Weekend VinopolPick 6-7-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Perrier Jouet’s Belle Epoque at Nat’l Best Pricing

2015 Tignanello Reloaded

Super/Super Tuscans

Just Arrived: Vieux Telegraphe’s Legendary 2016

Latour x Eisele = California Greatness

Staff Pick: Spanish Value

New Grapelive Reviews

Trending Wines

Top 2008 Champagnes – Legendary Wines / Legendary Vintage

New Releases from Cassis’ Finest

Rare St. Damien Magnums

Back Vintage Hermitage at Reasonable Pricing

June Sale Highlights


Perrier Jouet’s Belle Epoque

Lowest Price on the Beautiful Tete de Cuvee

The beautiful (and beautifully packaged) Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque radiates elegance, with a fine mousse and delicate flavors and aromas.  It’s always one of the best values in Tete de Cuvee Champagnes. We’re making the value even better by offering a deal on the 2011 version that’s as good as the wine is—the best price in the country and even better by the six-pack! These arrive this coming Friday and once this sells through we won’t be able to offer this sort of pricing, so act quickly.

Arriving Friday, June 14th:

Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Brut, Champagne 2011 750ML ($179.95) $108 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Brut, Champagne 2011 750ML ($959.95) $599 pre-arrival special (that’s only $99.83/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“Always a light, ethereal style of wine, this is also very fresh and still young. It will age with its taut minerality from the Chardonnay in the blend. A softer background will become toasty over the next few years. The vintage date on this bottle is 200 years after the foundation of this producer. Drink from 2021.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $156

2015 Tignanello Reloaded

The 2015 Tignanello is an epic wine—one of the best ever releases from a legendary estate.  The first round sold out but we’re excited to announce that we were able to secure another twelve bottles, arriving this Friday.

Arriving Friday, June 14th:

#24 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2018
Only twelve bottles available

Marchesi Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points “Fantastic aromas of dark berries, sandalwood and Spanish cedar that are ever so deep. Full body, an incredible spin of polished tannins and bright acidity. Incredible depth. Like looking over the edge of a skyscraper. Powerful and structured. A great Tignanello. A little more sangiovese than usual. Best since the legendary 1997?”
Wine Spectator 97 points “Dense and intensely flavored, with violet, black currant, blackberry, graphite, wild herb and spice aromas and flavors, this is concentrated and solidly built, yet also harmonious, vibrant and pure. Approachable now, but should be better in a few years. Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2021 through 2035.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2015 Tignanello is a wine that opens, like a fully blossomed rose, right in front of you. This vintage is immediately accessible, generous and opulent. The wine will surely flesh out and gain focus with more bottle age, but one of the best qualities of this vintage is just how beautiful the wine tastes straight out of the gate. The fruit is beautifully ripe with fresh blackberry and cherry nuances, spice, leather, sweet tobacco and smoke. Up until this vintage, the various blending components that make up Tignanello were vinifed in separate lots. Starting with 2015, the wine is blended sooner in order to achieve better overall integration. The entire Tignanello estate counts 130 hectares of vines, but the single-vineyard “Tignanello” that makes this wine is 57 hectares. Some 340,000 bottles were produced.”

Also Available, Arriving ETA October:

Marchesi Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($149.95) $133 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 97 points
“To hit the market in June, the 2016 Tignanello is a rock-solid wine and a stunning beauty. The wine offers an impeccable level of precision and laser-focus delivery of fruits, spices, tilled earth, espresso beans and Mediterranean herbs. This vintage follows the classic blending formula of 80% Sangiovese with about 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Cabernet Franc. The vines are now 15 to 20 years old. Compared to the 2015 vintage that ultimately appeared more chewy and succulent, this expression from the iconic 2016 vintage is more vibrant, nervous and jazzed. It shows more savory spice, saltiness and minerality, with a beautifully integrated quality of tannins. Some 320,000 bottles were produced. This wine is at the top of the list of some of the best Tignanello ever made, including the vintages 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2015.”



Super/Super Tuscans

Tua Rita has quietly become one of the best producers of super-Tuscan wine, with a special gift for Cabernet based wines.  These wines age beautifully and will surprise you by outclassing wines that are twice as expensive.  We’re highlighting three of their bottlings today—the Cabernet-based blend called Giusto di Notri and their Petrus slayer, Redigaffi.

The Giusto di Notri is a classic Super-Tuscan in the mold of Sassicaia, based on Cabernet with decreasing portions of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  On release it’s always a bit tight and structured, but with age it turns into a beautiful, expressive wine.  Conveniently, we’ve been hunting back vintages of the Giusto di Notri and have two offerings available.  This is a wine to stockpile if you like Sassicaia and Ornellaia but don’t want to pay the prices required.

We’ve also acquired the top wine from Tua Rita—the wine that stands toe to toe with Masseto, Petrus and Le Pin at a price that makes it a bargain.  Redigaffi is one of the iconic wines of Italy, a truly breathtaking red and one that belongs in the cellar of any serious collector.  The 2015 version is one of the best in years.  We were only able to secure a few three-packs of it, though, so grab it quickly.

In Stock Now:

Redigaffi is one of the great wines of the world—full stop. Give this a few decades and watch it blow away $800 Bordeaux.
Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($299.95) $229 special, 16 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 100 points
“This is an extraordinary merlot with such purity and focus. Flowers such as violets and hints of orange peel. It is full-bodied yet incredibly energetic and structured. The finish goes on for minutes. Seamless texture. Fresh yet dense. Contrasty. Best Redigaffi ever. Hard not to drink now but a wine for decades.”

This is a wine that demands time and luckily, we’ve got a back vintage for you. 2008 was awesome and is great now.
Tua Rita Giusto di Notri Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2008 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“This fabulous blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot delivers loads of plush softness and succulent richness. Aromas of chocolate, ripe fruit and spice are distinct and clear, and the wine shows compelling complexity and intensity overall.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2008 Giusto di Notri is wonderfully alive in the glass. Dark red berries, flowers, spices, grilled herbs, licorice and leather are some of the notes that flesh out in this dazzling, vibrant Giusto di Notri. Polished tannins provide the backdrop for the silky, expressive finish. A final blast of red fruit adds freshness and brightness on the close. Giusto di Notri is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Tua Rita Giusto di Notri Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“A dark, brooding wine, the 2012 Giusto di Notri presents a compelling array of dark stone fruits, grilled herbs, smoke, tobacco and menthol. The power of Suvereto and these Bordeaux varieties are both super-expressive in a virile, imposing wine loaded with personality and gorgeous, totally resonant fruit. This is a terrific showing.”

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


Just Arrived!

Vieux Telegraphe’s Legendary 2016

“One of the Top Vintages of This Wine”

Vieux Telegraphe is a name that instantly connotes greatness and profundity in wine. One of the benchmark names in Chateauneuf du Pape, the estate’s wines are legendary for their complexity and longevity.  Owned for generations by the esteemed Brunier family, the venerable estate sits in the fabled “La Crau” subzone of Chateauneuf—home of the famous galet soils (only found in select areas in the AOC).  These large rocks reflect heat back to the vines at night, creating the intense, powerful wines that top estates like Telegraphe are known for.

It’s no secret that 2016 is considered a landmark vintage in the Rhone.  Across all appellations, the vintage was warm, trouble free and resulted in powerful wines with great density and impressive aromatics.  Vieux Telegraphe made wines that recalled their 2007 and 2001 bottlings—ageworthy, powerful Chateauneuf du Pape that will go down as historic bottlings.  We just received an assortment of sizes for this legend in the making, from half-bottles to impressive three-liters. All would be fantastic to put away for a half-decade or so and then drink over the following twenty years.

In Stock Now:

Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau, Rhone 2016 375ML ($51.95) $44 special
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau, Rhone 2016 1.5L ($199.95) $179 special
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau, Rhone 2016 3L ($499.95) $399 special
James Suckling 98 points
“Impressive, complex array of wild cherries, raspberries, garrigue herbs, lightly spiced pastry and stony, chalky minerals. Super-fresh florals. The palate has superb texture, roundness, completeness, depth and detail. Powerful yet elegant with powdery tannins and essence-like red fruit. Super-fleshy, supple and dense core, then strong at the edges. Layer upon layer peels away on the finish. Resounding finesse and equilibrium, showing the full potential of the plateau La Crau. Drink or hold.
Wine Advocate 96 points “Undoubtedly one of the top vintages of this wine, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau features classy notes of crushed stones and black tea to go along with ripe raspberries and black cherries. Full-bodied yet silky, there’s more power and richness in La Crau than in Piedlong, yet there’s commensurate elegance and finesse. The wine grows in intensity on the finish without ever seeming heavy or overripe, instead offering hints of tea and licorice.”


Latour x Eisele = California Greatness

Tucked into the foothills in Calistoga, the Eisele Vineyard has produced incredible wines since 1971 for Phelps, Araujo and now (indirectly) Chateau Latour, who bought the property a few years ago.  The Altagracia is the second wine of the estate and shows the house style and class in spades.  It’s made for earlier drinkability than the mainline Cabernet, but still shows the quality of the terroir.  It may represent one of the best values in California Cabernet as well—it’s well equal to a lot of wines priced $50-70 higher.  2016 was a highly successful vintage in Napa and this is perhaps the best Altagracia ever.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Eisele Vineyard ‘Altagracia’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($169.95) $149 special
James Suckling 96 points
“Lots of violets and dark berries with sweet underbrush and fresh mushrooms, following through to a medium to full body, soft and silky tannins and a succulent and refined finish. It remains supple and beautiful. Hard not to drink now. Better after 2023.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The Altagracia is produced almost exclusively from estate fruit this year and was bottled at the end of June 2018. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia comes bursting forth with vivacious black cherries, blackberries, wild blueberries and cassis notes with touches of cinnamon stick, cloves, forest floor, violets and dusty earth with a waft of violets. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy with loads of iron and mineral accents, finishing long and perfumed.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Also Available from Eisele Vineyard:

Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 375ML ($349.95) $249 special
Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 1.5L ($1299.95) $959 special
Wine Advocate 100 points
“Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon charges from the gate with exuberant red and black cherries notes, black currants and mulberries with a beautiful roses and lavender perfume, plus hints of sandalwood and cinnamon stick. Full-bodied, concentrated and downright explosive in the mouth, it is still wearing loads of gorgeous puppy-fat fruit flavors, offering suggestions of the complex, multilayered blockbuster that it will emerge into. The structure deserves its own mention: wonderful, seamless freshness and oh-so-fine, pixelated tannins, with an extraordinary persistence of fruit and mineral nuances. Wow.”
Antonio Galloni 99 points “Eisele Vineyard’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is without question one of the wines of the vintage. Majestic and soaring in the glass, the 2015 is absolutely stunning from the very first taste. A rush of dark fruit, graphite, grilled herb, smoke, leather, earthiness and exotic spices makes a bold opening statement, but it is the wine’s breath, volume and sheer intensity that are all off the charts. I tasted the 2015 blind in a flight of wines from Calistoga’s Pickett Road neighborhood. All of the wines were terrific, but the wine that was most moving and most profound was unquestionably the 2015 from Eisele Vineyard.”

This is the lowest listed price for a half bottle in the USA today!
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum on the West Coast today!
Eisele Vineyard Syrah, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($279.95) $199 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Rich, polished and densely complex, with expressive blackberry, bay leaf and smoky pepper flavors that take on intensity toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2027.”


Staff Pick: Spanish Value

The wines of Vinyes d’en Gabriel were a revelation when we tasted them—intensely characterful, loaded with a sense of place but not over the top (which seems like a plague for Spanish wine some days).  The higher end wines were certainly fantastic, but the wine that really grabbed my heart was their cheapie—the “L’Heravi” bottling.

I’m not going to pretend that it’s “better” than the higher end wines, but it’s so charming and wonderful at the table that I keep buying it again.  I never intend to be out of it so fast, but it’s become a bit of a default when I’m trying to figure out what to drink on a Tuesday night.  Cheerful and fresh enough to go with grilled veggies or light, springy pastas, it nevertheless manages to pair red meat beautifully.  It’d be a great go-to red for your summer, as well, so I’d just buy a case and be done with it.

In Stock Now:

Vinyes d’en Gabriel L’Heravi, Montsant 2017 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Case-12 Vinyes d’en Gabriel L’Heravi, Montsant 2017 750ML ($219.95) $169 special (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
Winery note
“L’Heravi Joven is seductive, a rich cherry colour with hints of purple. It has a potent bouquet, with notes of red fruit, wild herbs and just a touch of sweet confectionery. In the mouth it is smooth and elegant, with intense flavours accompanied by freshness and nicely integrated tannins. It will continue to display its qualities over the next 3 years or so.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
New Grapelive Reviews

In Stock Now:

Muller-Catoir Haardter Riesling Trocken, Pfalz 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Grapelive 92 points
“The 2017 Müller-Catoir Haardt Trocken is exotic and highly aromatic with lovely fruit and mineral intensity, it is a wonderful and crisply dry Riesling that reflects the vintage and its remarkable Pfalz terroir.… the talented Martin Franzen [is] running the cellar here. Franzen, who in the past ran the operations at Schlossgut Diel, employs a strict program with a move to organic practices and severe selections in the vineyards, where everything is worked and picked by hand now and focuses on ultra transparency in the wines with a reductive approach, with every wine getting a hand crafted attention to detail. The Haardt, a village bottling is a pure example with expressive bright flavors and a heavenly floral perfume, while being brisk, tangy and dusty dry on the light framed palate. Müller-Catoir does a gentle crush and gives the juice plenty of time on the skins before a slow and soft pressing before an stainless steel fermentation and aging, all to preserve vibrancy and purity, the wines are always stylish and evocative.…The Haardt Riesling Trocken is all from organic grapes that were grown on standstone soils, which gives this wine its pretty nose and steely form, and this 2017 is absolutely seducing with a complex array of sensations that ranges from tropical essences to flinty wet stones, it is clear and with a tiny hint of sunshine in the glass. In the mouth this calcareous influenced Riesling shows jasmine, oyster shell, peach, tart apricot, green apple and saline notes, adding guava/papaya, rosewater and hint of zesty lime.…this one itself is fabulous and a true value offering from this great estate. I am glad I got a few bottles of Müller-Catoir from 2017, they are looking like classics. This is a great Summer refresher, but serious enough to hang out with haute cuisine, it gets more intriguing with matching food, it can go with a wide variety of foods from fresh shellfish, spicy prawns, sushi as well as cured meats, picnic fare, street tacos and Moroccan lemon chicken even. This vivid and zippy young Riesling is a quality white that makes for a nice alternative for Chablis, Kiwi Sauv Blanc and or Albarino, drink it over the next 3 to 5 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $29.94
Lorenzo De Terra Arribes Camino Frontera Tinto, Spain 2017 750ML ($39.95) $29.90 special
Grapelive 93 points
“…The 2017 shows more zip and crunchiness than the 2015 or 2016’s I had from Lorenzo and the purity of fruit is impressive with layers of blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, cherry and tart currant along with loads of mineral, crushed quartz, rose oil, minty herb, walnut, earthy tones and Moro orange. This wine benefits from cuisine that matches its lifting savoriness and vibrant acids and is lovely with a slight chill on it. Drink Lorenzo’s Camino de la Frontera over the next 3 to 5 years.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Trending Wines

A slam-dunk value Super Tuscan
Petrolo Torrione Valdarno di Sopra, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Case-6 Petrolo Torrione Valdarno di Sopra, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($179.95) $144 special (that’s only $24/bottle!)
James Suckling 95 points
“Aromas of dried flowers, dried berries, cherries and hints of stones. Full-bodied, very firm and silky. An intense underlying energy of acidity and a lovely finish. 75% sangiovese, 20% merlot and 5% cabernet sauvignon. One of the best ever? Drink in 2020.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2016 Val d’Arno di Sopra Torrione is mostly Sangiovese with smaller parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The bouquet opens to ripe cherry and dried raspberry with moist earth, exotic spice and chewing tobacco. The wine is plush and rich with a hint of that tangy Sangiovese acidity on the close. This wine was first produced in 1988, and some 50,000 bottles are made today.”

#7 Wine Spectator Wine of the Year 2017
Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($119.95)
$99 special

Antonio Galloni 95+ points “One of the wines of the vintage, the 2014 Canon La Gaffelière is explosive, lifted and aristocratic in its breeding. Bright Cabernet Franc aromatics give the wine its signature lift and precision. Raspberry jam, rose petal, mint, blood orange, tobacco and pomegranate build slowly on the palate, leading to a super-expressive, finely knit finish. Powerful yet also impeccably refined, the 2014 has it all. The 2014 is 55 % Merlot, 37 % Cabernet Franc and 8 % Cabernet Sauvignon. Don’t miss it. Tasted two times.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This cuts a wide swath, with mouthwatering tobacco and warm ganache notes leading the way, followed by a wave of fig, blackberry and black currant preserves. Shows remarkable definition already, even though the structure is strident. Tempting now, but just put this in the back of the cellar. Best from 2020 through 2035. 4,083 cases made.”

2013 is the best Barbaresco vintage in recent memory.  Buy by the case.
Produttori del Barbaresco Pora, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Case-12 Produttori del Barbaresco Pora, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 750ML ($699.95) $599 special (save $109 by the case!)
Wine Spectator 95 points
“A rich, cherry- and floral-scented red, effusive in aroma, with the core of cherry prevailing on the palate. Though fleshy, this gives way to firm tannins that line the lingering aftertaste. Inviting and full of energy, so decant now or wait. Best from 2023 through 2035.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Pora is soft, pliant and enveloping. In many vintages, the Pora can be a bit light. Not in 2013. The wine is rich and deeply textured, with layers of fruit that continue to build with time in the glass. The tannins are present, but they are nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the fruit. This is an especially powerful, brooding edition of the Pora. Although impressive today, the 2013 will drink well for decades to come.”
Wine Enthusiast – Cellar Selection 94 points “Scents of menthol, new leather, dark culinary spice, cured meat and forest floor lead the nose. The smooth, full-bodied palate shows juicy Morello cherry, pomegranate, licorice and clove balanced by vibrant acidity and tense, refined tannins. An almost salty note closes the finish. This a classic Barbaresco with years ahead of it. Drink 2021–2038.”

By the case, this is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Nearly 15 year old Muscadet (winery cellared!) is a treat, especially this one.
Comte Leloup du Chateau de Chasseloir Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie Cuvee des Ceps Centenaires, Loire 2005 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
David Schildknecht-Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2005 Chateau de Chasseloir Comte Leloup de Chasseloir Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie Cuvee des Ceps Centenaires smells of fresh lime and lemon, oyster shell and salt spray, and a Chenin-like meld of quince and pear. Along with citrus and orchard fruits, a briny-nutty meld of flavors in this wine reminds me of the freshly sauteed smelts I would in any event be inclined to drink it with! One minute this impresses me most with its sheer richness of ripe orchard fruit character and silken texture, the next for its mysterious meld of mineral elements and its sheer refreshment. Almond cream, quince, salt, chalk, and iodine – not to mention luscious citrus – are among the elements informing this wine’s kaleidoscopic finish…”

Fantastic Chateauneuf, even better considering the price.
Domaine de la Mordoree Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Dame Voyageuse, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“The new entry-level release from this estate is the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Dame Voyageuse, a more Grenache-dominated blend of 90% Grenache, 4% each of Mourvèdre and Syrah, and the balance Counoise and Vaccarèse. Aged mostly in tank, with 15% in old barrels, it boasts a deep violet/purple color as well as a full-bodied, voluptuous style in its blueberry and cherry fruits, violets, damp earth, and spice-laced aromas and flavors. This cuvée is always more upfront and sexier compared to the more structured La Reine des Bois cuvée, and it’s already drinking brilliantly today. Nevertheless, it will keep for a good 10-15 years if you’re so inclined.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Top 2008 Champagnes

Legendary Wines / Legendary Vintage

2008 is the best vintage for Champagne since 1996 and we’re always trying to locate as many of the top wines from the year to offer.  We’re excited to offer four fantastic bottles, arriving next week, that represent some of the most exciting wines produced by Grande Marques during the excellent vintage.  Whether the top wines from a venerable house like Deutz or the Millésime wines from Veuve-Cliquot or Piper, these are wines that deliver exceptional value, polish and class.  The vintage is drinking very well today but all these wines should cellar beautiful for as long as you have patience, so stock up and drink them often!

“The 2008 Champagnes that have been released so far capture all the potential I sensed when I first tasted the young vins clairs right after harvest. The 2008s are racy, energetic and tense, in the style of cool years like 1996, but with more fruit depth and less austerity. At the top end, the finest 2008 Champagnes are viscerally thrilling, chiseled wines that will soon be recognized as modern-day icons. Temperatures were never too hot during the summer and ripening was gradual. Two thousand eight is a year with high acidity, approaching 10% in some cases, and also high potential natural alcohol (because of the improved weather in September), a combination that yielded vibrant, crystalline Champagnes. Of course wine is much more complex than numbers alone, but the first 2008s I have tasted point to an exceptional, and perhaps even legendary, vintage.” –Vinous Media

“One of the best two vintages of this decade. A return to a classic, dry style in a cooler year. Powerful fruit and scintillating acidity in complete harmony. A real keeper to 2025 or later. 5/5” –Decanter

Arriving Next Week:

Deutz Amour de Deutz Blanc de Blancs Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($199.95) $159 pre-arrival special
Decanter 97 points
“Amour was created by Deutz’s long-standing managing director, Fabrice Rosset. It’s a prestige blanc de blancs which is only made in the best years, so there was little surprise when Deutz produced an Amour from the highly acclaimed 2008 vintage. This really has it all: freshness, extract, power, balance and concentration. Already, the primary nose shows chamomile and iris, while the palate is crammed with white fruits, nougat, chamomile, candied fruit and minerals. Deutz’s signature spine-tingling acidity balances out the weight and creamy texture of this generous, well structured fizz. It’s fabulous as an aperitif now but it will also develop well into old age as a gastronomic wine with delicate seafood dishes. 40,000 bottles produced.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95 points “The citrus-colored 2008 Amour de Deutz Brut Millésime is still yeasty on the nose, but very clear and elegant on the palate. This is a super pure and mineral, well-balanced Millésime with a long, intense and persistent finish. This is full of tension and finesse. A great wine.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “[Review is for 375ml] This wine is rich and surprisingly full-bodied. It comes from a great Champagne vintage, giving it both intensity and an acidity built for longterm aging. This half-bottle version is filling out, showing almond flavors yet retaining its citrus edge. Drink from 2019.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2008 Brut Millésimé Amour de Deutz is gorgeous. Bright and focused in the glass, the 2008 is full of nuance. A hint of reduction adds complexity without overpowering the wine. Crushed rocks, lemon confit and passion fruit flavors offer an appealing interplay of brightness and more overt flavors. The Amour is one of the more open, accessible 2008s readers will come across at this stage. Today, it is particularly expressive.”

Deutz Amour de Deutz Rose Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($219.95) $189 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“The 2008 Brut Rosé Millésimé Amour de Deutz is gorgeous and crystalline in the glass, as Champagnes from this vintage tend to be. Light on its feet yet also quite intense, the 2008 exudes energy in its finely sculpted red berry, floral and mineral-infused notes. The 2008 could use a bit more time in bottle to soften, but it is undeniably beautiful, even at this early stage.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94 points “Deutz’ Millésime 2008 Amour de Deutz Rosé Brut shows a pale but brilliant salmon color and a clear, delicate bouquet of discreet red fruits as well as very fine spicy and floral notes. The palate is highly delicate and fresh, firmly structured and nicely dry, with good, dense, aromatic and well-structured length. However, the wine is still young and not yet perfectly round.” [Review is for lot LA112D32216]
Wine Spectator 93 points “Spring blossom and mineral notes waft through the flavors of white cherry, star fruit and marzipan in this elegant rosé Champagne, while the sleek acidity is finely meshed and carries the flavor range on the lacy finish. Drink now through 2028.”

Piper-Heidsieck Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2008 Vintage Brut offers a clear and toasty aroma on the nose. Pure, fresh, lean and delicate but complex and mineral on the palate, this is a lithe and elegant, very finessed and persistent 2008 with grip and expression. This is a complex, intense yet light and very elegant Champagne with a pure, mineral-structured and persistent finish.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “An elegant, toasty version, featuring firm, focusing acidity layered with rich hints of canelé, dried apricot, coffee liqueur and star anise. Bright and citrusy, with a long, mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2027. 125 cases imported.”

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($ 89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($399.95) $359 pre-arrival special (that’s only $59.83/bottle!)
Decanter 96 points
“It is quite something to be invited to the launch of Champagne Veuve Clicquot 2008 at Clos des Lambrays, one of the finest grands crus of Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits and acquired by LVMH in April 2014. It was rumoured to have paid close to €100m. The Veuve Clicquot 2008 is VC Chef de Caves Dominique Demarville’s first solo vintage. What fascinated him at Lambrays was winemaker Thierry Brouin’s consummate talent in capturing from the red iron-rich soil a wonderfully bright character in the wine- so fresh, rich yet elegant, density and delicacy in magical harmony. The same can be said for my two coups de coeur in Clicquot 2008. — Veuve Clicquot 2008 (Magnum) — Shimmering green-gold. Easily up several notches from the bottle. Perfect balance of freshness, ripe acidity and complex vinosity to come. Near perfect wine, patina of seasoned spice of subtle oak. — Elegant and complex Champagne with plenty of fine mousse and flavours of toast, smoke and roasted fruit notes to balance the fresh acidity. A refined and refreshing fullbodied wine in a gastronomic style with the potential to drink well for many years.”

New Releases from Cassis’ Finest

If you’ve been to Cassis, you know the Clos Sainte Magdeleine’s estate—a peninsula of vines that juts out into the bay of Cassis.  It might be the most beautiful spot in the world to make wine, surrounded by the bright blue water of the Mediterranean with the Calanques all around.  The wines taste like the place—full of sunshine and brightness.  We just tasted through the 2018’s and were blown away.  It’s another outstanding year and these are must buys, as usual.  The winery has also introduced a new Cote du Provence bottling that’s a little more affordable—a weekday Cassis, so to speak. We’d recommend stocking up now so you can make sure to have enough of these when they arrive.

Arriving Early July:

Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($41.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rose, Provence 2018 1.5L ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“Cassis is not only an active port, but what Kermit calls “an earthly paradise.”  The vineyards of Clos Sainte Magdeleine are particularly stunning. They jut out on a private cape to meet majestic limestone cliffs, poised spectacularly above the sparkling, azure Mediterranean. With landscapes such as these, it is only fitting that writers and poets alike have found inspiration in Cassis. Only a handful of vignerons today are fortunate enough to produce A.O.C. Cassis, and the small quantities available are largely consumed locally with fresh fish—the best way to enjoy them.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $39
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!

Clos Ste Magdeleine Cote Du Provence Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special

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Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Blanc, Provence 2017 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Blanc, Provence 2017 750ML ($449.95) $328 pre-arrival special (that’s only $27.33/bottle—
the lowest price in the USA today!)
Kermit Lynch Note
“Clos Ste. Magdeleine is crafting Cassis like we have never tasted before. Vigneron Jonathan Sack has had an immediate impact since stepping into his father’s shoes at the helm of the domaine, going organic in the vineyards and championing noninterventionist methods like native yeast fermentation to capture an authentic expression of this stunning seaside terroir. The abundant white limestone and perennial marine influence bring nerve and a coastal salinity, while lovely Mediterranean scents—anise, yellow flowers, citrus, peach—are delivered with newfound focus and precision. The pinpoint, sea-breeze finish and total finesse throughout are truly exceptional among Provençal whites. You’ll want to try the 2017 to see how the unique terroir of the tiny Cassis appellation is glimmering like never before.-Anthony Lynch”

Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Blanc ‘Bel-Arme’, Provence 2016 750ML ($51.95) $39 special
Kermit Lynch Note
“I haven’t experienced deep winter on the Mediterranean coast, but if I had to guess, I imagine it’s similar to what we experience here in Berkeley—clear blue skies and brisk air, some rain and fog, and the occasional frost or dusting of snow on the coast mountain peaks. (I can imagine eyes rolling in the Midwest and Northeast.) Due to an extended aging on the lees, the Bel-Arme has the added depth and roundness for a bracing winter day. With a touch of creaminess following the crisp stone fruit, it’s a Mediterranean white in a cashmere sweater. – Dustin Soiseth”

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The next best price is $46.99
The average listed price is $50

In Stock Now:

Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($39.95) $28 special
Case-12 Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rose, Provence 2017 ($449.95) $299 special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Rare St. Damien Magnums

“[Saint Damien is] 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, but the family also owns a small portion of Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu. We finished up with a handful of older wines, which I noted for readers who may have cellared them.” –Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate

Gigondas has become the shooting star of the Southern Rhone—occupying the space that Chateauneuf du-Pape did during the 90’s and early 00’s.  This is a region that’s producing electric, thrilling wines at prices that despite recent increases are some of the best deals in the world of the highest quality wines.  Saint Damien has emerged as one of the best producers and the recent scores from the Wine Advocate only highlight the quality emerging from their cellar. These are some of the top wines coming out of the Rhone and we’re excited to offer rare magnums of their “Souteyrades” bottling from the 2015 vintage.  This is one of the best wines that St. Damien has ever made, at a price and format that means it’ll be perfect for parties or for laying down for a long time in your cellar.  Quantities are limited (we only were able to source 30 of these bad boys) so grab them now to ensure you get some.

Arriving ETA June:

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas ‘Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes’, Rhone 2015 1.5L ($109.95) $89 pre-arrival special
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 cuvee 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.”
Grapelive 93+ points “One of the Southern Rhone’s most trusted traditional producers, Joel Saurel’s Domaine Saint-Damien …has many old vine cuvees as well as a lovely Cotes du Rhone bottling as well as a Gigondas Rosé that is high demand. The Vieilles Vignes Gigondas lieu-dit “Souteyrades” which sits on a small hill is a blend of 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre from a plot of 67 year old Grenache Noir vines planted in 1948 and 38 year old Mourvèdre on an outcropping of pure grey clay soil with a few stones scattered over, it makes for deep fruit intensity and concentration, I believe this is their most powerful cuvee and this is extremely apparent in this 2015, a rich and ripe vintage. The “Les Souteyrades” vinification is old school with maceration lasting for 6 to 8 weeks in concrete vats before moving to large oak foudres for about a year all from organic grapes that are carefully hand picked and sorted. This earthy and extremely dark Gigondas starts with melted black licorice, leather and deep berries, it’s seriously dense and concentrated with lots of heady weight and texture, gaining a ripe tone with extended air, and wonderful length showing layers of black raspberry, boysenberry, plum and grenadine on the full bodied palate along with that anise, floral incense, baked cherry, chalky stones and pepper spices. This Gigondas has a more of an old school Chateauneuf du Pape like presence in the glass, it’s still way too young to be rewarding yet, but decanting and swirling really helps, it will really unfold in the coming years, be patient, a few bottles hiding for a decade will be wonderful treasures, best from 2022 to 2030.”

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Also Available, In Stock Now:

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2016 750ML ($39.95) $36 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“Deeply colored, the 2016 Gigondas La Louisiane comes from single vineyard on the lower plain, not far from the estate, and is 80% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, and the balance Syrah and Cinsault. It offers a classic bouquet of dark berry fruits, peppery herbs, garrigue, and obvious minerality. Reminding me of the 2010 with its pure, straight style, it’s full-bodied and elegant on the palate, and is going to benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age.”

Back Vintage Hermitage at Reasonable Pricing
Domaine Remizieres is a producer of flamboyant, outsized Hermitage—Syrah for lovers of the bold in wine.  They’re a relatively new estate by the standards of the Rhone (founded in 1973) but have already made a big name for themselves among lovers of big reds.  These are Syrahs that take no prisoners and have the scores to match.

We’re getting a small tranche of rare, 2010 Hermitage from Remizieres (to go along with limited quantities of the ’05/’06 in stock now) and are super excited to be offering it.  Older wines from the Northern Rhone can be extremely hard to source.  Quantities are low and, unlike Bordeaux, little is bought speculatively, so most of the original buyers of the wines end up drinking them.  These wines are already into a nice period of drinking, but they should age further with gusto, if you manage the patience.

Arriving ETA October

Domaine des Remizieres Hermitage Cuvee Emilie, Rhone 2010 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 96 points
“A profound blockbuster is the 2010 Hermitage Cuvee Emilie. An opaque purple color, unctuous texture, and sweet perfume of creme de cassis, blackberry liqueur, acacia flowers and graphite are all found in this enormously endowed, full-bodied, viscous, thick wine. It is nearly over-the-top in richness, but everything comes together with no bitterness, astringency or heaviness. The oak is well-concealed because of the wine’s extravagant fruit and glycerin. This is a 25-year Hermitage.”

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Can’t Wait? Enjoy These, In Stock Now:

Domaine des Remizieres Hermitage Cuvee Emilie, Rhone 2005 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 93+ points
“The 2005 Hermitage Cuvee Emilie has also turned out better than I thought from cask. A wonderfully intense bouquet of licorice, graphite, blackberry liqueur, and stone is followed by a full-bodied wine with superb concentration, and chewy, deep flavors of espresso roast, smoke, licorice, and creme de cassis. With plenty of tannin, this wine looks set to enjoy 20 or more years of aging potential.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Domaine des Remizieres Hermitage Cuvee Emilie, Rhone 2006 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck – Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2006 Hermitage Cuvee Emilie is more classic in style than the flamboyant 2009 and offers lots of darker fruits, game, olive and underbrush characteristics. Medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and still youthful, with notable tannin and acidity, it opens up nicely with time in the glass and has another two decades of life. [Reviewed Dec 2016]”

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June Sale Highlights

The June Sale is a week old and we’ve already added a bunch of great wines to it.  We’ve got some highlights below, but you can also see the full list on our webstore, here, or by reading to the end of the newsletter.

In Stock Now:

Avennia Sestina Red, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($79.95) Was $69, Now $59 June Sale Special, 32 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points
“The 2016 Sestina checks in as 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that saw 21 months in 48% new French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. It shows the purity and elegance of the vintage beautifully and offers classic Cabernet notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, crushed rocks, and tobacco leaf. With beautiful balance and that more elegant, finesse-driven style of the estate, it packs plenty of fruit and is a seamless wine that will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for 15-20 years.”
Josh Raynolds 93+ points “(includes a good percentage of vines from the 1970s; aged in about 45% new oak): Bright dark red. Alluring violet and rose petal lift to the aromas of dark berries, licorice and black olive. Penetrating, savory wine with terrific saline minerality and lift to its wild berry and licorice flavors. This very concentrated, backward wine finishes with serious tannins but no rough edges. A bit more sharply focused than its 2015 sibling but this wine will need longer for its tannic spine to unclench. Even the Merlot yields were moderate in 2016, noted winemaker Chris Peterson. Following a bit of acidification, this wine finished with a pH of 3.8.”

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Now it’s even lower!

Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Serraboella’, Barbaresco DOCG 2014 750ML ($41.95) Was $33, Now $29 June Sale Special
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Currant, strawberry, cherry, floral and leafy flavors are the highlights of this racy, elegant red. Balanced on the firm side, with excellent length. Best from 2020 through 2032. 800 cases made.”

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The average listed price is $38
Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Sori Paitin’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $45 June Sale Special
Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Sori Paitin’, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Sweet cherry and strawberry fruit is framed by earth, eucalyptus, tobacco and tar notes in this rich yet firm red. The assertive tannins suggest a glacial evolution but the lasting impression of fruit shows this wine’s potential. Best from 2022 through 2040. 815 cases made.”

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Mellen Meyer Brut Sparkling, Willamette Valley NV 750ML ($34.95) Was $29, Now $26 June Sale Special
KWG8 – Tasting Pour
“From a small Willamette Valley producer specializing only in sparkling wine try this traditional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend for a dry, crisp elegant sparkling at a good price.  Smells of green apples with a salty tart palate.”
Winery note “Grapes sourced from Johan Vineyard, Van Duzer Corridor and Dundee Hills. 35% Chardonnay, 65% Pinot Noir fermented in neutral French and Oregon oak. 25 months in tirage, 8 grams/ liter dosage. 350 cases produced.”

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Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $66 June Sale Special
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 1.5L ($179.95) Was $149, Now $138 June Sale Special
James Suckling 96 points
“Shows lots of black cherries, cranberry tea, caramelized orange peel, roasted herbs and citrus peel. Full-bodied with ripe and quite round tannins that frame layers of cherries. Bright and fresh, yet rich and long at the same time. The sangiovese character really springs out of the glass. Drink in 2020.”

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The average listed price for the 750ml is $79
The next best price for the magnum is $179

Thanks for reading!