Weekend VinopolPick 6-26-20

In Today’s Newsletter:

Vintage Port Subscriber Special

Featured New Arrival:
Nin-Ortiz’ Stunning Amphora Aged Garnacha

A New Top Tempranillo
Wine Spectator’s “Highly Recommended” Ribera del Duero

New Grapelive Reviews
For Cameron and Spreitzer: Two Vinopolis Favorites

Lindes de Remelluri – Serious Value in Rioja

Trending Wines

Collector’s Corner:
A Slew of Older, Rare Champagne


Vintage Port Subscriber Special

Vintage Port remains one of the best deals in the world of classical fine wine—top flight, epic bottlings from historic producers with long track records at prices that seem unfathomable given their pedigree.  These are wines that compete with Grand Cru Burgundy and First Growth Bordeaux at prices that are fractions of their peers.

We’re offering you extra discounts on these fantastic wines through the end of the weekend—10% off purchases of 6+ bottles of Vintage Port and 5% off purchases of 3-5 bottles.  Pick up some current release Dow for less than $90 per bottle or some 40+ year old Taylor Fladgate for less than $270—just don’t wait.

Mix any 3-5 bottles of Vintage Port for 5% off
Mix any 6+ bottles of Vintage Port for 10% off
Offer valid on in-stock wines
Discount will not display online
We will adjust your order manually before finalizing
Sale Ends Sunday, June 28th at 6 PM Pacific

Here are some of our top picks in stock now!

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 1977 750ML ($349.95) $299 Displayed Price, that’s $284.05 at 5% off and $269.10 at 10% off!
Note on condition of bottles: labels and bottles show wear and tear of 40 years in cellar.
Wine Spectator 97 points “Good ruby color still. The nose is fresh, with lots of crushed berry and plum, with a hint of piecrust. Full-bodied, with firm tannins and a caressing texture. This delivers loads of complex fruit and spiciness. Medium-sweet. A beauty. Will improve for decades, but why wait? ’77/’85/’97 blind Port retrospective. Drink now.”
Robert Parker 96 points “This house must certainly be the Latour of Portugal. Their ports are remarkably backward yet still impressive when young. Of all the vintage ports, those of Taylor need the longest time to mature and even when fully mature seem to have an inner strength and firmness that keep them going for decades. Their tawnys are also among the very best, though somewhat expensive. The 1977 has consistently been at the top of my list of vintage ports in this great vintage, although the Dow, Graham, and Fonseca are equally splendid. It is a mammoth, opaque, statuesque vintage port of remarkable depth and power, but is should not be touched before 2000.”

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2003 1.5L ($299.95) $249 Displayed Price, that’s $236.55 at 5% off and $224.10 at 10% off!
Robert Parker – Hedonist’s Gazette 100 points
” I noticed the Chinese love to have both a sweet wine and a vintage port at the end of a meal, which is pretty much over-kill for me. However, I was blown away by the 2003 Taylors vintage port. The Great Wall of China, Black Tie Dinner.”
Pierre Ravoni – Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2003 Taylor’s has a lovely ripe, primal bouquet of blackberry, raspberry, vanilla and marmalade that shows slightly better delineation than the Fonseca. The palate is medium-bodied with very composed, refined tannins that belie the heat of that summer. There is wonderful focus here and fine tension, the finish offering precise notes of black cherries, mulberry, cloves and white pepper. This is one of the finest Ports of a precocious vintage. Tasted May 2013.”

Dow’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 Displayed Price, that’s $94.05 at 5% off and $89.10 at 10% off!
Wine Spectator 98 points
“This packs a lot of fun, with a wallop of blackberry, fig, boysenberry and açai berry compote flavors working together, laced with a mouthwatering licorice snap note and driven by a fresh, well-detailed finish. A roasted apple wood accent is integrated as well, lending textural contrast through the vivacious finish. Best from 2030 through 2055.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Very floral, intense and ripe, this is a wine that is based around big black fruits as well as fine acidity. It is obviously destined for long aging with its powerful dry tannins and perfumed acidity. Drink this wine from 2028.”
James Suckling 96 points “Aromas of blueberries, blackberries and dried flowers plus hints of slate follow through to a full body, very fine tannins and a driven and linear finish. Orange peel and dried fruit. Sleek and racy. Ready to try in 2024.”

W & J Graham’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 Displayed Price, that’s $94.05 at 5% off and $89.10 at 10% off!
James Suckling 99 points
“Extremely complex aromas that show the classic Graham character of black-fruit marmalade and burnt oranges. Follows through to a full body with great grip at the finish. Lightly sweet. Chewy and powerful. Such a focus at the end.”
Wine Spectator 98 points “This offers a distilled plum and boysenberry essence, with a racy feel, as spearmint and graphite notes drive through. As the finish kicks in, this turns toward the dark side, with ganache, charcoal and tar elements. Has the showy ripeness of the vintage but is backed by a decidedly dry feel on the finish, imparting a sense of precision despite the heft. Best from 2030 through 2055.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Cellar Selection. This finely structured wine is powered by fine tannins and rich fruits. A touch of acidity comes through the rich berry flavors and the concentration of the dark tannins. This wine will certainly age, don’t drink before 2028.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Vintage Port is a blend of 37% Touriga Nacional, 42% Touriga Franca and various others. It comes in with 115 grams of residual sugar. A bit bigger than Dow’s this year, this is more intense as well. The better wine of these two benchmarks seems to be this Graham’s. Tight on the finish, aromatic and very flavorful, this actually opens rather well and shows off its lovely fruit. The Dow’s will be approachable a bit earlier, perhaps, and this may reward aging even more. As always, Graham’s is wonderfully delicious. That’s one hallmark of the house. I’m not sure this is a truly great Graham’s, but at the moment, it is enticing, with plenty of potential for improvement. There were 6,325 cases produced, plus some bottles in other formats.”

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port, Portugal 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 Displayed Price, that’s $113.05 at 5% off and $107.10 at 10% off!
#42 Wine of the Year – James Suckling Top 100 in 2018
James Suckling 98 points “
This is a superb baby Noval that reminds me of the 1966. Chewy yet so polished. The light sweetness suggests an overall dialing back of the sugar content. Stemmy and lightly green. A truly classic Noval. Almost all from Pinhao. Buy. Better in 2025.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “This has terrific energy from the start, with a bramble note inlaid in the core of cherry and plum paste flavors. Sappy, sweet and fresh, with a plum cake-infused finish. Gains focus and polish as it stretches out in the glass.—Non-blind Quinta do Noval vertical (May 2018). Best from 2030 through 2055. 6,000 cases made.”
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend, mostly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão and Sousão, aged for 18 months in old wood. It comes in with 82 grams of residual sugar. This was in bottle for only about seven weeks when seen, but I made sure at least some of it had a lot of air. It looks super, with plenty of room to grow in the cellar. Christian Seely likes to say that this regular Noval and the Nacional are not better than one another, just different. In fact, I usually prefer Nacional, but in this vintage I make a case for equality and endorse that view. This was stunning from the first smell, promising concentration, intensity of fruit and great things to come. It had a 100-point nose that made me go “wow!” No wine I tasted had a better nose than this. Violets and blue fruits lead off, with a trace of eucalyptus. I tend to think Noval is a producer that always shows mid-palate finesse, but this seems pretty deep too. It is also intense. The tannins won’t sear your mouth because the balance is impeccable. To be sure, it might close down, but it is surprisingly approachable now, notwithstanding that intensity. Rest assured that this lively young Porto still has all the materials to make old bones. Needless to say, “approachable” does not mean “ready.” You need to toss this in the cellar for a decade, at least. Purists will say to double that or more. When the palate becomes as expressive as the nose—if it does—this will be entitled to an uptick. No pricing was set yet.”

Warre’s Vintage Port, Portugal 1977 750ML ($249.95) $199 Displayed Price, that’s $189.05 at 5% off and $179.10 at 10% off!
James Suckling 94 points
“The Warre was beautiful now. It showed lots of dried fruits and Christmas cake character on the nose and palate. Medium sweet. It was full-bodied with loads of flavor and an intensely flavorful finish. It was perfect to drink.”(06/2016)

Fonseca Vintage Port, Portugal 1985 750ML ($149.95) ) $119 Displayed Price, that’s $113.05 at 5% off and $107.10 at 10% off!
Wine Spectator 95 points
“A hard, take-no-prisoners Port, extremely powerful and still closed when last tasted. Deep inky color, with concentrated blackberry and raisin aromas, full-bodied, with massive raisin flavors, a superb backbone and a very long finish.”



Featured New Arrival

Nin-Ortiz’ Stunning Amphora Aged Garnacha

Familia Nin-Ortiz is one of the leading lights of New Priorat.  Both Ester Nin and Carles Ortiz are renowned viticulturists (Ester, notably, was the vineyard guru behind Clos Erasmus) and some of the earliest proponents of biodynamics in Priorat, but what they’re doing together on the winery side is stunning indeed.  Their wines are some of the most compelling in Priorat, combining the power inherent in the terroir with a stunning sense of energy and vitality.

They’re best known for their “Nit de Nin” single vineyard bottlings—wines which the top restaurants in Spain fight over.  Both the “Mas d’En Cancador” and “La Coma d’En Romeu” are monuments of Priorat and channel the power of the appellation into focused beams of schist-based energy.  Their “Planetes” releases offer a gentler, more elegant approach to the wines, perfect for drinking now.

The only complaint about these excellent bottles is the quantities.  Every notable restaurant in Barcelona and Madrid (and London) are trying to put these on their wine lists, so often there’s not a lot available by the time the US gets access to them.  Only 30 and 9 bottles are available of the two single vineyards and the Planetes wines are coming under four cases each.  The Garnatxes (Garnacha) en Amfora arrived to day and would be a brilliant pick to drink alongside summer grilling 

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Familia Nin-Ortiz ‘Planetes de Nin’ Garnatxes en Amfora, Priorat DOCa 2016 750ML ($44.95) $33 special
Case-12 Familia Nin-Ortiz ‘Planetes de Nin’ Garnatxes en Amfora, Priorat DOCa 2016 750ML ($499.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2016 Planetes de Nin Garnatxes en Amfora was produced with biodynamically farmed Garnacha that fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in 700- and 1,000-liter terracotta amphorae for seven months. They do two versions, one with a little SO2 and the other without, and the difference is minimal. At first one was more closed, but when it opened up, they were very similar and showed some herbal and raspberry leaf aromas intermixed with wild berries and notions of earth, aromatic and balanced. It has fine tannins and a velvety texture. 7,395 bottles were filled in April 2017.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $38

Arriving ETA July:

Familia Nin-Ortiz ‘Planetes de Nin’ Blanc, Priorat DOCa 2018 750ML ($99.95) $75 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Cariñena Blanca has finally been added to the registry of varieties in Spain, which means it should soon be allowed by the Priorat appellation, so they could start putting it on the labels of the 2018 Planetes de Nin Carinyena Blanca. This fermented and matured in used 300-liter oak barrels for seven months. It’s 13% alcohol and has a pH of 3.2 with 6.5 grams of acidity (tartaric); they struggled to get the minimum 13% alcohol required by the appellation, as the year was very cold and they lost a lot of grapes waiting for the alcohol level. It’s a year with lots of freshness, and the wine, which feels really young and undeveloped, needs some time in the glass to open up. This is an exceptional year that is going to develop slowly in bottle. The palate is vibrant, focused and dry, with citrus freshness and a mineral finish. 1,948 bottles were filled in April 2018.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Familia Nin-Ortiz ‘Nit de Nin’ Mas d’en Cacador, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 97+ points
“The 2017 Nit de Nin Mas d’en Caçador is a vintage they talk about like this: “We will remember this vintage as one of the most extreme of the decade, along with that of 2012. It is in years like these that the work we do in the field is rewarded. In spite of the climatic exceptionality, we have acidity and pH that seem like a miracle to us. Our vines did not suffer the severe frosts of this 2017.” The wine has lower alcohol than the 2016 but the same pH of 3.3; insultingly young and tender, it doesn’t feel like the wine had a long élevage in oak. It has kept very good freshness and great balance. It’s tasty, pungent and long, with power and elegance and all the components to develop nicely in bottle. 1,440 bottles were filled in April 2019.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Familia Nin-Ortiz Planetes de Nin Classic, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2017 Planetes de Nin comes from the four hectares of 20-year-old Garnacha and 11-year-old Cariñena in the Planetes vineyard in Porrera at 450 meters in altitude. It’s 60% Garnacha (some of it Peluda) and the rest Cariñena, harvested early. It fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in 3,200-liter oak vats and one 1,000-liter amphora for 17 months. It has depth and harmony, and the vines are getting older and seem to be better and better balanced. This is not that different from the 2016; it feels quite stable and has its style and character, especially since the 2015 vintage. 9,704 bottles were filled in April 2019.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Familia Nin-Ortiz ‘Planetes de Nin’ Garnatxes en Amfora, Priorat DOCa 2018 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“Produced with Garnacha grapes from their four hectares in Finca Planetes in Porrera, the 2018 Planetes de Nin Garnatxes en Amfora fermented with indigenous yeasts for four weeks and matured in 700- and 1,000-liter terracotta amphorae for seven months. The nose jumps out of the glass with very clean aromas that are expressive, floral and pure, with a profile of juicy fruit, like biting into a bunch of ripe Garnacha. Delicious! 6,200 bottles were filled in June 2019.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!


A New Top Tempranillo

Wine Spectator’s “Highly Recommended” Ribera del Duero

Arriving Friday, July 3rd:

Bodegas Resalte de Penafiel ‘Origen de Resalte’, Ribera del Duero 2015 750ML ($34.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Bodegas Resalte de Penafiel ‘Origen de Resalte’, Ribera del Duero 2015 750ML ($399.95) $279 pre-arrival special (that’s only $23.25/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Highly Recommended. Firm and polished, this solid red shows loamy earth, espresso and clove notes framing a core of currant and dried fig flavors. The muscular tannins are well-integrated and balanced by lively acidity. Harmonious and energetic. Drink now through 2035. 10,620 cases made, 2,340 cases imported.”


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New Grapelive Reviews

For Cameron and Spreitzer: Two Vinopolis Favorites

In Stock Now:

Cameron Winery Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2018 750ML ($29.95) $27 special
Case-12 Cameron Winery Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2018 750ML ($349.95) $315 special (that’s only $26.25/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Grapelive 93 points
“The beautiful and dark profiled Cameron Dundee Hills Pinot is one of the best values of the vintage with gorgeous detail and much less reductive notes than usually show in these young Cameron Pinots showing an array of expressive flavors and floral aromas. The 2018 Cameron Dundee Hills Pinot, by the legendary John Paul, one of Oregon’s hall of fame winemakers is very Vosne-Romannee like and at 13.4% is wonderfully balance and full of energy with layers of black cherry, mulberry, currant, strawberry and plum fruits, crushed rose petals, orange tea, delicate earth and loaminess and red spices. With air this exceptional wine adds mineral, sweet herb and smoky wood notes with touches of vanilla and cedar adding just the right amount of luxurious accents here. It’s very interesting, this Willamette Pinot takes on a personality that actually reminds me of Assmannshausen Spatbergunder.… which are wines that in some vintages are as good as Pinot Noir can ever hope to get. Both Clos Electrique and Abbey Ridge use organic treatments and holistic farming methods and have a variety of clonal material with John Paul preferring old heritage clones which he painstakingly collected himself and the yields are limited to produce wines of depth and concentration.  John Paul’s Pinots are always made from non-irrigated vines and in this case was sourced from his own Abbey Ridge and Clos Electrique cru vineyards set of the classic Jory (red iron rich) volcanic soils which give this regions wines their unique personalities and distinction, which I find adds complex and exotic nuances nd makes Dundee special. This 2018 is fresh and has a deep garnet and ruby hue in the glass that beautifully captures the light and the texture is satiny and the length is very rewarding, making it an insanely good value and a wine that will excel with cuisine, especially with seared duck breast, pepper crusted ahi, blackened salmon and even smoked meats. This 2018, not an easy vintage for the Oregon winemakers, is very charming and the brave and skilled were rewarded with some incredible Pinot Noirs, like this one from Cameron, it is a wine to stock up on for mid term drinking, 3 to 5 years. Cameron usually allows their Pinot to age a minimum of 18 months and sometimes closer to 22 months.”

Shop our selection of nineteen Cameron wines in-stock now on our web store!

Weingut Josef Spreitzer Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Kabinett, Rheingau 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Grapelive 92 points
“This 2018 vintage is a beauty and a fabulous summer wine. One of the oldest family wineries in the Rheingau, Weingut Spreitzer…have really done an amazing job elevating this historic estate.…The Lenchen delivers a lovely concentration of flavors and the Kabinett with expressive fruity character drinks almost as impressively as a Spatlese with a serious palate impact and structure, while still feeling bright and brisk, not cloying or overtly sweet with apricot, apple, pineapple and racy citrus fruits along with touches of gingery spices, lemongrass, lime sorbet, wild mint tea and rosewater. This Kabinett has a sunny personality and makes you smile with comforting yellow fruits, but there is an underlying mineral focus and stoniness that reminds you that this terroir is very special….The vines are littered here with pebbles as well as heavy tertiary, iron-containing clay marl and quartzite that adds complexity to the profile that leans toward exotic in nature. The Spreitzer team used a combination of old fuder (German oak cask) and stainless steel tanks to ferment and age the Lench Kabinett to retain fresh detail as well as give texture, which this vintage manages to convey to near perfection, making for an ideal Kabinett Riesling that is both fun and quaffable along with having complexity to thrill the senses and goes brilliantly with food, classic German dishes and especially spicy Asian cuisines like Thai.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
We’ve got six stellar wines available from Spreitzer.
Head to our webstore to shop them all now.



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Lindes de Remelluri

Serious Value in Rioja

Telmo Rondriguez is one of the most talented winemakers in Spain.  Internationally trained, he returned to the family estate, Remelluri, and has taken it to new heights.  Remelluri is in Rioja Alavesa—the smallest part of Rioja which is known for intense, powerful wines and these are no exception.  The soils in their vineyards are exceptionally shallow, creating small berries and greater concentration in the wines and their organic farming and careful cellar work keeps a sense of brightness and energy even in warm vintages. 

Remelluri eschews American oak, finding it too overblown, and instead works with only the highest quality French cooperage.  No expense is spared, up and down the line, and these wines are special as a result of that.  Their wines somehow manage the magic trick of being impressive today and capable of aging for decades.  These are some of the landmark wines of Spain and deserve a prominent place in any cellar.

The Lindes de Remelluri (“Borders of Remelluri”) are made from grapes traditionally sold to the estate and sourced from village vineyards in San Vicente de La Sonsierra or La Bastida, surrounding the estate.  This “second wine” is an absolute steal of a bottling and a wine to buy with abandon. We just brought in The 2015 Labastida and have its cousin the 2015 San Vicente arriving next month (plus we’ve got the ’14 San Vicente in stock now).  These represents some of the best values in Rioja today and an easy on the wallet way to try some wines from a Spanish master.

Just Arrived:

Remelluri Lindes De Remelluri Labastida, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2015 Lindes de Remelluri Viñedos de Labastida was produced with Tempranillo and Garnacha purchased from growers from that village and was cropped from a healthy and homogeneous year. There is a ripe note on the nose, and the palate has some dusty tannins that call for food. 76,044 bottles produced.”
James Suckling 92 points “A fine and caressing red with blackberry and blueberry character. Hints of black tea, too. Medium body. Cool, lightly chewy wine. Drink or hold.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Arriving ETA July:

Remelluri Lindes Remelluri San Vicente, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2015 Lindes de Remelluri Viñedos de San Vicente de la Sonsierra is mostly Tempranillo with some Garnacha from vines in that village, and it’s the finest of the four wines from Lindes that I tasted this time. It is floral, elegant and harmonious, with no excess in any way. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins and a long finish. Impressive. 63,324 were filled in June 2017.”
James Suckling 93 points “A wine with dark chocolate, walnut and berry aromas and flavors. Chewy and rich with plenty of dense fruit characer. Full and structured. Needs a year or two to soften. Better after 2021.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

In Stock Now:

Remelluri Lindes de Remelluri San Vicente, Rioja Doca 2014 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Case-6 Remelluri Lindes de Remelluri San Vicente, Rioja Doca 2014 750ML ($179.95) $128 special (that’s only $21.33/bottle!)
James Suckling 96 points
“Some richer, darker and deeper fruit character with plums, blackberries and a dark, earthy streak. The tannins are more upright, more elevated, and the fruit is richer and darker than in the Labastida. This has real presence, grip and energy. Try from 2021.”
Grapelive 94 points “Telmo Rodriguez, one of the most iconic and best winemakers of his generation…. has accomplished himself as a champion of terroir over varietal and employs artisan craftsmanship in the cellar, with his wines hardly ever showing overt oak or aggressive alcohol, they always show distinctive purity and a sense of place, and these secondary wines known as Lindes de Remmelluri are magnificent expressions of Rioja, they are richly flavored and soulful wines crafted from old vine purchased fruit from vineyards that prior had got into the family’s main wine. These two vineyard select wines, Labastida and this San Vincente, coming from vineyards that used to go into the Remelluri Reserva are now separated into these two new single vineyard bottlings that are absolutely stunning values, especially in this 2014 vintage….The beautiful and deep Lindes de Remelluri Viñedos de San Vicente 2014, a field blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Garnacha, was fermented using all native yeasts in cool stainless steel tanks and then raised in barrel, 100% French oak, for 12 months before bottling where it is rested a good amount of time as well. San Vincente in the Rioja Alta just to the east of Haro is at about 50 meters up, but hotter than the higher sites at Labastida and at the main Remelluri estate located in Rioja Alavesa which are much cooler, making this wine seem more lush, riper in satiny tannin and with a softer acidity. Grown on hardened clay and calcareous limestone over a firm core of bedrock from organic vines that average at least 40 years of age this wine shows warm dark fruits, blackberry, cherry and plum lead the way along with hints of earthy mulberry and cranberry along with lilacs, cedar/sandalwood, a touch of vanilla and a subtle array of spices. 2014 was a slightly cooler year and that really helps this wine feel alive on the opulent and full bodied palate and it lingers on and on with a echoing aftertaste that is highly impressive. Telmo’s wines are always polished and textural, but distinctly authentic with terruño character and delivering substance along with some flair, which this one shows, it should age well too, I can imagine at least another decade plus with this 2014 San Vincente.”

Remelluri Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2012 750ML ($99.95) $89 special
Case-6 Remelluri Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2012 750ML ($599.95) $499 special (that’s only $83.17/bottle!)
James Suckling 96 points
“The DNA of Remelluri is here. Wild mountain herb character, structured and firm, these tannins are succulent and deeply expressive. Powerful and assertive red plums, wild cherries and roasting herbs with the oak sitting well. Power and balance. Try from 2021.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94+ points “A blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano, the 2012 Granja Remelluri Gran Reserva represents what they are aiming for with this wine, a classical expression of the place, the quintessence of the vineyards. The select their oldest vineyards and age the wine for a long time, coming back to those early years of a modern Rioja that has now turned into a classic. It has some dusty tannins, with good grip and length. It was bottled in 24,238 bottles after an élevage of 26 months. It has been in bottle since May 2015.”

Remelluri Reserva, Rioja Doca 2012 750ML ($44.95) $33 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“Deep ruby. Ripe red berries, dried flowers, illicit herb and smoky minerals on the exotically perfumed nose. The palate offers spicy, penetrating, concentrated flavors of black raspberry, cherry compote and floral pastilles, with a zesty mineral quality building in the glass. Shows excellent clarity and intensity on the very long, floral, gently tannic finish.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The flagship 2012 Reserva was cropped from a year when they started seeing the results of improvements made to the work in the vineyards that started in 2010. 2012 was not as warm and ripe as 2011, and the wine comes through as a nice balance between power and elegance, with some earthiness, good fruit and a fine palate. It has a personality between the Labastida and San Vicente bottlings of the Lindes bottlings. It matured in barrique for 18 months, but the wood feels very well integrated. 2012 was a shorter crop, and they produced some 281,000 bottles. It was bottled in April 2015.”

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


Trending Wines

Croatia’s…errr, America’s Grape for America’s Birthday
Easton Zinfandel, Amador County (Domaine de la Terre Rouge) 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Epitomizes fine Sierra Foothills Zinfandel, offering vibrant, briary raspberry, smoked pepper and wild sweet anise flavors that stretch out on the zesty finish. Drink now through 2023. 6,200 cases made.”

A great bottle of Chateauneuf at throwback pricing.
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $29 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Ripe and forward in feel, featuring crushed raspberry and blackberry compote notes, mixed with red licorice, blood orange, rooibos tea and fruitcake hints. Silky from start to finish, with a subtle sanguine thread lacing up the finish. Very enticing. Best from 2020 through 2037. 16,000 cases made, 2,000 cases imported.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $35 

A serious Albarino worth cellaring
Bodegas Nanclares ‘Soverribas de Nanclares’, Rias Baixas 2018 750ML ($49.95) $45 special, 35 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“Soverribas Albariño comes from a single, southwest-facing parcel named Paraje Manzaniña, located in the parroquia of Padrenda (Meaño). After a wet and cool spring and summer, it turned dry and hot in August, with hand-harvesting on Sept. 10th through Oct. 6th. Grapes were pressed whole-cluster and fermented and raised on the lees in an old 2,200L French oak tina for 11 months with battonage for the first 3 months, bottled on Aug. 21st (fruit day) without fining or filtration, and modest amounts of SO2. An angular and serious vin de garde Rías Baixas wine. Decant before serving.”

 This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

“This is the ENTRY LEVEL wine?” – Andy
Raul Perez Ultreia Saint Jacques, Bierzo, 2017 750ML ($22.95) $16.60 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The clean, floral and 2017 Ultreia Saint Jacques comes mostly from old vineyards from different soils in Valtuille and Villadecanes fermented in stainless steel and oak vats with part of full clusters and matured in used barriques for one year. It’s produced in a fresh and very drinkable way. This is one of the best values from Bierzo and Spain, and a great introduction to Bierzo. It’s a more serious wine than what the wine was when it was first produced, fresh and elegant. It’s very reliable and a great value. There are some 100,000 bottles that were filled in two production runs.”
Grapelive 93 points “The awesomely priced Ultreia Saint Jacques Bierzo, from the famed Raul Perez, is a deep and full flavored wine with lovely balance and energy that shows off its old vine concentration and clay based soil terroir. This multi vineyard field blend style red from Bierzo’s Valtuille zone comes from vineyard plots ranging in age from 80 to 120 years old shows Mencia in a richer form than say the Ribeira Sacra, but the small bit of Bastardo (believed to be Trousseau) and Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) plus lots whole bunches keeps things well balanced and the fruit is contrasted by a light earthiness, savory notes, spice and mineral elements. This 2017 is ripe and dark fruited with bright blackberry, plum, currant and black cherry layers as well as snappy herbal notes, cedar and cinnamon all flowing in a rush of vivid flavors and authentic character. The vines, for all of Perez’s lineup are all organic, and for this one, were all hand tended and harvested with the oldest being from plants that date back to 1900 and the youngest from 1940, making for a wonderful regional expression of varietal character and a wine with a proud sense of place and being, it is also a fantastic gateway into Raul’s brilliant set of vinous glories.  As mentioned here and across the world of wine, Raul Perez is a grand master of Mencia and the godfather of the Bierzo region with a huge impact on how this wine is seen, clearly defining what it is and should be.…This Ulteia Saint Jacques is one of Perez’s entry level bottlings, but you’d be hard pressed to find anything lacking here, though his upper end cru stuff is out of this world. The Saint Jacques was about 80% whole cluster and fermented with indigenous yeasts in large wooden vats with maceration(s) lasting between two and five months, which is a long cool period, which adds to the dimension in this beautiful Tinto. The wine, after primary is then rack to an assortment of vessels to age with a combination of French casks including 225L, 500L, foudre and with some of the wine seeing its elevage in cement cuve, after which the Saint Jacques was bottled unfined and unfiltered to preserve every nuance and show the purity of this wine’s personality. I love this fresh and easy to drink young red, well I love all of Raul’s wines, but this one delivers so much for the price it is impossible to resist, drink with simple country dishes, hard cheeses and or BBQ. It’s hard to imagine a better deal on such quality old vine, medium bodied stuff!”

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A superlative bottle of Sancerre from one of the true masters.
Gerard Boulay Sancerre Les Monts Damnes, Loire 2018 750ML ($69.95) $51.90 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Importer Note
“Boulay began farming the steeply sloped Mont Damnés vineyard in 1982. His plot has an average vine age of 45 years. Mont Damnés’ reflective soils and south-facing exposition make it one of Chavi­gnol’s warmest sites. Overall, Gerard Boulay’s “terre blanche” vineyards produce some of the most distinctive and soil-inflected Sauvignon Blancs in the Loire, with a delineation and minerality often reminiscent of a top Chablis. Boulay is certainly among the top examples of the appellation, including Boulay’s neighbors (Cotat Bros., Vatan). These are gorgeous, highly complex wines that are a clear step above “regular” Sancerre, and can age easily for 10-20 years or more. In fact, we have had them all the way back to the 1959 which was magnificent! They confirm Boulay’s place in the top ranks of Loire Valley vignerons.”
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Collector’s Corner:

A Slew of Older, Rare Champagne
 Just Arrived

Among true aficionados of Champagne Piper is best known for their top end “Rare” bottlings—wines with astounding complexity, depth and nuance that are among the most coveted in Champagne.

Only four bottles available
Piper-Heidsieck Rare Brut Millesime, Champagne 2002 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Wine Spectator 97 points
“Impeccably balanced and silky, with finely honed acidity shaping the expansive flavors of toasted brioche, crushed blackberry, lemon preserves and honey, revealing hints of Frangelico liqueur and smoked nut. Rich and vivid, with a lasting finish. Drink now through 2027. 2,500 cases made.”
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “A gorgeous wine that’s a legend in the making, the 2002 Rare Brut is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, with just under 10 grams of dosage. Offering incredible notes of stone fruits, brioche, white flowers, and hints of toasted nuts, this flat out awesome wine is concentrated and opulent, yet still dances on the palate with vibrant acidity and great, great finish. It’s going to drink beautifully for another two to three decades. Bravo! This cuvee has only been made in 1976, 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2002, and in 2007.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95 points “The pale gold, greenish shimmering 2002 Rare Millesime – 30% Pinot Noir and 70% Chardonnay – offers a very intense and rich, yet fresh nose of exotic fruit aromas of pineapples, mango, kiwi and passion fruit. On the palate, this is a mouthful of luscious Champagne: powerful and intense, but pure and with the complexity of matured wines. The finish is very exotic in its fruit aromas, but also persistently mineral.”
Decanter 95 points “Looks like becoming another legendary Piper in the same style and league as 1988, ’76 and ’55. Already focused and concentrated. Tough acids might scare some but sublime coffee and biscuity complexity is building up slowly. Sensual wine for all occasions.”

Taittinger Comtes Rose is one of those nearly impossible-to-find wines, especially with some bottle age.  To secure six magnums of the ’00? Well, we’re the only source in the USA.

Only six magnums available
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Brut Rose, Champagne 2000 1.5L ($1199.95) $899 special
Stephen Tanzer 93 points
“Light pink. Spicy strawberry, redcurrant, blood orange and minerals on the nose, plus a hint of jasmine. Nervy, focused and light on its feet, with fresh red fruit and tangerine flavors underpinned by juicy acidity. The racy finish offers excellent lift and a lingering minerality. A rose of elegance more than power.”

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De Venoge is one of the more overlooked old-school Champagne houses, a fact that means even their finest and rarest wines continue to be undervalued relative to their peers.  Case in point? The Louis XV bottlings, which are held back on the lees for exceedingly long periods of time and  true monuments of vintage bubbly.

De Venoge Louis XV Brut Millesime, Champagne 1996 750ML ($219.95) $189 special
James Suckling 96 points
“This is really complex, old Champagne with puff-pastry, dried-apple, spice and salted-nut aromas and flavors. Full body. Ultra fine bubbles with an extremely fine and creamy mouth feel. Extreme edge to it. This spent 21 years on the lees. Disgorged in 2018. Every year they disgorge 3,000 bottles”

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De Venoge Louis XV Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($299.95) $249 special
James Suckling 95 points
“This is really punchy and broad-shouldered with muscular structure and citrusy undertones. Full body. Lightly tannic and a fresh and vivid finish. This is the first vintage without malolactic fermentation ever. One for the cellar. Better in 2022.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The straw-yellow/white-golden colored 2008 Louis XV Brut Millésimé blends 50% Chardonnay (20 % from Avize, 15% from Oger and 15% from Mesnil) with 50% Pinot Noir (41.5% from Verzenay and 8.5% from Bouzy). Disgorged in January 2018 with a dosage of six grams per liter, the 2008 displays a clear, pure, fresh, chalky-tinged and vinous nose with lemon, white fruits, brioche, hazelnuts, white blossoms and some caramel notes. Pure, lean, fresh and elegant on the palate, with a lingering hazelnut flavor, this is a straight yet complex cuvée with grip and a long, well-structured and textured finish. This 2008 is still terribly fresh and should benefit from further bottle aging. For the moment, I am missing the mouth-filling generosity of the 2006 and 1995. Mind that this is the first vintage of de Venoge’s prestigious Louis XV where the base wines didn’t undergo malolactic fermentation! Total production: 10,326 bottles. Tasted October 2018.”

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What needs to be said about Grand Siecle, especially from a vintage like 1990? One of the hallmark bottlings out there from one of the grandest vintages of the decade.

Only three bottles available
Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle Cuvee Millenaire, Champagne 1990 750ML ($599.95) $499 special
Stephen Tanzer 94 points
” Medium orange-gold color. Musky, wild aromas of strawberry, raspberry, smoke and earth; rather pinot noir-like and expressive of its soil. Rich, ripe and dense with material but not at all heavy; red berry flavors offer a compellingly tangy quality. Very concentrated and still very young. Finishes with superb lift and length.”

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Even the most “picky” houses declare 5-6 vintages a decade, but Heidsieck will only release this wine under the most perfect of circumstances (the last vintage released was the epic 1995).  The resulting wine is powerful, intense but beyond elegant, as only Chardonnay given extended lees aging can provide

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires, Champagne 2004 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Decanter 98 points
– World Wine Awards 2019 “This Blanc de Blancs Champagne is a bright morning gold in colour, with fine-seamed bubbles and rich, expressive and expansive aromas. Beaten cream, pounded hazels, a hint of baking apples, brioche fresh from the oven. But all these notes are drawn with great subtlety, underscoring the fruit quality of the Chardonnay vineyards used in this blend. On the palate, the wine retains all that aromatic grace and amplitude, marrying it to a shapely fruit presence, vibrant though now well-rounded acidity and textural charm, too. A head-turner. Drink 2019-2028.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Disgorged in November 2017 after 13 years on the lees, the stunning 2004 Blanc des Millénaires is a worthy successor to the 1995. Unfurling in the glass with aromas of green apple, pear, brioche and fresh pastry that are framed by a lovely smoky, autolytic top note, the wine is full-bodied, ample and concentrated, with ripe acids, superb depth at the core and a textural, vinous quality while remaining very classical in profile. The finish is long and expansive. A blend of Chardonnay from Cramant, Avize, Oger, Mesnil-sur-Oger and Vertus, it saw nine grams per liter dosage. This is a terrific blanc de blancs from Charles Heidsieck that has a long and glorious future ahead of it. Sadly, the price of this cuvée has finally caught up with the quality.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “A seamless Champagne, showing a texture of raw silk, this weaves vibrant acidity with an expressive range of glazed apple and poached white cherry fruit flavors, with pickled ginger and saffron spice details and rich notes of pastry cream, toast and coffee liqueur. More about finesse than power, this is long and creamy on the mineral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2028. [Reviewed Dec 2018]”
[Disgorgement dates may vary from reviews]

Thanks for reading!