Weekend VinopolPick 7-12-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

July Sale Addition: Force Majeure

First Offer 2017 Domaine Leflaive

Wine Spectator Insider Producer Spolight: Schrader

Wine & Spirits Highlights “The Best of Galicia”

New Offerings from Felsina

Domaine du Pegau: Cult of Personality

Rose of the Day: A New Review for Montfaucon!

New Jeb Dunnuck Reviews for Olivier Bernstein

Trending Wines

2017 Vintage Port Reviews from Decanter + Wine Advocate

July Sale Roundup


July Sale Addition: Force Majeure

Force Majeure is a Washington state insider’s wine.  The name doesn’t come up as often as a winery like Cayuse, but these estate grown gems are typically completely sold out to a rabid mailing list.  It’s a tough winery to source—and for good reason. These are big, bold, dense wines with an elegance that keeps them in beautiful balance.  Winemaker Todd Alexander made his name at Bryant Family in Napa before being enticed to Washington and he’s making those epic cult wines for Force Majeure as well.

What really sets Force Majeure apart from many other top Washington producers, though, is their site.  It’s relatively rare to have an estate vineyard in Washington (like in Napa, many producers buy grapes from a variety of sites).  To have an estate in the tiny Red Mountain AVA of this quality, though, is a truly special thing—a secret weapon in creating some of the finest wines in the state.  We’ve added some of their special 2015’s to the July Sale, taking them from the best prices in the country to…the best prices in the country, only lower.  The prices are limited to stock on hand, so jump on these quick, before we sell out.

In Stock Now:

Force Majeure Vineyards Epinette, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($99.95) Was $79, Now $69 July Sale Special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“A Pomerol look-alike, the 2015 Epinette is mostly Merlot, yet includes 30% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. It’s another rich, mouthfilling effort and offers lots of darker, plummy fruits, chocolate, and scorched earth aromas and flavors. With building tannin and serious structure, it isn’t for those looking for instant gratification and is going to need a solid 3-5 years of bottle age.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $89.99
That’s a difference of over $20/btl!

Force Majeure Estate Syrah, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($89.95) Was $75, Now $69 July Sale Special
Wine Advocate 93-96 points
“It’s going to be interesting to see if the 2015 Estate Syrah matches the 2014, and they both showed similar from barrel. The 2015 is a big, full-bodied Syrah that has tons of chalky minerality in its classic Syrah notes of blackberries, licorice and smoked meats. With good acidity, fine tannin and terrific elegance and purity, it will keep for 15+ years. Led by winemaker Todd Alexander, Force Majeure has now officially moved away from their Collaboration Series releases and is focusing exclusively on their estate vineyards on Red Mountain. The lineup is stacked with incredible wines, and I expect the quality to only go up from here as their vineyards age and they fine-tune the winemaking. The 2015s were structured and tannic, and while they’ll certainly be more polished from bottle, I suspect short term cellaring will be your friend. These are great wines, and even at their prices, these represent killer values.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Force Majeure ‘Parvata’, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $69 July Sale Special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“Moving to the reds, the Mourvèdre-dominated 2015 Parvata GSM is a smoking effort loaded with deep, rich aromas and flavors of blackberries, currants, cured meats, and a hint of chocolate. It’s full-bodied, deep, concentrated, and perfectly balanced, and is a sensational wine.”
James Suckling 94 points “A fascinating nose of earth, brambles, forest floor, blackberries, herbs, black pepper, some animal and freshly cut herbs and tobacco. Full-bodied with firm, sturdy tannins, a wealth of bark and dark fruit, a lot of power, fresh acidity and an underbrush finish. Washington’s answer to the Southern Rhone! GSM blend. Drink in 2020.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $89.97
That’s a difference of over $20/btl!
Want to see all the wines in the July Sale? Just head to the webstore for the full list.


First Offer 2017 Leflaive

Domaine Leflaive is the white Burgundy domaine against which all others are judged.  Moreso than names like Coche or PYCM (who are great, but sui generis), the whites of Leflaive are immaculate in their quality but very much what we all think of when we hear the words “white Burgundy.”  The top end wines are pursued by collectors, but the wines we’re highlighting today are their entry level bottlings.

Somewhat uniquely among the top domaines of Burgundy, Leflaive makes wines that are affordable.  They still very much carry the signature of the house in terms of style and quality, but cost significantly less because they’re from less heralded terroirs.  We’ve just secured our allocation of these fantastic wines, arriving in a few weeks.  These have always been some of the fastest wines to sell out when we offer them, so don’t delay in securing your supply.

Arriving July 26th:

Domaine Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc, Burgundy 2017 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc, Burgundy 2017 750ML ($539.95) $449 pre-arrival special (that’s only $74.83/bottle!)
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 88-90 points
“Aromas of waxy citrus rind, green apples and light reduction introduce the 2017 Bourgogne Blanc, a medium to full-bodied wine and elegantly glossy attack, a succulent core of fruit, and excellent cut and intensity for its level, concluding with a long finish. This is routinely one of the best generic bottlings to be found, and this year’s rendition is no exception.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Domaines Leflaive Macon-Verze, Burgundy 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaines Leflaive Macon-Verze, Burgundy 2017 750ML ($359.95) $269 pre-arrival special (that’s only $44.83/bottle!)

Domaines Leflaive Macon-Verze “Les Chenes”, Burgundy 2017 750ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Leflaive Macon-Verze “Les Chenes”, Burgundy 2017 750ML ($479.95) $359 pre-arrival special (that’s only $59.83/bottle!)

Domaines Leflaive Pouilly-Fuisse, Burgundy 2017 750ML ($99.95) $85 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaines Leflaive Pouilly-Fuisse, Burgundy 2017 750ML ($599.95) $479 pre-arrival special (that’s only $79.83/bottle-the lowest listed price in the country!)

Leflaive Rully Premier Cru, Cote Chalonnaise 2017 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special


Wine Spectator Insider Producer Spotlight:


“Fred Schrader had a revelation when he tasted ’99s from barrel from an Andy Beckstoffer–owned vineyard in Oakville. Soon after, he would make a deal with Beckstoffer for grapes, pulling in Thomas Rivers Brown to make the wines. The pair has since made dozens of classic-rated Cabernets. The 2016s continue that trend, in a vintage that is sure to stand as a benchmark for Napa Valley, offering wines that have the powerful fruit of ’15 with the structure and definition of ’13.” – Wine Spectator Insider

Only two bottles available
Schrader Cellars CCS Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($419.95) $399 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Features a deep well of dark currant, fig and blackberry paste flavors, shrouded for now in ganache and roasted vanilla notes. Shows tarry grip on the back end, with good latent energy and a finishing kick of fruit. Wait this out with some cellaring. Best from 2021 through 2034.—J.M”

Only two bottles available
Schrader Cellars RBS Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($419.95) $399 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Bold açaí berry, boysenberry and blueberry compote notes give this a showy profile, with freshness and definition to match, as anise, violet and black tea details chime in. Graphite hints gird the finish, achieving balance in the end. Best from 2021 through 2035.—J.M.”


Wine & Spirits Highlights “The Best of Galicia”

In Stock Now:

Do Ferreiro Cepas Vellas, Rias Baixas 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine & Spirits 95 points
“The sandy granite soils of Salnés have sustained a few small parcels of ancient vines, that soil protecting their roots from the ravages of phylloxera. Gerardo Méndez farms one of those blocks, 2.5 acres of vines he estimates to be 200 years old. They are trained high off the ground to keep the bunches dry, exposed to what sun and wind might counter the coastal rains. And they produce a wine with astonishing concentration of flavor, spicy and layered in its earthiness, notes of fennel in a lasting dynamic between scents of fresh pear and baked golden apple. It’s rare to find a white wine with this much flavor intensity, as well as sheer grace.”

Do Ferreiro “Adina” Albarino, Rias Baixas 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine & Spirits 93 points
“A sumptuous albariño, this wine takes the Atlantic pallor of the grape and expands on those white nectarine notes with darker shades of salted almond and pistachio. It’s rich without weight, combining the taste of the ocean and the brightness of ripe fruit in a satisfying white for lobster or langoustines.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Do Ferreiro Lourido “Albarino” Rias Baixas 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine & Spirits 93 points
“Gerardo Méndez selects this wine from parcels of 50-year-old vines rooted in weathered granite. There’s a delicate pink cast to its zesty grapefruit flavors. The texture is just creamy enough to surround the wine’s structure, creating a push-pull of freshness and toasty richness. Tina Vaughn of The Simone in NYC likened those toasty flavors to the yeastiness of fregola sarda, a couscous-like pasta from Sardinia; you could bridge it to this wine with saffron and clams.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Do Ferreiro “Dous Ferrados” Albarino Rias Baixas 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine & Spirits 92 points
“This wine ferments in 500-liter casks, where it ages for eight months on the fine lees. While the fruit sustains its clean freshness, that time on the lees has enriched it with notes of buttercups and daffodils, as well as some pomelo bitterness. It’s bold and juicy enough for skate Grenobloise,or grilled swordfish.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Luis A. Rodriguez Vazquez Vina de Martin Os Pasas Blanco, Ribeiro 2016 750ML ($37.95) $33 special
Wine & Spirits 95 points
“Farming small parcels of vines in the hills of Arnoia, his hometown in southern Galicia, Luis “Anxo” consistently produces some of the greatest wines in Spain. This is his young-vine blend. Working with local varieties—treixadura, albariño, lado and torrontés—he captures springtime in Galicia’s coastal hills, a delicate scent of apple blossoms lasting through the freshness of rain. By fermenting the wine spontaneously and aging it on its lees in stainless steel for a year, he concentrates those flavors and textures into the tingling crunch of apples contrasted by umami notes as resonant as a broth of mushrooms, herbs and pork. Rodríguez Vázquez elevates the terroir of Ribeiro to the world stage without compromise, presenting a beautiful, satisfying wine.”


New Offerings from Felsina

Felsina is a top-three Chianti producer and a top-ten estate in Tuscany as a whole.  The value out of their wines, from top to bottom, is astounding.  We’re big fans of their top two wines, Rancia and Fontelloro, but their lower tier wines offer great value.  We’ve been selling the entry level Chianti Classico for a while now but finally have secured their 2016 Chianti Riserva—a serious value play that’s a step up from the entry level but still attractively priced.

The Riserva might offer the best ratio of age-worthiness to price of any wine in Tuscany.  From a strong vintage, we’ve enjoyed these wines at 20+ years of age (and felt they could still age for a bit longer).  The 2016 looks to be built in that mold—it’s going to go down as one of the best Riserva’s Felsina has made.  For a wine like this to be available for under $27 by the case seems crazy.  Anyone who loves traditionally made Sangiovese would do well to stick a case or two in the cellar and drink a bottle a year, starting in ~five years.

Arriving ETA Late August:

Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($419.95) $315 pre-arrival special (that’s only $26.25/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 94 points
“Streamlined and elegant, this mid-weight red trots out notes of grilled herb and dark fruit nuances that segue to spice, tilled earth and savory tobacco, with great complexity. This 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Berardenga is still a bit closed and tight, but this beautiful wine boasts all the best qualities of this vintage. It shows elegance and power, two contrasting characteristics that only work well together in the world’s most achieved expressions. The most satisfying aspect of this Riserva is the crisp acidity on the close that keeps the palate refreshed and ready for the next sip.”
Antonio Galloni 90-93 points “Still in barrel, the 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva is shaping up to be an absolute gem. Naturally, the 2016 is still coming together. Its aromatic intensity, definition and total sense of finesse are the signatures of a superb Chianti Classico in the making. This is another ‘don’t miss’ wine from Fèlsina.”

Can’t wait? Check out these awesome wines from Felsina that are in stock now:

Felsina Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Felsina Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 1.5L ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special, ETA July 19th
Decanter Magazine 97 points
“The south-facing Rancia vineyard reaches altitudes of 420 metres, overlooking the lower-lying vineyards of Colli Senesi. It boasts complex soils of calcareous clay layered with the chalky white limestone-like alberese and schistose galestro. This 2016 vintage is simply stunning. It’s stately yet gracious, with personality for days, leading with a sumptuous nose of smoke, exotic spice and iron-rich earth. Ripe fruit coats the mouth yet it remains buoyant and tangy as chalky tannins charge in to frame the palate. A seductive wine with an appetising, savoury edge and a long, long life ahead. Drinking Window 2023 – 2041.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia knocks it out of the park. Like the other new releases from Fèlsina, this pure expression of Sangiovese needs more time to evolve and improve with bottle age. But even at this young stage, you are made fully aware of the beautiful intensity and complexity of the quality fruit at its core. There is so much energy and tension here, further reinforced by the fresh acidity of the vintage. There are vibrant tones of wild cherry, raspberry and spice, followed up by white truffle and tilled earth.”
Antonio Galloni 94-97+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is yet another magnificent wine in this range from Fèlsina. Silky, gracious and inviting, the 2016 starts off gradually and then builds, gaining volume and explosiveness with air. A wine of breadth, textural intensity and pure power, the 2016 Rancia is shaping up to be epic. That’s pretty much all there is to it.”

Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Wine Advocate 92+ points
“This is an excellent vintage in Chianti Classico that shows especially well in the simple, more accessible wines such as this. The 2016 Chianti Classico Berardenga delivers the power and density of its territory. The southern side of the appellation often shows the richest expressions of Sangiovese. This wine opens to sweet aromas of dark fruit, cherry and plum. The wine shows a slightly savory side as well with spice and dried terracotta that recalls the gray gravel soils of the region. Bay leaf, cola and chopped mint appear as subtle background notes. Some 260,000 bottles were made.”
Wine & Spirits 92 points “The temperate 2016 growing season yielded a beautifully perfumed and posed Chianti Classico at Felsina. The aromas and flavors are pure Tuscany, with scents of lavender and dried thyme that lead into flavors of ripe black cherry and even savory tomato skin. Notes of pink peppercorns and leafy tobacco emerge with air, adding layers to the fleshy fruit.”
Antonio Galloni 91+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a stellar, joyous wine. Bold, powerful and ample, with a good deal of finesse for such a big wine, the 2016 shows why this is such a compelling vintage for Chianti Classico. Leather, game, smoke, tobacco and licorice infuse a wine that oozes Sangiovese character. The 2016 needs a few years in bottle to be at its best, but is already pretty alluring. Moreover, this is a fabulous expression of the estate. Don’t miss it.”
James Suckling 93 points “This is fragrant and floral with dark berries on the nose. Medium body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh, clean finish. A driven and linear Chianti Classico. The backbone of fresh acidity gives this focus. Drink now or hold.”

Felsina ‘Colonia’, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2010 750ML ($199.95) $119 special
Wine Advocate 95+ points
“When you hear the story of the effort that went into making the Colonia vineyard, you have to wonder if the fine folks at Fèlsina are absolutely mad. It took them two years of dynamite blasting to clear the imposing rock that had forced previous generations of the Poggiali family to virtually abandon this site. But an ambitious Giovanni Poggiali takes credit for making this spectacular vineyard what it is today. The wine produced here is quickly becoming the second flagship product after Fontalloro. The 2010 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Colonia is a wine of enormous beauty and depth. This is Sangiovese at its highest expression and any doubt I had about the previous vintage (which was the first time this wine appeared as a Gran Selezione) have been washed away by this current release. What really stands out are the wine’s precise mineral and graphite aromas that lend an incredible sense of focus and balance. The oak element is also beautifully integrated.”

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

Felsina Maestro Raro Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points
“The 2014 Maestro Raro is fabulous. Explosive, deep and full of energy, it exudes class from the very first taste. As always, Maestro Raro is a Cabernet Sauvignon that speaks as much to this terroir as it does to varietal character. Lavender, herbs, menthol and plum build into the huge, tannic finish. I can’t wait to see how the 2014 ages.”


Domaine du Pegau: Cult of Personality

Domaine du Pegau makes some of the most coveted and unique wines in Chateauneuf—raw, powerful bottlings that exude the character of the place with little of the modern polish that’s become so popular among his neighbors.  We love the wines for their intensity and quality—to taste a bottle at maturity is to see what Chateauneuf is capable of.  The wines provide an ineffable blend of fruit, earth and garrigue that’s only possible in Chateauneuf du Pape and their 2015 will go down as one of the best the estate has ever produced.  We’ve gone long on it (one can never have too much Pegau) and think that you’d be wise to, as well.

“An iconic producer of traditionally styled Châteauneufs, Pegau has a vast worldwide group of highly loyal fans, many of whom have trekked to the estate for a visit with the extremely hospitable and entertaining Féraud family. Laurence Féraud makes no apologies for the sometimes rustic character of Pegau’s wines, which are sourced from the domain’s 21 hectares of vines, made entirely with whole clusters and aged in old foudres and demi-muids for two years before bottling without fining or filtration. On the contrary, Féraud relishes the opportunity to continue the family tradition of making ‘wild wines that have their own personality. Like people with a unique character, not everybody is going to be in love with them.’”-Josh Raynolds, Vinous

In Stock Now:

Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee, Rhone 2015 750ML ($89.95) $75 special
Jeb Dunnuck – Rhone Report 95-97+ points
“A vintage compared to 2010 by Laurence, the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape looks to be one of the big successes in the vintage. Possessing a ripe, rounded, sexy style backed up by solid density and concentration, it offers classic Pegau notes of currants, pepper, and cured meats. Big, rich, concentrated and beautifully textured, it offers a rare depth of fruit and richness in the vintage.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Solid, with a muscular core of dark fig, blackberry, raspberry paste flavors mixed liberally with anise, savory, tobacco and singed mesquite notes. Shows a sanguine thread on the finish, where everything knits together. This has ample depth and character. Best from 2020 through 2035.”
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “The 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Réservée is beauty, and about as classic an expression of this estate as I can recall. Blackcurrants, peppery herbs, roasted meats and garrigue all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, balanced, nicely concentrated 2015 that has ripe tannin and a great finish. It’s not on par with the 2010, 2009 or 2003, but it should surpass the 2012 and have two decades or more of longevity.”
Josh Raynolds 93-95 points “Vivid ruby. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes ripe raspberry, cherry and garrigue, while a suave floral element expands with air. Fleshy, seamless and broad on the palate, offering intense black raspberry and fruitcake flavors that are braced and lifted by a spine of juicy acidity. The floral note builds as the wine opens up and carries through the sweet, strikingly long finish, which leaves behind red fruit liqueur and licorice notes.”

Rose of the Day

A New Review for Montfaucon!

In Stock Now:

Chateau de Montfaucon Lirac Rose, Rhone 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Advocate 91 points 
“Montfaucon’s lovely 2018 Lirac Rose is a blend of six varieties: 30% Grenache, 25% each Cinsault and Mourvèdre, 10% Carignan and 10% Clairette. It’s medium-pink in color, with assertive aromas of red berries and citrus. Medium-bodied on the palate and silky in feel, it picks up hints of peach and wet stone on the long, slightly briny finish.”

Want to see all 90+ rosé options, in stock and arriving soon? Just head to our webstore for the full list.


New Reviews from Jeb Dunnuck

Producer Highlight: Olivier Bernstein

“I’m always thrilled to taste with Oenologist/consultant Claude Gros, and he has an incredible list of clients spanning from the Languedoc and Roussillon to Corsica, Burgundy, and Bordeaux, as well as both Washington State and California in the United States. As I’ve written in the past, I suspect Claude is one of the most talented, yet least known top consultants in the wine world today… Gros consults for Olivier Bernstein in Burgundy and I’ve been fortunate to taste the 2015s last year and now a handful of 2016s this year. Given the astronomical prices of top Burgundy today, these are out of the realm of most wine lovers, nevertheless, they’re incredible, singular wines that will stand with the pinnacles of Burgundy.” –Jeb Dunnuck

Arriving ETA July:

Olivier Bernstein Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($869.95) $779 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 96+ points
“From a site just to the north of Clos-de-Beze, the 2016 Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru from Bernstein shows a perfumed, sappy flower, strawberry and spiced raspberry-scented bouquet that turns more towards dark fruits, game, mint, and sweet truffle with time in the glass. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, expansive, and downright sexy on the palate, it shows the more classic style of the 2016 vintage with air but certainly has loads of upfront charm, personality, and character even today. With sweet tannins, flawless balance, and a great finish, it’s just another thrilling wine from Olivier Bernstein. It’s drinking spectacularly well today yet give bottles 4-5 years of bottle age, count yourself lucky, and enjoy bottles over the following 20+ years.”

Olivier Bernstein Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($1299.95) $1199 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points
“The 2016 Chambertin Grand Cru from Bernstein is in the same ballpark as the 2015 yet is in a more classic, focused style. Nevertheless, it still leads with incredible fruit and has beautiful notes of red and black fruits, white flowers, tons of flinty minerality, and even a touch lit black powder. It shows more sappy floral notes with time in the glass and closes down relatively quickly, yet never loses this beautiful sense of purity, elegance, and underlying power. This is a brilliantly pure, ethereal Chambertin that needs 4-5 years of bottle age and will keep for 2-3 decades. This estate has been on fire recently, and if this 2016 is any measure, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Olivier Bernstein Chambertin Clos-de-Beze Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($1299.95) $1199 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“Another truly profound wine from this estate is the 2016 Chambertin Clos-de-Beze, which I think is even better than the Chambertin Grand Cru release. Possessing a riveting nose of deep red and black fruits, lit gunpowder, crushed rock, violets, and forest floor, it opens up with time in the glass and shows more floral and spice characteristics, yet never loses this incredible sense of minerality. Deep, full-bodied, and concentrated on the palate, it has a tight, vibrant, chiseled texture that’s very much in the classic style of the vintage. Drink this magical, singular Clos de Bèze any time over the coming three decades or more.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

In Stock Now:

Olivier Bernstein Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($599.95) $519 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The 2015 Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru offers a perfumed, floral style as well as a silky, vibrant feel on the palate, all of which is very much in the style of the 2015 vintage. Black cherries, blueberries, violets, wet stone, spice-box and wood smoke all emerge from the glass of this ethereally textured, tight, yet impeccably balanced 2015 that has fine, fine tannin and a great finish. This is another incredible wine from Olivier Bernstein that delivers the goods. Give bottles 4-5 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following two decades.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Olivier Bernstein Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($419.95) $369 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“Offering more floral, violet, blueberry and blackberry notes, the 2015 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru is vibrant and fresh on the palate, with notable, yet integrated acidity and a gorgeous sense of rocky minerality that’s only more evident due to the slightly higher acidity. This is a juicy, firm, chiseled 2015 that has terrific purity and fine, yet present tannin, and needs 3-5 years of cellaring.”

Trending Wines

A bright, delicious red that’s perfect for summer.
Elena Walch Lagrein Alto Adige, Trentino-Alto Adige 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Winery Note
“Our Lagrein Elena Walch gleams invitingly with its intensive and dense garnet red colour. The complex bouquet captivates with discreet spicy aromas, with cocoa together with wild berries and sweet cherries in the background. Distinctive tannin structure, smooth fullness, playful yet rustic elegance and youthful freshness as well as a long, juicy finish classify the palate.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
One of the best Finger Lakes Riesling producers’ flagship bottle.
Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Jasmine and mustard seed notes lead the way here, backed by a mix of yellow apple, mirabelle plum and citrus oil flavors. Shows good intensity through the finish. Drink now through 2022. 5,773 cases made.”
Winery Notes “Our most important wine aims to reveal the true nature of the vintage and to explore the terroir of lower east Seneca Lake. Due to our focus on this narrow 8-mile stretch of slope on the southeast side which includes 13 of our 14 Riesling vineyards, this is our first labeling under the Seneca Lake AVA. In 2017, we chose not to make our top cuvée, Les Alliés Riesling, and de-classified our fruit in order to ensure the absolute best quality would remain in our core wine. Candied lemon, apricot peel, Asian pear, and anise join with salinity to give impeccable freshness. ‘You and I carry within us the genetic characters of all our ancestors, which have mixed together and made us unique, well-rounded, complex individuals. This is how our Riesling is born: it encapsulates the characteristics of all our vineyard sites and of our unfailing, passionate commitment to excellence.'”

If there’s a better value in high-end West Coast Cab, we don’t see it.
Reynvaan Family Vineyards ‘The Classic’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The 2016 The Classic checks in as 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot, and the balance Cabernet Franc. This ruby/plum-colored effort offers up an awesome bouquet of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, truffle, tapenade, and damp earth that changes and develops beautifully with time in the glass. It’s elegant, seamless and light on its feet, yet also powerful and textured. It’s brilliant Cabernet Sauvignon from this estate to drink over the coming 15-20+ years.”

It’s a steal for the quality.  The genius of Keller, indeed.
Weingut Keller Limestone Riesling Kabinett, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($47.95) $39 special
John Gilman 93 points
“The 2018 Limestone Riesling Kabinett was produced from selected parcels in the Kirchspiel and Abtserde vineyards this year. The wine is just beautiful, delivering a marvelous bouquet of tangerine, pink grapefruit, chalky minerality, citrus zest, apple blossoms and an esthery topnote of bee pollen. On the palate the wine is pure, delicate and medium-full, with lovely filigree and grip, great focus and balance, electric acids and a very, very long, complex and dancing finish. A glorious Kabinett! 2023-2060.”

Our perpetual best-value Champagne.
R. Dumont & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
R. Dumont & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L ($89.95) $66 special
Importer note
“The Dumont Brut NV is a blend of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. The grapes from their vineyard have qualities that seem less aggressive and more sumptuous than those from the northern districts. In addition, vinification of whole berries at low temperatures enhances this quality of soft elegance. The NV is a blend of vintages typically between two and five years old. It is aged for two years on the lees before disgorgement. Dosage is 9 grams.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Is this getting pre-IPNC attention? Perhaps.  This is drinking well now.
Domaine de Montille Les Pezerolles, Pommard Premier Cru 2009 750ML ($179.95) $149 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2009 Pommard Les Pezerolles is rich, round and seductive. Layers of fruit caress the palate in this enveloping, textured Burgundy. There is plenty of intensity in the glass. Hints of hard candy and licorice wrap around the finish. The Pezerolles was made with 100% destemmed fruit. Although I like the wine’s frank immediacy, I also think it will age gracefully.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
One of the sleeper hits of the Languedoc.
Vignobles Prissette Villa Symposia Coteaux du Languedoc l’Origine 2013 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“The terrific 2013 Pézenas l’Origine shows the hallmark spice-laced perfume of this appellation. Lots of red fruits, crushed flowers, spice and violet nuances give way to a medium-bodied, elegant and sweetly fruited 2013 that has fine tannin and a seamless, sexy texture. Drink this beauty anytime over the coming 5-6 years.”

New 2017 Vintage Port Reviews

From Decanter and the Wine Advocate

2017 is looking to be an astoundingly good year for vintage Port.  With the major Port houses deciding in 2016 to issue a General Declaration (as a group, rather than individual houses declaring on their own), the idea that ’17 would be declared as well would only happen if it was a legendary, beyond-top-class vintage—and now there’s a General Declaration for 2017.  As Richard Mayson put it in Decanter Magazine “It’s rare to get back-to-back vintage declarations – for some houses you have to go back to 1934/35 (Fonseca for example) but for others, not since 1846/47 have two generally-declared Port vintages come one after the other.”

Neal Martin, in his reviews of the vintage, added “General Declarations do not come in pairs. They are supposed to be drip-fed, three or maybe four each decade, keeping Port aficionados on their toes. The chances of consecutive General Declarations must be incredibly low, considering not just the meteorological odds of a textbook growing season but also the willingness of all Port houses to declare.”

To say that 2017 is a positive outlier (in the best sense) would be an understatement.  Mark Squires, whose recent reviews are highlighted below, described the vintage as a “freak vintage… a big-time year that does everything well—old-school power, concentration, freshness, lifted fruit and vivid flavors.”

The combination of the quality and the literal number of the vintage (ending in “7”) has producers and writers talking about 2017 in all-time great contexts.  Richard Mayson elaborated, “Adrian Bridge pointed out to the assembled wine trade and wine writers at the recent launch of the 2017 Port vintage in London, seven has a habit of being a lucky number for the Port trade… Then there’s 1927, perhaps the finest vintage of the 20th century. Perhaps 2017 is already shaping up to be one of the finest years of the 21st century…”

We’re highlighting a number of new reviews from both Mark Squires at the Wine Advocate and also from Decanter Magazine for these stunning wines.  They should arrive this February, but we’ve already seen very strong interest, so buy these now if you’d like to secure them.

Wine Arriving ETA February 2020:

Cockburn’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($99.95) $74 pre-arrival special
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 94-96 points
“The terroir and the vintage combine to make this a wine that seems at the moment a bit bigger than Dow’s this year. Unlike in 2015, however, it also maintains its balance well. This has velvet for texture, fine aromatics and a long finish, but it is always elegant, never jammy. It is still concentrated, and aeration proves how well it can evolve. It finishes with some pop and power, but it will be approachable relatively young. Relatively is the key word there, as it shows plenty of power. Like the Warre’s, a Symington sibling this issue, it seems to be a cut above this year, the best in the brand for a while, and superior to both the 2016 and 2015. It is able to hold up to some of its more famous siblings in the Symington stable this issue. There were 2,500 cases produced. The 2017 Vintage Port is a blend of 52% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca and small portions of Sousão and Alicante Bouschet bottled about a month before this tasting after 18 months in seasoned vats. However, I actually tasted a pre-bottling sample because there was some fear of bottling shock. This is sourced from south-facing vineyards in Douro Superior that have a higher proportion of Touriga Nacional. It comes in with 107 grams of residual sugar.”
Decanter 95 points “Mostly sourced from Quinta dos Canais, this is a blend of 52% Touriga Nacional and 30% Touriga Franca, backed by Sousão and Alicante Bouschet. It’s a well priced example and looks to be one of the best value wines of the vintage. This is one of few wines in 2017 showing a touch of warmth on the nose, with opulent, heady floral fruit. The palate is sweet and fleshy initially, with ripe berry fruits and solid, spicy tannins. It’s classically structured with lovely concentration and a powerful finish, perhaps not showing the freshness of some other ’17s but still very impressive.”

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Dow’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Dow’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 1.5L ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special, only 3 magnums available
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 94-96 points
“Opening with dramatic color, this adds violets on the nose. It retains elegance while seeming subtly concentrated rather than jammy. Then, it finishes with pop and controlled power. For those who remember the powerhouse Dows in the past, that’s not quite this for the most part. It is an accessible and elegant Dow, relatively speaking. Charles Symington said that the higher proportion of Touriga Franca compared to some years contributed to that. That said, this still has the structure to age and develop. It seems wonderfully fresh and lifted all the while, but it’s neither rich, nor intense nor austere. This is a Dow that still needs some time to become more expressive and complex, though. There were 5,250 cases produced. The 2017 Vintage Port, bottled in May for release in the third quarter of 2019, is mostly a 42/38 blend of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca with old vines and miscellaneous others (including about 8% Alicante Bouschet) for the rest. It was bottled about a month before this tasting after 18 months in seasoned vats, but the just-bottled sample was not actually used for fear it might be in shock. This, accordingly, was actually a pre-bottling sample. It comes in with 106 grams of residual sugar.”
Decanter 97 points “Based on fruit from the predominantly south-facing Quinta do Bomfim in the Cima Corgo and Quinta Senhora da Ribeira in the Douro Superior, with Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca making up 80% of the blend. This is opaque and closed in but powerfully ripe with underlying pure berry fruit. It’s seemingly quite introverted compared to some of its peers at this stage, but it’s still full, rich and opulent on the palate. It also shows the latent power of the vintage, made as it is in a slightly drier style (3.4 Baumé), with lovely minty fruit and full, ripe sinewy tannins all the way through the finish. Long and lithe, and very fine.”

W & J Graham’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 95-97 points
“One of the more aromatic ports here, this is laced with cistus and eucalyptus. Lush in texture and concentrated, it was actually showing well at the time of this tasting—notwithstanding some power and pop. The more it aired out, though, the more power it showed. Even so, this remains a rather refined and suave Graham’s. I’d call it subtly sexy. It does put on weight with some aeration, though, and there is that muscle underneath, so don’t dive in too soon. There were 5,250 cases produced. The 2017 Vintage Port is a blend of 35% Touriga Nacional, 47% Touriga Franca and various others, including a blend from old vines. It comes in with 113 grams of residual sugar. It was bottled about a month before this tasting, but the just-bottled sample was not really ready. This is a pre-bottling sample instead.”
Decanter 98 points “Based on Touriga Franca from south-facing slopes at Quinta dos Malvedos, with Touriga Nacional from quintas Vila Velha and Vale de Mealhadas (both predominantly north-facing), topped out with fruit from old vines at Quinta da Tua and 10% Sousão. It’s a very deep blue-black colour with an expressive, super-ripe nose of plum, mint and bergamot which springs from the glass. The palate is rich, velvety and voluptuous in typical Graham’s style. The initial richness makes the tannins, which show up on the ripe, broad, mouthwatering finish. Wonderful purity and definition. A real wow of a wine! 3.9 Baumé.”

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 97 points
“The 2017 Vintage Port is a field blend, mostly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão and Sousão, aged for 18 months in old wood vats. It comes in with 99 grams of residual sugar. This was bottled in May 2019, about a month before tasting, but I made sure at least some of it had a lot of air. Aromatic, wonderfully fragrant and laced with eucalyptus, this then shows typical Noval focus and power. A couple of hours in a glass simply increased the power. More intense than the very fine 2016, it grips the palate and shows rather significant astringency. As wonderfully aromatic as this is, there the 2016 might have the edge. Too closed and muscular once past the aromatics, this rather dry Port needs some time. It is harder to read than the 2016 was, but this should overtake it in time. Have some patience with this one.”
Decanter 96 points “Noval spills over into two valleys from Pinhão to Roncão which contribute two very different terroirs to the blend, though both predominantly south-facing. It displays heady Douro aromas of open, ripe, plummy fruit with a touch of dust and eucalypt, wild and aromatic. The palate is dense, smooth and seductive on the palate with firm, schistous tannins rising on to a fresh, linear finish. Beautifully defined and integrated. Just 3,500 cases declared.”

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 375ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 98-100 points
“The 2017 Vintage Port, not quite bottled when seen but the final blend, is a field blend aged for approximately 20 months in wood. It comes in with 100 grams of residual sugar. A step up (or two) on the 2016, this shows fine depth, more focus, vivid fruit and serious power. It’s not particularly thick, austere or astringent, but this is built for the long haul. It is potentially a great Taylor’s, effortlessly combining brilliant fruit and structure. It tastes great now (today, it is far more vivid than its Vinha Velha sibling), but the power makes this hard to drink today. So, have some patience. It will need some time, probably a lot more than indicated, and will likely last longer than indicated as well. As noted in the accompanying article, I don’t see much point to impossibly long drinking windows. At some point, reevaluation is required.”
Decanter 97 points “A blend from predominantly north-facing Quinta de Vargellas in the Douro Superior and quintas Terras Feita and Junco in the Pinhão valley. This has lovely ripe mulberry fruit on the floral nose, also showing lovely concentration. It’s dense and fleshy initially on the palate, displaying silky-velvety damson fruit and broad, fine-grained tannins which rise in the mouth and lead to a big peacock’s tail of a finish. It’s a bold wine with great finesse, already beautifully integrated. 11,500 cases produced (nearly double that of 2016).”


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