Weekend VinopolPick 4-23-21

In Today’s Newsletter:

First Offer:
Dal Forno – Landmark Venetian Bottles

Staff Pick
A Delicious Sub-$20 Rioja

Trending Wines

New Wines from a Top Southern-Italian Winery

Nine Hats – Washington Value Star

“Grand Cru” Bottles at Premier Cru Prices
From Henri Gouges & Thibault Liger-Belair

Baumard: Masters of Chenin Blanc

Collector’s Corner:
The Pinnacle of Rioja?


First Offer:

Dal Forno – Landmark Venetian Bottles

In many wine areas throughout the world, there are a handful of individuals or families who make “the” wine for their particular region – winemakers who define the style of the region. When it comes to Valpolicella, the Dal Forno family does just that. For more than 30 years, Dal Forno has been producing deeply concentrated Valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto.

Romano Dal Forno , the current winemaker/owner, took over the farm in 1983. Risking everything, he invested a large amount in 1990 to update the winery and refine Dal Forno’s process. The extremely bold flavor of the Valpolicella Superiore is a great example of Dal Forno’s commitment to perfection and their respect for traditional winemaking. Just short of an Amarone, it’s made entirely with fruit that has been dried, though for less time than that legally required for Amarone. A key to the Dal Forno style seems to be an incredibly low yield from their vineyard: each bottle of Valpolicella takes six vines worth of grapes to produce!

Arriving ETA May:

Only six bottles available
Dal Forno Romano Amarone 2011 750ML ($419.95) $369 pre-arrival special
Decanter 99 points
“The strongest wine in my selection, yet this magnificent Amarone’s alcohol is barely visible thanks to its astonishing depth, texture and sumptuousness. Pressed black fruits seep with fruit essences; smoke and cinders; herbal complexities; teasing floral notes, all engraved into a palate that expresses creamy finesse but without a trace of superfluous fat, heat or obviousness. Beautifully crafted, as dignified as any grand Barolo.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 95+ points “Fully saturated ruby. Very deep, intense aromas of blackcurrant, plums macerated in alcohol, soy sauce, coffee and underbrush on the complex nose. Rich, dense and balanced, with nicely focused flavors of dark berries and aromatic herbs that have a noteworthy savory tang. The long finish features repeating hints of soy sauce, espresso and underbrush. Dal Forno’s is the recognized master of a uniquely powerful, ripe, and concentrated style of Amarone.”

Only twelve bottles available
Dal Forno Romano Amarone 2013 750ML ($419.95) $319 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98 points
“The 2013 Amarone della Valpolicella Monte Lodoletta is my favorite wine in the retrospective, along with the amazing 2011, 2009 and 1996 vintages. This wine was released at the beginning of this year, and because Dal Forno skipped over the 2014 vintage, this is the only Amarone we will see for a while (until the highly anticipated 2015 is released). The 2013 vintage is characterized by a slightly more streamlined mouthfeel (which isn’t saying much given the baseline enormity of these wines) with carefully etched aromas of black cherry, rum cake, dark chocolate and toasted espresso. The 2013 vintage was balanced overall without the sudden heat waves we saw in the summers of 2011 and 2012. The grapes finished a slow and steady ripening process over an extended growing season. The effect is graceful and focused. Put this bottle aside in your cellar for the decades to come.”
Eric Guido-Vinous 97 points “The 2013 Amarone della Valpolicella Monte Lodoletta needs time – and a lot of it – to show all of its charms. But worry not, because you can already find pleasure in its dramatic display of rich plums and cherries dipped in mocha-infused chocolate with a dusting of cinnamon sugar and sweet tobacco. This is black as night yet truly purple in color, with depths of concentrated wild berry fruits contrasted by zesty acids that do an amazing job of lifting the expression. Grippy tannins saturate slowly, sneaking up on you and lasting throughout the impossibly long black hole of a finish, where notes of licorice, bitters and a coating of cocoa powder linger. Wow. The 2013 is built for the cellar and with tons of upside potential. If you dare to delve into one of these while young, I’d suggest opening your bottle a number of hours prior to enjoying. That said, this will be worth the wait.”

Only 18 bottles available
Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore 2013 750ML ($119.95) $94.50 pre-arrival special
Decanter 97 points
“From one of the most iconic wineries in the Orientale, this is aged for two years in oak and a further three in bottle. A proper meditation wine, great with game, strong cheeses or a cigar. It has a huge nose of stewed red fruits, ethereal bramble forest fruits and blackberry jam. Generous, with spicy, bitter cherry-stone freshness. Full-bodied with a rich, intense, spicy undertone.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “This is a terrific wine that stood out—and stood tall—despite the fact that it was tasted alongside some of Dal Forno’s most important vintages of the top-shelf Amarone. If that’s not a full-on recommendation, I don’t know what is. The 2013 Valpolicella Superiore Monte Lodoletta oozes forth with thick concentration and an inky black color. The mouthfeel is thick and impenetrable, and the senses are treated to a long succession of black fruit, tar, spice, smoke, mesquite and barbecue flavors. The wine is full-bodied and very opulent, but it carries that massive intensity with grace and precision. This Valpolicella Superiore is very nicely done.”

Only twelve bottles available
Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore 2014 750ML ($119.95) $94.50 pre-arrival special
Wine & Spirits 95 points
“The 2014 growing season in Valpolicella was plagued by hail in June and copious rain through mid-October, leaving the grape skins fragile and, in the estimation of Romano Dal Forno, not suitable for making Amarone. Instead, he used all of the fruit he and his team could salvage to make this wine, selecting only the best bunches and drying them for 45 days. After fermentation, the wine rested in new oak barrels for two years and another three in bottle, developing a rich complexity that reads more like an Amarone than a typical Valpolicella. It unfolds with flavors of warmed cherry and dried plum layered with notes of espresso, dark chocolate and a savory hint of amaro. There’s a tart tinge to the fruit that enhances the wine’s drinkability and brightens those rich oak-derived flavors. Even with all of the estate’s fruit going into this Valpolicella, Dal Forno made only 27,000 bottles, 30 percent less than normal.”
Eric Guido-Vinous 94 points “The 2014 is a unique rendition of Dal Forno’s Valpolicella Superiore Monte Lodoletta. It’s a remarkably pretty wine, displaying crushed ripe strawberries and plums with cinnamon, clove, vanilla bean and a cooling hint of mint. The textures are velvety, coating all that they touch in glycerol fruit concentration, yet somehow coming across as zesty and spry, contrasting weight with saturating notes of tart blackberry and savory spice. There’s a bit of a lull in the midpalate, yet it hardly takes away from the experience. At times, the Monte Lodoletta can seem almost salty, especially through its long, mouthwatering finish, where hints of cherry pits and herbs linger. This atypical yet truly enjoyable expression is the result of the extremely difficult 2014 vintage, when hail damaged and reduced the crop in the lower-elevation vineyards, followed by rain from August through September. As a result, Dal Forno decided not to produce their Amarone, and to instead focus all of their attention on the Valpolicella. The result is a wine that no Dal Forno fan should miss, but be aware that production was down 30% from an average year.”



Staff Pick

A Delicious Sub-$20 Rioja

Rioja can be a tough call for someone who loves traditional, medium-bodied wines. Recent vintages and modern techniques have put forth jammy, over the top wines which can be delicious, but tiresome. Treading the fine line between traditional and modern is the 2018 Artuke Pies Negros. It’s a fun wine that shows the earthiness and lightness of old-world producers while simultaneously offering a little more fruit and tannin that move the wine into something slightly more hedonistic. Superb cherry and red berry notes swirl with light cocoa and violets. The tannins are substantial yet silky, and they will likely mellow out with a few years’ time. 

The Artuke was a great pair with dried chorizo, good olives, and jamon. The second night, the wine continued to show full gas, and we had it with a spicy mezze platter that also played well with the fruit. It is a wine that will definitely be easier to enjoy if you’re looking to fall towards the modern palate, but if one takes the time to really taste through the layers, there is a lovely snap to this wine. I consider the vintage to be a big difference, too. 2018 had an overall lightness that treated this wine well. The 2015 I had a couple of years ago was definitely a bit rich, so this was a great surprise.

In Stock Now:

Bodegas y Viñedos Artuke ‘Pies Negros’, Rioja DOCa 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Bodegas y Viñedos Artuke ‘Pies Negros’, Rioja DOCa 2018 750ML ($299.95) $215 special (that’s only $17.92/bottle!)
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2018 Pies Negros was produced with grapes from the Sierra Cantabria in the village of Ábalos, so another village wine, even if it won’t get the official qualification, as they don’t have a winery in Ábalos! It’s a blend of Tempranillo with 15% Graciano fermented with destemmed but uncrushed grapes with indigenous yeasts, and it matured in 500-liter oak barrels for 12 months, except for 10% of the volume that was kept in concrete for that time. This didn’t stop growing in the glass, and the aromas are subtle and elegant. Since they started working with larger oak containers, they had to learn to work under more reductive conditions; they now seem to have mastered it, at least in some of the wines, like this one. The wines are subtler and less immediate than the wines aged in barrique, and this long-cycle vintage has a tendency toward this profile of wines. The palate is very balanced and fresh, with a core of red fruit, with bright flavors and very good precision. 70,000 bottles produced.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Love Spanish reds? We have over 100 different options in stock. Shop the entire selection on our web store now.


Trending Wines

A fun, delicious Sangiovese-blend that’s a steal for the price.
Volpaia Citto Rosso Toscano 2017 750ML ($19.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Volpaia Citto Rosso Toscano 2017 750ML ($199.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Importer Note
“In the Tuscan dialect, “Citto” means “a young boy.” In the tradition of Bordeaux Châteaux — Mouton Rothchild has its Mouton Cadet, Cheval Blanc has its Petit Cheval — Castello di Volpaia has its Citto. Mostly Sangiovese with some Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes were destemmed and crushed, then fermented in stainless-steel vats for 10 days at 26 C to 30 C (80 F to 86 F). After eight days, the juice was drained off the skins. This generous, silky wine displays ripe fruit aromas with intense cherry and red berry flavors on the palate.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Fanti always makes charming, approachable Rosso di Montalcino that shines with food.
Tenuta Fanti Rosso di Montalcino 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Eric Guido-Vinous 89 points
“The extroverted 2018 Fanti Rosso di Montalcino is showing masses of ripe strawberry, sweet spices and exotic florals with grounding notes of worn leather and hints of undergrowth. Silky textures meld into tart red berries with a peppery-herbal twist, in a soft and easygoing effort that’s energized by bright acids that only come forward toward the finale. A mix of red fruits resonate on the finish, along with wild herbs and florals, punctuating the experience on a Rosso that is very easy to like.”

From Jacques Thienpoint, the owner of the iconic Le Pin
L’Hêtre, Côtes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($27.95) $24 special, 30+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 L’Hêtre, Côtes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($359.95) $269 special (that’s only $22.42/bottle!)
Julia Harding MW – jancisrobinson .com
“L’Hêtre 2016 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux is the first release of this wine from the organically farmed estate perched at 100 m on the end of the St-Philippe d’Aiguilhe limestone plateau, the highest point in Bordeaux…‘Rich in blackcurrant fruit with a savoury dark glow to make it more than just fruit. Just a touch of smoky char even though the oak is well in the background, a seductive fruit sweetness. On the palate, this is beautifully balanced, the alcohol perfectly integrated in the tannic structure and fruit core with a fresh tang that runs through the middle. There’s a cool fluidity to it even with its depth and length. Fine, dry, lingering and savoury aftertaste. Impressive first vintage with a promising future in the bottle. I opened this on a Sunday evening and it was still tasting fresh and vibrant four days later. This is a very classy wine, and the tannins tell you everything: fine, definite, building in the mouth but in perfect balance with the fruit and freshness. Blue-blooded Castillon. Catch it while you can.’”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Soulful and approachable
Domaine François Merlin Saint-Joseph, Rhône 2018 750ML ($39.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine François Merlin Saint-Joseph, Rhône 2018 750ML ($479.95) $279 special (that’s only $23.25/bottle!)
Decanter 91 points
“An approachable wine that has lifted cedar and incense on the nose. Very plush with soft fruits, slightly lacking in acidity perhaps, but it’s an authentic representation of the vintage, not overly corrected. Good natural sense to the fruit, it’s expressive, unrestrained. Not overly marked by oak spice. South-facing granite terroir, 70% of vines are 45-years-old, the rest are 15-years-old. All destemmed, 12 months in barriques and demi-muids, from 1 to 4 years-old.”

From one of the greatest vintages and vineyards in Chablis.
Domaine Vocoret et Fils Valmur, Chablis Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($79.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 92+ points
“Much less expressive on the nose than the Blanchots but still with noteworthy incipient complexity to the aromas of citrus peel, white flowers, wet stone, white pepper and clove. Boasts terrific grain and thrust, but this youthfully dry, uncompromising wine is downright brooding today in spite of its essential light touch. Incisive flavors of citrus fruits, white flowers and ginger are further lifted by subtle herbal accents. This is excellent.”
Burghound 92 points “In contrast to the Vaudésir this is much better with much more evident Chablis character on the green fruit and citrus-infused nose that displays an appealing hint of mineral-reduction. There is excellent punch and detail to the relatively rich and powerful flavors that possess reasonably good mid-palate concentration before culminating in a notably stony and lingering finish that is presently quite tightly wound. This is definitely going to require a few years to further flesh out and develop better depth but the balance and underlying material are present for that to occur.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

“the best that I had encountered in over 20 years of visiting the estate”
Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe 2016 750ML ($319.95) $299 pre-arrival special, ETA May
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 100 points
“The 2016 Cos d’Estournel is blended of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc aged in 65% new and 35% two-year-old French oak for 15 months. Bottled in July 2018, it is deep garnet-purple colored and starts off a little closed and reticent, opening out slowly and seductively to reveal beautiful lilacs, rose hip tea, crushed stones and camphor nuances over a core of crème de cassis, kirsch, wild blueberries and mocha plus wafts of incense and wood smoke. The palate is simply electric, charged with an energy and depth of flavors that seem to defy the elegance and ethereal nature of its medium-bodied weight, featuring super ripe, densely pixelated tannins that firmly frame the myriad of fruit and floral sparks, finishing with epic length. Just. Magic.”
Neal Martin – Vinous 100 points “The 2016 Cos d’Estournel was a bona fide showstopper out of barrel, the best that I had encountered in over 20 years of visiting the estate during en primeur, so my expectations were piled high when I returned to find out how it performs in bottle. Deep, almost opaque in color, it sports a very intense but broody bouquet with fathomless deep black fruit tinged with blueberry and violet. The aromas almost seem to envelop the senses. The palate is medium-bodied with ultra-fine tannin that I have never witnessed in any other vintage of Cos d’Estournel. There is a beguiling symmetry to this Saint-Estèphe, as well as unerring mineralité. The persistent, tobacco-tinged finish can be felt 60 second after the wine has departed. This is a monumental, benchmark Cos d’Estournel that will give not years but decades of pleasure, though I suspect it will close down for a period in its youth, hence my drinking window. 13.07% alcohol.”

One of the new landmark bottlings for dry Nahe Riesling
Kruger-Rumpf Dorsheimer Burgberg Riesling Großes Gewächs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 94+ points
“Coming from a tiny incredibly steep Grand Cru site, the Burgberg Vineyard, that is set on volcanic and quartz soils near Munster in the village of Dorsheim. The Kruger Rumpf Burgberg GG is one of the most exciting wines of vintage at this small winery… It is fantastically mineral-driven dry Riesling. This latest set of wines, especially the Rieslings, from Georg Rumpf and his family are some of the best yet from this estate. The GG’s and the Premier Cru Trockens are gorgeous wines. No one is going to want to miss these 2018 Nahe offerings, especially the Pitterberg GG, the Abtei Erste Lage 1937 old vine, one of my secret favorites and this beautifully detailed Burgberg GG. Rumpf has turned to mostly all organic practices, and the Burgberg parcel is farmed organic. [He] prefers to do natural fermentations, or Sponti, with his Cru wines with the GG’s getting less aging in large cask, Stuckfass, to allow less reduction and enhance generosity, while retraining freshness and vitality in the wines. [It] shows here in this barrel sample of Burgberg… These Kruger-Rumpf GG’s are some of the best values out there, they really deserve much more attention, as do the lesser bottlings and their wildly tasty Scheurebe, which is one of the best examples in Germany. The Kruger-Rumpf winery, which dates back to the 1790’s, is focused on purity and the expression of the distinctive terroirs in the family’s holdings, but only began making estate labeled wines in 1984 when Georg’s dad Stefan began crafting small production bottlings. Now, mostly retired Stefan has turned things over to his sons Georg and Philipp, who are continuing the traditions here with a renewed energy and technical skill. [Their work] impresses Terry Theise, their importer, who considers Kruger-Rumpf one of best under the radar estates in the region. [Theise] notes that Kruger-Rumpf is innovative and is always striving to reach new levels of quality. I visited Kruger-Rumpf in the fall of 2016 at harvest time and was thrilled with the stylish wines I found and was blown away with the individual vineyards they farm and the hard work they have been putting in the restore the Abtei site. The iron rich volcanic and quartz influenced 2018 Burgberg GG starts with white flowers, stone fruits and vibrant citrus before expansion on the medium full palate with layers of lime/tangerine, apricot, green apple, papaya, bitter pit white peach and white cherry fruits along with steely form, spearmint, verbena, mouthwatering saline, exotic spices and subtle leesy elements. This is going to be a legendary wine and is already showing Georg’s signature finesse and vinous personality. It has masses of potential and its delicacy is utterly delicious! There’s a lot to admire at Kruger-Rumpf these days and this crisp 2018 Burgberg is a stunning effort that gains with air in the glass and will more so with a few years in bottle.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Stunning Chardonnay from one of Italy’s finest producers.
Vie di Romans Chardonnay Vie Di Romans 2018 750ML ($34.95) $29.50 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points
“Polished, clear and silky, the Vie di Romans 2018 Friuli Isonzo Chardonnay Vie di Romans is a beautifully balanced wine that gives equal weight to the intensity and quality of the fruit and the abundantly enriched texture of the mouthfeel. This is Chardonnay presented in 360-degree splendor with peach, melon, honey, pastry crust and cream custard. Ten months of aging on the yeasts gives the wine added dimension and opulent richness. Saffron, spice, cumin and fragrant sandstone are intermingled on the long and silky finish.”
Eric Guido-Vinous 94 points “As is usually the case, the Chardonnay Vie di Romans really stands out amongst its peers, especially in the 2018 vintage. There’s an undeniable richness to the bouquet as this gorgeous expression slowly blossoms in the glass. Pretty white and yellow florals, lemon confit, hints of custard, peach and sweet melon all come forward over time. It’s silky and pliant in texture, with formidable weight, yet balanced by brisk acids, as ripe citrus-tinged fruits and minerals excite the senses. A subtle hint of sweet exotic spice and almond lingers on the long and dramatic finish. The 2018 is charming today, yet also full of potential.”
James Suckling 94 points “A rich, aromatic white with sliced and cooked apple, steel and stone. Full-bodied with layers of fruit, but in a focused and polished way. It’s creamy and fruity with a round texture and a delicious, flavorful finish. Mineral and steely notes at the end. Drink or hold.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
New Wines from a Top Southern-Italian Winery

The wines that Sandro Lonardo makes are some of the best values in powerful, Italian red wine. Based in Taurasi, he works primarily with the local Aglianico grape to produce wines that combine power and intensity with site-specific nuance that rivals the best wines in Barolo and Tuscany.

To Italian insiders, this isn’t news. After all, Campania, the area around Naples, has been famous for its wines since the Greeks settled it. There are numerous references to the quality of the wines in Roman writings and if more of the wines were at the level of Cantine Lonardo, the region would be as famous as the “Killer B’s” from up north.

Sandro Lonardo is a schoolteacher who also makes wines, both from vineyards he farms and from grapes he buys from local farmers. Mostly he makes wines from the Aglianico grape, which is the “Barolo of the South” according to popular wisdom.  Unlike some producers, he resists the temptation to use lots of barrique or new wood and yet the wines aren’t rustic monsters. There is a freshness and approachability that surprises, given the reputation of the grape and the warm climate.

We’re bringing in new releases of his entry-level Aglianico, one of the best values in the genre, plus rare library stock for his two single vineyards Coste and Vigne d’Alto. Both are from the excellent 2011 vintage—a warm year that produced exceptionally powerful reds. They’ve started to hit their drinking windows now, but will comfortably age for another decade.

Arriving ETA May:

Cantine Lonardo Aglianico Rosso Irpinia 2016 750ML ($27.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Cantine Lonardo Aglianico Rosso Irpinia 2016 750ML ($319.95) $259 pre-arrival special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 92 points
“Deep ruby. Lively aromas of red fruits, minerals and herbs. Juicy and fruity in the mouth, showing hazelnutty nuances to the red fruit flavors. Finishes with good acid-fruit balance and nice tannins. A lovely wine that will age well, but provides irresistible drinking right now.”

Cantine Lonardo Taurasi Coste 2011 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 94+ points
“Deep ruby. Floral nuances complicate the red and dark berry, ink, sweet spice and flinty aromas and flavors. Dense and seamless, showing a multilayered personality and remarkable complexity of flavor. Finishes very long and with repeating, lingering hints of ink and flint.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Cantine Lonardo Taurasi Vigne D’Alto 2011 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 94+ points
“Deep ruby with a purple tinge. Reticent nose at first, only hinting at dark cherry, sassafras and sandalwood. Then very concentrated and dense, displaying almost opulent, sweet nuances of oaky torrefaction to the coffee, cocoa and dark cherry flavors. This outstanding Taurasi finishes extremely long, rich and seamless. It’s virtually impossible to pick between Lonardo’s two crus in 2011, and both will have many admirers.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Lonardo also makes a white from a nearly extinct grape called Grecomusc, which is almost like a cross between Chenin Blanc in its texture and acidity and Muscat in terms of fruit and aromatics. 
Cantine Lonardo ‘Grecomusc’ Campania IGT 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 90+ points
“Bright golden-yellow; this is much deeper in color than the 2016, perhaps a reflection of the hotter, drier 2017 vintage. Earthy nuances greet the nose and complement aromas of nectarine, jasmine and Asian pear. Then more Asian pear, yellow apple and ginger, complicated by a hint of grapefruit and repeating earth notes. Closes long and quite tactile, even youthfully chewy, with hints of chamomile and dried ginger. I find this 2017 to be made in a much riper style than usual, but it’s nowhere near being flat or over the top. Give it another year in bottle and it might develop further complexity; it seems to be in a slightly brooding stage right now.”

Looking for wine to take home tonight? We’ve got a few of Sandro’s wines in stock now:

Cantine Lonardo Taurasi DOCG 2013 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Eric Guido-Vinous 93 points
“This 2013 is a classic Taurasi, showing a mix of red and black fruits, offset by rosy florals, savory herbs, minerals, leather tones, and a hint of balsamic spice. On the palate, silky textures give way to spicy red fruits, energized by zesty acids with cool-toned sweet herbs and saturating minerality. The 2013 Contrade di Taurasi finishes long, with a twang of acid making the mouth water, as grippy tannins settle in and echoes of black berries linger on.”
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Aromas of black cooking spice, dark-skinned berry and blue flower swirl around in the glass. On the palate, firm, fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity balance dried black cherry, clove and freshly ground pepper. Drink 2021–2030.”

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

Cantine Lonardo Taurasi Coste 2012 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiat 94 points
“Cellar Selection. Aromas of spiced plum, truffle, iris, menthol and leather follow through to the juicy, concentrated palate along with fleshy blackberry, clove and licorice. Firm, velvety tannins provide support. Give this a few more years to fully unwind and develop even more complexity. Drink 2022–2035.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93 points “Inky purple-ruby. Blackberry nectar, violet, red rose, lavender and coriander on the complex nose. Then fresh, pure savory, flinty blueberry, dark plum, licorice and tar flavors. More refined and less powerful than some past Taurasi Coste vintages, but very refined and long. Great Taurasi.”
Winery Note “(translated) The grapes come from espalier plants of about 40 years, all grafted onto American cuttings. Presents clusters of medium size and spherical grains of very intense color, pulp rich in minerals and sugars (23-25%), thin peels with high concentration of anthocyanins and tannins. Wine with an intense ruby red color with reflections still young, consistent and not very transparent. The nose is rich and persistent with hints of ripe fruit, with hints of grass that tend to balsamic. Subtle tertiary aromas, with a slight spiciness and toasting. The taste is warm, with quite austere tannins, well balanced with a strong and enveloping taste.  It is definitely a wine with rich and fatty foods based on meat, game, and winter dishes typical of the mountain cuisine, it also goes well with aged cheeses.”

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

Cantine Lonardo Taurasi Vigne D’Alto 2012 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“Perfumed and loaded with finesse, this single-vineyard wine opens with enticing scents of violet, ripe black-skinned fruit, new leather and baking spice. Made with 60- to 100-year-old plants, the smooth, delicious palate delivers succulent Marasca cherry, plum, licorice and nutmeg framed in velvety tannins, making it one of the more elegant expressions of Taurasi out there. A mineral note energizes the lingering finish. Drink through 2032.”
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 92 points “Good full ruby. Underbrush and musky red and dark fruit notes complicated by notes of hoisin sauce and sassafras. Enters fresh and juicy, then turns mountingly tannic. Finishes long and savory, with chewy tannins nicely supporting the ripe dark fruit flavors. Decant this at least an hour ahead and watch it develop in the glass.”
Winery Note “(translated) The grapes come from around 70-100 year old vines. Presents clusters of medium size and spherical grains of very intense color, pulp rich in minerals and sugars (23-25%), thin peels with high concentration of anthocyanins and tannins. Wine with an intense ruby red color with garnet reflections, consistent and not very transparent. The nose is rich and persistent with hints of ripe fruit, aromas of underbrush, balsamic and earthy. The taste is warm, with austere tannins, without excessive drying, fresh and lively wine. It is definitely a wine with rich and fatty foods based on meat, game, and winter dishes typical of the mountain cuisine, it also goes well with aged cheeses.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


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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).”

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Vinopolis Wine Shop Curbside Pick Up

Don’t want to stop in?

Order Online / By Phone / By Email

When you’re ready to pick up, just park in our lot,
give us a call, & we’ll bring your order to your car. 

(If another adult is picking up for you, please let us know
their name when placing your order.)


“Grand Cru” Bottles at Premier Cru Prices

From Henri Gouges & Thibault Liger-Belair

Burgundy’s Nuits-Saint-Georges does not technically have a Grand Cru vineyard to its name, and this fact is a gift to us, and to you. Why? Because the commune’s most revered climat, Les Saint Georges, surely could be (and may be in the not-too-distant future). But without the official recognition, the wines still fly somewhat under the radar, selling for half of what they would (and will) if it were to receive its deserved promotion.

In Stock Now:

Domaine Henri Gouges Les Saint-Georges, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($219.95) $179 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Decanter 95 points
“There will be less Les St-Georges in 2018, as 20% of the vineyard has been replanted – if you’re a fan of this wine, now is the time to stock up. It’s appealingly aromatic and not as dense and brooding as this wine can be, but it’s a stylish, spicy, savoury premier cru red with good focus and a backdrop of blood and iron.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2017 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges is showing well, wafting from the glass with aromas of smoky berry fruit, licorice, candied peel, nori and rich soil tones, having already almost entirely integrated its framing of new wood. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, ample and nicely layered at the core, with good concentration, fine-grained but firm tannins and a precise, stony finish.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Thibault Liger-Belair Les Saint-Georges, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2012 750ML ($179.95) $149 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 92-95 points
“(just 11 barrels produced from two hectares in 2012; vinified with 20% whole clusters and aging in 45% new oak): Good deep red. Slightly reduced aromas of black and red fruits, leather and minerals. Dense and thick, with terrific sappy intensity and complex soil character. At another level of complexity in the way it combines deeply pitched earth tones and high-pitched flowers and minerals. Wonderfully tactile wine with an explosive finish. This was the last to finish its malolactic fermentation, at the end of September. Liger-Belair is one of the leaders of an ongoing effort to have this vineyard elevated to grand cru status, and this wine could make his point.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next lowest listed price is $195.99

Thibault Liger-Belair Les Saint-Georges, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($179.95) $138 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Burghound 91-94 points
“Strikingly floral-inflected aromas display lovely purity and freshness on the wild red berry, warm earth-scented nose. There is good richness and excellent intensity to the compact, concentrated and stony medium weight plus flavors that possess a firm core of ripe tannins on the wonderfully long, linear and powerful finish. Like the Clos de Vougeot this is indisputably built-to-age and is definitely going to need at least a decade’s worth of cellaring.”
Baumard: Masters of Chenin Blanc

For many lovers of dry Loire Chenin, their first taste of Savennieres was a bottling from Baumard, which makes sense—they’re the standard bearers for the appellation and one of our favorite producers.  The estate dates back to the 1600’s and as a result, holds some of the most prime land in Savennieres and Quarts du Chaume.

These are wines to pay attention to.  Savennieres is perhaps the most regal of the dry Chenin Blanc appellations—coiled and steely, with deep mineral flavors.  Over time (and with air) the wine becomes generous and richer—like someone whose friendship must be earned. 

Quarts du Chaume is the most hallowed sweet wine of the Loire—a prized bottling for hundreds of years for the way that it combines luscious richness and bright, electric acidity. With complexity for days, it’s an immortal wine in the cellar—and can be an d’Yquem-killer with a decade or three of age.

In stock Now:

Domaine des Baumard Savennieres 2018 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Wine Spectator 90 points
“This balanced white is clean and pure, with a refreshing profile, but also shows depth, with flavors of apple and peach, as well as hints of lanolin that linger on the minerally finish, bringing you back for another sip. Best from 2021 through 2028. 4,500 cases made, 900 cases imported. — AZ”

Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2018
Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume 2015 375ML ($59.95) $39 special
Wine Spectator 98 points
“Highly Recommended. Waves of creamed Jonagold apple, Cavaillon melon, mirabelle plum, mango and white peach flavors provide thrilling range, while flashes of honeysuckle and verbena add detail and focus throughout. Unctuous yet pure, sweet yet invigorating, with an inner brightness that matches the outward hedonism. Best from 2020 through 2045. 100 cases imported.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Collector’s Corner:

The Pinnacle of Rioja?

Sierra Cantabria’s Iconic ‘Magico’

There are few truly singular wines in the world and we always jump at the opportunity to offer them. From DRC to the wine in question today (Sierra Cantabria’s “Magico” Rioja), the absolute pinnacle of the wine world thrills in a way that’s completely different from wines that are “merely” great.

Sierra Cantabria’s “Magico” Rioja is a prime example of such a wine—an absolutely stunning bottle of Rioja. Made from El Vardallo, a single 1.8ha vineyard of extremely old, head trained vines, this is a true field blend (as was the style at the beginning of the 20th century) that’s only produced in the very best years. As their importer puts it “vineyards this old simply do not exist in Rioja, and its qualities are myriad.” You feel the prismatic effects of the rare old varieties and the old vines with their deep roots—this is a wine of intense power, mesmerizing complexity and enthralling detail.

We fought for and secured a five bottle allocation of this incredible stuff (a huge quantity of this hyper-rare gem) which arrives this week, each bottle in its own wooden box. James Suckling’s 100 point score was icing on the cake, but this is a wine that any lover of the sublime should be after regardless of rating. So don’t sleep on this offer, because once these five bottles are gone, they’re gone.

In Stock Now:

Only 5 bottles available!
Sierra Cantabria ‘Magico’, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($749.95) $545 special
VinopolNote “Individual Hinged Wooden Box Package”
James Suckling 100 points
“A wine with incredible soul and purity, reflecting the land and history. Blackberries, black olives and hot stone and gun metal. Full and layered with incredibly polished and refined tannins. Old bark and mushrooms. It’s like holding an old and special book. Phenomenal. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points “Some years ago, they started a number of projects to produce some single-vineyard wines. For one old vineyard that was part of those experiments, in the early days, they selected the Tempranillo and produced it separately. Then in 2010, they started vinifying all the varieties together—red and white, except for the Garnacha. The first vintage to be sold is the 2016 Mágico, a wine that is sold en primeur. They also have vintages 2010 to 2015, which might be sold at a later time. This comes from a vineyard that was planted in the early years of the 20th century. This vineyard is in the village of San Vicente, in a part called El Bardallo, with very shallow soils at some 600 meters in altitude, the last zone to ripen the grapes. This has a profile that combines elegance and power, with the expressive nose of the 2016 vintage, quite elegant and nuanced. This has eight grape varieties, including red and white grapes, somewhat unusual, and the mix seems to provide very good complexity. It has the Eguren signature of new oak, and the Garnacha matured in a 500-liter oak barrel. 2,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in March 2019…”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next lowest listed price is $689.99


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