Weekend VinopolPick 7-26-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Cristom: New to the July Sale

Your Second and Last Chance at (the 100pt) 2015 Spottswoode

Priorat and Adjacent – Three Top Spanish Values

Ten Years Gone (Beringer Private Reserve at a Decade In)

The Absolutely Stunning Riojas of La Rioja Alta

Featured New Arrival: The Overlooked Columbia Gorge

Trending Wines

The July Sale Ends Soon!



New to the July Sale!

Cristom is a reference point wine in the Willamette Valley—as close as we have here to a first growth or a producer such as DRC or Dujac (both of whom serve as stylistic references for Cristom).  Since 1992, Cristom has been a top producer, making wines that are both powerful and elegant, and which age beautifully.  We’re adding two of their 2016 single vineyards, plus their top wine from 2014 to our July Sale.

These are some off the best wines made in the Willamette Valley each year and to have them at these prices, from a top vintage, is nearly too good to be true.  As you’d expect, quantities are limited (and these discounted prices are limited to stock on hand) so any fans of top-tier Willamette Pinot Noir ought to act quickly.

In Stock Now:

Cristom ‘Jessie Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $54.50 July Sale Special
Wine Advocate 95+ points
“Medium ruby colored, the 2016 Pinot Noir Jessie Vineyard is a touch reticent on the nose, opening to broody scents of black cherries and licorice with notes of herbs, Bergamot and grated baking spice with earthy touches of soil and wet leaves. Medium to full-bodied and wonderfully silky in the mouth, it’s packed with layers of ripe fruit, spice and earth. It gives fine, firm tannins and mouthwatering acidity, finishing very long and very layered. This is wonderfully complex with loads of layers—give it some time in bottle to show its best.”-EB
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Deep bright-hued red. Intense red berry, cherry pit, blood orange and exotic spice aromas show excellent clarity and pick up a suave floral quality with aeration. Stains the palate with vibrant raspberry, bitter cherry, allspice and rose pastille flavor that show a compelling blend of power and delicacy. Fine-grained tannins build slowly on the impressively long, lively finish, which emphatically repeats the floral and spice notes.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Cristom ‘Louise Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $54.50 July Sale Special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points
“Brilliant red. A complex bouquet displays scents of fresh dark berries, cola, baking spices and woodsmoke, along with a sexy floral nuance. Shapely and energetic on the palate, offering concentrated black raspberry, cherry-cola, violet pastille flavors and a trace of succulent herbs. Finishes sweet, chewy and very long, with slow-mounting tannins and insistent floral and spice notes.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Deeply structured, yet elegant and precise, with rose petal and dark cherry aromas, layered with wet stone and spiced tea flavors that build toward broad-shouldered tannins. Drink now through 2025. 728 cases made.”

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

Also, Just Arrived:

A rare wine, made only six times since Cristom’s founding in 1992.
Cristom Signature Cuvee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2014 750ML ($149.95) $99 special
Winery Note
” We don’t reveal the exact blend of this cuvee because each time we make it, it’s different – this wine truly a reflection of the particular greatness that occurred in the vineyard that year. We can tell you this: The Signature is an intriguing wine. Balanced, complex, and evocative, it is made for a very special occasion.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Want to see all the wines in our July Sale? Just head to the webstore to see the full list or keep reading to the end of the newsletter for more highlights.


Your Second and Last Chance

At (the 100 Point) 2015 Spottswoode

Spottswoode makes one of the most iconic wines in Napa from their beautiful estate vineyard. Their wines have been some of the most collectable, age-worthy wines in Napa since they hit it big in the 80’s and the wines easily compete with cult bottlings twice their price.  We quickly sold out of our allocation of the perfect 2015 version when it arrived earlier this year but have managed to secure another eighteen bottles, arriving on Tuesday.  Now’s your second (and probably last) chance at this landmark Napa bottling—and act quickly because it’s not going to last long.

Arriving Tuesday, July 30th

Spottswoode Family Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena 2015 750ML ($249.95) $225 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 100 points
“Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, the deep purple-black colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon has a beautiful nose of dried roses, lavender and Chinese five spice over a core of warm blackcurrants, kirsch and wild blueberries, plus wafts of fallen leaves and dusty earth. The medium to full-bodied palate features the most amazing intensity of perfumed red, black and blue fruit flavors supported by exquisitely fine-grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with epic length and depth. Truly stunning.”
Jeb Dunnuck 99 points “A more exuberant, sexy wine than the 2014, yet still in the house style emphasizing elegance and purity, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate knocks it out of the park with its huge nose of crème de cassis, plums, Asian spices, scorched earth, tobacco leaf and graphite. This flows to a full-bodied, opulent, incredibly concentrated wine reminiscent of the 2013 on steroids. Full-bodied, with building tannin, integrated acidity, a stacked mid-palate, and a great finish, this is a tour de force in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from one of the greats. It has three to four decades of life ahead of it.”
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses off the charts ripeness as well as a level of exoticism that recalls the 2010. An infusion of dark red cherry, plum, white flowers, leather, tobacco and menthol accompany this super-expressive, sumptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Violet, licorice and a host of spiced nuances develop with time in the glass. In 2015, Spottswoode’s Cabernet is decidedly luscious and flamboyant, but I would give it a few years to shed some baby fat. There is plenty to look forward to.”

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

Priorat and Adjacent

Three Top Spanish Values

Priorat and its neighbor, Montsant, make some of the most profound wines in Spain, at prices that make them exceptionally good buys.  The deals we’re offering today, though, push the quality to price ratio beyond the rational: three wines, all under $20, all with 94 point or higher scores from a reviewer (Jeb Dunnuck) who used to work for the Advocate and isn’t known for score inflation.

The top two wines are part of the “Black Slate” project that Eric Solomon created to highlight different terroirs in Priorat.  We’ve carried them in prior vintages and been impressed, but these take the quality to the next level.  The Mas Donis, from neighboring Montsant, is likewise a step up from an always reliable value.

Stylistically, these are big, rich reds with texture, fruit and power to spare.  Old vines, warm climates and talented winemakers mean that these drink like much more expensive wines than you’d expect.  They’re full of class, intensity and complexity, perfect for a bit of time in the cellar or drinking now. These three fantastic values just arrived, perfect for daily drinking and celebrations alike.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 special
Case-12 Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($279.95) $212 special (that’s only $17.67/bottle—
the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“The 2017 Black Slate Gratallops Vi De La Vila comes from a warmer region in the Priorat and has a more powerful, ripe, opulent style compared to the Porrera cuvée, which comes from a cooler region. A huge nose of mulled cherries, dried earth, spice, and dusty pebble-like minerality gives way to a medium to full-bodied Priorat that has ripe tannins, an opulent, sexy texture, and a great finish. It’s another wine from Solomon that has classic Priorat character, is impeccably balanced, and drinks way above its humble price point. Don’t miss it! The blend is 58% Grenache, 32% Carignan, and 10% Syrah, aged 12 months in 20% new French oak.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Cal Pla Black Slate Porrera, Priorat DOCa 2016 750ML ($24.95) $18 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2016 Black Slate Porrera comes from a project of importer Eric Solomon focusing on the specific villages in the Priorat. The 2016 is 60% Grenache and 40% Carignan that was mostly destemmed and spent a full year in used barrels. Thrilling blue fruits, tar, rose petals, and a smoky, marine, iodine-like character all emerge from this full-bodied effort that opens up nicely with time in the glass. Tasting like it cost three times the price, it picks up more minerality with time in the glass, has beautiful balance, and great purity of fruit. It would be hard to find a better value. Drink bottles over the coming 3-5 years.”

Celler Capcanes Mas Donis, Montsant 2016 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Case-12 Celler Capcanes Mas Donis, Montsant 2016 750ML ($219.95) $169 special (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The finest vintage of this cuvée to date, the 2016 Mas Donis Old Vines is 85% Garnacha and 15% Syrah (the Grenache comes from a single parcel called Donis) that was 70% destemmed and aged primarily in concrete. Tasting like a top Priorat with its beautiful blue fruits, violets, ground pepper, rose petals, and amble minerality, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, remarkable purity of fruit, and a great, great finish. Almost too good to be true, just pretend you paid more. Drink up.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
An as of yet un-scored, perpetual value Albariño, also just arrived from Eric Solomon:

Martin Codax Burgans Albarino, Rias Baixas 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special


Ten Years Gone

Beringer Private Reserve at a Decade In

At ten years in, the 2009 Napa vintage is perfect for drinking now—and for a retrospective from Stephen Tanzer at Vinous.  He recently published a look back at the extremely underrated vintage and one of the notable wines he covered was the 2009 Beringer Private Reserve.  It’s drinking well right now and, as you’d expect, should have plenty of life ahead of it.  The Private Reserve still represents a value in higher end Napa Cab and this ’09 is in such a nice place that you ought to have it on your dinner table.

“My extensive tastings of 2009 Cabernets this spring made clear, once again, that virtually any well-made Cabernet from a decent vintage should gain in drinkability and complexity with bottle aging. In fact, for the better examples it’s really a shame if they’re consumed during their first ten years, when they can be a bit overassertive. And 2009 was a much better than “decent” vintage, with a temperate growing season that featured slow ripening and a larger-than-average harvest. Most growers were able to nurse their red Bordeaux grapes to full phenolic ripeness without raisining of their fruit or skyrocketing sugar levels, all the while retaining healthy levels of natural acidity. This is a formula for making elegant, ageworthy wines.” – Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

In Stock Now

Beringer Vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2009 750ML ($159.95) $99 special
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 93 points
“Full, bright ruby. Pungent scents of blackberry, cassis, licorice and bitter chocolate are complemented by a note of crystallized berries. Juicy, savory and intense, conveying a strong impression of spine without any obvious dryness. The wine’s dark berry and licorice flavors show a sexy subtle sweetness, along with salty minerality and an element of peppery lift. This classically dry, sharply delineated, penetrating wine finishes with firm but refined tannins and lovely rising violet perfume. Youthful and gripping, it displays the energy of the vintage’s better examples and should go on in a cool cellar for another two decades. (14.4% alcohol) [Reviewed July ’19]”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


The Absolutely Stunning Rioja

of La Rioja Alta

La Rioja Alta is one of the Great Names of Rioja.  Along with Lopez de Heredia and Muga, they form a triumvirate of excellent, resolutely traditional producers in the heart of Haro.  Rioja Alta is perhaps the most under the radar of the three—not as romanticized as Lopez and not as big and everpresent as Muga.  Despite their (relative) obscurity, Rioja Alta makes wines that are every bit the top of the class of the region.

We just tasted through this upcoming release from Rioja Alta and were blown away with the quality levels across the board. From the entry level to the high end, these are some of the best wines we’ve tasted from the venerable producer—which is really saying something considering the wines they’ve put out in the past.  The highlights, of course, are the two Gran Reservas and the “Vina Ardanza” Reserva—three wines that are beautifully aged (and drinking great now) but will last in the cellar as long as you have patience.

We’re stocking up on these and so should you—these are absolutely brilliant wines to drink now and to age, so it’s hard to buy too many.  They arrive in a few weeks and you’d do well to stock up—these are brilliant bottles at prices that are fantastic for what’s inside them.

Arriving Friday August 9th:

La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, Rioja DOCa 2010 750ML ($71.95) $57.50 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points
“Fresh blueberries and brambleberries take center stage, which is striking for a wine of this age. There are also lots of roasted herbs, such as sage, not to mention floral elements, including lavender and dried violets. Then come cedar, sandalwood and tar. The tannins are incredibly round and soft, without the slightest hint of anything dry. This is among the most elegant of Riojas, where the acidity is wonderfully pronounced and cuts right through any touch of dried fruit. Long and powerful, yet subtle on the finish. Drink now, or hold for a very long time.”
Wine Advocate 96+ points “It seems like yesterday when the superb 2001 was released, and now I already have the 2010 Gran Reserva 904 in my glass. It has to be among the greatest modern time vintages of this mythical bottling, where they aim for a wine that has a long aging potential. This is mostly Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 13.5% alcohol, and it matured in fourth-used American oak barrels for four years, during which time the wine was racked every six months. It has the combination of elegance and power only the best vintages are capable of, with the classical aromas, great detail and nuance, very good balance and persistence. They consider 2010 among the best years of this century, and maybe future generations will talk about 2010 like we talk about the great classical vintages of yesterday today. The palate is polished but shows plenty of energy and tension, the tannins are very fine and elegant, and the flavors are focused and clean. This has to be one of the greatest wines from the vintage. A legend in the making. 150,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2015.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($39.95) $30.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($399.95) $333 pre-arrival special (that’s only $27.75/bottle—the lowest listed price in the country!)
James Suckling 96 points
“Very fresh and vivid 2009 with berries, dark spice and hints of walnuts. Full-bodied, reserved and so held back and muscular, but you don’t feel the tannins and the strength. A great wine. Give it two or three years. Try in 2020.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The current vintage of one of the flagship wines from La Rioja Alta is the 2009 Viña Ardanza Reserva, the second year it has contained 20% Garnacha grapes from their estate vineyards in La Pedriza in the village of Tudelilla in Rioja Baja. The Tempranillo comes from vineyards averaging 30 years of age in Fuenmayor and Cenicero. The hand-harvested bunches were sorted and put in boxes, transferred to the winery at 14 degrees Celsius to be destemmed and crushed, then the grapes fermented in stainless steel, including malolactic. The two varieties were aged separately, 36 months in used American oak barrels for Tempranillo and 30 months for Garnacha, and racked every six months. It was initially closed, shy and serious, riper and a little darker than the 2008 but still very balanced, serious and harmonious. The palate combines power with elegance, with some tannins, focused flavors, some chalky texture and a rustic touch that gives it character. 600,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2014.”

La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2012 750ML ($49.95) $38 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 95 points
“Brambleberries, licorice, dried blueberries, cedar, tobacco, smoke, vanilla, dried citrus and even a hint of grapefruit. The lazer-sharp acidity evinces a real sense of purity, and the tannins are really edgy and structured. Full-bodied but very elegant and stylish. The finish goes on and on, thanks to the shimmering acidity. Beautiful now, but better in 2024.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2014 750ML ($24.95) $19 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 92 points
“Dried red cherries, paprika, coconut, dried strawberries and earth. Medium body, steely and subtle tannins and a red plum-soaked, medium-chewy finish. Drink in 2021.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “The first wine in their portfolio is already at Reserva level (labeled Crianza in Spain…), of which I tasted the 2014 Viña Alberdi. 2014 was a challenging harvest with lots of rains, and they had to sort and select the grapes. The wine has plenty of balsamic and smoky notes, incense and cigar ash, smoke and spice. The palate is quite marked by the élevage of two years in barrel and reveals a medium-bodied wine with a bitter twist on the finish, and the balsamic notes that you find on the nose make a comeback in the finish. This seems to be a lighter vintage of Viña Alberdi. 500,000 bottles produced. it was bottled in June 2017.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Featured New Arrival

The Overlooked Columbia Gorge

The Columbia Gorge AVA is one of the most exciting in the Pacific Northwest—a tiny region with incredibly varied geology and a temperate climate that, on the west side, is closer to the Willamette Valley than to the Columbia Valley AVA that it shares part of a name with.  The long-time flagship producer has been Phelps Creek, who believed in the potential of the area long before near-neighbors Hiyu came along.  Their Lynette Chardonnay is a fantastic example of what they’re capable of, full of minerality and a linear, direct acidity.  This is a wine for lovers of old-world whites, with real polish and complexity.  We brought in a few cases and they should disappear pretty quickly.

In Stock Now:

Phelps Creek Vineyards Lynette Chardonnay, Columbia Gorge 2015 750ML ($47.95) $39 special
Grapelive 95 points
“Ms Roy and Bob have winner here with the expressive 2015 Lynette Chardonnay, it really reminds me a lot of John Raytek’s beautiful Ceritas wines with it’s purity and textual grace, it certainly is expressive and unique stuff that deserves attention. This Phelps Creek Vineyards Chard shows crisp mineral focus with layers that fill the palate as you sip it in the glass, it gains density and nuance as it gets air revealing apple, pear, lemon and peach fruits, soft floral tones, wet stones, a hint of brioche, clarified cream, delicate and polished wood notes and clove spice. Not as weighty of powerful as Wente clone, but a wine of serious impact and complexity, it give a wonderful performance with tons of personality and charm. If you had tried the best of Oregon Chardonnay, like the mentioned Cameron or the likes of Brick House, Bergstrom, Evening Land and Westerly to name a few, you need to try this Phelps Creek Lynette Chardonnay. This lightly golden hued Chardonnay is really coming into its own and should drink well for another 5 to 10 years, though its already in the great place, especially with food….Phelps Creek Vineyards, established in 1990, is a small boutique winery that focuses on estate grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and owned and run by Bob Morus and his family. Morus is a winegrower, and he believes in his fruit, for him the vineyard care takes center stage in PhelpsCreek’s wine production and he tends his vines using sustainable agricultural practices that are combined with strict management of the fruit yields. This leads to the higher concentration of flavors and a noted luxurious intensity in their bottlings. Located in Oregon’s Columbia Gorge, Phelps Creek does some wonderfully crafted wines, with a great set of wines like this cuvee Lynette Chardonnay which was overseen by the highly talented Gevrey-Chambertin vigneron Alexandrine Roy of Domaine Marc Roy, who has been helping this small winery craft Burgundy style and class wines since about 2007”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Trending Wines
“If I could give more than 100 for this one, I would”-LPB
Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($319.95) $289 special
Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2016 1.5L ($699.95) $599 special
Lisa Perrotti-Brown-Wine Advocate 100 points
“A blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Franc aged in 40% new oak, the 2016 Proprietary Red Wine is deep purple-black in color and quite reticent at this youthful stage to begin, offering up subtle notions of potpourri, Indian spices, cigar box and iron ore over a core of crushed blackberries and black cherries with intermittent wafts of black and red currants, new leather and smoked meats. The palate is medium to full-bodied with a densely packed mid-palate and oodles of freshness framed by very ripe, finely grained tannins and laced with compelling earthy accents. It offers incredible vibrancy with tons of black and red fruit sparkle in the mid-palate leading to a provocative mineral element on the very long finish. If I could give more than 100 for this one, I would. To be released in May 2019.”
Jeb Dunnuck 98+ points “Another possible legend in the making is the 2016 Dominus, a classic blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc brought up in 40% new French oak. Pure, pristine notes of charcoal, cold fireplace, smoke tobacco, and both blue and black fruits all flow to a full-bodied 2016 that has incredible elegance and finesse, yet also depth and density. It’s more backward and reserved than the 2015 and needs 4-5 years of cellaring. It will unquestionably live for 25-30 years.”
James Suckling 98 points “The opulence of fresh flowers and dark fruit is so impressive. There’s so much going on, from flowers to currants. The palate is full and powerful, but what impresses most are the ripe tannins and the amazing poise at the finish. Tightens down at the end. A blend of 84 per cent cabernet sauvignon, eight per cent petit verdot and eight per cent cabernet franc. Drink in 2021.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2016 Dominus is a dark, somber wine. I don’t quite see the explosive energy of the 2013 or 2010, not the seductiveness of the 2012, but the 2016 has a distinct charm that is all its own. Quite frankly, I can’t remember a young Dominus with this combination of fruit density, freshness and polished tannins. A huge center of fruit emerge with time in the glass in a big, large-scaled Dominus that should provide readers with a long drinking window of pure pleasure once some of the baby fat wears off.”

A top Rhone white from a rising star that’s easy on the wallet, as well.
Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Saint-Peray, Rhone 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Case-12 Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Saint-Peray, Rhone 2016 750ML ($289.95) $259 special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“This team has made a terrific 2016 Saint-Péray, (50/50 Marsanne and Roussanne aged in 15% new oak) from an appellation that continues to produce more and more outstanding wines. Honeysuckle, white flowers, caramelized peach and white currant notes give way to a pure, elegant, layered white that has terrific purity and length. It’s going to drink beautifully for 3-4 years or more.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Pale yellow-gold. Fresh and incisive on the nose, displaying vibrant citrus and orchard fruit scents complemented by hints of honeysuckle and chalky minerals. Shows very good depth of flavor but comes off lithe, offering juicy Meyer lemon and bitter pear skin flavors that pick up a spicy ginger note on the back half. Closes very long and precise, delivering a firm snap of minerality and lingering floral character.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $27.99
A party bottle with complexity and polish to spare.
Passopisciaro Passorosso Terre Siciliane IGT, Sicily 2014 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Ian D’agata–Vinous 97 points
“Bright red-ruby. The captivating nose combines strawberry, raspberry, minerals, violet and flint aromas. Creamy-sweet but amazingly light on its feet, offering palate-staining, perfumed flavors of soft red berries, ripe red cherry, vanilla, aromatic herbs and crushed rock. Rich, ripe and suave, but displays a penetrating, saline and energetic quality that gives this beauty a three-dimensional mouthfeel and a light-on-its-feet quality. Finishes with great length and wonderfully polished tannins. Absolute knockout wine: from a memorable vintage on Etna, this is most likely the best Passorosso ever (in earlier vintages, it used to be called simply Passopisciaro). Mainly Nerello Mascalese.”
Grapelive 95 points “Passopisciaro is one of Sicily’s stars, making volcanic reds that are often compared to the finest Premier Crus of Burgundy. None of that seemed possible back in 2000, when Passopisciaro founder, Andrea Franchetti [of Tenuta di Trinoro in Tuscany] first visited Sicily. He searched out an estate and finally picked out abandoned vineyards on the northern side of Mount Etna. [It offers] the unique characteristics of high-elevation terraces of highly varied black [and] lava soils that give these amazing wines their terroir character. In recent years Franchetti’s Passopisciaro, all biodynamic, has been one of world’s most talked about estates, making a wine of real impact from Etna’s Nerello Mascalese grape. [He crafts] a fuller bodied version with a touch more extract and a darker hue than some of his neighbors, while still being true to traditional norms and using grapes from Cru sites known locally as Contradas. Passopisciaro does five single-vineyard bottlings from each contrada that Franchetti gets fruit from, these include Rampante, Sciaranuova, Guardiola, Porcaria, and Chiappemacine, as well as doing this multi site Etna Rosso cuvee Passorosso, which is now a DOC. This 2014 Passopisciaro Passorosso is 100% Nerello Mascalese from vines that were planted between 1913-1943. It was fermented using specially picked yeast in cold stainless steel vats before finishing malos and aging in French casks, mostly neutral big barrels, for 18 months, finishing at a serious 15% natural alcohol, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The 2014 Passorosso is richly textured, with classic smoky notes and spicy red fruits before opening up and gaining layer after layer including macerated cherries, strawberry, plum and raspberry fruits along with licorice, lavender oil, red pepper and flinty mineral tones. This medium/full pure Nerello Mascalese has a beautiful and textural glycerin and wonderful length. Its palate is luxurious and satiny, while still having serious impact and vitality. This is a winery to discover if you haven’t yet!”

This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
Andy’s Staff Pick is moving some wine!
Gulfi Neromaccarj Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
James Suckling 95 points
“The complex, plum-cake and spice nose leads into a rich and sophisticated red, in which the tannins and fruit are already perfectly integrated. Long, complex, herbal and spicy finish. From organically grown grapes.”
Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2013 Sicilia Neromàccarj bursts open with dark fruit intensity, including dried cherry and blackberry confit. Like the other wines in this series of single-vineyard Nero d’Avola wines, this expression produces above-average density, darkness and richness. But the Neromàccarj also offers an elegant side that comes forth, thanks to the contained intensity and the firm delineation of its aromas. Smoke, tar and black olive appear on the close. The Maccari vineyard site is almost at sea level and has limestone, clay and rocky soils that are rich with organic matter. Only 3,200 bottles were made.”-ML

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $45.90

Savart kills it every release and this is no exception.
Savart L’Accomplie Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $55 special
Case-6 Savart L’Accomplie Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($379.95) $309 special (that’s only $51.50/bottle—save over $20 per six pack!)
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The NV L’Accomplie is a blend of equal parts 2016 of 2015 vintages. Dried apricot, pear, dried flowers and chamomile are some of the notes that grace this mid-weight, sublime, totally refined entry-level Champagne from Fred Savart. All the elements are impeccably balanced in this sublime, refined Champagne. L’Accomplie is 80% Pinot and 20% Chardonnay from Ecueil and Villers-aux-Noeuds. Dosage is 5 grams per liter.” [Review is for November 2017 disgorgement in 750ml]

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
“Cavallotto may very well be the greatest Barolo producer few people have ever heard of” -AG
Cavallotto Bricco Boschis, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93-95 points
“This is a review that looks far, far into the future since this wine is not even technically a Barolo yet. It has not finished its aging process. Tasted from barrel, the 2015 Barolo Bricco Boschis is shaping up beautifully. I tasted it next to the 2013 edition of the same wine that was reviewed last year (with 96+ points). This vintage shows depth and richness with generous texture and fiber. This vintage recalls 2011 and 2017, although it wasn’t quite as scorching hot. Of course, the 2014 vintage was not produced because of hail damage in the vineyard. After 2015, we will be treated to the highly anticipated 2016 edition.”

July Sale Roundup

There are only a few days left in July, so you’ve got a limited amount of time to get even better pricing than usual on some top picks from around the world.Now’s your chance to grab Force Majeure, de Villaine, magnums of Dönnhoff, Bitouzet Priur, Bow & Arrow and more!  You can see all of the wines in our webstore or in the spreadsheet below, but we’ve also got some highlights if you’re having trouble making up your mind.

Highlights In Stock Now:

Bow & Arrow Le Chenaie Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Eola Amity Hills 2017 750ML ($29.95) Was $24, Now $21.90 July Sale Special
Winery Note
“Proof that Sauvignon Blanc made the right way can be terroir wine, the short distance between Union School and La Chenaie belies the profoundly different ways in which the two sites express themselves. We make the two wines exactly the same way but the Eola-Amity Hills highlights wholly different attributes in Sauvignon Blanc.  This expression is more sophisticated than its southern brother and incorporates a savory aspect we find fascinating.  Texturally is carries more weight and depth without being ponderous.  Reminiscent of stone fruit, guava, mint and a whiff of Rum Agricole.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Bow & Arrow Hughes Hollow Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($41.95) Was $33, Now $29 July Sale Special
Winery Note
“One of the greatest underdog stories in this region’s wine history.  Cynically planted on a north facing slope some 30 years ago it wasn’t even given a name.  It was just buried in some big houses Pinot for color and bulk.  We came along and convinced the owner to switch to Organic farming and sell us the Gamay block also planted on the site.  The Pinot was part of the deal however and despite begrudgingly accepting it the wine has proven to be the best source of this noble variety we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.  The most sophisticated wine the cellar produces every year.  Always reminds me of cinnamon, hibiscus, raspberry blossoms and black tea.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Bow & Arrow Air Guitar, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($29.95) Was $24, Now $21.90 July Sale Special
Winery Note
“Like Rhinestones, the name Air Guitar is a self deprecating poke at attempting French style wines in America.  The “least likely to exist” of all of our Willamette Valley sourced wines, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Borgo Pass Vineyard and Cabernet Franc from Johan Vineyard.  Don’t let the playful nature of the wine’s label fool you -this is our most profound expression of red wine from this region and the one that rewards the most patience.  Aged 10 to 12 months in puncheon.  “
This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
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.”
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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!
Thierry Triolet Cuvee Grande Reserve Blanc de Blancs, Champagne NV 750ML ($44.95) Was $36, Now $33 July Sale Special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points
“Pale gold. Intense citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complicated by notes of honeysuckle, tarragon and iodine. Chewy tangerine and pear skin flavors become silkier and spicier with aeration. Shows a seductive floral quality on the clinging finish, which features a dusty mineral nuance and a touch of buttered toast.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $38


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