Weekend VinopolPick 4-19-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Back in Stock: The Best Dominus Ever?

Reynvaan Arrives!

“Squarely in My Top Tier of the Region’s Producers”

The Second to Last Scott Paul Delivery (Ever)

Newsworthy New Releases from Foillard

New Arrivals
Including Belle Pente, Pax, Arnoux
Labaille, Molitor, Sassetti Livio
Patrick Piuze and More!

Trending Wines of the Week

Exceptional, Classic Chablis from Samuel Billaud


Back in Stock

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. We sold through our initial drop but secured a bit more which just arrived. As you’d expect, quantities are limited, so act quickly.

Just Re-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.”


Reynvaan Arrives!

Way back in 2007, who would have thought a start-up could rocket into the first ranks of Walla Walla wine? Considering the quality geology, geography, and talent in the area, it hardly came as a surprise for Reynvaan. Family-owned and -run, this is a hands-on operation that dedicated itself from the start to producing the finest wines from some of the region’s best vineyard sites. Reynvaan owns two vineyards: In the Rocks recalls the Rhone valley with its rocky ancient riverbed soil, while the Foothills in the Sun vineyard enjoys South-Southwest exposure on one of Washington’s highest-elevation vineyards, at 1600 feet: good ripening in the day, with acidities preserved at night. Once in the winery, the pursuit of terroir and Washington style becomes Reynvaan’s modus operandi.

Are the wines good? Well, Reynvaan now has a waiting list, but we are a proud authorized and long-time dealer (since the ’08 vintage!) of these highly exclusive wines.  Stylistically they’re most similar to Cayuse (which makes sense, as Christophe Baron consulted on the early vintages) with wines that show earthy and savory notes along with their full fruit.  The wines are limited, though, so if you’re looking to stock up on the highly lauded 2016 vintage, you should do so quickly.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Reynvaan Family Vineyards Stonessence Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“The 2016 Syrah Estate Stonessence (100% Syrah) is similarly purple-colored and has a gamier, more exotic profile. Plums, blackberries, blueberries, cured meats, ground pepper, and iron notes all flow to a powerful, medium to full-bodied Syrah that has a singular, layered character. It shows the more elegant, seamless style of the vintage and is a beautiful, beautiful wine. Bravo!”

Reynvaan Family Vineyards ‘The Contender’ Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($99.95) $89 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“The 2016 Syrah Estate The Contender from this terrific estate checks in as 95% Syrah and 5% Marsanne that was mostly destemmed (there’s 35% stems) and aged 18 months in barrel. Black raspberries, plums, toasted spice, ground pepper and decaying flower notes all emerge from this incredibly elegant, seamless Syrah that shines for its complexity, elegance, and richness. With plenty of tannins and impeccable balance, it’s approachable today yet will keep for 10-15 years with no issues.”

Reynvaan Family Vineyards ‘Foothills in the Sun’ Reserve Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“The 2016 Syrah Estate Foothills Reserve is a selection from the estate vineyard and was aged 11 months in neutral oak followed by 13 months in bottle. Deep purple-colored, with terrific notes of blackberries, smoked earth, graphite, cedarwood, and salted meats, it hits the palate with slightly more structure and tannin than the straight In The Hills Release, yet has terrific balance, no hard edges, and a great finish. It needs 2-3 years of bottle age, but this elegant, classic Syrah from Reynvaan will see its 15th birthday in fine form.”

Reynvaan Family Vineyards In The Hills Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“From a vineyard located near the estate and a blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier that saw 25% stems, the deep purple-colored 2016 Syrah Estate In The Hills has a Côte Rôtie-like perfume of red and black raspberries, spring flowers, and smoky, meaty notes. It’s softer and more sweetly fruited and sexy than the Rocks-driven Syrahs, has full-bodied richness, ripe tannins, and a beautiful finish.”

Arriving Friday April 26th:

Reynvaan Family Vineyards ‘The Classic’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The 2016 The Classic checks in as 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot, and the balance Cabernet Franc. This ruby/plum-colored effort offers up an awesome bouquet of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, truffle, tapenade, and damp earth that changes and develops beautifully with time in the glass. It’s elegant, seamless and light on its feet, yet also powerful and textured. It’s brilliant Cabernet Sauvignon from this estate to drink over the coming 15-20+ years.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Reynvaan Family Vineyards In The Rocks Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“Made from 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier, all from the Rocks region of Walla Walla, the 2016 Syrah Estate In The Rocks is slightly deeper colored than the Contender release and has an incredibly complete, balanced style that checks in near the top of the vintage. Blackberries, ground pepper, olive, and smoked meat notes give way to a medium to full-bodied, ultra-fine, pure Syrah that has a terrific mid-palate, superb balance, and a great, great finish. Reminding me of a mature Hermitage with its aromatic style and complexity, it’s great today and will be great in 15 years.”
“Squarely in My Top Tier of the Region’s Producers”

“Profound, layered and sexy wines”

Exciting 2016s from Clos du Caillou

If you don’t have a case of each wine in your cellar yet, you are seriously missing out on the best values in Chateauneuf and Cotes du Rhone in the shop. Sure, there’s plenty of highly lauded and handsomely pointed 2016 Chateauneufs in the $100+++ range. But isn’t it more fun to find an epic estate that doesn’t command those prices?

Enter Clos du Caillou.

They’ve flown unnoticed by buyers (though certainly not by the reviewers!) while the big names just raised their prices. Perhaps it’s because the estate is so small and hard to find. Fortunately, as longtime fans of the estate, we had these specially imported just so we could offer them to you.

The estate is one of the favorites of top reviewers for the region and the CDP can be had for just under $50 a bottle. What’s not to love?

“Longtime winemaker Bruno Gaspard hit a home run with his 2016s, which show more depth and flesh than the outstanding 2015s that were made here… This estate is squarely in my top tier of the region’s producers and, relatively speaking, pricing is extremely, even ridiculously fair” – Josh Raynolds, Vinous

“The Southern Rhône has been blessed with great wines in several recent vintages. Certainly, 2016 is among the best ever, drawing comparisons to 1990 and 1978, but 2015 and 2017 aren’t far behind… The consistent high quality of this estate’s wines makes it a perennial favorite of mine… Winemaker Bruno Gaspard admits 2016 is a good vintage, grinning when asked about it. ‘It’s not too solar, not heavy,’ he said.… Although two potentially perfect red Châteauneuf-du-Papes lead the list, don’t overlook the various Côtes du Rhône bottlings, which often represent great value” – Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate

“Under the helm of Bruno Gaspard (with help from Philippe Cambie), Domaine du Clos du Caillou continues to make some of the most profound, layered and sexy wines of this sun-drenched appellation.” – Jeb Dunnuck

In Stock Now:

Le Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Safres, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 95 points
“Sourced from the lieu-dit of Les Bédines, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Safres is 95% Grenache, with the remainder being a mix of other permitted varieties. Like the other wines from Le Clos du Caillou, it shows great intensity and purity. Flowering garrigue accents black cherry fruit in this full-bodied, fresh, vibrant and intense wine, which ends with a burst of bright orange zest and waves of silky tannins.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Safres comes from more sandstone soils and is mostly Grenache. Spice strawberries, kirsch, dried herbs, flowers, and ample sandy, stony notes all emerge from this fleshy, medium to full-bodied, structured wine that has the classic weightless texture of the estate. This beauty has an exotic edge as well as a distinct salinity and is the finest version of this cuvée to date.”
James Suckling 94 points “Immense, seamless depth. Alluring, fresh, dark-plum, spice and chocolate aromas and flavors. The tannins are immaculately plush, long and even. Superb. From organically grown grapes. Drink in 2020.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $57
Le Clos du Caillou Cotes du Rhone Les Quartz, Rhone 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93 points
“Exceeding my prebottling expectations, the 2016 Cotes du Rhone Les Quartz is a terrific effort that puts many Châteauneufs to shame. Aromas of crushed stone and raspberries mark the nose of this 85-15 Grenache-Syrah blend. It’s full-bodied and rich, with hints of chocolaty ripeness balanced by citrus zest on the lengthy finish.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Spice, loamy soil, dried red fruits, and plenty of dried floral notes all emerge from the 2016 Côtes du Rhône Les Quartz, which shows more and more minerality with time in the glass. It’s elegant and seamless on the palate, with building tannin, and is a terrific introduction into the wines of this estate.”
This is the low, low, lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $39.99



The Second to Last Scott Paul Delivery (Ever)

All good things must come to an end.  Unfortunately in this case we mean both the end of the Scott Paul winery and also the deals that have been coming as they liquidate their remaining inventory.  We’ve learned that they’ll be closing up shop for good at the end of the month, so we’ve stocked up with as much of their wines as we could—these deals require quantity purchases (both for you and us).

We just received our second to last drop from the winery, which is the last delivery for a number of these excellent wines.  A few other bottlings arrive Tuesday and then…they’re gone—all of them.  We’re taking the last cases of a number of wines that have established themselves as Vinopolis favorites and offering a few new Case-12 specials, as well. Mostly, though, this is your last chance to buy Scott Paul wines at these absolutely fantastic prices.

Just Arrived:

Scott Paul ‘La Paulee’ Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($34.95) $18 special
Case-12 Scott Paul ‘La Paulee’ Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($299.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 91 points
“Only three barrels of this distinctive wine were produced. It’s aromatically complex, with hints of pear and mushroom, the fruit flavors firmly rooted in citrus and peach, with a touch of mint as well. The texture is impressive, and helps to extend the finish.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Scott Paul ‘La Paulee’ Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($34.95) $18 special
Winery note
“Our home in Carlton (a 1915 brick creamery) is an ideal spot to pursue our quest for the purest Oregon Chardonnay. Our 2016 bottling is a selection of French Oaked Chardonnay from the iconic 1970 planting at Maresh Vineyard (20%) in Dundee, coupled with our prized Chardonnay from our Azana Vineyard (80%) on Chehalem Mountain. Flavors of citrus and pear fuse with lingering acidity and mouthwatering minerality.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Scott Paul Bedrock Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2013 750ML ($39.95) $21.90 special
Winery note
“Bedrock is our selection of our best barrels from Nysa vineyard, nestled in the heart of the Dundee Hills, the birthplace and spiritual home of Oregon Pinot Noir.”\

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Scott Paul Quatre Journaux Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2012 750ML ($79.95) $49 special
Case-6 Scott Paul Quatre Journaux Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2012 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $41.50/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 93 points
“Vivid ruby-red. Drop-dead gorgeous, highly perfumed aromas of red berry preserves, Asian spices, sassafras and smoky minerals, with an intense floral nuance. Sweet, penetrating and pure, offering nervy red fruit and rose pastille flavors complemented by deeper notes of mocha and licorice. Shows outstanding balance and clarity, with smooth tannins building slowly through a long spice- and mineral-inflected finish.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Wildstock Pinot Noir, Willamette Valey 2014 750ML ($19.95) $11.90 special
Case-12 Wildstock Pinot Noir, Willamette Valey 2014 750ML ($219.95) $119 special (that’s only $9.92/bottle!)

“Light red. Fresh and energetic on the nose, displaying red berry and cherry aromas that betray a bit of jamminess. Sweet raspberry and floral pastille flavors of modest concentration, plus a hint of spiciness adding back end cut. Closes clean and smooth, showing decent persistence and repeating red fruit character.”-Josh Raynolds, Vinous

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Also In Stock, While They Last:

Scott Paul D122 Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2014 750ML ($39.95) $24 special
Case-12 Scott Paul D122 Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2014 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93 points
“Bright ruby-red. A strongly perfumed bouquet displays scents of black raspberry, gingerbread and potpourri. Sappy, incisive red and dark berry flavors are framed by silky tannins and perked up by a nervy orange zest quality. Becomes more heady with aeration, picking up an exotic Asian spice note that carries through the impressively long finish. There’s lots going on here already.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Scott Paul ‘Azana’ Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2013 750ML ($59.95) $24 special
Case-12 Scott Paul ‘Azana’ Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2013 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 92 points
“Brilliant red. Fresh red berries, cherry compote and a hint of blood orange on the highly perfumed nose and in the mouth. Juicy and lithe in character, with no rough edges; a suave floral pastille nuance emerges on the back half. Shows excellent clarity and spicy cut on the finish, which hangs on with strong, floral tenacity.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Scott Paul The Long Run Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2011 750ML ($59.95) $33 special
Nysa Vineyard
Josh Raynolds 92 points
“(12.9% alcohol; 20% new oak): Light, bright red. Sexy, high-pitched red berry and floral scents, with notes of star anise, underbrush and sassafras adding complexity. Offers intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors, along with notes of rhubarb, candied flowers and orange zest. This lithe, focused, pure pinot finishes linear and very long, with echoing floral and spice notes. Pinot purists should definitely check this one out.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Previously labeled as Les Gourmandises, this is now The Long Run in honor of Scott Wright’s completing his first full-length marathon in 2011. It’s all Nysa vineyard fruit, graceful and delicate, scented with rose water and satin smooth. Cranberry and wild strawberry fruit accents lead into a mouthful of cherry soda, delicate but lingering.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Newsworthy New Releases from Foillard

Jean Foillard makes the wines that other Beaujolais are judged against.  There are other growers who might be cooler or longer-lived, but when we think of top-grade Beaujolais, Foillard’s Morgon is the first thing that comes to mind.  They’re the Beaujolais equivalent of Grand Cru Burgundy—great every year and especially good in the classic vintages.

2017 is one such classic vintage—it’s an archetypical, yet powerful, year for Beaujolais.  The wines, Foillard’s especially, are fresh and bright yet rich, packed with minerality and floral aromatics.  The 2017’s also show incredible terroir distinction, with each cuvee showing what makes it special.  The Corcellete is floral and silky, delicate but intense, whereas the Cote du Py shows more exotic spices and overt power.  Finally, the Les Charmes is compact and sinewy (in part because it’s released later and is from the leaner 2016 vintage)—the highest altitude plot of the bunch, it has a bit more tannin but should blossom with a few years of age.  Additionally, we’ve got very limited quantities of the 3.14 and the new Athanor super-cuvees.

These wines are no longer cheap, but every time we drink them we’re reminded that they are some of the best wines made in their price points.  Whenever they’re on the table, they’re remarkable—no matter what else is on the table with them.  They arrive next week in very limited quantities.

Arriving Friday, April 26th:

Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon ‘Cuvee Athanor,’ Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon ‘Cuvee 3.14’, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special

Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Cuvee Corcelette, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Importer note
“A classic grand cru Beaujolais bottling, it gives a soft, supple wine, immediate in its pleasures. When you taste a Foillard Morgon, you know you are drinking great wine. Organic.”

Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Py, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Py, Beaujolais 2017 1.5L ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Importer note
“The dark ruby robe, gorgeously perfumed fruit, and silky long finish of this intoxicating cru are a force that can’t be reckoned with. Discover it for yourself. Organic.”

Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Les Charmes Eponym, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“A bottling from the lieu-dit of Les Charmes that debuted with the 2013 vintage, the 2016 Morgon Eponym opens in the glass with notes of rose hip, dark plums, espresso roast and grilled meats, a light touch of reduction dissipating with aeration. On the palate, it’ medium to full-bodied, deep and satiny, with more savory structure and acidic tang than the softer, rounder [2016] Corcelette.”
Josh Raynolds 93 points “Brilliant violet. A highly complex bouquet evokes fresh red berries and cherries, along with suggestions of pungent flowers, minerals and Asian spices. Silky and focused on the palate, offering sweet, seamless black raspberry and floral pastille flavors underscored by a smoky mineral element. Gentle tannins come in slowly on the strikingly long finish, which shows excellent clarity and leaves behind sappy red fruit and lavender notes.”


New Arrivals


This exceptional deal comes from the masters of Chateauneuf.
Pegau ‘Pink Pegau’ Rose, Vin de France 2017 750ML ($21.95) $14 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Pegau ‘Pink Pegau’ Rose, Vin de France 2017 750ML ($249.95) $149 pre-arrival special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 91 points
“The plump, medium-bodied 2017 Vin de France Rose is a bit darker and richer than normal, but that’s just fine with me. Raspberry and watermelon flavors pack in more spice than usual as well, giving it more complexity and flavor interest than in the past, including a savory edge to the finish. It should drink well for at least a year.”
Josh Raynolds 90 points “Light, bright orange. Musky cherry, red berry and orange zest aromas show very good clarity and pick up a minerally nuance with air. Chewy, focused and light on its feet, offering biter cherry and redcurrant flavors that take a sweeter turn and deepen on the back half. The mineral note repeats on a long, incisive finish that leaves a hint of juicy raspberry behind.”

West Coast
One of the best values in Burgundy-leaning Chardonnay.
Arterberry Maresh Chardonnay, Dundee Hills 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Brian’s wines always seem to find a nice midpoint between CA and Burgundy.
Belle Pente Belle Pente Vineyard Chardonnay, Yamhill-Carlton District 2014 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Winery Note
“This Chardonnay is 100% estate grown in a little 2 acre parcel planted in 1999 on a steep slope with rows running up & down the hill from north-east to south-west.  This 2014 version continues a string of very compelling wines that started with the 2004 vintage, and bears witness to the recent rebirth of exciting Chardonnays coming out of the Willamette Valley.  Like many of our neighbors, we are gravitating to 100% barrel fermentation, but with very modest use of new oak, typically in the 10-20% range.  The wine spends a full year in barrel and often several months in tank before bottling, and is given at least a year in the bottle before release. We have always done two harvests for Chardonnay: an early pick for fresh, citrus qualities, and a later pick for riper, tropical characteristics.  Past vintages have most often been a 50/50 mix of the two, but in the warm 2014 vintage we tweaked the blend to be 60% early pick and 40% late pick.  Echoing past vintages, this combination yields a dual personality of freshness and richness. Enjoy this terrific full-bodied white now and for the next several years with rich seafood dishes, fresh garden pesto, and lightly smoked meats.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Alsatian style, ageworthy Pinot Gris at an affordable price.
Belle Pente Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($19.95) $16.60 special
Winery Note
“We have always gravitated to a rich, ripe style of Pinot Gris inspired by the great wines of Alsace, and the warm 2015 growing season gave us exactly what we needed!  Fans of innocuous, dilute, mass-produced Pinot Grigio may not find a lot to like in this wine.  But if your reference point is a Grand Cru from Turckheim or Hunawihr, you’ve come to the right place!…The marine sedimentary soils of Yamhill-Carlton tend to impart a compelling savory saline quality and stony minerality to frame the apple and pear flavors and aromas of the Pinot gris grape.  As per our normal protocol, roughly half of the wine is vinified and aged in wood (foudre & neutral barrel) and the other half in stainless steel tanks.  Fermentation takes place slowly at cool temperatures and the wine is not bottled until right before the next harvest.  It is then held for at least another year before release. The hybrid vinification, coupled with sur lie and bottle aging, creates a wine that has both richness and freshness.   It is easy to enjoy on it’s own, and there is not a dish on the planet that it won’t compliment splendidly!”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Pax Fannuchi-Wood Road Vineyard Trousseau Gris, Sonoma County 2018 750ML ($31.95) $28 special
Winery notes
“Fermented in concrete this playful wine is a welcome addition to the Pax line-up. This 2018 is a bit darker in color than our previous bottlings under the Wind Gap label due to the addition of some carbonic maceration which also adds some wild aromas as well as a deeper pink hue. Some people might even call this a Rosé, or a Vin Gris. Call it what you will, this is one mouthwatering wine. This wine was made without any additions of So2 at any point in the winemaking process.”
Grapelive Note “Trousseau Gris, a natural mutation from the red Trousseau grape most commonly found in the Jura region of France, … was once widely planted in California, but sadly that declined sharply in the 1980s until it was almost completely wiped out by the 1990s. Trousseau Gris can still be found inter-planted in a few old vine Zinfandel vineyards, and Pax’s Trousseau Gris comes from the only standing block in California: the ten acre parcel of the Fannuchi Wood Road Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. These days Trousseau Gris is mostly found in the Jura, Alsace, Lorraine and sometimes in the Champagne wine region. It makes for a bright and slightly phenolic white.” [No reviews yet for the 2018]

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Arnoux is at the top of their game and this Grand Cru is a steal.
Arnoux Pere & Fils Corton-Rognet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Dark and lush, this red verges on jammy, with black cherry and black currant fruit shaded by violet and spice accents. A line of tannins marks the long finish, which shows density and structure. Best from 2020 through 2038. 100 cases made.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “This is the Arnoux family’s top wine coming from vines on the revered hill of Corton. It is a powerful wine, properly rich and structured from the vintage. Wood and spice come through although they will soon integrate with the dense black-plum fruits and mineral texture. Drink the wine from 2025.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $114
Big, powerful and rich—a CdP to covet in 2016.
Domaine de Fontavin Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee David & Goliath, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95) $56 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“An impressive follow-up to the 2015 version, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape David et Goliath is full-bodied, creamy and plush, showing remarkable richness, length and purity, without excessive ripeness or weight. Cherry and peach fruit picks up hints of dried spices, thyme and bay leaf on the long finish. It’s almost all old-vine Grenache, sourced from the rolled stones of the Les Saummades lieu-dit and aged in demi-muids.”

Rostaing’s top-class winemaking is on display here.
Domaine Rene Rostaing Les Lezardes Syrah, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
“The 2016 IGP Collines Rhodaniennes les Lezardes Syrah is a medium-bodied, silky offering that was mostly destemmed, in contrast to the Côte Rôties here. Herbal, tea leaf and peppery notes add complexity to the red berry aromas and flavors in this juicy, fresh wine that offers immediate pleasure.” –Wine Advocate

Excellent value Sancerre.
Domaine Girard Sancerre La Garenne, Loire 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19 special

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Les Monts Damnes Chavignol, Loire 2017 750ML ($31.95) $27 special

Premier Cru Chablis with bubbles, literally.
Patrick Piuze Val de Mer Cremant de Bourgogne Non Dose NV 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Maybe we should have classified this as Champagne. It is a collaboration between Chablisienne Piuze and the Champagnois Moutard et Fils. Essentially still wine from the Piuze vineyard in Tonnerre escorted through the Methode Champagnois by Moutard. Great Value here.

A standout from an excellent Brunello Riserva vintage.
Sassetti Livio Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 96 points
“Firm and dense, this red sports cherry, leather, cigar box and sweet spice flavors. A juiciness midpalate adds depth. Finishes with tannins and a combination of earth, mineral and tobacco notes. Best from 2022 through 2038.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
One of the most profound off-dry Mosel wines out there.
Molitor Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese*** (Gold Capsule), Mosel 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Wine Advocate 99 points
“The 2016 Riesling Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese *** (Golden Capsule) indicates gorgeously ripe and lush Riesling fruit with very fine flinty slate aromas that add freshness, finesse and complexity. This nose is incredibly pure and precise and doesn’t indicate any botrytis. The palate is highly elegant and fine but, at the same time, lush and salty with a highly delicate but persistent structure. The finish is mouthwatering and enormously stimulating. This Wehlener Sonnenuhr is another extremely digestible yet complex Auslese that you can drink in large amounts without getting bored or tired. The acidity is so delicate and fine here and lets this gold-capsuled Auslese dance over your palate. I just love it. Bottled September 2017; tasted March 2018.”

Molitor seems to be at the top of his game with the green-kaps.
Markus Molitor Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Auslese** Feinherb (Green Capsule), Mosel 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 97 points
“The 2016 Riesling Zeltinger Himmelreich Auslese ** (Green Capsule) is terribly fine, pure and fresh but also perfectly ripe and rich on the nose without losing precision. Round and highly elegant on the palate, with tropical fruit flavors and just the perfect amount of sweetness, this is a great, vital Himmelreich with superb finesse, purity, mineral tension and bright fruit notes in the long and beautifully slatey finish. This is a gorgeous, exciting Riesling—very stimulating.”

Trending Wines of the Week

A smoking deal if there ever was one.
Cameron Winery ‘Ribbon Ridge’ Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2017 750ML ($27.95) $24 special

Glou-glou-glou.  Gone in 60 seconds.
Goodfellow Family Cellars Syrah – Viognier, Willamette Valley 2014 750ML ($24.95) $16 special
Case-12 Goodfellow Family Cellars Syrah – Viognier, Willamette Valley 2014 750ML ($269.95) $169 special
“This is one of the most stupendous values ever to come out of Oregon—a wine that’s unlike anything you’d expect but is completely delicious and joyous in its own idiom.  This is a Syrah, from the Willamette Valley in a warm vintage, that drinks like some cross between the Northern Rhone and non-Carbonic Beaujolais. 2014 was a hot year in Oregon and given Marcus’ track record, you’d expect a powerful wine with big body and personality, but he picked early for freshness—and this wine is nothing if it’s not bright and fresh.  The best comparison might be Herve Souhaut’s cult-classic Syrahs, with their airy personalities and bright flavors, but if you told us the wine was secretly Stellenbosch Mondeuse, we’d believe you.  It’s not as serious as most of his Syrah, but the price isn’t either—this is a wine you can buy and drink by the case.”

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Powerful, earthy and full of rich fruit.
Chateau de Saint Cosme Saint-Joseph, Rhone 2016 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
James Suckling 94 points
“A wild array of fragrant, savory spices and white pepper with a bright array of mixed berries. The palate is suave, succulent and focused. This has elegance and poise. Subtly powerful and beautifully balanced. Drink or hold.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “Sourced from granitic soils at the northern end of the appellation, the 2016 Saint Joseph boasts sexy aromas of hickory smoked bacon and cassis. Medium to full-bodied, it’s silky and suave on the palate, picking up hints of espresso on the long, fine-grained finish. Approachable now, it should drink well for at least another 6-7 years.”-JC
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “From the northern part of the appellation (closer to Côte-Rôtie), the 2016 St. Joseph offers fresh, perfumed notes of black and blue fruits, pepper, and ample minerality. It’s more focused and chiseled than the Crozes Hermitage, with slightly less density, but is beautifully balanced, elegant and seamless. It’s another classic Northern Rhône from this estate.”
Importer Note “Saint Cosme Saint-Joseph is produced from 100% Sérine, an ancient and local variety of Syrah that is markedly different from modern selections…The wine is made from 70% destemmed with 30% whole clusters, fermented with indigenous yeasts, and aged in 20% new 228-liter barrels… Louis Barruol describes the microclimate of the vineyard Malleval as “very cold” which allows the grapes to retain acidity and showcase the floral aromas of the local Sérine variety. Aromas and flavors of blackberries and wild strawberries are accented by notes of peppercorns, tobacco, peonies, and violets.”

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The average listed price is $38
A fantastic value given the increase in the price of Produttori.
Sottimano Pajore, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2015 Barbaresco Pajoré is the most potent and brooding of the 2015s. The heft, weight and structure of Pajoré comes through in the 2015, but the flavor profile is similar to that of the other wines. Racy, silky and generous, the 2015 is very much the product of a warm, sunny growing season. The Pajoré will need at least a few years to shed some tannin, but it is very showy, even at this early stage.”

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This wine at the case price is obscene.
Domaine de Saint-Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Case-12 Domaine de Saint-Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 750ML ($529.95) $428 special (that’s only $35.67/bottle!)
Domaine de Saint-Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91-93 points
“Bright ruby-red. Aromas and flavors of ripe red and blue fruits take on floral and peppery spice notes as the wine opens up. Silky and expansive on the palate, showing very good depth as well as energy and back-end lift. Leaves notes of candied flowers and allspice behind on the gently gripping, subtly tannic, very persistent finish.”

Erasmus knocked it out of the park in 2016.
Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus ‘Laurel’, Priorat DOCa 2016 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“The 2016 Laurel is sensational stuff and, in truth, matches several older vintages of the grand vin in quality. A blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 16 months in a mix of oak, concrete, and amphora, this deep purple-colored beauty offers up a fresh, vibrant bouquet of blueberries, crisp plums, violets, and spring flowers. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful depth of fruit and richness, and a fresh, elegant style, it’s a brilliant wine that’s going to evolve gracefully for 10-15 years.”

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Exceptional, Classic Chablis

From Samuel Billaud

Those looking for exceptional, classic Chablis should pay close attention to the wines of Samuel Billaud.  He left his family domaine, the renowned Billaud-Simon, because of disputes about how best to run the estate and make the wines.  Luckily (for us) he received some of their choicest vineyards when Billaud-Simon sold to Faiveley in 2014.  The wines are aged in a mixture of stainless steel and (a small proportion) of older barrels.  Samuel believes that the 2016’s approach the quality level and style of the renowned 2014’s and we’re inclined to agree.  These deserve to be on your radar and in the discussion for the best wines not made by Raveneau or Dauvissat.

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Samuel Billaud Grands Terroirs, Chablis 2016 750ML ($37.95) $31.90 special
“An overtly fruity, fresh and ripe nose reflects moderate amounts of typical Chablis character. The round, rich and generously proportioned flavors possess better depth and length on the reasonably precise and saline-inflected finale. This too should drink well young.” –Burghound

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Samuel Billaud Montee de Tonnerre, Chablis Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Neal Martin-Vinous 92 points
“The 2016 Chablis Montée de Tonnerre, which underwent 15 months in barrel, has a lovely dried honey and beeswax scented bouquet that gains intensity with aeration. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, fresh and vibrant with a tangy, saliva-inducing saline finish that feels very persistent. Excellent.”
Neal Martin – Wine Advocate 90-93 points “The 2016 Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre comes from two parcels, one in the titular vineyard and the other in Chapelot, not far from Raveneau. It has quite a stern, focused, flinty bouquet that needs coaxing from the glass. The palate is (again) well balanced with a fine line of acidity. There are subtle notes of white peach and orange zest in situ, although perhaps not quite exuding the persistence of the Mont de Milieu on the finish. Still, this will merit three or four years in bottle.”

Samuel Billaud Les Vaillons Vieilles Vignes, Chablis Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Neal Martin – Wine Advocate 91-93 points
“The 2016 Chablis 1Er Cru Vaillons Vieilles Vignes comes from 70-year-old vines raised only in stainless steel. I like the aromatics here…this has a sense of purpose with vivid scents of orange zest and a touch of lychee. The palate is tensile right from the start thanks to that killer line of acidity. There is great depth here and the harmonious finish feels assured and elegant. Great potential and for me this is a serious step up from the Chablis Village and certainly worth the few extra dollars.”

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Samuel Billaud Mont de Milieu, Chablis Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Neal Martin-Vinous 92 points
“The 2016 Chablis Mont de Milieu 1er Cru was harvested between 25 and 30hl/ha, with 20% aged in wood the rest in stainless steel for 18 months. The slightly longer élevage engenders a more complex bouquet than the Montée de Tonnerre with yellow fruit, green apple, chalk and light musky scents that are very well defined. The palate is very well delineated with a crisp bead of acidity, poised and saline in the mouth and just when you think it will fan out, it segues into a linear and classically lined, understated finish. Excellent.”
Neal Martin – Wine Advocate 91-93 points “The 2016 Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu comes from three different types of vineyards at different altitudes and vine age that are blended together in the vineyard. It has a slightly austere bouquet with fine delineation: granite and flint scents. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity and is very precise and harmonious, with hints of quince and apricot toward the pretty finish. This is another very elegant wine from Samuel Billaud.”
Burghound 90-92 points “Sweet Spot – Outstanding Here too there is a whiff of mineral reduction sitting atop the ever-so-mildly exotic aromas of white peach, citrus rind, spice and enough classic Chablis character to be persuasive. There is notably better energy to the bigger, richer and more concentrated flavors that coat the palate with dry extract while also delivering superior depth and persistence. This is lovely stuff and worth checking out.”

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