Weekend VinopolPick 4-9-21

In Today’s Newsletter:

Parusso: Iconoclastic Barolo Icon

Regal Regis Forey:
The Star Burgundy Producer’s 2018’s

Elvio Cogno’s Iconic Barolo

New Arrivals from St. Damien
Reference Point for Traditional Gigondas

Trending Wines

Collector’s Corner:
Napa’s Original ‘Cult’ Producer


Parusso: Iconoclastic Barolo Icon

Armando Parusso is a Barolo winemaker who defies categorization while creating some of the most exciting wines in the Piedmont. A relentless experimenter who the Wine Advocate called “one of the most dynamic and out-of-the-box wineries in Barolo,” he nonetheless doesn’t hew to what’s usually considered “modernist ” in the Piedmont. Rather, Parusso remains devoutly inspired by Burgundy—and he’s worked tirelessly to make his bottles stand in the company of DRC, Dujac, and Leroy, whose bottles he adores.

That means he’s one of the rare producers who ferments his Barolo whole-cluster, with long macerations—up to 50 days on the skins (the antithesis of most modernist producers). He then takes the fermented wine and ages in barriques, with frequent lees-stirring and only a single racking. It’s an outlandishly original production method, which Wine Spectator described as the product of “constantly tweaking his methods to coax more from his Nebbiolo.” 

No less than Giacomo Conterno declared that “We always need people who are hungry, and Marco is hungry. He always wants more from his wine”—and the results speak for themselves.  These are some of the most stunning wines in Barolo, with class and power to spare. We just received a small allocation of his bottles, available until they run out.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Armando Parusso Barolo DOCG 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The Parusso 2016 Barolo offers that distinctive Parusso nose that I have come to understand over the years I have been tasting these wines. There is a touch of ripe fruit, dried grape skins and stems that pop out over rich black fruit, tar and black spice. There’s a sultry and smoky aspect to the wine with extra concentration and tannic astringency on the finish. This vintage is even more structured, suggesting a longer cellar aging time. If you are invested in the Parusso philosophy, this is a good place to start.”
Antonio Galloni 92+ points “The 2016 Barolo is a terrific example of the year. Unusually dark and somber, the 2016 packs a real punch. Black cherry, plum, espresso, licorice, spice and menthol add to the wine’s richness and overall intensity. Far from an easygoing straight Barolo, Parusso’s 2016 is a very serious wine; I wouldn’t dream of touching a bottle anytime soon. Vineyard sources are Mariondino, Mosconi and Bussia – all top sites that are also bottled separately here.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Armando Parusso Barolo Bussia 2013 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
James Suckling 97 points
“This is one of the greatest wines I have ever had from here. So much ripe cherry, raspberry and floral character. Medium body, super-refined tannins and a long and flavorful finish. So much going on here. Better in 2021.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2013 Barolo Bussia is my favorite wine among Marco Parusso’s new releases. This wine shows an extraordinary level of richness and softness that speaks to the unique winemaking style proposed by this innovative producer. The Bussia cru tends to produce softer and finer fruit characteristics. The bouquet delivers elegant notes of wild berry, forest floor and white truffle with mineral notes such as pencil shaving delicately tucked in at the back. The wine sees up to 60% stem inclusion and maceration times are long. This Barolo is articulate and profoundly expressive.”

Armando Parusso Barolo Bussia 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Antonio Galloni 96+ points
“Marco Parusso’s 2016 Barolo Bussia brings together all the best elements of his style and year in a wine that is simply brilliant. Sweet floral notes, dark red fruit, mint, blood orange and spice infuse the 2016 with myriad layers of complexity. A bold, dramatic Barolo made from Rocche and Munie fruit, the 2016 is going to need a number of years to be at its best.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “This is one of the most important single-vineyard expressions from Marco and Tiziana Parusso, a formidable brother and sister team whose winery is located at the edge of Monforte d’Alba on the road to Castiglione Falletto. Their 2016 Barolo Bussia is a dark and brooding expression with some of those aromas of Nebbiolo stems and skins that give extra power and density to the wine. I’d suggest a pairing of succulent red meat, but you definitely need to put this wine aside for more time. This classic vintage is especially well suited to cellar aging. The structure of this Bussia is a tiny bit more pliant and approachable compared to the more astringent Mosconi.”
James Suckling 95 points “Wild strawberries and plums with spices, dried flowers and hazelnuts. It’s full-bodied, yet tight, fine and focused with lovely balance and finesse. Drink or hold.”

Armando Parusso Barolo Bussia Riserva 2011 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, only one bottle remaining
James Suckling 99 points
“A wild, rich Barolo, showing the richness of the vintage with plums, toffee and smoked meat. Full-bodied, dense and layered with exotic and gamy fruit at the end. A wonderful old release. Special wine. Drink or hold.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $288.97

Armando Parusso Barolo Mariondino 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2016 Barolo Mariondino is another potent, heady wine in this range. The red fruit and floral notes typical of this site emerge, but the Mariondino is big and very dark in 2016. Like all of these Barolos, the Mariondino is built for the long haul. In most vintages, Mariondino is a Barolo of sensuality but the 2016 is a real powerhouse. Time in the glass brings out red fruit and floral notes, but this is an XL Barolo.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2016 Barolo Mariondino sees fruit from a vineyard not too far from the Parusso winery in Castiglione Falletto. It opens to sultry and intense aromas. Generally speaking, the wines of this estate achieve a level of richness and concentration that you don’t see anywhere else in the appellation. The fruit is slightly dehydrated before fermentation and a good percentage of stem inclusion is used. There is a note of sweet, sun-ripened fruit on the close, and you taste the actual skins of the grapes. Stern tannins mark the close.”
James Suckling 94 points “Extremely perfumed with dried flowers, such as roses and lilacs, complementing the ripe strawberry and plum character. Full-bodied on the attack with a fine tannin profile and a fresh finish. Drinkable now, but needs a year or two to open. Better after 2021.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Armando Parusso Barolo Mosconi 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
James Suckling 97 points
“An exotic, high-toned Barolo with blackberry, walnut and dried-flower aromas and flavors, as well as orange undertones. It’s full-bodied with spices and ripe fruit. Figs, too. Long and wild. Drink or hold.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2016 Barolo Mosconi shows all the breadth and richness that is typical of this Monforte site. Dark fruit, chocolate, spice, new leather, menthol, sage and crushed rocks build in an explosive, tannic Barolo that is going to need at least a few years in bottle to come together. Powerful, deep and resonant, this dark, brooding Barolo has a ton to offer.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “The Parusso 2016 Barolo Mosconi exhibits that same power, intensity and dark fruit with aromas of grape skins and vinous components. Marco Parusso lets his grapes undergo a very light appassimento in a cold storage room before pressing, and he uses a percentage of whole-cluster fruit with stems. Those strong flavors and tannins are very much on notice. You get hints of white pepper on this very powerful and tannic wine that won’t be accessible until at least 10 years after the harvest, or probably more.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Armando Parusso Langhe Nebbiolo 2018 750ML ($24.95) $20.90 special
Case-6 Armando Parusso Langhe Nebbiolo 2018 750ML ($149.95) $119 special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 90 points
“The Parusso 2018 Langhe Nebbiolo has a wild side with some of the tangy white pepper aromas that you sometimes get with some of the indigenous grapes of Piedmont. The delivery is simple and clean, but don’t underestimate the bold personality that you get here. Those tangy fruit aromas are mixed in with garden herb, licorice and crushed flowers.”



Regal Regis Forey

The Star Producer’s 2018’s

Domaine Forey is one of those “overnight success after 25 years” types of Burgundy domains. The wines have been stunning for years, but exist in a (blessed) medium place of collectability—quantities are extremely scarce because of the size of the domaine, but somehow they aren’t yet a “name” in the sense of a Coche or Roumier.  The result is that we actually get to offer the wines to you, however briefly.

We’re expecting the wines disappear quickly, but it’s remarkable for wines of this quality and rarity to even be offered on the newsletter like this. The 2018 vintage is, of course, a great year and more importantly it’s a year that plays into the style of the house.  These look to be monumental wines that have Forey’s usual power, coupled with a sense of refinement and polish that’s been growing over the last 7-10 years here.

Because of the scarcity of these wines, we recommend heading directly to our online store to purchase them. Email and phone orders will not be processed until we open for business on Saturday morning, and wines may sell out.

Arriving ETA Late April:

Regis Forey Vosne Romanee Gaudichots 1er Cru 2018 750ML ($349.95) $319 pre-arrival special

Three bottles available
Rosenthal Note “The most fabled wine of the Forey cellar, Gaudichots is the climat from which La Tache was born—the beating heart at the very center of the Vosne-Romanée appellation. In fact, it was Neal back in 1983 who first convinced Jean Forey to begin bottling it separately rather than blending it into his village-level Vosne-Romanée (!), and it has been one of our rarest and most sought-after jewels ever since. “Les Gaudichots” is riotously aromatic, exploding with a panoply of spices and glowing red fruits, and offering the most enchantingly silken texture of Regis’s entire lineup. 30% whole clusters.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Regis Forey Echezeaux Grand Cru 2018 750ML ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Three bottles available
Rosenthal Note “Forey owns 0.3 hectares in this exalted cru, in the climats of Les Treux and Clos Saint-Denis, flanked by the grand cru Grands-Echezeaux to the north and Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots to the south. All but a small recently replanted portion of the holdings are between 40 and 65 years old, and Forey always wrests a wine of refined power from these old vines. 70% whole clusters.”

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

Regis Forey Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2018 750ML ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Three bottles available
Rosenthal Note “Clos de Vougeot is the defensive lineman to the Echezeaux’s running back—massively scaled and more squarely built. Regis works a third of a hectare of 40-to-45-year-old vines here, and this is, appropriately, the densest and most currently inscrutable wine of the lineup. Still, at its core is a certain elegance, which imbues this broad-shouldered wine with a real sense of refinement. 60% whole clusters.”

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

Regis Forey Vosne Romanee Les Petits Monts 1er Cru 2018 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Two bottles available
Rosenthal Note “Forey’s duo of Vosne-Romanée premier crus justifiably represent some of the most coveted red Burgundies in our entire portfolio. Les Petits Monts is situated just above grand cru Richebourg in the prime fillet of the appellation, adjacent to the legendary Cros Parantoux, and Regis exploits a mere fifth of a hectare here, planted in 1970. Less sternly built than either of the Nuits-Saint-Georges premier crus above, its kinetic, mineral-drenched palate culminates in a notably long and graceful finish.”

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

Regis Forey NSG Les Saint Georges 1er Cru 2018 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Two bottles available
Rosenthal Note “Forey owns a 0.1-hectare sliver of 85-year-old vines in what many consider the great vineyard of the village. Nuits-Saint-Georges often distinguishes itself by its sheer force of minerality—one much more iron-inflected and punchy than that of its northern neighbors. 30% whole clusters.”

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

Regis Forey NSG Les Perrieres 1er Cru 2018 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Three bottles available
Rosenthal Note “Regis works a 0.42-hectare parcel of 75-to-80-year-old vines in this vaunted cru, and this 2018 —vinified with 30% whole clusters—is an immediate leap forward in complexity from the previous wines. All its elements present with greater force: juicier fruit, firmer yet more fully enrobed tannins, and a more intense earth-mineral interplay.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Regis Forey Morey St Denis 1er Cru 2018 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Two bottles available
Rosenthal Note “From small holdings in the premier crus Clos Baulet and Les Blanchards, Forey’s Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru—made with 50% whole clusters—exudes pure energy, offering tangy red fruits, fine-grained tannins, and intense minerality. The classic note of savory Morey earth is present but understated, marrying wonderfully with the wine’s stem-inflected overlay of spice.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Regis Forey Vosne Romanee “Jarre” 2018 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Three bottles available
Rosenthal Note “Élevage: 16-20 months in terracotta jars. In recent vintages Régis Forey has begun ageing a portion of his Vosne village wine in terracotta jars. In today’s warming climate, Burgundy’s  average  cellar  temperatures  are  higher  than  in  eras  past, and vessels such as these counteract the accelerated develop-ment these warmer cellars foster.  Tasting the Jarre, and Menhir cuvées alongside the village Vosne leads to fascinating contrasts”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Regis Forey Vosne Romanee “Mehnir” 2018 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Three bottles available
Rosenthal Note “Élevage: 16-20 months in tronconic oak foudre. In recent vintages Régis Forey has begun ageing a portion of his Vosne  village  wine  in  tronconic  wood  foudres,  shaped  similarly  to the Menhir standing stones that stretch across Celtic areas of Europe.    In  today’s  warming  climate,  Burgundy’s  average  cellar  temperatures  are  higher  than  in  eras  past,  and  vessels  such  as  these counteract the accelerated development these warmer cel-lars foster. Tasting the Jarre, and Menhir cuvées alongside the vil-lage Vosne leads to fascinating contrasts.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Elvio Cogno’s Iconic Barolo

Elvio Cogno was instrumental in putting the Ravera cru on the map. Born and raised in Novello, the village associated with the famous vineyard, he left his partnership with Marcarini in his sixties to start his namesake winery in 1990.  He purchased Cascina Nuova, an underperforming but historic estate, and started making classically-styled wines under his own name from the Ravera cru.

The resulting wines have been stupendous ever since, prompting a rush on land in Novello (and Ravera in particular), but no wineries have surpassed the original master and his son-in-law (winemaker since ’96 Valter Fissore—who is arguably even more talented than Elvio).  From their entry level “Cascina Nuova” Barolo up to his Riservas from the choicest parts of his holdings, these are wines that will appeal to every lover of Barolo.

Italian specialists Antonio Galloni of Vinous, Monica Larner of Wine Advocate, and Kerin O’Keefe of Wine Enthusiast all agree: this is a classical estate that over delivers. Year in, year out, these reviewers offer consistently high praise for the wines across multiple vintages and price levels.  We just brought in a small tranche of these stellar wines, though as with the last round, supply is limited.

In Stock Now:

Elvio Cogno Bricco Pernice Barolo 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Case-6 Elvio Cogno Bricco Pernice Barolo 2015 750ML ($719.95) $619 special (that’s only $103.17/bottle!)
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 97 points
“Cellar Selection. Enticing scents of rose, iris, perfumed berry and an earthy whiff of truffle shape the fragrant nose on this dazzling wine. The delicious, full-bodied palate boasts structure and a weightless elegance, delivering juicy Marasca cherry, cherry compote, cinnamon and star anise. Taut polished tannins and fresh acidity provide balance and an elegant structure. It’s already irresistible but will also age well for years. Drink 2022–2035.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “The Elvio Cogno 2015 Barolo Ravera Bricco Pernice delivers the depth, richness and concentration that are a hallmark of this pretty vintage. This wine is a pure expression of the productive Lampia clone of Nebbiolo. Generous layers of blackberry, wild cherry, rose hip, ferrous earth and campfire ash are neatly folded together to build the wine’s intensity. Like the other wines from this estate, the tannic management is spot-on. You are aware of the wine’s youthful structure, but it is delivered without hard edges or sharp points. A mere 4,000 bottles were produced.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2015 Barolo Bricco Pernice is an exotic, beguiling wine. Blood orange, mint, sweet red cherry, star anise and a range of spice notes give the Bricco Pernice striking aromatic and flavor complexity. Medium in body, refined and super-expressive, the 2015 has so much to offer. Best of all, it will drink well with just a few years in bottle. It is such an effortless, gracious wine. Very polished, nuanced and elegant, this silky Barolo has a ton of structure but is also impeccable in its balance.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Aromas of camphor and sweet pipe tobacco give way to cherry, tar and wild scrub flavors in this densely structured red, which is elegant and sinewy, with a lingering, chewy finish. Best from 2023 through 2045.”

Elvio Cogno Cascina Nuova Barolo 2016 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 special
Case-6 Elvio Cogno Cascina Nuova Barolo 2016 750ML ($419.95) $299 special (that’s only $49.83/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Rose, woodland berry and baking spice shape the nose along with crushed mint notes on this fragrant red. The savory, polished palate boasts succulent raspberry, ripe strawberry and white pepper before taut tannins and bright acidity reveal a firm, elegant structure. Star anise lingers on the finish. Drink 2023–2036.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “Of the four Elvio Cogno Baroli out on the market now, this wine is the most immediate and accessible of the bunch. Production is an ample 20,000 bottles. The 2016 Barolo Cascina Nuova is a terrific wine with impeccable balance. The bouquet offers dark fruit aromas, licorice, smoke, tar and spice. These aromatic pieces slide together with precision to create an intriguing and multifaceted puzzle. It shows good fruit weight and concentration, reinforced by firm tannins, freshness and a silky mouthfeel. This is a terrific go-to Barolo from a classic vintage. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and then ages for two years in botte grande made with Slavonian oak. “
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Cogno’s 2016 Barolo Cascina Nuova is absolutely gorgeous. Pliant and expressive on the palate, the 2016 has a touch more mid-palate sweetness and texture than in the past, when the wine has been more nervous in feel. Sweet red cherry, blood orange, mint, wild flowers, cedar, sweet tobacco and anise all open up effortlessly. Silky tannins add to its considerable immediacy and appeal. This is such a pretty wine in its peer group and also a terrific example of how attractive more modestly priced Barolos are in 2016.”

Elvio Cogno Langhe Nebbiolo Montegrilli 2019 750ML ($31.95) $28 special
Case-6 Elvio Cogno Langhe Nebbiolo Montegrilli 2016 750ML ($179.95) $149 special (that’s only $24.83/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92+ points
“This is a terrific Piedmont red to pair with a classic quiche Lorraine. The Elvio Cogno 2019 Langhe Nebbiolo Montegrilli is a delicate and fragile expression with bright accents of chopped mint and medicinal herb that hover over a core of wild cherry and dried raspberry. The wine delivers soft and smooth aromas that define the character of this pretty wine. Dusty tannins and some lingering mineral notes frame a polished finish. A portion of the wine sees whole-cluster fermentation, and winemaking is straightforward in stainless steel. Some 10,000 bottles were released.”
New Arrivals from St. Damien

Reference Point for Traditional Gigondas

“At Domaine Saint Damien, there are four Gigondas cuvées, although the Clovis Saurel isn’t bottled every year. It’s a small, family domaine with the magnificently mustachioed Joël Saurel at the helm, although son Romain is increasingly confident in the winery. This is a reference point for traditional Gigondas…” – Wine Advocate

Just Arrived:

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

Also In Stock Now:

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhône 2018 750ML ($41.95) $36 special, 20 bottles in stock now 
Case-6 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhône 2018 750ML ($239.95) $199 pre-arrival special (that’s only $33.17/bottle!), Arriving Friday!
Grapelive 96 points
“The Domaine Saint-Damien, founded back 1821, is a small family winery in the southern Rhone based in the famed Gigondas AOC and is run by Joel and Amie Saurel with their son Romain who is the current winemaker. This is one of the Rhone’s great properties and treasures, especially for me. These wines are some of my personal favorites like this fantastic and nearly perfect 2018 old vine La Louisiane… This vintage has more vitality and fresh detail than the warmer and more lavish 2017s, which don’t get me wrong were incredible wines too, it is just that extra sense of purity and the mineral notes really stand out here and there is excellent fruit dimension and definition that is fully on display here. These old vines give outstanding concentration without overt jamminess or heat of alcohol. In fact this 2018 delivers a performance that would rival the best from either Burgundy or Bordeaux for elegance, presence and complexity, while still be a soulful and ultra pleasure filled wine. Influenced by its terroir in the des Dentelles de Montmirail, the Domaine Saint-Damien, named for the Christian martyr, has vines set in the rocky hillsides on marls, a mix of limestone and hardened clay soils, in terraced vineyards that get plenty of warm sunshine through the days and high elevation coolness at night that allows for perfect ripening of the grapes, which include mainly Grenache of course as well as Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah. This wine is beautifully proportioned and divinely textural revealing succulent layers of black raspberry, plum, pomegranate and a deep sense of creme de cassis along with violets, peppercorns, dried herbs, a hint of baked earth, cedar and anise accents that dance on the full bodied palate. This is riveting stuff that is surprisingly well integrated at this point, which makes it drink stylishly and with subtle rustic notes and this Gigondas should prove to be a stunning age worthy wine with its velvet covered muscles and underlying structure, depth and energy… I really am taken with this 2018 Saint-Damien and the mineral tone it has, as well as the opulent mouth feel and its lively pop of spice and lingering kirsch note, don’t pass up a chance to try this opaque purple/garnet hued and top notch Gigondas!”

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

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $31
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas ‘Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes’, Rhône 2015 1.5L ($109.95) $89 special, 6 magnums in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The most opulent and voluptuous of the 2015s, the 2015 Gigondas Les Souteyrades is heavenly juice that, again, drinks well past its humble price point. Just loaded with notions of strawberries, framboise, spring flowers, dried orange peels and spice, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a thick, unctuous texture, sweet tannin and a great, great finish. This cuvée is the normal 80/20 split of Grenache and Mourvèdre, aged all in foudre, and there’s just 750 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Like the La Louisiane, the 2015 Gigondas les Souteyrades spent a year in foudres prior to bottling. It a similar blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre, but grown on north-facing gray clays. There’s more pepper and herb here, still wonderfully ripe raspberries but less chocolate. Full-bodied, it’s still silky and refined, with tremendous length on the finish.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!


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Trending Wines

Great Sangiovese, perfect for pasta or pizza nights.
La Gerla ‘Poggio gli Angeli’ Sangiovese Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 La Gerla ‘Poggio gli Angeli’ Sangiovese Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($249.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Eric Guido – Vinous 90 points
“La Gerla’s 2017 Poggio gli Angeli displays a mix of fresh, wild red berries, savory, spicy herbs and hints of cedar. On the palate, soft textures give way to crushed raspberry and cherry, with hints of sweet spice and sage. The finish is long and fresh, elevated by zesty acids, and showing hints of strawberry and inner floral notes.”

One of the great old-school CdP producers.
Domaine Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône 2017 750ML ($74.95) Was $59, Now $52.50, 31 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape is an awesome wine from Laurent, and while it shows the sunny, ripe, sexy style of the vintage, it never loses the elegance and purity that’s the hallmark of Charvin. Lots of kirsch, graphite, dried flowers, garrigue, and ample minerality flow to a medium to full-bodied, silky, incredibly well-balanced red that has a stacked mid-palate, building tannins, and a great finish. Give bottles 4-5 years of bottle age and it will cruise over the following two decades.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 94-95 points “Brilliant magenta. An assertively perfumed bouquet of ripe red and blue fruits, Moroccan spices and incense carries a smoky overtone. Sweet, penetrating raspberry preserve, cherry, lavender pastille and spicecake flavors show impressive depth as well as vivacity. Displays superb clarity and floral thrust on the finish, which features smoothly interwoven tannins and lingering spiciness. This wine shows just how much complexity can be achieved, even in a hot vintage, in the absence of any oak, old or new.”

One of the most reliably fantastic wines each year in the Northern Rhone.
Saint Cosme Côte-Rôtie, Rhône 2017 750ML ($79.95) $55 Subscriber Special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2017 Côte Rôtie is another satisfying, character-filled wine. Complex notes of blackberries, ground herbs, new leather, and violets flow to a medium to full-bodied, layered, complete, balanced Côte-Rôtie that’s going to shine for 10-15 years. It has some feral, wild notes as well as plenty of old-school character.”
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Saturated ruby. An expansive bouquet evokes ripe, spice-tinged red and blue fruits, potpourri, violet and olive paste, and a smoky mineral nuance builds in the glass. Shows impressive depth and energy, offering sappy dark berry, cherry cola, spicecake and floral pastille flavors braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Shows a welcome light touch for its heft and finishes on a gently tannic note, displaying fine delineation and mineral thrust.”

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The next best price is $69.89

“A rich, explosive wine built on flamboyance and volume”
Cliff Lede Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District 2017 750ML ($89.95) Was $69, Now $59, 25 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“With small amounts of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, this is a classically structured, earthy and impressive wine. Char, herb and earth accents frame the elegant, crisp fruit and graceful tannins, with a lasting taste of crushed rock.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Stags Leap District) shows off the more extroverted side of the year to great effect. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, leather, lavender, spice, menthol and cloves are all amped up. The 2017 is a rich, explosive wine built on flamboyance and volume. This large-scaled, potent Cabernet Sauvignon has a ton to offer. Best of all, with a case production of over 5,500, it will be relatively easy to find, and is just as nearly as exceptional as the flagship bottlings in this range. In a word: superb.”

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The reference-point NV Grower Champagne.
Pierre Peters Cuvee de Reserve Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $52.50 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Disgorged July 2020. 2017-base. Reviews provided for reference.
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points “Disgorged in June 2019, the latest rendition of Péters’ NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Cuvée de Réserve offers up a lovely bouquet of citrus oil, pear, pastry cream, dried white flowers, hazelnuts and crushed chalk. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, fine-boned and elegant, with ripe but racy acids, a delicate pinpoint mousse and a long, saline finish. As usual, this is an immensely refined Champagne that exemplifies the timeless style of this Mesnil-based Chardonnay specialist.”

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A polished and elegant ‘Baby Brunello’
La Fortuna Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 91 points
“The 2018 La Fortuna Rosso di Montalcino is ripe, textured and silky smooth with pure Sangiovese character. It goes wonderfully with simple cuisine and shows a good cut of freshness for easy youthful drinking pleasure. The 2018 vintage is less serious than 2016 in the Montalcino area, but still offers plenty of flavor and value to savvy Tuscan fans. The Rosso di Montalcino “Baby Brunello” offerings are going to be fun and there will be plenty of bargains to be found, like this La Fortuna with its polished and elegant styling. Fresh out the box the La Fortuna is smoothly rich with vine-picked tangy blackberry, wild plum, cranberry, strawberry and tart cherry fruits along with blood orange, tobacco leaf, potpourri florals, rosemary, lavender and spiced cedar notes. A richer form comes out with air and food, making it a medium to full bodied Sangiovese that has a lot of charm, especially for the price. This 100% Sangiovese Grosso (Brunello clone) was crafted with traditional care and made for early drinking with grapes coming from vineyard parcels that range from 15 to 25 years on the semi volcanic soils of the region and was fermented in temperature controlled tanks with about a 20 day maceration on the skins to give it that dark burgundy hue in the glass. After fermentation this La Fortuna Rosso di Montalcino is racked mostly to large Slovenian oak casks for six months and aged a further six months in mainly 1 and 2 times filled small French barriques, which explains the luxurious velvety mouth feel, before bottling. This estate goes back a long way with the Zannoni [family] first arriving at “La Fortuna” back in 1907 to work the farmstead and through the generations rose up to finally purchase the property and become a private winery and label with fifth generation Gioberto Zannoni now in charge at this highly regarded Brunello label. I suggest buying the 2013 and 2016 if you can still find them, but don’t overlook these tasty and graceful 2018s either.”
Winery Note “Its burgundy red colour and intriguing acidity opens to the sense of smell with strong fruity flavours; intense and fascinating, spicy, it maintains a well-constructed pleasant taste, full and plain, velvety and smooth.”

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Collector’s Corner:

Napa’s Original ‘Cult’ Producer

Diamond Creek invented much of what we think of as pillars of cult California Cabernet. The single vineyard bottlings, the exclusive mailing list, and the elevated prices all seemed to spring from this tiny estate on the hillsides of Diamond Mountain. The wines are as iconic as ever—monuments to the greatness of their Napa terroir.

We’ve featured their 2018s before, predicting that the lineup would garner high praise once reviewers got their hands on them. And without being too brash in tooting our own horns, it is clear now that our prediction was spot on. The Wine Advocate just published reviews punctuated by deservedly high scores.

Stylistically, these are powerful Cabernets. Although there are distinct differences between the three vineyards, the wines show a common vein of Diamond Mountain ruggedness—an intensity of flavor and minerality that’s unique to the AVA. Diamond Creek manages to harness it to produce wines that dazzle with their complexity and age-worthiness; wines that rival the finest in Bordeaux. These are wines that are destined to stand the test of time as modern classics of Napa Valley.

In Stock Now:

Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2018 750ML ($279.95) $249 special, 15 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 98+ points
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5% Merlot, 8.7% Malbec and 2.8% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it bursts with vibrant scents of wild blueberries, chocolate-covered cherries and boysenberries with hints of sassafras, fragrant earth, vanilla pod and underbrush, plus a waft of crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers fantastic purity and depth, offering firm, grainy tannins to support the bags of earth-laced black fruits, finishing long and mineral laced. 791 cases were made.”
Winery notes “Volcanic Hill is comprised of 8 acres of south facing hillside vineyard.  It is the warmest of all our micro-climates.  The color of the soil is gray, and the consistency is that of fluffy, volcanic ash, originally deposited from the eruption of Mt. Konocti 8 million years ago. Volcanic Hill is the longest lived of our wines. Our winemaker describes these wines as “full bodied, loaded with intense ripe berry fruit, cassis, violets and a smoky richness, finishing with good length and firm tannins. The Volcanic Hill bottling includes a small amount of the extra-ordinary Petit Verdot grape.”

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Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2018 750ML ($279.95) $249 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 98 points
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 4.5% Malbec and 4.5% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple, it comes bounding out of the glass with exuberant notes of cassis, plum preserves, cedar chest and pencil lead, plus wafts of black truffles, damp soil and unsmoked cigars. Medium to full-bodied, the palate bursts with black berry flavors and wonderful freshness, packed with loads of subtle savory layers and textured by approachable, plush tannins, finishing on a lingering fragrant earth note. 599 cases were made.”
Winery notes “Red Rock Terrace, a warm microclimate, is 7 acres of north facing vineyard.  The red tinted soil is high in iron content.  The wine from Red Rock Terrace is the most accessible and earliest drinkable of all our wines. Our winemaker describes Red Rock Terrace as “having velvety tannins, rich and well balanced, medium dark ruby color with cherry, mint and black currant flavors.”

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Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2018 750ML ($279.95) $249 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 97 points
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow is a blend of 78.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.4% Merlot, 8% Malbec and 5.1% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple in color, it slips effortlessly from the glass, singing of ripe black cherries, black raspberries and cassis, plus hints of red currants, roses, cinnamon stick and garrigue. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers lovely freshness, offering bags of perfumed black fruits in the mouth, beautifully supported by fine-grained tannins, finishing long with lots of soft-spoken floral and mineral whispers. This perfumed beauty wears the 2018 vintage stamp well, presenting a more delicate expression of this vineyard—one that I love! 647 cases were made.”
Winery notes “Our second coolest micro-climate is our five-acre Gravelly Meadow vineyard. Originally a pre-historic river bed, this stony, gravelly soil drains rapidly and the vines struggle for moisture. Gravelly Meadow is our lowest yielding vineyard. The wines are described as “earthy, cedary, jammy and ripe blackberry with a spicy expansive finish.”

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