Weekend Vinopolpick 8-23-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

48 Hour, Weekend Reynvaan Flash Sale

New Felsina Arrivals

Featured New Arrival: Vajra’ Incredible Ravera

New Releases from Crowley

Trending Wines

Two New 2015 Barolos from Elio Grasso

Dönnhoff’s Stellar ’18 GG’s 

First Offer: ’17 Grand Veneur Chateauneufs


48 Hour, Weekend Reynvaan Flash Sale

Reynvaan is one of the premier producers of Walla Walla Syrah out there—perhaps the closest challenger to Cayuse’s throne of any winery in the state.  Despite their short history, they’re making some of the best wines from the area and we’re excited to give you extra-special pricing with a weekend-only flash sale.  If you love these wines, stock up—our already great prices are even better, but only until Sunday at midnight.

Way back in 2007, who would have thought a start-up could rocket into the first ranks of Walla Walla wine? Considering the quality geology, geography, and talent in the area, it hardly came as a surprise for Reynvaan. Family-owned and -run, this is a hands-on operation that dedicated itself from the start to producing the finest wines from some of the region’s best vineyard sites. Reynvaan owns two vineyards: In the Rocks recalls the Rhone valley with its rocky ancient riverbed soil, while the Foothills in the Sun vineyard enjoys South-Southwest exposure on one of Washington’s highest-elevation vineyards, at 1600 feet: good ripening in the day, with acidities preserved at night. Once in the winery, the pursuit of terroir and Washington style becomes Reynvaan’s modus operandi.

Are the wines good? Well, Reynvaan now has a waiting list, but we are a proud authorized and long-time dealer (since the ’08 vintage!) of these highly exclusive wines.  Stylistically they’re most similar to Cayuse (which makes sense, as Christophe Baron consulted on the early vintages) with wines that show earthy and savory notes along with their full fruit.  These prices were already some of the best in the country and now they’re even lower.  The sale is limited to stock on hand, so quantities are limited, as you’d expect.  Happy hunting!

Flash Sale Prices Valid Through Sunday, August 25th at Midnight
Flash Sale Prices Limited to Stock on Hand
In Stock Now:

Reynvaan Family Vineyards Stonessence Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($149.95) Was $119, Now $99 Flash Sale Special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“The 2016 Syrah Estate Stonessence (100% Syrah) is similarly purple-colored and has a gamier, more exotic profile. Plums, blackberries, blueberries, cured meats, ground pepper, and iron notes all flow to a powerful, medium to full-bodied Syrah that has a singular, layered character. It shows the more elegant, seamless style of the vintage and is a beautiful, beautiful wine. Bravo!”

Reynvaan Family Vineyards ‘The Classic’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $69 Flash Sale 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.”

Reynvaan Family Vineyards ‘The Contender’ Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($99.95) Was $89, Now $79 Flash Sale Special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“The 2016 Syrah Estate The Contender from this terrific estate checks in as 95% Syrah and 5% Marsanne that was mostly destemmed (there’s 35% stems) and aged 18 months in barrel. Black raspberries, plums, toasted spice, ground pepper and decaying flower notes all emerge from this incredibly elegant, seamless Syrah that shines for its complexity, elegance, and richness. With plenty of tannins and impeccable balance, it’s approachable today yet will keep for 10-15 years with no issues.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Reynvaan Family Vineyards Foothills Reserve Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $69 Flash Sale Special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“The 2016 Syrah Estate Foothills Reserve is a selection from the estate vineyard and was aged 11 months in neutral oak followed by 13 months in bottle. Deep purple-colored, with terrific notes of blackberries, smoked earth, graphite, cedarwood, and salted meats, it hits the palate with slightly more structure and tannin than the straight In The Hills Release, yet has terrific balance, no hard edges, and a great finish. It needs 2-3 years of bottle age, but this elegant, classic Syrah from Reynvaan will see its 15th birthday in fine form.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Reynvaan Family Vineyards In The Hills Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $69 Flash Sale Special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“From a vineyard located near the estate and a blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier that saw 25% stems, the deep purple-colored 2016 Syrah Estate In The Hills has a Côte Rôtie-like perfume of red and black raspberries, spring flowers, and smoky, meaty notes. It’s softer and more sweetly fruited and sexy than the Rocks-driven Syrahs, has full-bodied richness, ripe tannins, and a beautiful finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Reynvaan Family Vineyards In The Rocks Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($99.95) Was $89, Now $79 Flash Sale Special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“Made from 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier, all from the Rocks region of Walla Walla, the 2016 Syrah Estate In The Rocks is slightly deeper colored than the Contender release and has an incredibly complete, balanced style that checks in near the top of the vintage. Blackberries, ground pepper, olive, and smoked meat notes give way to a medium to full-bodied, ultra-fine, pure Syrah that has a terrific mid-palate, superb balance, and a great, great finish. Reminding me of a mature Hermitage with its aromatic style and complexity, it’s great today and will be great in 15 years.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Bold aromas of blackberry and bacon fat lead to densely layered and vibrant huckleberry, river stone and licorice flavors that take on richness toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2026. 700 cases made. — TF”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Want to see all the Reynvaan wines in our Flash Sale in one list? Just head to our webstore to see them all.

Flash Sale Prices Valid Through Sunday, August 25th at Midnight
Flash Sale Prices Limited to Stock on Hand


New Felsina Arrivals

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 and their 2016 Chianti Riserva for a while, but have just brought in some large formats for these value treasures.  These wines, while not expensive, are value plays that are attractively priced but serious wines that are capable of aging, especially in magnum.

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 $80/mag seems crazy.  Anyone who loves traditionally made Sangiovese would do well to stick as much as they can in the cellar and drink a bottle a year, starting in ~five years.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 1.5L ($89.95) $79 special
Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special, ETA Late August
Case-12 Felsina 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 92+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva shows all the quality and pedigree of the year in its layered personality and overall nuance. Cedar, dried cherry, game licorice and tobacco convey the darker, gamier side of Sangiovese that is such a signature at Fèlsina. The 2016 finishes with terrific energy and bright acids that suggest it will enjoy a long life in the cellar, but readers should plan on giving it at least a few years in bottle.”

Felsina Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2016 1.5L ($69.95) $59 special
Felsina 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 Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 375ML ($34.95) $28 special
Felsina Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Felsina Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special
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.”
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is powerful, rich and explosive, with tremendous drive. Even so, several bottles have been quite closed. That is probably a very good sign for the long-term, but readers should not plan on touching a bottle anytime soon. A wine of vertical drive and aromatic nuance, the 2016 Rancia is super-complexed. Only with a few hours of air does it show the nuances and layers that were so evident from barrel. The 2016 is a painfully stubborn wine in the early going, but it will offer superb drinking pleasure for those who can wait.”
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.”

Looking for other stellar wines from Felsina? Check out these in-stock beauties:

Felsina Berardenga ‘Colonia’, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 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!

Also Available, Arriving ETA September:

Felsina Fontalloro Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98+ points
“The 2016 Fontalloro is the best vintage of this landmark wine that I have tasted thus far. This is a very elegant vintage, with more volume in the mouth and precise notes of tar, licorice, camphor ash, resin and Indian spice. In a race between the highly competitive 2015 and 2016 vintages, I give a slight advantage to this wine. The warmer 2015 vintage shows more richness and exuberant fruit. However, this wine from 2016 offers a more focused and chiseled delivery. I am hopeful that this wine will continue to evolve and sharpen as it ages in the bottle. This is a beautiful wine to put aside in your cellar for ten years or more.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2016 Fontalloro is bold, hearty and deeply flavored, with all of the Sangiovese wildness that is so typical of Fontalloro. Ripe dark cherry, grilled herbs, smoke, leather, game and incense are some of the many aromas and flavors that open up in a potent, virile Fontalloro loaded with personality and character. In so many ways, 2016 is THE archetype of what Fontalloro is – a Sangiovese that is a bit wild and unruly but also full of charm.”

Felsina Maestro Raro Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 97 points
“Wow, this is an absolutely gorgeous wine that delivers exceptional intensity followed by compelling complexity. The bouquet on the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Maestro Raro peels back to reveal thick layers of red fruit, spice and tobacco. Despite the full weight approach of the mouthfeel, this wine maintains a deep inner sense of elegance all the while. It is still very highly wound and nervous at this young moment in its life and is going to need extra time to unwind and achieve final harmony. All the necessary elements (complexity, balance, freshness and structure) are amply present to guide the wine into the future. It should be exciting to follow its evolution over the next few decades.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Maestro Raro, Fèlsina’s Cabernet Sauvignon, is gorgeous in 2016. Sage, grilled herbs, blackberry jam and menthol give the 2016 striking savory nuance and brightness to play off a core of dark brooding fruit. Concentrated and powerful in the glass, with remarkable character, the 2016 is another winner in this range from Fèlsina.”


Featured New Arrival

Vajra’ Incredible Ravera

Vajra has emerged as one of our favorite producers of Barolo over the last half-decade.  The estate has always been good, but seems to have reached another level over the last 5-10 vintages.  These are stunning wines, built to age.  They are best known for the Bricco delle Viole, however the Ravera might just be the best wine in the cellar, especially in a warm vintage like 2015.  We just acquired a few cases of this stunner and any Piemonte enthusiast needs to have it in their cellar.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

G.D. Vajra Ravera, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“The 2015 Barolo Ravera captures all the best the vintage has to offer. More importantly, it has that extra level of textural richness and sweetness that the Bricco delle Viole does not have, at least not today. Creamy and beautifully textured in the glass, the 2015 is a total winner. Bright red raspberry and pomegranate fruit notes are lifted, while expressive floral and blood orange overtones add brightness. The 2015 suggests that the Ravera might, in time, become the flagship wine here. Don’t miss it!”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


New Releases from Crowley

It’s always pleasure to taste the new releases from Tyson Crowley.  His wines combine both delicious upfront fruit with a bright acidity and a keen sense of terroir.  The new releases we’re featuring today are prime examples.  Both the 2017 La Colina and Four Winds vineyard wines are delicious up front, but show very different personalities.

La Colina is a classic Dundee Hills site and shows it—the wine has generous fruit and the soft floral notes that we look for from the AVA.  The Four Winds, on the other hand, is from a much cooler, high altitude site and shows a firm backbone and a distinct savory streak that only comes from vines living a hard life.  We also got in the Chardonnay from Four Winds, which is always one of the most Burgundian, structured and profound bottlings of the grape in the Willamette Valley.

Across the board, 2017 vintage is a return to classic Oregon and these wines very much reflect that, with beautiful aromas and an incredible freshness that provides energy to the bottom of the glass.  No matter which you choose, these are wines that are delicious and thrilling, so we’d suggest cellaring some of each.

In Stock Now:

Crowley Four Winds Vineyard Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($49.95) $44 special
Winery notes:
“No matter the heat this wine never slows down. Four Winds Chardonnay comes off of a block of own-rooted Wente clone Chardonnay that was planted in 1990. Every vintage, Four Winds shows low alcohol, singing acid and a citrus nature. Twenty months in neutral barrel broadens the palate and bring a touch of sweet butter and sage.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Crowley Four Winds Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($49.95) $44 special
: From the cool Four Winds Vineyard, situated at 1,000 feet elevation and nine miles north of McMinnville. This is a mineral-driven Pinot with saline influences. Lots of red fruit and spice. The 2017 is a classically restrained wine that will benefit from time in your cellar.

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Crowley La Colina Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2017 750ML ($49.95) $44 special
: The 2017 vintage of the La Colina Vineyard Pinot shows the classic cool-iron and blue and black fruit aromas. This is a fantastic release that has savory and black pepper aromas. Don’t let the darker profile fool you, this is an elegant wine more reminiscent of Burgundy than California.

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Trending Wines

A staff pick exceptional value.  Dry, crisp and surprisingly complex.
Weingut Keller Gruner Silvaner Trocken, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
John Gilman 91 points
“The 2018 Grüner Silvaner Trocken from Weingut Keller had been bottled only two weeks before my visit, but was showing beautifully. This is 11.5 percent octane this year and offers up a lovely and quite serious nose of tart orange, grapefruit, chalky minerality and a lovely, smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and beautifully balanced, with bright acids and lovely length and grip. Germany’s most popular wine to pair with white asparagus is outstanding this year and a great bargain! 2019-2040.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Bold, rich, silky and one of the epitomes of modern CdP.
Xavier Vignon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Anonyme, Rhone 2015 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck – Rhone Report 96 points
“The inky colored 2015 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Anonyme is a serious winner in the vintage. A blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre and the rest counoise, Vaccarese and Muscardin, it offers a huge nose of blackberry jam, garrigue, crushed violets, and incense. Ripe, unctuous and opulent, yet not over the top, it reminds me of the Trois Source cuvee from Vieille Julienne. This is a smoking good release that will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and shine of over a decade.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Xavier Vignon is one of the Rhône’s leading winemaking consultants, and so it’s no surprise he had access to some great fruit for his 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme. Tellingly, the blend entirely omits Syrah, containing 60% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre, 8% Counoise, 4% Vaccarèse and 3% Muscardin. Floral notes and ripe cherries appear along licorice and vanilla (one-fourth of the wine was matured in new barriques), yet this is no drink-now version of CdP. This full-bodied wine boasts broad shoulders, a plush, creamy center and a muscular finish loaded with ripe tannins and spice. Give it a few years to mellow, and drink it over the next 15.”

Serious Dolcetto is a rare thing.  Even rarer is one this good.
G.D. Vajra Coste & Fossati Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2017 Dolcetto d’Alba Coste & Fossati is a wine of extraordinary and arresting beauty. Intense and yet also remarkably delineated, the Coste & Fossati is a terrific example of the heights Dolcetto can reach in skilled hands. Readers will find a gorgeous, beautifully layered wine endowed with tremendous energy and focus. Dark plum, graphite, smoke, menthol and licorice all build in this super-expressive and nuanced wine from Vajra. I loved it.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The most versatile rose in the store? We’re in love with this pink wine.
Plouzeau Chinon Rive Gauche Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14.40 special
Case-12 Plouzeau Chinon Rive Gauche Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($199.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points
“Shimmering orange-pink. Highly perfumed, mineral-accented strawberry and floral scents are complemented by a slowly building hint of orange zest. Dry and lively on the palate, offering bitter cherry and red berry flavors and a spicy touch of white pepper. Finishes clean and long, displaying repeating florality and a nervy touch of dusty minerals.”
VinopolNote “While Chinon is best known for its lovely, savory bistro reds, a few producers make dynamite rosé from the AOC as well.  Plouzeau is one of those that makes excellent rosé, and the 2018 version is tops. As a red, some don’t love Chinon because of its herbal, savory streak, but that’s tempered in rosé form, turning into a lovely background note of thyme or rosemary to complement the bright juicy fruit.  This is dry and crisp—and more importantly budget friendly.  It’s one of the best values in the rosé world, especially if you buy it by the case!”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
A world apart from the Xavier, this is pretty and old-school.
Brunier Piedlong Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $44 special
James Suckling 95 points
“10 hectares of elevated Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this is an hommage to grenache with just a hatful of mourvèdre. Ripe raspberry and red plum pastry aromas. Super silky, plush and layered. Extremely impressive. Shows fluidity and balance, density and lightness. 50% stalks (crushed).”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
One of the best bang-for-your-buck wines in Rioja today.
Remelluri Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2012 750ML ($44.95) $33 special
Case-12 Remelluri Reserva, Rioja DOC2012 750ML ($479.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“Deep ruby. Ripe red berries, dried flowers, illicit herb and smoky minerals on the exotically perfumed nose. The palate offers spicy, penetrating, concentrated flavors of black raspberry, cherry compote and floral pastilles, with a zesty mineral quality building in the glass. Shows excellent clarity and intensity on the very long, floral, gently tannic finish.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The flagship 2012 Reserva was cropped from a year when they started seeing the results of improvements made to the work in the vineyards that started in 2010. 2012 was not as warm and ripe as 2011, and the wine comes through as a nice balance between power and elegance, with some earthiness, good fruit and a fine palate. It has a personality between the Labastida and San Vicente bottlings of the Lindes bottlings. It matured in barrique for 18 months, but the wood feels very well integrated. 2012 was a shorter crop, and they produced some 281,000 bottles. It was bottled in April 2015.”


Two New 2015 Barolos from Elio Grasso
“Elio Grasso was my first stop on my fall tasting trip. As has been the case for a number of years, Grasso’s Barolos sit at a very high level within the hierarchy of Piedmont’s top estates.” “Grasso is among the producers who deftly bridge modern and traditional styles with stylish, powerful wines that also age beautifully.” “Over the last decade or so, Grasso has stepped up quality in a meaningful way. There seems to be no limit where this small family-run estate can go from here.” – Antonio Galloni

The wines that Elio Grasso’s son, Gianluca, has been making over the last decade and a half have catapulted the estate into the very top tier of Piemontese producers.  These are Barolos that are compelling, thrilling wines; made in a style which bridges modern and traditional into something very much the estate’s own.

We’re offering two Barolos, the Ginestra Casa Mate and the Gavarini Chiniera, both of which are absolutely outstanding. The Casa Mate is a bit more structured, built for a longer time in the cellar, and the Gavarini is the earlier drinker, slightly more delicate of the pair.  Grasso seems to excel in warmer vintages, so it’s no surprise that his ’15’s are stunning.  These arrive next month and we couldn’t be more excited.

Arriving ETA Early September:

Elio Grasso Ginestra Vigna Casa Mate, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($99.95) $77.50 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 97 points
“There is slightly more structure to the 2015 Barolo Ginestra Casa Maté than to the Gavarini Chiniera of the same vintage, and the only differences here are the soils and that this fruit is harvested about ten days later. It’s a pretty fascinating demonstration of the power of the single vineyard. The Gavarini Chiniera parcel offers slightly sandier soils, whereas this site is composed of more clay. In rainy years, the Gavarini Chiniera vineyard drains more effectively, whereas the Ginestra’s soil retains more moisture in the hot and dry vintages. As a result, in vintages such as this one, Ginestra shows a more compact nature and, in general, provides more impact and more structure. This is a very robust expression, extremely linear and tight. The Ginestra Casa Maté narrowly wins this round. It’s another beautiful Barolo.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “Grasso’s 2015 Barolo Ginestra Casa Matè is a dense, full-bodied Barolo that is going to need at least a few years to start unwinding. Dark fruit and a host of mentholated, balsamic notes all run through the 2015. Broad shoulders and tons of depth give the wine its distinctive feel. The Ginestra Casa Matè is usually more expressive at this stage than it is today. Time in the glass soften some of the edges, but the 2015 is a wine to cellar and then drink for the next 20-30 years. There is so much to look forward to.”
James Suckling 96 points “Complex aromas of figs, ripe strawberries and fresh mushrooms. Full body, firm and tight tannins with a solid core of fruit and a long, linear finish. Great length. Drink in 2024.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Elio Grasso Gavarini Vigna Chiniera, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($99.95) $77.50 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points
“Extremely perfumed, showing lots of rose, lavender and dark-berry character. Full body with intense density and chewiness that gives the wine great structure. Lots of flavor and focus at the finish. Needs five to six years to finish. Drink in 2024.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2015 Barolo Gavarini Chiniera is ample, full-bodied and rich on the palate, and yet retains its explosive floral lift and brightness, two of the signatures that are such calling cards of Barolos from this Monforte site. A rush of sweet red cherry, blood orange, chalk, mint and rose petal build in a super-expressive Barolo that hits so many high notes effortlessly. The Gavarini Chiniera is one of the wines of the vintage. Don’t miss it.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “Gianluca Grasso did not make this wine in 2014, but in 2015, he found the vintage he was looking for. The 2015 Barolo Gavarini Chiniera is perfectly wonderful. The wine combines power with elegance, showing long determination as it wraps smoothly over the palate. The mature tannins are well integrated within a profound, ripe and round quality of dark fruit. That juicy and succulent core shows graceful notes of violet, licorice, cola, moist earth and white truffle. Grasso knew that this would be a great vintage and he nailed it.”

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Dönnhoff’s Stellar ’18 GG’s 

Donnhoff is perhaps our favorite German producer.  They excel with both dry and off-dry wines, producing some of the top dozen Rieslings in nearly every vintage.  Part of that is a privileged location—they own some of the best vineyards in the Nahe, one of the most geologically diverse parts of Germany.  The other part is the exceptional drive and focus of Helmut and Cornelius Dönnhoff, who will stop at nothing to produce the best wines in Germany.

As good as the wines are every year, they might have outdone themselves in the 2018 vintage.  On the whole 2018 is a very good year and Dönnhoff is very much in the tip-top of the class.  The Nahe, which naturally combines the zest of the neighboring Mosel with the depth and gras of the Rhein, has been on a roll recently, but the nature of ’18 seems to play to its strengths, with intense powerful wines that are buttressed with ample acidity.

We’ve got a brilliant collection of their wines in stock now, plus are now offering their 2018 GG’s (and a few other things) on pre-arrival, as well.  If you’d like to see all of the wines available from this classic Nahe producer, you can just head to our webstore, but we’ve got the ’18 GG’s highlighted for you below.

Arriving ETA Fall:

Weingut Donnhoff ‘Felsenturmchen’ Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($89.95) $66 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 94 points
“The 2018 Felsenberg GG is also absolutely outstanding this year. The bouquet is impressively expressive at this early stage, soaring from the glass in a blaze of pear, tart orange, a beautiful base of slate minerality, wild yeasts, a touch of fleur de sel and a potpourri of floral scents in the upper register. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and seamless, with outstanding mid-palate depth, powerful mineral drive and great cut and grip on the long, perfectly balanced and youthful finish. This will be show stopping juice in the fullness of time. 2028-2070. 94.”

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Weingut Donnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 95 points
“To my mind, the Dellchen often produces the most muscular Grosses Gewächs bottling from Weingut Dönnhoff, so I wondered how it might turn out this year, where there was already so much potential for power inherent in the vintage. Much to my surprise, the 2018 Dellchen is supremely elegant this year, offering up a sophisticated bouquet of sweet grapefruit, tart apple, wild yeasts, a beautiful base of minerality, orange blossoms and lemongrass. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, racy and utterly suave in its sense of balance and inner harmony, with bright acids and a very long, primary and promising finish. A great wine by any measure! 2030-2070. 95.”

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Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 97 points
“Cornelius Dönnhoff has crafted one of the very best dry Rieslings that I tasted on this trip from the Hermannshöhle in 2018! The bouquet is deep, complex and again, so very elegant out of the blocks this year, delivering scents of pink grapefruit, tart tangerine, white flowers, a superb base of slate, lemongrass, citrus peel and just a dollop of upper register wild yeast tone. On the palate the wine is racy, focused, full-bodied and extremely mineral-driven, with a great core, laser-like focus and seamlessly balanced on the very, very long, very complex and utterly refined finish. Chapeau! 2033-2075+. 97.”

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Weingut Donnhoff Krotenpfuhl Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 93 points
“The 2018 Krötenpfuhl GG is absolutely superb this year. The wine is very pure on the both the nose and palate, with the bouquet delivering a lovely mix of pink grapefruit, tart orange, salty minerality, a touch of wild yeasts and a topnote of citrus blossoms. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and very well-balanced, with a lovely core, ripe, vibrant acids and great focus and grip on the long, nascently complex and very elegant finish. Superb juice. 2026-2060. 93.”

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Weingut Donnhoff Hollenpfad Im Muhlenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($89.95) $66 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 93+ points
“The Grosses Gewächs bottling from the filet section of the Höllenpfad im Mühlenberg is also very promising and again, shows the beautifully elegant refinement of all the dry Rieslings from the Dönnhoff family this year. Helmut estimates that this is thirteen percent octane or just under in this vintage. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a very refined and expressive blend of tangerine, blood orange, salty minerality, citrus peel, smoky overtones and a topnote of dried flowers. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and really packed at the core, with racy acids, great soil signature, laser-like focus and a very long, youthfully complex and very promising finish. 2028-2060+. 93+.”

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First Offer

2017 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf

The Domaine Grand Veneur is one of the highest scoring estates in Chateauneuf du Pape, with a ton of wines receiving multiple 95+ point scores across the last few years.  The legendary Alain Jaume helms the estate and (previously featured) winemaker Xavier Vignon provides winemaking expertise, which means that the estate won’t stop in pursuit of quality.

These are big, rich wines with incredible textures and explosive personalities. We’ve secured significant allocations of their three major Chateauneuf du Papes, the VV, Les Origines, and Miocene, all arriving this winter.  The VV is one of the best wines made in the region every year, while the Les Origines and Miocene both deliver excellent value for their prices.  We’re able to offer these at excellent pricing, despite the insane demand for the 2017 vintage—so lovers of the Rhone, take note.  These always sell fast and we expect this set will continue that trend.

Arriving ETA December:

Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($719.95) $479 pre-arrival special (that’s only $79.83/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points
“The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Vieilles Vignes is a bigger, richer, more opulent wine. Beautiful notes of blackcurrants, scorched earth, graphite, and crushed violets, all flow to a full-bodied, Châteauneuf Du Pape that has a voluptuous, sexy texture, brilliant depth of fruit, fine tannins, and a purity of fruit that’s hard to find in this vintage. It’s a thrill a minute, and while it’s approachable today, it will keep for 15-20 years. 416 cases.”
Decanter 96 points “Grown on galets, the fruit for this wine is all destemmed and fermented in stainless steel before being aged for 16 months, half in concrete and half in new barriques. The strong Mourvèdre component comes through as deep, ripe dark fruits and violets. It’s full-bodied and dense with soft, lush tannins, and is held together by a beam of strong acidity, finishing long. A lithe, muscular, impressive wine that will last the course. Just 5,000 bottles made.”

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Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Origines, Rhone 2017 750ML ($69.95) $52.50 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Origines, Rhone 2017 750ML ($419.95) $289 pre-arrival special (that’s only $48.17/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points
“The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Les Origines takes things up a notch on the serious scale and has a much more concentrated, focused, structured style. A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, and the rest Syrah that saw 50% new barrels, it offers a rich, concentrated, focused texture, notes of black raspberries, roasted garrigue, pepper, and tons of minerality, building tannins, and outstanding length. The new oak is beautifully integrated, it’s perfectly balanced, and it’s one of those wines that has a kiss of modern character yet stays firmly planted in the Southern Rhône.”
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Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Le Miocene Rouge, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Le Miocene Rouge, Rhone 2017 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 91 points
“The traditional cuvée at this great estate is the 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Le Miocene, and in 2017 it’s a classic blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre, brought up mostly in concrete (there’s a small amount in older barrels). It has a wonderful fresh, forward, delicious style as well as notes of black raspberries, garrigue, pepper, and hints of flowers. Pure, medium to full-bodied, upfront and ready to go, it’s a beauty geared for drinking over the coming 8-10 years.”

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