Weekend VinopolPick 4-12-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

The Best Ever Dominus?

Just Arrived: A 96 Point, Classic Brunello

New Jeb Dunnuck Reviews for Washington State Classics

2015 Piemonte: The World Class Vintage Begins to Arrive

New Arrivals
Including Simone, Peyrassol,
Beaux Freres, Flaneur, Patricia Green
Ulysse Collin, Mauro Molino and More!

Trending Wines

A (98 Point) Modern Masterpiece of Rioja Returns

Cream de la Mousse – The Joys of Mature Champagne


Featured New Arrival

The Best Ever Dominus?

Dominus is at once one of the most storied names in Napa wine and also an estate on the rise.  Although they’ve been a noteworthy producer ever since they crushed their first grapes, the last several vintages have been the best wines they’ve ever produced.  The 2015 just arrived carrying two 100 point scores and looks to continue that trend.  As you’d expect, quantities are limited, so act quickly.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($349.95) $289 special
Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2015 375ML ($179.95) $159 special
Wine Advocate 100 points
“Bottled in July 2017 and composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the Dominus 2015 Proprietary Red Wine leaps from the glass with notes of fresh wild blueberries, crushed blackberries and black currant juice with touches of wild thyme, underbrush, iron ore and aniseed with wafts of lavender and pencil lead. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has incredible energy and vivacity, with the firm, pixelated tannins and lively backbone skillfully framing the muscular fruit, finishing with wonderful length and depth.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The 2015 Dominus is a flawless, perfect wine as well as a legend in the making. A blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc, from dry-farmed vines and brought up in just 40% new French oak, its ruby/purple color is followed by an extraordinary bouquet of blackcurrants, crème de cassis, damp earth, smoke tobacco, and spring flowers. Reminding me of the 2015 Château Margaux with its incredible mix of elegance and power, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, stunning purity of fruit, building tannins, and awesome length. This sensational textured and voluptuous Dominus drink well today yet will evolve for 25-30 years or more.”
James Suckling 98 points “A phenomenal red from the vintage with sandalwood, roses, currants, blackberries and blackcurrants. Full-bodied, extremely structured and intense with a great finish. The tannins are so polished and poised. Shows tension and beauty throughout. Straight and focused. Drink in 2022.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2015 Dominus is fabulous. Explosive and alluring on the palate, the 2015 possesses stunning texture and intensity. Blueberry jam, cloves, menthol, licorice and graphite are some of the many nuances that develop over time. In 2015 Dominus artfully balances the richness of the year with the classic structural elements that are such a signature of this wine.”


Just Arrived

A 96 Point, Classic Brunello

Lisini is a classic producer, both in style and in that they were one of the original 25 wineries in the Brunello Consortium.  They’re known for powerful wines that see extensive aging in (large format) cask and bottle before release, which softens their textures and gives them wonderful secondary flavors.  These are reference-point Brunellos that belong in the cellar of any collector—as does the Rosso, a delightful wine that’s always delicious young (which is useful as a cellar defender for the big guns).  The new vintage (2012) of their top wine, the single-vineyard Ugolaia, was just given a 96 point score by Wine Spectator—perfectly timed as it arrives next week!

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Lisini Ugolaia, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Wine Spectator 96 points
“A bright and elegant yet taut and structured version, this red features buried cherry, plum, earth, iron and tobacco flavors. Dynamic despite the firm grip of tannins, this should come around in a few years. Licorice and ripe cherry notes mark the finish. Best from 2020 through 2038.”

Also Available, In Stock Now from Lisini:

Lisini Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Wine Spectator 90 points
“Black cherry, blackberry, iron and wild herb flavors mark this ripe, fruity red, which is well-integrated, with dusty tannins on the finish. Drink now through 2024.”

Lisini Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $48 special
Wine Spectator 96 points
“Exuding cherry, strawberry and floral flavors tinged with iron, earth ans spice notes, this ripe red is elegant in profile, tightly wound and deftly balanced, ending with a kick of fruit, spice and mineral elements. Best from 2020 through 2037.”

Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2011 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Wine Advocate 94+ points
“I have not seen a Riserva from Lisini for a while, so this wine comes as a pleasant surprise. The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva takes us back to one of the warmest vintages in re-cent memory. However, this wine holds nicely with plenty of lush primary fruit to keep it smelling and tasting younger than its years. Dark cherry and dried blackberry rise to the top. Soon to follow are layers of spice and sweet tobacco. The mouthfeel is thickly layered but vel-vety smooth all the while”.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Lisini Ugolaia, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($119.95) $88 special
Importer Note:
From the superlative Ugolaia cru, a 3.7-acre, southeast-facing vineyard by the same name, planted in 1978 with selected grafts (top grafted onto wild vines by Lisini senior experts). Crops are 1.1 kilo per rootstock, and élevage is 36 months in Slavonian oak barrels (11-20 hl.), followed by 18 months’ bottle age.
New Jeb Dunnuck Reviews

For Washington State Classics

“Another brilliant year for Washington State, the 2016 vintage started out even earlier than 2015 (which was one of the earliest on record) with bud break occurring in the middle of May, upwards of two weeks ahead of average. Scorching temperatures in April and May put the vintage on track to surpass 2015 as the warmest on record. However, the weather pattern shifted in June with cooler, even temperatures for the summer months. A rain shower early in October was the only blip in a cool, even Indian Summer that persisted through November, which allowed a prolonged yet stress-free harvest….

“The large crop, cooler overall temperatures, and ample hangtime all resulted in wines that have more medium to full-bodied profiles (larger yields), beautiful freshness and purity of aromas, and ripe, polished tannins (long hangtime and cooler temperatures).” – Jeb Dunnuck

Quilceda Creek
Cannot be listed on our website–please call or email to order.
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($219.95) $199 special
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2016 1.5L ($479.95) $449 special
Jeb Dunnuck 98+ points
“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Colombia Valley is a beautiful wine and has a more classic profile than the more sexy, massive 2015. Beautiful notes of creme de cassis, lead pencil shavings, graphite, dried herbs, and loamy earth all flow to a full-bodied, incredibly pure and perfectly balanced Cabernet Sauvignon that has no hard edges, a deep, concentrated mid-palate, good acidity, and a great, great finish. It reminds me of the 2002 with its uber classic, balanced yet broad and powerful style.”

B. Leighton

“These releases are from the personal label of Brennon Leighton, who’s part of the genius behind the K Vintners releases. His flagship cuvée is his Petit Verdot, but he makes a brilliant Mourvèdre and Syrah as well.” –J.D.

B. Leighton Olsen’s Brothers Vineyard Gratitude, Yakima Valley 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“The Mourvèdre-dominated 2016 Gratitude Blend (there’s 25% Grenache and 5% Syrah) is a flat-out awesome wine as well as possibly the greatest expression of the variety to come out of Washington State. Beautiful notes of black and blue fruits, dried earth, peppery spice, and loads of floral and rose petal notes all flow to a full-bodied red that has an incredible sense of elegance and purity as well as richness and depth. It’s great today and will be great in a decade.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
B. Leighton Olsen’s Brothers Vineyard Syrah, Yakima Valley 2016 750ml ($59.95) $45 special
Case-12 B. Leighton Olsen’s Brothers Vineyard Syrah, Yakima Valley ($549.95) $479 special (that’s only $39.92/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“The 2016 Syrah comes from a site in the Yakima Valley that was planted by Leighton. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by classic Syrah notes of dark berry fruits, smoke tobacco, olive tapenade, and ground pepper. Medium to full-bodied, with both freshness and richness, it’s impeccably balanced, with beautiful fruit and a great finish. It’s another seriously good wine from Brennon that delivers the goods. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
“Winemaker Chris Peterson continues to fashion some of the most impressive wines in the State. These are always more classical in style and show plenty of acidity and structure in their youth, yet they blossom with just short term cellaring and are brilliant wines.” –J.D.

In Stock Now:

Avennia Arnaut Boushey Vineyard Syrah, Yakima Valley 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The flagship Syrah is the 2016 Syrah Arnaut, which is always 100% Syrah from Dick Boushey’s vineyard in the Yakima Valley. This deep ruby-colored effort is as silky and seamless as it gets, offering loads of black raspberry, blackberry, smoked earth, spice, and hints of chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, ultra-pure, and impeccably balanced, it’s a beautiful wine from Chris to enjoy over the coming 10-15 years.”

Arriving ETA April 19th:

Avennia Sestina Red, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Avennia Sestina Red, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($449.95) $369 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points
“The 2016 Sestina checks in as 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that saw 21 months in 48% new French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. It shows the purity and elegance of the vintage beautifully and offers classic Cabernet notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, crushed rocks, and tobacco leaf. With beautiful balance and that more elegant, finesse-driven style of the estate, it packs plenty of fruit and is a seamless wine that will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for 15-20 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Avennia Gravura Red, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($41.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Avennia Gravura Red, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($239.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2016 Gravura checks in as 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc, aged 20 months in 60% new French oak. It’s another rock star of a wine from Chris that sports a saturated purple color, complex notes of blackberries, black cherries, damp earth, and spring flowers, hints of subtle oak, medium body, and perfect balance. Drink this seamless blend over the coming 10-15 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Avennia Justine Red, Yakima Valley 2016 750L ($41.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Avennia Justine Red, Yakima Valley 2016 750ML ($239.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points
“The 2016 Justine is the Southern Rhône blend of the estate, checking in as 56% Grenache, 32% Mourvèdre, and 12% Syrah aged 20% in concrete and the balance in neutral French oak. This medium ruby-colored effort offers a thrilling bouquet of kirsch liqueur, herbes de Provence, ground pepper, and spice. It’s elegant, medium-bodied, and seamless on the palate, with rocking levels of fruit and texture. Drink it over the coming decade.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
K Vintners
“This is another formidable lineup from Charles Smith and Brennon Leighton, who have recently moved their winemaking facility from Walla Walla to just outside of Seattle. All of the pure Bordeaux variety blends/releases have been moved to the Wine of Substance label (also reviewed in this report), and the K Vintners label is reserved for Rhône variety releases. By and large, these are all not destemmed and brought mostly in neutral puncheons. As I’ve said in the past, these are the real deal and are brilliant wines.” –J.D.

K Vintners The Creator Cabernet – Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“An 80/20 split of Cabernet and Syrah from a site in the Walla Walla Valley, the 2016 Cabernet / Syrah The Creator Powerline Vineyard offers lots of bloody black and blue fruit, black olive, beef blood, and pepper herb aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, rich, and concentrated, it has silky tannins and shows surprising elegance and finesse on the palate. It’s a “Wow” wine that should be snatched up by readers.”

K Vintners ‘M.C.K. Motor City Kitty’ Syrah, Washington 2016 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“Coming from the highest point in the Boushey vineyard and a mix of Syrah clones, the 2016 Motor City Kitty Old Field Boushey Vineyard was fermented all in concrete (no destemming) and brought up in neutral oak. Game, olives, white pepper, and darker fruits all emerge from this Côte Rôtie look-alike. With medium to full-bodied richness and a layered texture, it’s one of the greatest values out there, so if you see a bottle, you should buy it.”

K Vintners Rock Garden Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“Coming from a site in the Rocks region of the Walla Walla Valley, the 2016 Syrah Rock Garden boasts a deep ruby/purple color as well as a sweet nose of red fruits, spring flowers, ground pepper, and assorted leafy, herbal notes. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, and just a straight-up sexy wine, drink it any time over the coming decade.”



2015 Piemonte

The World Class Vintage Begins to Arrive

2015 is already shaping up to be a world class vintage in Barolo and Barbaresco (to say nothing of Alto Piemonte).  Combining aspects of 2009, 2013 and 2010 these wines are powerful, flamboyant and intensely complex.  From the moment we started tasting the early released Langhe Nebbiolos of the vintage, we knew this would be a year to stock up on, especially for lovers of bigger Barolo and Barbaresco wines.

We’re finally at the part of the year where the real-deal releases are upon us—all the top names should be arriving at the shop over the next six months or so.  Based on what we’ve tasted and read, the hype for the vintage is real and the hype is huge.  If you missed out on ’10’s and ’13’s, be warned: these are going to disappear quickly as well.  We have new releases from Paitin (in Barbaresco) and Cavallotto that just arrived as well as a small allocation of E. Pira locked down for the fall.  If you love any of these wines, act quickly—they’re going to be in high demand.

Secondo Pasquero-Elia and his two sons, Giovanni and Silvano have enlisted enologist Dante Scaglione (of Bruno Giacosa fame) to draw even more from such an amazing site. The results offer a glimpse into the future of the winery and the wines to come. The wines are solid, deep, and built to last – echoing the family and their tie to their home and spectacular vineyards.  From atop the hill where the winery sits, you can overlook the two main vineyard sites and understand the difference in microclimate, soil type and techniques for farming. The Bricco di Nieve side of the hill is steep, breezy and has beautiful older vines that produce the gorgeous sori Paitin Barbaresco. The other side of the hill has the looser iron rich soil that is the Serra vineyard. Tasting the two Barbaresco side by side is a lesson in site location and the unique qualities that can be shown, just a stone’s throw away

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Sori Paitin Serraboella’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Sori Paitin Serraboella’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Sweet cherry and strawberry fruit is framed by earth, eucalyptus, tobacco and tar notes in this rich yet firm red. The assertive tannins suggest a glacial evolution but the lasting impression of fruit shows this wine’s potential. Best from 2022 through 2040. 815 cases made.”

Plus, their late-released Vecchie Vigne from ’11 just arrived!

Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Sori Paitin Vecchie Vigne’, Barbaresco DOCG 2011 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points
“The 2011 Barbaresco Sorì Paitin Vigne Vecchie is just as stunning as it has always been. A wine of extraordinary purity, the 2011 is laced with rose petals, spices, mint, sweet red berries. The balance of fruit, acidity and tannin is simply magnificent. At the same time, the power and breadth of Serraboella comes through in spades.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

“Cavallotto may very well be the greatest Barolo producer few people have ever heard of, something that continues to mystify me. Truth is, it isn’t just the Barolos here that are impressive, the entry-level wines are every bit as delicious and well-priced…Readers who appreciate a firm, classic style of Barolo will want to spend some time getting to know Cavallotto.” – Antonio Galloni

Arriving Next Friday, April 19th:

Cavallotto Bricco Boschis, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93-95 points
“This is a review that looks far, far into the future since this wine is not even technically a Barolo yet. It has not finished its aging process. Tasted from barrel, the 2015 Barolo Bricco Boschis is shaping up beautifully. I tasted it next to the 2013 edition of the same wine that was reviewed last year (with 96+ points). This vintage shows depth and richness with generous texture and fiber. This vintage recalls 2011 and 2017, although it wasn’t quite as scorching hot. Of course, the 2014 vintage was not produced because of hail damage in the vineyard. After 2015, we will be treated to the highly anticipated 2016 edition.”

E. Pira (Chiara Boschis)
“Year in, year out Chiara Boschis quietly makes some of the most compelling wines in Barolo without getting either the attention or recognition of some of her neighbors.” – Antonio Galloni

Arriving ETA October:

E. Pira & Figli Chiara Boschis Cannubi, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 99 points
“Impressive roses and finely ground spices with a bright red-cherry core, as well as a fresh wild-herb thread. The sense of focus and purity here is stunning. The palate has a deeply juicy and fresh core of tightly knit tannins that carry immense power with impeccable balance. Elegantly executed wine with profound length. Try from 2025.”

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New Arrivals

Light, delicate and mineral driven.  A standout.
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Le Clos Peyrassol’ Rose 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Importer note
“It is made from a single parcel which is equally planted to Cinsault and Tibouren (a touch of Rolle makes it into this cuvee as well). The soil is a mix of clay and limestone with a lot of large rocks on the surface. The site has a bit of depression which helps more even ripening, since the soil holds a little more water than other parcels.  The 2016 is the palest of the three roses, with a very silvery salmon hue.  At the moment of tasting the nose was a tad firm, showing flinty mineral notes. The palate is quite rich and dense with an almost white Burgundy presence. The fruits lean a little sweeter than the other cuvées, with hints of pear and passion fruit. Even so, the wine is completely dry and has a super-long mineral finish. It’s a great rosé that has the potential to age, and we hope some of you keep a few bottles to drink over the next several years.”

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The iconic wine of Palette—give this 2-3+ years of age and enjoy.
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($59.95) $51.90 special
Rosenthal Note
“The Rougiers’ justly legendary rosé—composed of the same field blend as the rouge, and produced by blending direct-press and free-run juice in equal proportions—may as well be from another planet as the sea of technologically produced pink concoctions flooding the market. Even serious growers often make rosé as an afterthought, using quick and inexpensive methods and rushing it into bottle to sell it before the first glimmer of spring warmth. At Chateau Simone, however, the rosé ferments spontaneously, and spends a full year in large oak foudres developing remarkable depth. Like all great wines, the best rosés require time—note that Simone is releasing their 2017 when almost every other producer is issuing their 2018—and a bit of risk in the cellar. And, whereas rosés fall apart within a year or two of being bottled, Simone’s is notorious for improving for over a decade, developing the savory notes and umami complexity of an aged red wine over time. The 2017 growing season dished out challenge after challenge—hail, frost, hydric stress, even hungry birds and pigs—with a subsequent 30-40% reduction in yields from 2016 (which was itself 15% down from 2015). Given that the rosé comprises only ten percent of the estate’s production to begin with, there is painfully little 2017 to go around. Those lucky enough to snare some, however, will encounter a wine of terrific expression, as those grapes that survived the season’s myriad challenges ended up remarkably healthy and concentrated. Amply fruited but with a core of lean minerality, the 2017 Palette Rosé offers excellent tension, and its flavors of juicy red apples, Provencal herbs, and softly smoky earth are particularly well delineated.”

One of the rising stars of Willamette wine made an outstanding Chard.
Flaneur Wines Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($33.95) $27 special
Winery Note
“This barrel fermented wine boasts fresh orchard fruit, citrus, and spice character with zippy acidity. Sourced from all basalt and jory volcanic soils, this zesty, lighter bodied chardonnay is ideal for early drinking.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The “secret” Beaux Freres is a great value.
Beaux Freres Les Cousins Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($37.95) $29 special

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The 2016 Beaux Freres Vineyard is as good as you’d expect.
Beaux Freres ‘The Beaux Freres Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2016 ($109.95) $99 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Remarkably and seamlessly complex, with a polished and refined core wrapped in silky raspberry and blueberry flavors, accented by savory spice and orange zest hints. The long finish builds toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2025. 2,686 cases made.”

Always a great source for soulful Pinot from the WV.
Division ‘Deux’ Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
John Gilman 92+ points
“The 2017 Pinot Noir “Eola Springs Vineyard” from Division Wine Company is a superb bottle in the making. The wine comes in at 13.8 percent octane and offers up a beautifully perfumed and refined bouquet of plums, black cherries, pomegranate, a touch of cocoa powder, violets, dark soil tones, a touch of fresh thyme and a discreet base of cedary oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and complex, with a lovely core of fruit, fine soil signature, moderate tannins and a long, tangy and beautifully balanced young finish. This is going to be first class pinot noir with a few years’ worth of cellaring! Very impressive. 2023-2055+.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Flaneur Wines Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($31.95) $27 special
Winery Note
“This wine was fermented in a variety of stainless steel tanks and one large oak vessel. After a native yeast fermentation, it was aged in a combination of 228, 60t, and 2300 L oak vessels. Light and fresh, and boasting a balance of tart red fruit and earthy characteristics, this Pinot Noir is an ideal match for many meals…. or simply enjoyable on its own.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Dan Rinke does an outstanding job on all the Johan Pinots.  Very savory.
Johan Vineyards Nils Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2014 750ML ($49.95) $33 special
John Gilman 93+ points
“Johan Vineyards’ 2014 Nils Reserve bottling of pinot noir is flat out beautiful on the nose, which soars from the glass in a refined blendof plums, black cherries, cocoa powder, woodsmoke, gamebird, complex soil tones, cinnamon, cloves and a touch of cedary new oak. On the palate the wine is bright, soil-driven and full, with a beautiful core of fruit, excellent focus and balance, seamless tannins and a very long, complex, elegant and tangy finish. This is an Oregon pinot noir for lovers of Chambolle-Musigny! It is approachable today (and all too easy to drink!), but there are additional layers of complexity here waiting to emerge with bottle age, so do your best to tuck it away for five to seven years in the cellar and really let the magic unfold. Great juice. 2024-2055.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Reddish/dark pink Pinot Gris has become a thing—and that’s good.
Johan Vineyards Drueskall Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
John Gilman 91+ points
“The 2015 Pinot Gris “Drueskall” from Johan Vineyards sees plenty of skin contact, with the wine ranging from ten to thirty days on the skins, depending on which portion of the blend we are speaking of, with the assembled wine then spending fifteen months in older barrels prior to bottling. With the extended skin contact, the color is that of a dark Rosé, and the wine offers up a deep and complex bouquet of strawberries, sweet onions, a touch of rhubarb, lovely soil tones, gentle smokiness and a topnote of orange peel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and very well-balanced, with a good core, fine focus and grip and a long, complex and modestly tannic finish. This is an utterly unique spin on pinot gris that is really more light red wine than it is white, and it will be very good with a wide variety of cuisines at the table (I would love to pair it with grilled salmon and smoked morels, just as an idea). It should age beautifully on its combination of bright acids and gentle tannins. Very cool juice. 2019-2035.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Full bodied, powerful and excellent value.
Patricia Green Cellars ‘Estate Vineyard – Old Vine’ Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2017 750ML ($44.95) $36 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“This harmonious version is layered with expressive raspberry, orange zest and rose petal accents that take on richness and elegance on the long finish. Drink now through 2026.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Patricia Green Cellars Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Expressive and polished, with unfolding layers of blueberry, raspberry, green tea and orange peel, taking on complexity toward well-manicured tannins. Drink now through 2026.”

Only one bottle remaining
Ulysse Collin ‘Les Enfers’ Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut NV (2013) 750ML ($219.95) $199 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“Olivier Collin’s NV (2013) Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Les Enfers is rich, ample and beautifully resonant on the palate. Next to the Pierrières, the Enfers is quite a bit more generous and overt. Soft contours and lightly tropical notes are nicely balanced by the wine’s freshness. Vivid and super-expressive, the Enfers is stunning today. The 2013 spent 36 months on the lees. Dosage is 1.7 grams per liter.”

Only five bottles remaining
Ulysse Collin ‘Les Pierrieres’ Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne NV (2014) 750ML ($149.95) $119 special

Ulysse Collin ‘Les Maillons’ Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne NV (2014) 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The NV Extra Brut Blanc de Noirs Les Maillons is another gorgeous Champagne from Olivier Collin. Rich and ample on the palate, the Maillons shows all the textural richness of Pinot from this impeccably farmed parcel of 50 year-old vines in Barbonne-Fayel. Kirsch, mint, chamomile and dried flowers flesh out in a creamy, voluptuous Blanc de Noirs full of personality. In this release, Les Maillons is equal parts 2014 and 2013. Dosage is 2.4 grams per liter.”

Only three bottles remaining
Ulysse Collin ‘Les Maillons’ Rose de Saignee Extra Brut, Champagne NV (2014) 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“A stellar wine, Olivier Collin’s NV (2014) Extra Brut Rosé de Saignée Les Maillons will leave readers week at the knees. The 2014 is powerful and ample, yet also imbued with stunning aromatic intensity and energy. Positively arresting in its beauty and wonderfully complete, the Rosé de Saignée Les Maillons is a must-have wine. Dosage is 2.4 grams per liter.”

One of the last 2013 Barolo releases is one to stock up on.
Mauro Molino Vigna Conca, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($89.95) $59 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2013 Barolo Conca offers a powerful and savory approach. The nose is dark and luscious with generous fruit layering and balanced intensity. That fruit is tightly knit together with important acidity and a firm tannic structure that bodes well for the future cellar aging of this Barolo from La Morra.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “A firmly structured red, whose cherry, strawberry, leather and underbrush flavors are shy now. Balanced and elegant, needing time for the fruit to shine. A sun-kissed hay accent graces the finish. Best from 2021 through 2035. 245 cases made.”

Delicious and great value.
Bodegas Exopto Bozeto, Rioja DOCa 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
James Suckling 90 points
“The full, plum-cake nose and the supple and slightly sweet palate make this easy to drink, but there is some structure behind all that and the finish is well balanced and quite long.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Full bodied, powerful and slightly earthy.
Bodegas Gallego Zapatero Yotuel Roble, Ribera del Duero 2016 750ML ($21.95) $18 special

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Trending Wines

2015 is a great year for entry priced Barbaresco
Ca’ del Baio ‘Autinbej’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Case-12 Ca’ del Baio ‘Autinbej’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($419.95) $299 special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
James Suckling 94 points
“Sweet berry and cherry aromas with hints of flowers following through to a full body, with lots of fruit and chewy tannins. A long and rich finish. Needs four to five years of bottle age. Try in 2022.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “A briny mineral note in the aroma signals this high-tension red. There is ample fruit and flesh on the palate, with cherry, strawberry, stone and white pepper flavors. Tightens up again on the finish. Best from 2021 through 2038.”
Grapelive 93 points “The 2015 Autinbej was traditionally crafted and fermented with maceration on the skins from 9 to 15 days in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures to preserve aromatics and fresh detail. The Grasso’s try to use only native yeasts and low sulfur in their wines, along with the sustainable vineyard practices are looking to make as a natural expression as possible. In the case of this Autinbej, it’s a blend of different crus….The resulting Barbaresco matured for 24 months in large Slavonian oak barrels (boti) followed by bottle aging for at least four months before its release, and while like most Nebbiolo based wines in the region it can and will age extremely well and effortlessly for a long time, but this one, especially in this vintage with it’s heady flavors and smooth tannins can be drunk young. This is a winery on the rise, in 2016 Giulio received a great honor, he was named “Viticulturist of the Year” by the very prestigious Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Guide….There is a lot to love here with this Nebbiolo showing a raw sex appeal in the glass with a cascade of flavors and sensations including rose petals, minty herbs, strawberry preserves, damson plum and kirsch along with black licorice, mineral, cedar, coco and hint of orange rind. The palate is chewy and youthful, but air allows this ruby/garnet and dark brick hued Barbaresco unwind and flow seamlessly in the mouth, this is impressive stuff, especially with matching cuisine and robust food choices. If this one is anything to go by then I’m going to be thrilled by the single cru bottlings and the Asili Reserva, as well as the basic Langhe Nebbiolo, if you haven’t heard of Ca’ del Baio, you should search some out soon.”

Rivals the 2010 and ’13 for Rancia of the decade.
Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 750ML ($59.95) $46 special
Antonio Galloni 94-97+ points
“The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is yet another magnificent wine in this range from Fèlsina. Silky, gracious and inviting, the 2016 starts off gradually and then builds, gaining volume and explosiveness with air. A wine of breadth, textural intensity and pure power, the 2016 Rancia is shaping up to be epic. That’s pretty much all there is to it.”
Wine & Spirits 94 points “Brisk acidity and orange-peel accents propel this wine’s saturated red cherry flavors. The wine is a lively expression of Tuscan terroir, brimming with notes of fennel and sage, brightened by chalky mineral tones. It’s ageworthy, yet hard to resist now.”
Winery note “Ruby red appearance with rich, intense tones. Spicy nose with floral notes and hints of wild berry (red and black), accompanied by mineral impressions and light toasted notes. Spice re-appears on the palate, which displays firm but supple tannins, and the finale is vigorous and taut. Overall, the wine is compelling for its flavour-rich mid-palate and supporting acidity. The Rancia vineyard takes its name from the historic Rancia farmhouse, once a Benedictine monastery. Located in Castelnuovo Berardenga at elevations ranging between 400 and 420 metres it has a fine southwest-facing exposure. The more recent plantings utilize genetic material from massal selections gathered from the old Rancia vineyard. The soil is composed of limestone-derived alberese classic to the Castelnuovo Berardenga area and of galestro marl in some areas. First vintage was 1983.”

Beautiful, Pignan-inspired Chateauneuf.
Piedlong Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
James Suckling 95 points
“10 hectares of elevated Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this is an hommage to grenache with just a hatful of mourvèdre. Ripe raspberry and red plum pastry aromas. Super silky, plush and layered. Extremely impressive. Shows fluidity and balance, density and lightness. 50% stalks (crushed).”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Cameron Winery ‘Ribbon Ridge’ Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2017 750ML ($27.95) $24 special

Delicate, fresh Mencia from the Mosel of Spain.
Bodegas Albamar Fusco, Ribeira Sacra 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Advocate 91 points
“Mostly from the Chantada zone in Ribeira Sacra, the 2017 Fusco fermented destemmed in stainless steel and was bottled completely unoaked. It saw a maceration of 20 to 25 days and was bottled after it spent the winter in stainless steel. It’s very pleasant, fresh and easy to drink, but it’s not banal and is more about the granite soils than the variety—simple, transparent, straightforward. A degree more sophisticated and deep than the 2015. There are 13,000 bottles of this.”

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Powerful Hermtiage at exceptional pricing.
Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes, Rhone 2015 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Case-6 Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes, Rhone 2015 750ML ($479.95) $369 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“This is loaded with well-defined loganberry, blackberry and boysenberry pâte de fruit flavors, flecked with anise and black tea notes and carried by a fine iron streak that lingers wonderfully. A wine of cut, purity and precision. Best from 2020 through 2035. From France.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “A blend of Syrah grapes from several lieux-dits, including Les Bessards, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes is aged in new and second use barrels. It’s a dark, concentrated wine, meaty, rich and tannic but with a bright beam of cassis fruit that lifts it and gives it great definition and shape on the palate. Give this medium to full-bodied wine at least 5 years in the cellar and drink it over the next 15.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “While the Les Bessards gets all the attention, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine Des Tourettes isn’t far behind and is unquestionably the value play. Beef blood, cassis, blackberry liqueur and loads of crushed rock nuances all emerge from this ripe, concentrated, full-bodied Hermitage that has a classic, structured profile. It’s well worth a case purchase and will keep for two to three decades. As always, this cuvée comes from two parcels, the lower part of the Bessards lieu-dit and the Les Grandes Vignes located at the highest point on Hermitage Hill. It’s completely destemmed and sees 16 months in 30% new French oak.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Enticing hints of sweet spice, black pepper and bacon fat seduce on the nose of this rich but balanced Hermitage. Blackberry and cherry flavors are fresh and juicy but structured by firm tannins and brisk acidity. A polished wine already, it should intensify its savory, smoky complexities well through 2030.”

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The 2016 S. Rhone vintage continues to churn out gems.
Chateau de Montfaucon Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“From a single patch of 80-year-old vines in the lieu-dit of les Escondudes, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape is 95% Grenache, matured in barrel. Yet it’s not oaky at all, revealing scents of black cherries and plums, plus hints of garrigue and dark chocolate. It’s full-bodied, creamy and plush yet also vibrant, mouthwatering and long. It should drink well for at least a decade. This historic property sits next to the Rhône on its western bank, looking across the valley to the Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux in the distance. The current owner, Rodolphe du Pins, has been making wine at the property since 1995. He’s a proponent of the Lirac appellation and the Clairette grape, with the estate’s top white wine coming from 140-year-old Clairette vines. ‘Sixteen was just an amazing year,’ he said. ‘For whites as well as reds.'”

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A (98 Point) Modern Masterpiece of Rioja Returns

Tempranillo remains a grape unmastered by anyone outside of Spain. The Ribera del Duero has become famous for its version of Iberia’s noblest grape, but the world’s finest Tempranillo still comes from La Rioja. Perfect growing conditions aside, La Rioja possesses a centuries-old tradition of Tempranillo winemaking, which usually blends in some Graciano, Mazuelo, and/or Grenache. Today, styles vary in La Rioja, and amongst the more modern wineries Bodegas Roda stands out. Absolute quality drives Roda’s vinous pursuits. Old vines abound in Roda’s estate vineyards, and the ultra-modern winery keeps the site’s 19th-century cellars at different temperatures depending on the stage of vinification. Each of the 17 vineyards ferments and ages separately in French oak until the wines are blended to create Roda’s signature wines.

Arriving ETA June:

Bodegas Roda ‘Roda I’ Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2011 750ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points
“There is beauty here and the transparency is inspiring with dark berry, floral and mineral character. Full body and ultra-fine tannins. A glorious wine. A wine that will age for decades and beautiful now.”

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Cream de la Mousse

The Joys of Mature Champagne

Mature Champagne is one of the wine world, giving delight to anyone who manages to partake in its yeasty, creamy glory.  We’re always on the hunt for top examples with bottle age and this trio is a particular accomplishment.  Bollinger RD is always one of the top one or two wines of its vintage and the 2002 very much lives up to that reputation (tough, given how exceptional all the 2002’s have been).  Duval-Leroy’s top cuvee, Femme, shines out of magnum from 2000 and Pommery’s 2002 Louise is one of the best deals in tete du cuvee bottlings we’ve seen in a long, long time. These arrive in the fall, but we couldn’t wait to offer them to you.  Grab them while you can.

Arriving ETA September:

Bollinger R.D. Extra Brut, Champagne 2002 750ML ($349.95) $299 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 99 points
“Super fresh, this is striking given the 10 years in the cellars; it has a fine citrus nose – plenty of lemon, grapefruit, yellow chalky notes, some lighter floral elements too. The palate is super dry (dosage at 3-4g) and there’s a silky, sherbet-like texture, smooth, fine and long. The citrus flavours give way to the driving surging acidity, thunderous acidity, really driving and powerful. The finish twists very slowly through to light-toasted cashew fruit flavours, but lemon citrus prevails. This is thrilling Champagne. Disgorged 22nd October, 2013. Drink from 2016.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “Bollinger’s 2002 R.D. is striking in its beauty. Silky and caressing on the palate, the 2002 impresses for its exceptional balance and harmony. In 2002 so many Champagnes are ripe and explosive in style, but the 2002 R.D. is quite restrained by comparison. Hints of apricot pit, smoke, almonds, spices and pears ring out on the super-finessed, inviting finish. The 2002 is going to be nearly impossible to resist in its youth, but it should also age impeccably. All the elements are in the right place. Dosage is 3-4 grams per liter.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “A fine example of power married to elegance, this is impeccably balanced, with a mouthwatering palate of crème de cassis, toasted brioche, fleur de sel and crystallized honey flavors. The rich, smoky underpinning is carried on a finely detailed bead.”

Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne 2000 1.5L ($349.95) $299 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“A rich version, with beautiful integration and mouthwatering acidity that seems to amplify the flavors of toasted raisin bread, black currant, candied orange zest and salted almond. Fresh and focused, showing hints of oyster shell and spice on the lasting finish.”

This is the only listing for a magnum in the USA today!
Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Millesime, Champagne 2002 750ML ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“This well-aged wine from a top Champagne vintage is just now ready to drink after 12 years. It has a touch of toast, but it’s the rich, complex texture and fine structure that set it apart. It’s not a dry wine, it feels soft. It is so well integrated, elegant with hints of apples, a layer of minerality and still-fresh final acidity.”
James Suckling 94 points “A beautifully seductive and creamy nose with plenty of honey and clotted cream across lemon and grapefruit. Some white peach too, really alluring. The palate’s nicely orchestrated and balanced; it builds in stages and delivers pithy lemon and grapefruit flavor amid assertive driving acidity, good depth and concentration. Another great ’02. Drink now or in five or more years.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2002 Cuvée Louise Brut is dressed in an intense citrus colored robe and offers – as if it was a Pfalz Riesling – ripe yellow fruit aromas of pineapples, oranges and ripe peaches along with noble yeasty layers in the background. Full-bodied, rich and fresh on the palate, Madame Louise is a firm and almost mineral structured, persistent Champagne of complexity, finishing with a refreshing citric aroma as well as a stimulating salinity and purity. Good length and balance.”


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