In This Newsletter:
Chardonnay Value of the Year?
New Wines from Biondi Santi
Brunello’s Alpha and Omega
Including Their Rare Riserva
Two 99+ Point California Icons:
Continuum and Dominus
Grant goes to Bandol
Rosé Season Gets Rolling
Vega Sicilia: The King of Spanish Wine
Chardonnay Value of the Year?
I took a lot of Chardonnay up to the Olympic Peninsula last week to drink with halibut and king salmon—and Sandhi’s Zuni Café bottling was the clear standout. The wine was the favorite of a several-night stretch, even among $70 bottles of white Burgundy and top Oregon names, for its surprising complexity and impeccable balance. Bright and lively, it’s a distinctly costal version of California Chardonnay, with good acidity that will appeal to lovers of cool-climate wines. The few years of bottle-age seems to have allowed the wine to knit together beautifully, and the individual components have all blended to a seamless whole.
That a sub-$25 bottle showed so well isn’t a surprise, in retrospect—it’s made by star winemaker Sashi Moorman (Evening Land, Stoplman, Piedrasassi) and super-sommelier Raj Parr, from some of the best vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills and old vines at Bien Nacido. These are all windy sites that benefit from rocky soils and cool Pacific breezes, allowing for bright natural acidity in the finished wine. It’s easy to see how the legendary Zuni Café sold cases-upon-cases of this at $72 per bottle off their list, so it’s an absolute steal at our price.
In Stock Now:
Sandhi Zuni Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County 2016 750ML ($34.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Sandhi Zuni Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County 2016 750ML ($399.95) $239 special (that’s only $19.92/bottle!)
Winery note “If you’ve ever sat at San Francisco’s iconic Zuni Café with a plate of oysters in front of you while you wait for the iconic whole roast chicken, you may have had a glass or two of this collaboration between longtime friends Rajat Parr of Sandhi and Zuni wine director Thierry Lovato. The wine is a barrel selection from some of Sandhi’s iconic Sta. Rita Hills sites, (think Mt. Carmel, Sanford & Benedict) with enough own-rooted, 1973 Wente selection Bien Nacido Chardonnay blended in to warrant a Santa Barbara County designation. Add to that the favorable 2016 vintage in which a very warm spring and early summer gave way to cool nights and moderate daytime temperatures in July & August. These conditions allowed the medium-sized crop to mature perfectly with small berries in pristine condition and yield a remarkably balanced wine with fine depth and intensity.”
New Wines from Biondi Santi
Brunello’s Alpha and Omega
Including Their Rare Riserva
Arriving ETA Early June:
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($579.95) $419 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 94+ points “Dark red. Musky nuances give way to brighter red fruit, licorice and herbal aromas. Rich and dense, with flavors of red cherry and minerals lifted by hints of orange peel and bergamot, not to mention noteworthy but harmonious acidity. Finishes long with youthfully chewy tannins and lingering hints of violet. This strikes me as a slightly readier to drink version of Brunello Riserva from Biondi-Santi, but as always, it improves greatly with aeration so decant at least six hours ahead for maximum enjoyment.”
Wine & Spirits 94 points “A warm summer yielded this rich and opulent 2011 Riserva. Only fruit from the estate’s oldest vines (some up to 80 years of age) makes it into this bottling, and that old-vine concentration shows in the wine’s dense flavors: notes of black cherry and umeboshi plum layered with iodine, basil and smoke. The tightly packed flavors need time to unfold, so it’s best to decant this several hours before serving.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo, Rosso di Montalcino 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “I am immediately smitten by the Biondi-Santi 2016 Rosso di Montalcino thanks to the purity of the aromas on display. The bouquet literally submerges the senses in Sangiovese, with those delicate aromas of wild rose, violets, wet earth and brambly forest berry. Background notes of licorice, camphor ash and balsam herb come into steady focus. I am delighted by the intensity and the immense focus of this wine. This Rosso di Montalcino stands with the best of Brunello and gives us good reason to have very high expectations for the 2016 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino that will be released appellation-wide at the beginning of next year. This is a solid mid-weight Rosso with good structure and fine points of fresh acidity that move the wine with determination and grace smoothly over the palate.”
Eric Guido-Vinous 93 points “The 2016 Rosso di Montalcino hails from lower-elevation vineyards, around 250 meters, in the northern section of Montalcino. It’s a classic, layered and dramatic wine, showing bright cherry, sweet herbs, cooling mint, dried fall leaves, tobacco and savory spice, with a presence and depth that feels more like Brunello than Rosso in character. There’s sweetness and purity to the fruit here that keeps me coming back to the glass, yet I’m sure that the 2016 will benefit from a few years of cellaring, especially as its fine tannins build toward the close. The Rosso spends twelve months maturing in Slavonian oak, and it is released two years later than most.”
In Stock Now:
Biondi Santi Il Greppo, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Kerin O’Keefe- Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Underbrush, ripe berry, new leather and Mediterranean herb aromas slowly take shape in the glass. Showing youthful tension, the vibrant palate delivers red cherry, pomegranate, white pepper and pipe tobacco notes framed by bright acidity and taut, refined tannins. It already shows great balance and finesse but is still young and tight. Drink 2022-2035.”
James Suckling 95 points “Love the dried lemon rind, florals and red fruits. Medium to full body and a solid core of fruit and spices. Long and flavorful finish. Just a hint of sweet tobacco. Better in 2020.”
Two 99+ Point California Icons:
Continuum and Dominus
Continuum has emerged over the last several years as one of the most important wineries in Napa Valley. With a beautiful estate vineyard located on a prime west-facing exposure on Pritchard Hill, overlooking Lake Hennessey, Tim Mondavi honors his family’s heritage while making some of the most exciting wines in the Valley. Big, bold, seductive, and hard to find, Continuum’s flagship red is sought after by collectors, enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike.
In Stock Now:
Continuum Proprietary Red, Napa Valley 2018 750ML ($299.95) $259 special
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 98-100 points “Composed of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot and 6% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple 2018 Proprietary Red has a fantastically fragrant nose of candied violets, red roses, Morello cherries and blackcurrant pastilles with hints of wild blueberries, red currant jelly, iron ore and forest floor, plus a waft of cinnamon stick. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is completely packed with tightly wound black and red berry layers, framed by firm, ripe, finely grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with incredibly persistent and evocative floral and mineral layers. An absolute head-turner, this 2018 is all that and then some.”
Winery note “The 2018 Continuum shows energy and verve. The wine expresses purity and precision, with high tone aromatics of red and blue fruit, deep plum and rose oil. This vintage shows an approachable nerve of the land in the refined mineral quality on the palate. The surrounding native vegetation of bay and sage is evidenced in an earthy, savory profile. This is a shimmering, silky and harmoniously integrated wine with densely packed fine grain tannins. 2018 Continuum is a wine for the ages, delicious today with a long life ahead.”
Continuum Proprietary Red, Oakville 2017 375ML ($149.95) $128 special, 20 half-bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 97+ points “A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot and 9% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple 2017 Proprietary Red soars out of the glass with notions of baked blueberries, plum preserves and blackcurrant cordial, backed up by nuances of chocolate mint, wild sage, violets and pencil shavings, plus an earthy hint of Chinese five spice. The rich, seductive, full-bodied palate is jam-packed with spicy black fruit preserves, framed by wonderfully plush tannins and a lively backbone, finishing long and opulent.”
Love California wine? We have over 75 different options from the Golden State in stock. Shop the entire selection, including staff favorites like Arnot-Roberts, Freemark Abbey, Pax and more, on our web store now.
Dominus was founded by Christian Moueix, proprietor of the legendary Chateau Petrus in Pomerol and his vision has shaped Dominus into the force that it’s become. Despite its French heritage, the wine is definitely California in tone and style, combining waves of rich fruit and beautiful aromatics with enough tannin to ground the wine. We’ve just received our allocation of the ’18—the product of a near-perfect growing season in Napa.
There’s a consensus brewing that this is one of the greatest editions of Dominus yet, with a perfect score from Jeb Dunnuck, plus two others at 97+ points. As with the previous several vintages, we expect to sell out quickly, so California enthusiasts should stock up quickly. There are also an (extremely) limited quantity of magnums available, should you be looking for cellar-centerpieces.
Arriving Next Week:
Dominus Estate Napa Valley 2018 750ML ($349.95) $299 pre-arrival special
Dominus Estate Napa Valley 2018 1.5L ($749.95) $649 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The flagship 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon checks in as 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot brought up in 40% new French oak. With an essence of Cabernet-like character in its darker currants, green tobacco, cedar, graphite, and floral aromas and flavors, this gorgeous wine is full-bodied and has bright yet integrated acidity, polished tannins, and a great, great finish. It’s just gorgeously put together and a magical, flawless wine. It’s going to take a decade to hit maturity but will evolve for 40-50 years in cold cellars. It is as good as it gets in classic, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon!”
Wine Advocate 99+ points “Very deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Dominus slowly emerges from the glass with profound notes of blackcurrant cordial, ripe black plums, boysenberries and Black Forest cake with hints of violets, star anise, cracked black pepper, raspberry leaves and pencil lead, plus a touch of garrigue. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers impactful black fruit layers, creating a beguiling sense of richness that is beautifully countered by invigorating freshness and great poise, framed by super ripe, plush tannins and beautiful tension, finishing on a lingering fragrant earth note and, finally, lots of mineral sparks. For all that it is at the moment, one cannot help but feel that this 2018 is holding something back. Give it a good five years in bottle, at least, and then get set for what I suspect will be a mind-blowing transformation over the next 30 years+.-LPB”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2018 Dominus is wild and exotic from the first taste. Lifted aromatics make a strong opening impression. There is something exuberant about the 2018 that is hard to describe. The 2018 is not a huge Dominus, nor is it massively structured, but the intensity of the flavors is remarkable just the same. Dark raspberry, spice, leather and cedar are some of the many notes that open over time.”
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.)
Arriving Next Week
The Final Tranche of
2016 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco
The three crus that the Cantina is famous for (Ovello, Albesani and Gallina) all show the brilliant fruit, dazzling complexity, and polish that the Cantina del Pino is famous for. Ovello is the leanest and most elegant of the bunch, with wiry tannins allowing it to age seemingly forever. Albesani has more power and richness, and is considered by many to be the most complete in the lineup. These are stunning Piemontese cru. Anyone who loves classically built, top-tier Nebbiolo ought to be jumping all over these.
“I have to say, tasting these 2016s from Cantina del Pino was bittersweet, as proprietor Renato Vacca lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. “I have to get the estate ready for the future,” a visibly ill Renato Vacca told me last year as we sat down to taste the 2015s. It was the last time I saw him. In the 2016s, readers will find gorgeous, vibrant Barbarescos that capture all of the pedigree of the year. If opened young, the wines need a lot of air to show at their best. Vacca is survived by his wife Franca and daughter Anna. I am hopeful Cantina del Pino will continue to thrive, as it is one of the crown jewels of Piedmont.” –Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
“Italian wine lost one of its most graceful and gentle figures. Renato Vacca of Cantina del Pino passed away in March 2020 at the young age of 51. He was battling cancer and is survived by his wife Franca Miretti and his daughter Anna. With a house and winery overlooking the Ovello cru with the church tower of Barbaresco beautifully framed by vines, the Vacca family started off as growers with the Produttori del Barbaresco cooperative, managed today by Renato’s cousin Aldo Vacca. In 1997, Renato decided to leave Produttori del Barbaresco to bottle his own fruit and start his own label (Cantina del Pino is named after a giant pine tree planted symbolically at the top of Ovello). His wines are fragile and soulful, much like the man himself. Cantina del Pino releases its Barbaresco wines one year later than its peers. Our heartfelt condolences go to his family.” –Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
Arriving Next Week:
Cantina del Pino Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($47.95) $44 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2016 Barbaresco is a knock-out. And it is, for lack of a better word, the entry-level wine in this range. Freshly cut flowers, mint, cinnamon, red berry fruit and orange zest are some of the notes that lift from a Barbaresco that is all class. There is plenty of structure, but the purity of the fruit is so striking that the tannins are not especially noticeable. The 2016 is a stunning wine, that’s all there is to it.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “The Cantina del Pino 2016 Barbaresco offers a classic portrait of the Nebbiolo grape. This winery always releases its Barbaresco wines one year later than its peers (who are now selling 2017). That extra year of aging serves to further polish and sharpen pretty aromas of wild berry, licorice, camphor ash and dried orange peel. Like the other wines from this terrific portfolio, this Barbaresco is defined by its energy and electric personality. You can drink it now, or put this wine in your cellar for longer aging. It performs beautifully either way. Some 12,000 bottles were made.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Plump and permeated by rose, cherry, raspberry, iron, tar and tobacco flavors, this red has power and intensity. Assertive tannins emerge on the finish, yet this has plenty in reserve. Shows a fine purity and harmony. Best from 2024 through 2042. —B.S.”
Also Available from Cantina del Pino, In Stock Now:
Cantina del Pino Albesani Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($69.95) $55 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2016 Barbaresco Albesani is the most reticent wine in this range. I have seen that before with this wine, only to see it blossom with a few years in bottle. Powerful and tightly wound, the Albesani is a Barbaresco to cellar for at least a few years. At this stage, it is all acid, tannin and brawn. Super-classic in the best sense of the term, the 2016 really only starts to blossom with about 24 hours of air! All of the classic Albesani breadth and inner sweetness is there, it just needs time to reveal itself.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “This is one of the most distinctive wines in this group of new releases from Cantina del Pino. The 2016 Barbaresco Albesani offers a slender and accessible personality, with light touches of menthol or medicinal herb that add focus and linearity to the bouquet. At its core, this pretty Nebbiolo from Neive shows delicate and graceful fruit tones of wild strawberry and red currant. Background aromas include ash, licorice and crushed stone. This is perhaps the most fragile of these three single-vineyard releases from Cantina del Pino, and with only 3,000 bottles made, it is also precious.”
Cantina del Pino Albesani Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) $55 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95 points “One of the many highlights in this range, the Cantina del Pino’s 2015 Barbaresco Albesani is a wine of real gravitas and vertical power. A whole range of floral and savory notes develop in this statuesque, potent Barbaresco. Dried flowers, herbs, cedar, tobacco and mint add myriad shades of nuance. The Albesani is one of the most reticent wines in this lineup today, but it has an explosive energy that is just waiting to emerge. Time in the glass reveals a Barbaresco of exquisite beauty.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “Of the single-vineyard Barbarescos presented by Cantina del Pino, the 2015 Barbaresco Albesani shows the darkest color and richest appearance. The wine is svelte and tight with dark fruit nuances of wild blueberry, spice, tobacco and moist earth or black truffle. This is a beautiful, solid and tight wine that will open nicely with a few more years of cellar age. Only 3,000 bottles were made.”
A Bandol Gem hiding in Plain sight!
With how the wine world is currently obsessed with anything coming out of the Rhone, Bandol remains a stellar value with a parallel wine personality due to being neighboring regions. The primary differences between the two are largely climactic with Bandol having a mitigating sea breeze coming from the nearby Mediterranean Sea. This contributes to a lifted acidity and heighted aromatic character, making for hefty yet elegant reds, quenching whites and storied rose’s. Chateau Pradeaux’s roots in Bandol date back to 1752, when the Portalis family was tasked with a draft of the Napoleonic Code. This extended time amongst their vines and terroir is evident in their practices, which are entirely traditional with only minor elements borrowed from the current era. As Champions and advocates of the Mourvèdre grape (Largely considered the most important red in Bandol) they use it almost entirely in their Rouge. For context most producers blend in Grenache or Cinsault to soften the aggressive tannic structure. Pradeaux elects to omit new oak and allow the rouge to age in foudre for 4 years before bottling. Considering how most other producers are currently releasing their 2018’s, it’s mind boggling that 2015 is considered “new” or “current”. This fastidious approach to winemaking is evident from the first pour, with spectacular aromas of blackberry jam, herb d’provence, wood smoke and violets meandering out of the glass. A lifted yet full body coats every tastebud from the first sip and delivers a regiment of flavors ranging from crème de cassis, Java plum and anise with a finish of pu’erh tea, Applewood bacon and dusty loam. Pradeaux is a total knockout across the board that should be bought in multiples because it’s only going to improve for the next 8 years or more. In terms of food, this calls for an izakaya, bouillabaisse or paella for pairing.
In Stock Now:
Chateau Pradeaux Bandol, Provence 2015 750ML ($54.95) $47.50 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Importer note “The Bandol from Pradeaux is a creature whose soul emerges from Mourvedre. The classic cuvee is 95% Mourvedre and 5% Grenache, with the Grenache adding spice to the bouquet and leavening some of the drama provided by the intimidating structure of the Mourvedre. One of the hallmarks of Pradeaux is that the grapes are never destemmed. The result is a wine of ferocious tannin in its youth, another reason for the prolonged aging in these large wooden barrels, a time for the wine to repose and find its identity as it emerges from the cocoon of tannins to reveal an exceptionally complex crowd of aromas and flavors. Although situated mere steps from the Mediterranean, harvest at Pradeaux (always manual) frequently starts in earnest for the Mourvedre during the first weeks of October. The average age of the vines is approximately 35 years and harvest levels are quite low, often in the range of 25 hectoliters per hectare. Fermention occurs at temperatures between 28 and 30 degrees Celsius and the wines are racked into large oak ovals and foudres where they rest with occasional rackings for four years before being bottled. Neither new oak nor small barrels are ever used at Pradeaux and the red wines are never fined nor filtered.”
Need more wine from Provence in your life? We’ve got a plethora of producers, from Abbatucci to Galantin that you can browse on our web store.
Rosé Season Gets Rolling
New Provencal Picks Arriving Weekly
Domaines Ott Cotes de Provence ‘By.Ott’ Rose 2020 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaines Ott Cotes de Provence ‘By.Ott’ Rose 2020 750ML ($299.95) $236 special (that’s only $19.67/bottle!)
No reviews for the 2020 vintage. 2019 review provided for reference.
Jeb Dunnuck 90 points “[2019 vintage] The entry level rosé from this estate, the 2019 Cotes De Provence By. Ott Rose comes mostly from the estate vineyards in Château de Selle and Clos Miereille, with one-third from nearby estates. A blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Cinsault, and the rest Syrah and Mourvèdre, its light pink hue is followed by a lovely Provençal nose of tart strawberries, orange blossom, and flowers. With good acidity, a rounded, supple texture, and a kiss of salty minerality on the finish, it’s a winner to enjoy over the coming 3-6 months.”
Peyrassol ‘La Croix des Templiers’ Rose IGP Mediterranee 2020 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Peyrassol ‘La Croix des Templiers’ Rose IGP Mediterranee 2020 750ML ($199.95) $169 special (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
Importer note “Beautiful pale pink in color, with distinct bluish hues. This expressive blend opens immediately with notes of small red fruits carried on a savory undertone of garrigue. There is a refreshing touch of greenness on the palate which gives this fresh, lively wine its truly thirst-quenching character. An accessible blend in the true style of Provençal rosé: delicate with flavors of white fruit and a hint of minerality. Varietal Composition: 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 10% Syrah. With a long history of producing Provençal wines, the Commanderie de Peyrassol has broadened its offering using fruit from its IGP classified vineyards around the Coudonnier area and completed with sourcings from local partnerships. The winery produces this rosé with the goal of creating a more accessible wine with a focus on quality and freshness.”
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Cuvee des Commandeurs’ Rose 2020 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Cuvee des Commandeurs’ Rose 2020 750ML ($279.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Importer note “Cuvée des Commandeurs bottles the essence of quality fruit, seeking to evoke pleasure and delight the senses. This accessible rosé was crafted to provide thirst-quenching freshness with vibrant fruitiness, without sacrificing elegance and complexity. Its rosy appearance is delicate in color and an expressive nose lends charm to this blend. A palate dominated by wild berries: gooseberry and raspberry that reveal themselves in a crisp, silky mouthfeel enhanced with a touch of minerality. 40% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 10% Rolle. Harvested at night to preserve the acidity and in double floor boxes to prevent any early maceration and coloration of the juice. The fruit is directly destemmed and pressed on arrival in the cellar. The alcoholic fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Arriving Next Week:
Chateau du Seuil Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence ‘La Chapelle du Seuil’ Rose 2020 750ML ($17.95) $15.50 pre-arrival special
Skurnik Wines note “The Château du Seuil sits on the Puyricard plateau at an altitude between 350 and 450 meters, the highest site in Aix-en-Provence. Its towers date to the 13th and 16th century and it is classified on the list of French historic monuments. While the estate’s grounds cover nearly 340 hectares, only 62 hectares are planted to vines while another portion is dedicated to olive oil production. Owners Agnès et Robert Daussu are completely renovating the old Château and updating the cellar, as well as converting to organic farming. Sitting on an ancient fault line, the terroir is incredibly complex: clay, chalk, and rocks, with layers of iron-laden calcaire, and big galet. The vineyards benefit from the dry hot climate which is moderated by the Mistral wind. Enologist Pierre Guerin, who works also at Chateau Peyrassol, vinifies and ages the wine in tank. 25% Grenache, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Rolle, 10% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 5% Grenache Blanc. From the highest altitude vineyards in Aix-en-Provence. Same oenoglist as Peyrassol. 30+ year old vines. 350-500m altitude. Clay-limestone soil. Direct press rosé. Fermented and aged in tank. Saline, fresh and mouthwateringly pure.”
Chateau du Seuil Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence ‘La Chapelle du Seuil’ Rose 2020 750ML ($21.95) $19 pre-arrival special
Skurnik Wines note “The Château du Seuil sits on the Puyricard plateau at an altitude between 350 and 450 meters, the highest site in Aix-en-Provence. Its towers date to the 13th and 16th century and it is classified on the list of French historic monuments. While the estate’s grounds cover nearly 340 hectares, only 62 hectares are planted to vines while another portion is dedicated to olive oil production. Owners Agnès et Robert Daussu are completely renovating the old Château and updating the cellar, as well as converting to organic farming. Sitting on an ancient fault line, the terroir is incredibly complex: clay, chalk, and rocks, with layers of iron-laden calcaire, and big galet. The vineyards benefit from the dry hot climate which is moderated by the Mistral wind. Enologist Pierre Guerin, who works also at Chateau Peyrassol, vinifies and ages the wine in tank. 30% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Grenache, 15% Cinsault. From the highest vineyards in Aix-en-Provence. 35+ year old vines. 350-500m altitude. Clay-limestone soil. Direct press rosé. Fermented and aged in tank.”
Importer Note “Brilliant garnet red colour with orange highlights developing with age; ample and intense perfume with fruity, jammy and spicy notes; dry, full and aristocratic flavour. Traditional red wine maceration for 15-20 days with temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel vats and frequent pumping-over. This wine is left to age for at least 18-24 months in large (30-50hectolitre) barrels of Slavonian oak and is then refined in horizontally-placed bottles for at least 6 months.”
Castello di Ama continues to make some of the best modern Chianti out there.
Castello di Ama ‘San Lorenzo’ Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2014 750ML ($59.95) $33 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2014 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Lorenzo flaunts its importance. It boasts confidence and an outward-looking personality that comes as a refreshing surprise. Like all Gran Selezione wines, it is released 30 months after January 1st following the harvest. That means it still has a few more months to go before it hits the market. This expression of Sangiovese shows depth and power with ripe fruit tones of cherry and forest berry. Like many of the other high profile wines I preview-tasted from the difficult 2014 vintage, I am delighted and surprised by the elegant and soft nature of the mature tannins. The wine’s finish offers bright freshness with layers of dark fruit, wet earth and forest floor.”
Kerin O’Keefe – Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Aromas of exotic spice, pipe tobacco, woodland berry and a whiff of French oak take center stage on this fragrant, elegant red. The racy, ethereal palate delivers tart red cherry, tart pomegranate, cinnamon and vanilla framed in taut fine-grained tannins and vibrant acidity. Drink 2019–2026.”
The next lowest listed price is $59.99
Spring and Summer red? Look no further.
G.B. Burlotto Verduno Pelaverga Piedmont 2019 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Importer note “Pelaverga is an hierloom Piedmontese varietal. Matteo Ascheri aims to highlight the grape’s potential as a dry, still red with spicy, dark cherry and red-berry flavors. A medium bodied, fresh and bright red, the Pelaverga pairs well with a wide range of pastas, pizzas and lighter grilled meats and fish.”
A unicorn GG—one of the rarest dry wines in the Mosel.
Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Grosses Gewächs Mosel 2018 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 93-95 points “The Willi Schaefer Gaacher Himmelreich GG is a unicorn wine… [Review above]”
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “The 2018er Himmelreich GG, as it is written on the main part of the label, comes from fruit picked in the Himmelreich and Stablay parts of the vineyard, and was fermented spontaneously and aged on its gross lees in traditional Fuder cask until June 2019. It offers a stunningly complex nose made of lemongrass, mirabelle, grapefruit, herbs, wet stone, and delicately earthy spices. The wine proves stunningly playful and balanced on the light-footed but intense palate. It leaves a superbly engaging feel of fresh fruits, minerals, and herbs pepped up a most delicate touch of tickly acidity in the long and suave finish. The after-taste is all about airiness as more fruits, minerals, and refreshing elements add depth to the experience. This is a stunning expression of airy dry Mosel Riesling. What a huge success! 2023-2033”
Cote Rotie at $50? They’re hard to find, and rarely this good.
Domaine Francois Merlin Cote Rotie Rhone 2018 750ML ($79.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 2018 Domaine Francois Merlin Cote Rotie Rhone 750ML ($479.95) $279 special (that’s only $46.50/bottle!)
Decanter 93 points “A very soft style, very ripe and juicy. Fairly tannic, but they’re ripe and yielding with flavours of black fruit coulis and touch of liquorice. It has fairly high alcohol with a saline finish – there’s freshness despite the very ripe fruit. This is a palate-coating, fairly opulent style but will be good when it’s ready – has length.”
Pure, elegant rosé with beautifully fine carbonation.
Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rose Champagne NV 750ML ($54.95) Was $45 Now $41.90, 36+ bottles in stock now
André Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rosé, Champagne NV 3L ($379.95) $319 special, 5 double magnums in stock now
Case-6 Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rose Champagne 750ML ($319.95) Was $249 Now $238
Case-12 André Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rosé, Champagne NV 750ML ($599.95) Was $469 Now $449
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “The NV Brut Rosé No 3 Grand Cru is a pure Bouzy Pinot Noir that gets its beautiful intense onion-skin color from the addition of 8% red wine. The nose is rich and complex but at the same time pure and refined, with a nice chalky layer and vinous fruit intensity. Round and rich but fresh and vital on the pure and elegant palate, this is a full-bodied, pretty intense and persistent rosé to be served with main courses. This rosé is seriously complex and expressive, with grip, tension and a long finish. Remarkable in class and style.”
A staff pick from some of the oldest Syrah vines in North America.
Marietta Cellars Gibson Block Syrah McDowell Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92-95 points “The 2017 Syrah Estate Gibson Block is a total knockout. Inky, rich and voluptuous in the glass, the 2017 possesses off-the-charts fruit intensity. Even with all of its density, the 2017 retains a terrific backbone of acidity and graphite-infused minerality that gives the wine unreal brightness. The 2017 is such a distinctive wine. I can’t wait to taste it from bottle.”
A cellar pick!
Cavallotto Bricco Boschis Barolo DOCG 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 34 bottles in stock now
Kerin O’keefe-Wine Enthusiast 99 points “Aromas of woodland berry, underbrush, hazelnut and camphor form the nose along with a whiff of rose petal on this captivating, delicious wine. The full-bodied structured palate is still young and primary but already shows raspberry compote, ripe Marasca cherry, star anise, tobacco and the barest hint of game. Tightly knit noble tannins and fresh acidity provide the firm frame and impart serious aging potential. Hold for even more complexity. Drink 2026–2056.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98 points “All of these wines from Cavallotto deliver a very floral and perfumed subtext that gives lift and delicate buoyancy to the overall bouquet. This is the Castiglione Falletto magic that shows so well in this classic vintage. The 2016 Barolo Bricco Boschis offers dried cherry, sandalwood, bramble and forest floor. The wine reveals a slightly wild and untamed character that adds to its interest and personality. Overall, this is an elegant wine with a streamlined and elegant finish. The aromas are focused and bright. I can’t wait to taste the Riserva expression from this site when it is released in three years’ time.”
Vega Sicilia: The King of Spanish Wine
If Spain had an aristocracy of wines, Vega Sicilia would be king. Founded in 1864, over a century before creation of the Ribera del Duero DOC, the estate’s various owners have made singular wines ever since. In fact, Vega Sicilia can hardly be compared to other Spanish wines, not even the greats of Rioja. For one thing, the grape varieties originally planted and still grown in Vega Sicilia’s 500-acre limestone-soil vineyard include Bordeaux varieties, though eighty percent of the vines are Tempranillo. As a result, Vega Sicilia doesn’t taste like other Tempranillo-based wines from Spain. They’re dense and sumptuous, intense but full of finesse, complex and long-lingering on the palate, with the individuality of a monarch. This is like Spain’s First Growth, its Dominus.
We have a few bottles left of the 2015 Valbuena 5, a wine Luis Gutierrez described as “explosive and showy”. If you’re a fan of Spanish reds with a modern flair, this is a must-have.
In Stock Now:
Vega Sicilia Tinto Valbuena 5, Ribera del Duero 2015 750ML ($199.95) $179 special, 5 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points “The aromas to this are so complex and enticing with nutmeg, dark berries, chocolate and white pepper. Full body. Dense and layered with so much wonderful, complex and succulent character. It just makes you want to drink it. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2015 Valbuena, a red blend of mostly Tempranillo with some 5% Merlot, is released in the fifth year after the harvest. It’s explosive and showy, with a complex nose that shows a mixture of flowers and wild herbs, balsamic touches and great nuance. This wine has gained in complexity since the 2010 vintage, where they implemented some changes that increased the expressivity and precision of this wine. The tannins are fine-grained and there is very good balance, and the warm conditions of the year have been absorbed well by the wine. Despite the natural conditions of the year, the wine follows the path of freshness of the 2010. 173,673 bottles, 5,625 magnums and some larger formats produced. It was bottled in June 2018.”
Vinopolis is an independent wine shop in Portland that opened in 2004. Our goal has always been to offer the finest, broadest, and largest selection of wines at the best prices to our customers in Portland, in Oregon, across the West Coast, and throughout the United States.
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