets, spring flowers, and graphite. It’s tight, medium to full-bodied, and structured on the palate, and in need of 4-5 years of bottle age.”
Stephan Tanzer-Vinous 95 points “Medium ruby. Vibrant aromas of black fruits, violet and pepper. Densely packed and plush but also sharply delineated, with the intense black fruit and saline mineral flavors boasting terrific inner-mouth perfume; there’s also an exhilarating element of wildness here. As sappy as this powerful, gripping Cabernet is, it also hints at an almost candied sweetness. (Winemaker Skinner feels that the vinification in concrete was conducive for rounding out the structure of the Red Mountain fruit in this vintage and added that the year of aging in neutral oak helped the wine’s texture and allowed its fruit to come through.) Spreads out horizontally to saturate the palate on the back end, finishing with broad, dusty tannins. This wine too is plusher and more concentrated than the 2016 version. (13.8% alcohol; two-thirds fermented in concrete; aging began in 75% new oak but the wine was moved into neutral barriques for a final 12 months)”
Anthony Mueller-Wine Advocate 95 points “A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot, the 2017 Pere de Famille has a rich nose of black fruit and a structured, chewy core. Medium-bodied and dense on the palate, the wine shows an impeccable balance and steadily growing tannins on the back of the mid-palate. Soft purple flowers evolve with the robust expression while still in the mouth, and the finish is bold and precise—the flavors persist with great complexity long after the wine has left the mouth. This is an age-worthy wine with 13.8% alcohol and nice balance. 1,100 cases of this simply stunning wine were made. It’s a delicious wine, and I highly recommend it.”
James Suckling 95 points “This is a complex and subtle red with chocolate, spice and walnut aromas and flavors. Medium-to full-bodied. Tile and iron undertones. Juicy and flavorful on the finish. A beautiful, balanced red. Very fine, polished tannins. Subtle and friendly. Regional blend that shows the story of the vintage. A blend of 90% cabernet sauvignon, 6% petit verdot and 4% merlot. Drink or hold.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Also available: a few remaining ’15’s in tiny quantities:

Betz Family Winery La Cote Rousse Syrah, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“As usual, the 2015 Syrah La Cote Rousse offers a more masculine, structured, mineral-driven style. This cuvée comes all from the warmer Red Mountain AVA and is a power-packed 2015 loaded with notions of black, black fruits, scorched earth, graphite, and charred meats. It’s a big, rich, inky effort, yet like all the wines from this estate has awesome purity of fruit and is impeccably balanced.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2015 Syrah la Cote Rousse is a blockbuster Syrah from Red Mountain that’s from the Ranch at the End of The Road and Ciel du Cheval vineyards. It’s a mix of four different clones and is brought up in barrel. This deep, inky, seriously black Syrah gives up Hermitage-like notes of scorched earth, charred meats, graphite and licorice. It’s a big, concentrated effort that’s going to benefit from short-term cellaring and keep through 2035.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Betz Family Winery La Serenne Syrah, Yakima Valley 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 15 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“Coming from the Boushey Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, the 2015 Syrah La Serenne is full-bodied, fresh and elegant, with classic cooler climate Syrah notes of peppery herbs, darker berry fruits, lavender, spring flowers, and smoked earth. It has terrific complexity and glides over the palate, making for a sensational Syrah from Washington State. Drink it anytime over the coming decade.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “All from Dick Boushey’s vineyard in Yakima Valley, the 2015 Syrah La Serenne was also all destemmed and brought up in barrel. It’s a more elegant, complex and nuanced Syrah compared to the Cote Rousse and offers classic notes of blackberries, peppery herbs, lavender and spring flowers. Full-bodied, fresh and lively, drink it anytime over the coming 10-15 years.”
Nine Hats – Columbia Valley Value Star

Nine Hats originally began as the second label of the Long Shadows project—its name referring to the personalities who crafted the wines of that famed project. These days, it’s been expanded into one of the best value plays in Washington, with stunning quality for under-$30. We’ve brought in two of their standouts at even lower prices—compare our offer to the next best prices on wine-searcher across vintages, and you’ll see that we’re the lowest price across vintages… by $15+ per bottle compared to the next best in the country! 

In Stock Now:

Nine Hats Malbec, Columbia Valley 2014 750ML ($29.95) $14 special
Case-12 Nine Hats Malbec, Columbia Valley 2014 750ML ($319.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
International Wine Report 91 points
“The 2014 Nine Hats Malbec begins with a bouquet of blueberry compote, pipe tobacco, dark chocolate pie and cassis. The palate is rich and layered, yielding flavors reminiscent of mocha, crème de cassis, blueberry preserves and a graphite edge ending with a lingering finish.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Nine Hats Merlot, Columbia Valley 2014 750ML ($29.95) $14 special
Case-12 Nine Hats Merlot, Columbia Valley 2014 750ML ($319.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
International Wine Report 90 points
“Another strong wine by Nine Hats, the 2014 Merlot is an excellent pairing for a juicy ribeye steak and drinks deliciously straight out of the bottle. This deep hued Merlot smells of sweet red cherries, red raspberry, blackberry pie and suggestions of roasted dates. The palate yields rich flavors of black cherry, mocha, black raspberry cordial, with baking spices and dill accents. Plush and wonderfully balanced, enjoy this over the next decade. (Best 2016-2025) – December, 2016 (OB).”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


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Cave Mont Blanc’s Alpine Whites & Sparklers

Perfect for Spring!

Cave Mont Blanc was founded in the early 1980s with the stated purpose of reviving abandoned vineyards within Italy’s picturesque Valle d’Aosta. Located in the shadow of Mont Blanc, the area features some of the highest elevation vineyards in all of Europe. Few machines are capable of working such extreme topographies – needless to say, they’re seldom employed within the region.

Cave Mont Blanc’s wines tether the balance between delicate and powerful – they are wine of paradoxes. The ‘1187’ bubbles, made from 100% Prie Blanc, is soft, but also offers bracing minerality. While the still Morgex Et De La Salle and Morgex Vini Estremi are both pretty and nuanced. The entire lineup is perfect for spring drinking, expressive whites and bubbles that pair perfectly with fresh air and sunbreaks.

Newly Arrived:

Cave Mont Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle Glacier Metodo Classico Brut 2016 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 92 points
“Bright golden-tinged yellow. Poached pear and green apple on the nose, with notes of resin and nectarine adding complexity. The palate offers a brightly acidic, steely, fresh citrus character, plus minerals and orchard fruit flavors. Finishes long with powerful notes of nectarine and peach.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Cave Mont Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle ‘1187’ Spumante, Aosta Valley 2018 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 12 bottles in stock now
No review for the 2018. 2016 review provided for reference.
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93 points “Light, bright golden straw-green. Beautifully scented, nuanced, mineral-laced aromas of orange peel, lime, honeysuckle and green almond; notes of mint and minerals gain strength with aeration. Deeper and more powerful than I remember other vintages of this wine at a similar stage of development, it offers precise, energetic citrus and orchard fruit flavors complicated by white flower and stony qualities. The lingering finish is broad, steely and very pure. Lots going on here; I liked this wine’s delicate yet assertive nature. Another great sparkler this year from the Cave du Mont Blanc.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Cave Mont Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle ‘Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle’, Aosta Valley 2019 750ML ($27.95) $24 special, 24 bottles in stock now
No review for the 2019. 2018 review provided for reference.
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 92 points “Green-hued yellow. Piercing, precise, subtle aromas of stone fruits, minerals and peony. Extremely complex on the palate, offering a wild array of fresh orchard fruit, minerals and herb flavors, a fine-grained, vibrant texture and remarkable energy. Leaves behind an inviting note of chamomile and thyme on the long, sappy finish. Outstanding aperitif wine.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Cave Mont Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle ‘Caronte’ Extra Brut Rosato NV 750ML ($29.95) $26 special, 36 bottles in stock now
“Founded in 1983, to revive the abandoned vineyards on the slopes of the Mont Blanc and to perpetuate the centuries old tradition of the area, the ‘Cave’ gathers the grapes from the municipalities of Morgex and La Salle and produces, among others, one of the highest cultivated white wines in Europe.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Cave Mont Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle Vini Estremi, Aosta Valley 2019 750ML ($29.95) $26 special, 24 bottles in stock now
“Founded in 1983, to revive the abandoned vineyards on the slopes of the Mont Blanc and to perpetuate the centuries old tradition of the area, the ‘Cave’ gathers the grapes from the municipalities of Morgex and La Salle and produces, among others, one of the highest cultivated white wines in Europe.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

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New Review for a Staff Favorite Barolo

In Stock Now:

Lapo Berti del Comune di La Morra, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 93 points
“The Barolo from the Lapo Berti winery in La Morra is one of the most exciting tiny production wines in this famous region and stellar buy, with this 2015 being a ripe and soft tannined version, making it a serious Nebbiolo that can be enjoyed in its young. This traditionally hand crafted Barolo, that is sourced from small Cru parcels in the La Morra zone, delivers classic Nebbiolo flavors and a sense of place that lets you exactly what this wine is with beautiful supple layers of vintage’s dense and expressive fruit along with subtle earthy elements, sweet herbs, a light cedar/sandalwood note and a porporri of wilted flowers. The 2015 is more overt than the other vintages I’ve tried… with pretty black cherry, damson plum, raspberry and a touch of strawberry fruits, chalky stones, saline infused black licorice, amaro/liqueur and a bit of violets. I was convinced to add this label to my yearly rotation of Piedmonte wines by the fact that Oregon winemaking legend John Paul of Cameron Winery actually imports this wine and tries his best to secure the whole production in good years, such devotion, certainly made me more intrigued and I have not been disappointed…The Lapo Berti Barolo, as noted, sourced from the Commune of La Morra, and from, notably, the two historic Cru parcels of Bricco Rocca and Fossati, which gives this wine some significant pedigree and prestige in its terroir. This old school Barolo was produced using natural winemaking methods and the carefully sorted and de-stemmed Nebbiolo grapes were fermented with indigenous yeasts with absolutely no additions during the process, seeing very low amounts of sulphites. The Barolo was treated to a gentile and cool maceration period to get a full extraction of flavor, but without a harsh upper cut of tannin, and the wine aged close to two years in neutral barrels in the cellar to allow the wine to develop its satiny mouth feel.”


Now with an even lower price!
Castello di Camigliano Poderuccio Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2018 750ML ($21.95) Was $18 Now $16, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Castello di Camigliano Poderuccio Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2018 750ML ($249.95) Was $189, Now $175 (that’s only $14.58/bottle!)
James Suckling 90 points
“Lots of blackberries and tar, together with black-olive character on the nose and palate. Full-bodied and structured. A little raw, but should come around nicely with bottle age. Drink from 2020.”

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

“A serious palate, with freshness and chalky tannins and a serious finish”
Viña Zorzal Garnacha, Navarra 2019 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 91 points
“The entry-level red simply called 2019 Garnacha is what they define as their regional bottling, using grapes from the villages of de Corella, Cintruénigo and Fitero, produced in an approachable and easy-to-understand way. It had a gentle vinification, starting with grapes of moderate ripeness with a good pH, fermented with indigenous yeasts and using 20% full clusters. The difference in vintage is noticeable when tasted with a majority of 2018s; this is a clearly riper and more open vintage, with a more Mediterranean character, with sweet fruit and aromatic herbs. It reminds me of some of my favorite old-time unoaked Garnachas from Navarra. It has a serious palate, with freshness and chalky tannins and a serious finish. Great value!”

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

A much admired Brunello knocked scored another fan at Wine Spectator!
Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Pianrosso, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015 750ML ($149.95) $99 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 97 points
“There’s a bright edge to this red, harnessing the cherry, strawberry, rosehip, mineral and tobacco flavors that build on the palate to a long finish. Displays terrific energy and balance, with an aftertaste that echoes both fruit and savory elements. Best from 2024 through 2050. —B.S.”
James Suckling 100 points “Lots of ripe and rich fruit with a decadent undertone of meat and spice that turns to pure fruit and licorice. Medium to full body, refined tannins and a fresh and bright finish. All about harmony. Better after 2021.”
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 98 points “Cellar Selection. Intense aromas of berry, iris, underbrush, botanical herb and camphor shape the enticing nose. Firmly structured, the taut, full-bodied palate offers juicy black cherry, raspberry, licorice and tobacco set against tightly knit, fine-grained tannins. Drink 2025–2035.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “The Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Pianrosso is distinguished by a unique aromatic profile that brings out mineral notes of crushed limestone or chalk. This adds a greater sense of focus and delineation that not only characterizes the bouquet but also applies to the way the wine hits the palate in a fuller and more determined way (compared to the slightly softer classic Brunello). Instead, this single-vineyard Brunello shows an upright and direct approach with soft salinity on the close followed by forest fruit, spice and medicinal herb. The mouthfeel makes a big impact thanks to its streamlined and polished texture. Some 37,000 bottles were released in January 2020.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Domaine Collotte Marsannay Le Clos de Jeu, Côte de Nuits 2018 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Weygandt-Metzler Importer note
“The Clos de Jeu Marsannay comes from several parcels of 50 year old vines from Clos de Jeu on soft limestone crinoidal soil. Aged in oak, 25% new, this wine is harmonious in its flavors and tannins.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $39.99

From one of our favorite sections of the north coast, made famous by Peter Michael.
Galerie Wines ‘Latro’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley 2015 750ML ($59.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Galerie Wines ‘Latro’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley 2015 750ML ($239.95) $219 special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 93 points
“Deep purple-black colored, the 2015 Latro Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon offers up warm blueberry and plum notions with hints of black soil, stewed tea, menthol and underbrush. Medium to full-bodied, the fruits flavors completely fill the mouth, with blue fruit preserves and a lovely perfumed nature, featuring plush tannins and plenty of freshness defining the long finish. 425 cases produced.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $59.99

The best-selling rosé of one of our favorite Provencal producers.
Peyrassol ‘Cuvee des Commandeurs’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2020 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Peyrassol ‘Cuvee des Commandeurs’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2020 750ML ($279.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Importer note
“Cuvée des Commandeurs bottles the essence of quality fruit, seeking to evoke pleasure and delight the senses. This accessible rosé was crafted to provide thirst-quenching freshness with vibrant fruitiness, without sacrificing elegance and complexity. Its rosy appearance is delicate in color and an expressive nose lends charm to this blend. A palate dominated by wild berries: gooseberry and raspberry that reveal themselves in a crisp, silky mouthfeel enhanced with a touch of minerality. 40% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 10% Rolle. Harvested at night to preserve the acidity and in double floor boxes to prevent any early maceration and coloration of the juice. The fruit is directly destemmed and pressed on arrival in the cellar. The alcoholic fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

The new Montevertine? Le Boncie’s got all the hallmarks of a rising-Tuscan-star, at now-more-attractive pricing.
Podere Le Boncie ‘Cinque’ Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2018 750ML ($49.95) Was $39, Now $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Rosenthal Wine note
“Giovanna calls her second wine “Cinque,” a dual reference to the five grape varieties planted at Le Boncie and to the Italian grading system, in which a 5 (out of 10) constitutes not quite passing (Giovanna is atypically and charmingly self-effacing for a Tuscan). Part comes from the non-gobelet-trained vines of her original three-hectare farm, and another part from a recently acquired 1.3-hectare parcel called “Chiesa Monte,” three kilometers from Le Boncie and just outside the limit of Castelnuovo Berardenga. Giovanna ferments “Cinque” in a combination of cement and steel, with a slightly briefer maceration than “Le Trame,” and ages it in large botti for roughly one year less than the flagship wine. The result is slightly less structured and gentler, but still deeply expressive of both the warm generosity of Castelnuovo Berardenga and of Giovanna’s caressingly pure style. 2018 was a rainy and relatively tough growing season, but one would never know if from this wine, which is lithe, supple, and open for business even at this youthful stage.”

Cameron Winery Spritz Rose, Willamette Valley NV 250ML Can ($9.95) $6.60 special
Case-6 Cameron Winery Spritz Rose, Willamette Valley NV 250ML Can ($59.95) $35 special (that’s only $5.83/can!) ***In store pick up-only on the six-pack
Cameron Winery Official Drinking Song:

All the folks in Oregon
Love to drink the Cameron
Kick their legs up in the air
Shake, shake, shake their derriere
If you buy the Cameron brand
You can drink our spritz in can
Easy now as un deux trois
Everybody ooh la la //
Oh, can you drink the Can Can?
If you can then I can
I drink Can Can if you drink Can Can…
VinopolNote: What do you get when you take some of the finest dry-farmed Dundee Hills Pinot Noir fruit, add a dash of Pinot Blanc, a smidge of carbonation, and a pinch of wizardry? The best can of wine money can buy. 90% La Colina Vineyard Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Blanc from the Coast Range. 

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Collector’s Corner

The Pinnacles of Champagne

In Stock Now:

“This is a great bottle of bubbly in the making”
Georges Laval Cumières Les Chênes Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Brut Nature Millésimé, Champagne 2016 750ML ($199.95) $179 special, 7 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 95 points
“Vincent Laval’s 2016 version of les Chênes was disgorged at the end of February of 2020 and shows enormous potential. The bouquet is already very expressive, jumping from the glass in a complex blend of pear, golden delicious apple, brioche, complex soil tones, macadamia nut, a bit of buttery oak and a topnote of gently musky floral tones. On the palate the wine is deep, beautifully balanced and full-bodied, with a lovely core of fruit, fine mineral drive and grip, elegant mousse and outstanding length and grip on the brisk, but nicely buffered finish. I really like the structure of the 2016 les Chênes, which will age for decades, but may not demand the customary ten years in the cellar before it really starts to drink with generosity. This is a great bottle of bubbly in the making. 2025-2065.”
Importer note “100% Chardonnay. Premier Cru.”

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A field blend of the seven varieties permitted in Champagne
Rene Geoffroy ‘Les Houtrants Complantés Premier Cru Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($219.95) $188 special, 3 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Disgorged in February 2017 with no dosage, this bottle of the NV Brut Nature Premier Cru Les Houtrants Complantés derives from the 2012 triage, and consists of a blend of reserve wines from 2008 to 2011 that were aged in magnum. Les Houtrants is a precocious lieu-dit in Cumières that Geoffroy planted with a field blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Arbanne and Petit Meslier in 2004. The wine wafts from the glass with a subtle but complex bouquet of white currants, smoke, wet stones, warm biscuits and verb, followed by a medium to full-bodied, fine-boned and tensile palate that’s exquisitely balanced, its bright spine of acidity cloaked in just enough vibrant flesh and texture to avoid any hint of asperity, concluding with a searingly chalky finish. Intellectually stimulating and compulsively drinkable in equal measure, it’s a pity that only a tiny number of bottles are produced.”
James Suckling 94 points “The nose offers subtly spiced brioche with a light, toasty layer and bright citrus fruit. The palate has a more complex array of fruit and deep, silky texture, laced with salty minerals and grilled nuts at the finish. A non-vintage blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier, chardonnay, arbanne and petit meslier. Drink now.”

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“This is really complex”
De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Brut Millésimé, Champagne 1996 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 24 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 96 points
“This is really complex, old Champagne with puff-pastry, dried-apple, spice and salted-nut aromas and flavors. Full body. Ultra fine bubbles with an extremely fine and creamy mouth feel. Extreme edge to it. This spent 21 years on the lees. Disgorged in 2018. Every year they disgorge 3,000 bottles”

“Seamless and complete”
Marguet Père & Fils ‘Sapience’ Premier Cru Extra-Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($269.95) $189 special, 4 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96 points
“This is the fourth vintage of Benoît Marguet’s Sapience, Champagne’s first organic prestige cuvée, which he began producing before he took over his family vineyards, using purchased grapes: Bouzy Pinot Noir from  Benoît Lahaye, Cumières Pinot Meunier from Vincent Laval and Trépail Chardonnay from David Leclapart. Disgorged in June 2019 without dosage, the 2009 Brut Nature Premier Cru is showing brilliantly, wafting from the glass with a complex bouquet of citrus oil, dried orange peel, white flowers and subtle hints of praline. Full-bodied, layered and textural, it’s seamless and complete, with a deep core, ripe but racy acids and a long, intense finish.”
Peter Liem note “Since 2006, Marguet has been working with Hervé Jestin, the former chef de cave of Duval-Leroy who is now a consultant to many wine estates around Europe. Marguet has gradually integrated Jestin’s homeopathic and biodynamic practices into his own winemaking, and the two of them have collaborated to create a special, naturally grown champagne that encapsulates and expresses Jestin’s philosophies. The first vintage of this super-cuvée was 2006, released in 2013, and the production was divided: half of it was sold under the Jestin label, with the other half under the label Sapience, which Marguet has indicated is a separate brand from the Marguet label.”

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“A joy to taste”
Pommery Cuvée Louise Brut Rosé Millésimé, Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) $219 special, 16 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points
“This is a new release and shows wonderful finesse and beauty. You know that the moment you see the pale-amber color. It’s medium bodied with freshness and energy and a long, vivid finish. A joy to taste. Drink now.”

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An iconic wine from an celebrated vintage
Louis Roederer Cristal Millésimé Brut, Champagne 2012 750ML ($299.95) $249 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“The 2012 Cristal is another absolutely stellar wine this flight of recent releases. Rich, vinous and beautifully textured, the 2012 has been nothing short of magnificent on the three occasions I have tasted it so far. In the glass, the 2012 is radiant and luscious, yet it possesses remarkable transparency and striking aromatic depth. Light tropical notes develop in the glass, giving the 2012 a real feeling of exotic beauty. The 2012 is the first vintage of Cristal done with 100% organically-farmed fruit, an approach introduced gradually starting with the 2007 that has profoundly changes Cristal, especially in its aromatic breadth. Two thousand twelve is the vintage where endless trials and experiments in farming and winemaking are fully realized. The 2012 is just stunning. It’s as simple as that. Dosage is just over 7 grams per liter, the lowest it has even been for Cristal.”
Roger Voss-Wine Enthusiast 98 points “As the first 100% biodynamic Cristal, entirely from Roederer-owned vineyards, this is an important milestone. This latest incarnation is a great Champagne with its density, elegance and poise. Still impressively young, the wine is taut, tightly wound and textured. At the same time, it has pure, ripe white and citrus fruits that are perfumed, and an important part of this wine’s long-term future. Drink at the earliest from 2023.”
James Suckling 98 points “Such attractive, fresh, floral aromas here with fine bread, hints of white almonds and a lemon edge. White cherries and strong, chalky minerals, too. The palate has a very composed feel. Seamless and quite silky texture with effortless length and flow. Very fluid and composed. Very late, warming almond flavors. This is very long and smooth with a velvety finish. Super long pinot weight. Resolved and drinkable, but will age so well..”

“Beautiful complexity and nuance you only get from top rosé Champagnes”
Piper-Heidsieck Rare Brut Rosé Millésimé, Champagne 2007 750ML ($499.95) $379 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96 points
“The salmon colored 2007 Rosé Millesimé Rare has a clear, fresh, slightly oaky-nougat and pretty vinous bouquet. It is a rich and slightly sweetish yet pure, refined, elegant and well-structured Rosé Champagne with good grip and tension as well as a long, intensely aromatic and powerful finish. This is great and enormously complex Champagne with an extraordinary, complex finish. The 2007 is based on 56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir. Tasted in November 2017.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96+ points “Another sensational Champagne, as well as the first vintage for the Cuvée, the 2007 Rare Rosé (56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir) offers that beautiful complexity and nuance you only get from top rosé Champagnes. Orange blossom, strawberries, spice, dried flowers, toasted bread, and orange peel notes all emerge from this richly concentrated, medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured 2007. With a fine, yet layered mousse, incredible complexity, and a great finish, this blockbuster effort will be better with 2-3 years of bottle age and shine for 10-15 years or more.”

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“A stunning, totally drop-dead gorgeous wine”
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Brut Rosé, Champagne 1993 750ML ($499.95) $399 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“[Reviewed July 2014] A stunning, totally drop-dead gorgeous wine, the 1993 Comtes de Champagne Rosé is intense and deep to the core. Even at 21 years of age, the 1993 possesses stunning richness and tons of pure resonance. Blood orange, spices, dried flowers and anise blossom from the glass in an effortless, totally gracious Champagne. The 1993 won’t live forever, but it is striking now and should continue to deliver the goods for another 5-10 years. Hints of truffle, dried cherry and spice linger on the exquisite finish.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “This is an explosion of chocolate and cherries, lifted gloriously on an ocean of tiny bubbles. Copper colored and Pinot-scented, its rich fruit tastes like ripe cherries rolled in milk chocolate, decadent and elegant at the same time. Exceptional length and depth of flavor.”

Still youthful at 30+
Grand Siècle par Laurent-Perrier, Champagne 1990 750ML ($599.95) $499 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 94 points
” Medium orange-gold color. Musky, wild aromas of strawberry, raspberry, smoke and earth; rather pinot noir-like and expressive of its soil. Rich, ripe and dense with material but not at all heavy; red berry flavors offer a compellingly tangy quality. Very concentrated and still very young. Finishes with superb lift and length.”

“Beautifully done”
Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rosé, Champagne 1990 750ML ($699.95) $599 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Beautifully done. Vigorous and almost chewy, this intense, full-bodied rosé exudes mint, berry and wood aromas and flavors. Muscular and dense, with a character that engages the palate and needs contemplation or food.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “It’s a pale wine, on the rose side of gold, a beautiful visual introduction to a stunning wine. The strawberry flavors are wrapped in a silvery texture, crisply dry, and despite the intensity of fruit, the wine seems weightless on the palate. It’s gorgeous now, but, amazingly, just a baby. It’s long-term future is assured. Twenty years from now, this will be heavenly.”
Robert Parker 94 points “This wine was recommended, but no tasting note was given.”

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“A triumph for the vintage”
Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Extra Brut, Champagne 1991 750ML ($699.95) $599 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 93+ points
“Very strong mousse Idiosyncratic nose of yellow fruits, minerals, ginger, honey, lily and magnolia; like a grand cru white Burgundy. Very intensely flavored but subtle and light on its feet. A vivid wine with great vinosity and penetration. Strong acids give it a brisk, firm-edged finish. Not as creamy or thick as the 1990, but I find this more stylish. A triumph for the vintage.”

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“Perfectly matured Champagne”
Salon Cuvée ‘S’ Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 1997 (’17 Disgorgement) 750ML ($999.95) $899 special, 4 bottles in stock now
No reviews for the 2017 disgorgement. Review is for the 2018 disgorgement.
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95 points “Disgorged earlier this year (2018), the Salon 1997 Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Brut opens with a deep, intense and concentrated yet pure, fine and complex bouquet of chalk intertwined with ripe yellow-fleshed fruit, brioche and hazelnut notes. This is a bright, perfectly matured Champagne from Mesnil-sur-Oger with hints of caramel, white mushrooms, parsley root and a beautiful varnish on the nevertheless fresh nose with its characteristic chalky Mesnil expressions. The palate is full and intense, almost rich in the first moment compared the the 2007, but then the 1997 proceeds as pure, elegant and fresh as a Salon should be. Yes, there are some similarities to the 2007 in terms of finesse, with the linear, mineral and vinous style fortified by the complexity of 21 years of age. This is a really fine Champagne but not as ripe as the 2007. The rigid taster will find some drying green apple phenolics in the aftertaste, but the hedonist (who doesn’t look at the price) won’t get that. So enjoy! The late disgorgement of the 1997 Salon (which spent nearly 20 years on the lees) combines the elegance and finesse of the house style with the vinous complexity of a matured Champagne…”

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