Latest wine deals! 9/03/17
continued from 9/03 newsletter
6) Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico 2013, Riserva: $29.79 92 pts. Vinous / Antonio Galloni Succulent dark cherry, plum, lavender, menthol and French oak are very nicely delineated in the 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva. There is lovely depth and juiciness to the fruit, but the Riserva remains very much medium in body. A wine of restraint and polish, the 2013 Riserva is super-impressive today. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.
7) Venge Scout’s Honor Proprietary Red Blend 2015, Napa: $38.99 This vintage has a gorgeous, concentrated assemblage of aromas of stone fruits, crushed blue herbs, violets, cherry, anise, and a touch of honeysuckle. On the palate is pure richness from the old-vine Zinfandel with loads of super-ripe blackberry, pepper spice, and an enveloping masculinity of char and tannins from the Syrah, Charbono and Petite Sirah. A seamless balance and mouth coating deliciousness are found throughout the palate, with an extra long finish with a touch of barrel tannin at the end. 70% Zinfandel 14% Charbono 9% Petite Sirah 7% Syrah.
8) Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant 2012: $37.99 ($48.99 at one of the largest retailers in the nation) A beautiful wine-dark, mulberry color, and a first nose of dark, cool loamy earth with suggestions of raspberries, Damson plums and cherry/chocolate. On the palate, it is sleek and racy with a lively acidity, very soft tannins and great persistence. This is a wine from an extremely cool and elegant vintage, and by all experience, should be a great prospect for very long ageing and development. Blend: 39% Mourvèdre, 33% Grenache, 26% Syrah, 2% Cinsault.
9) Joseph Phelps Insignia 2014: $229.99 97 points James Suckling “The blackberry, dark-chocolate and walnut aromas are persuasive. Full body, a dense and fruity center palate and beautiful depth and intensity. The tannin texture is exceptional. Great wine. Drink in 2020 and onwards.” (5/2017)
94-97 points Vinous “The 2014 Insignia is shaping up to be one of the surprises of the vintage. A rich, explosive Insignia, the 2014 exudes pedigree. A host of dark red cherry, plum and pomegranate notes make a strong first impression. Bright, vibrant aromatics add lift, while beams of salinity contribute to the wine’s energetic personality. One of the interesting aspects of the 2014 is that there is no Merlot in the blend.” (12/2016)
96 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate “The 2014 Insignia is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and the rest Malbec and Cabernet Franc (no Merlot whatsoever). Production was slightly higher at 14,500 cases. This wine has an inky bluish purple color, a big, sweet kiss of crème de cassis, blackberry, blueberry, and hints of graphite and charcoal. It is floral, full-bodied, with tremendous opulence and richness. It is more approachable than the more structured and muscular 2013, but its is certainly no wimpy wine, given its level of extract and richness. It is another beauty, with the oak well-disguised by the extravagant fruit extract. Drink it over the next 30+ years.”
10) Clos Pegase Hommage 2013: $99.99 The 2013 Clos Pegase Hommage Cabernet Sauvignon has a deep saturated purple color. This wine is bursting with exotic and complex fruit notes of ripe black cherry, blackberry liqueur and cassis complemented by scents of violets, graphite, black pepper, wild sage and a touch of incense. This bold sensuous Cabernet Sauvignon deftly balances mineral-tinged fruit, ripe round tannins and full rich mouthfeel with a prominent mid-palate fleshiness and a lengthy refined finish.
11) Champagne Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs Assemblage Two (A2): $650 (over $100 off!) Crafted with exceptional fruit source from some of the best Pinot Noir producing villages of Champagne, including Bouzy, Verzenay, Chigny-les-Roses, Ludes and Rilly-la-Montagne. The full production of 2,333 bottles was disgorged on June 20, 2016. Each bottle is inscribed with its unique number (1 to 2,333). Peach, apricot and red berry aromas are followed by crystalized citrus, orange blossom and hints of brioche. The palate has power and vinosity that reveal fresh red fruits, hints of mint and a very light toastiness. 100% Pinot Noir. Multi-vintage: 2006, 2008 & 2009.
12) Browne Family Vineyards Chardonnay 2015, Columbia Valley: $22.99 Slightly sweet oak and vanilla aromatics introduce this silky, viscous Chardonnay full of rips guava and mango flavors. Finishes with toasted oak, dried fruit and a hint of lemon zest, with lovely balanced acidity. Blend: 97% Chardonnay, 3% Viognier.
13) Opolo Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Paso Robles: $32 92 pts. WE “This longtime winery recently released new labels, and this bottling is one of the first releases to wear the slicker style. Lavish aromas of blueberry, black currant and caramel lead into a palate full of soft chalky tannins that carry flavors of tangy plum skin, bacon fat and crème de cassis. This will age very well, but is tasty now.” M.K. Wine Enthusiast
14) Crossbarn Chardonnay 2016, Sonoma: $24.79 James Suckling 93 “Linear and lean with wonderful freshness and crispness. Lots of lemon rind and citrus character with hints of stone and mango. Medium body, crisp and delicious. Minerality, sea salt undertone. Even gunpowder. Serious white for the money. Screw cap. Drink now. Publish Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017”
15) St Supery Dollarhide Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Napa: $25.99 The Wine Advocate 91 pts. The real star is St. Supéry’s 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Dollarhide Estate Vineyard. This has a creamier texture, with more tropical fruit, ripe melons, and some flowery notes. It is fleshy, medium-bodied, juicy and impressive. Drink it over the next several years.
16) Venge Vineyard Scout’s Honor Napa Valley Red Wine 2015: $37.99 This vintage has a gorgeous, concentrated assemblage of aromas of stone fruits, crushed blue herbs, violets, cherry, anise, and a touch of honeysuckle. On the palate is pure richness from the old-vine Zinfandel with loads of super-ripe blackberry, pepper spice, and an enveloping masculinity of char and tannins from the Syrah, Charbono and Petite Sirah. A seamless balance and mouth coating deliciousness are found throughout the palate, with an extra long finish with a touch of barrel tannin at the end. 2015 Scout’s Honor is certainly a generous mouthful of red wine that we recommend be opened and enjoyed immediately upon release. Cellared correctly it will age for 5 to 8 years.
17) Wild Horse Cheval Sauvage Chardonnay 2014, Santa Maria Valley: $24 (Average price online: $35) Offers an inviting blend of aromas, including caramel, crème brulee, freshly baked pastry, and spice with floral and mineral notes. The flavors are a delicious balance of freshness and creaminess, with vanilla, apple, and lemon.
18) Kim Crawford Small Parcels Pinot Noir 2013, Central Otago: $26 Intensely lifted notes of blackberries and plums. Dried thyme and sweet, spicy oak aromas give this wine an intriguing nose and balances the fruit aromas nicely. Rich and full flavors of plums, dark forest berries and spice. Ripe and luscious, the fruit flavors are well framed by silky tannins, giving the wine structure and great length. Enjoy from two to ten years.
19) Estancia Reserve GSM 2014, Monterey County: $19 Aromas of luscious fruit, violet, and raspberry with notes of nutmeg, cigar box, cider, and cherry. On the palate, intense berry fruit elevated by notes of chocolate and French vanilla. Pairs well with beef or lamb stew, roasted pork, French onion soup, goat cheese. Blend: 48% Grenache, 42% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre.
20) Walt Pinot Noir Clos Pepe 2015, Santa Rita Hills: $68 Yummy! 92 Points A ripe red that’s full of blueberry and blackberry flavors that are intensely spicy. A full-bore style, lingering with rich plum pudding notes on the spicy finish. Drink now. James Laube, Wine Spectator
21) Chateau de Beauregard Pouilly-Fuisse 2014: $29.99 Wine Spectator 92 pts. “A whiff of oyster shell signals this sleek white, which gathers flavors of lemon, melon and mineral across the palate. The finish is invigorating and sapid. Drink now through 2023. 2,000 cases imported.” –BS
22) J Vineyards Pinot Noir 2015, Russian River Valley: $29.79 WS 91 pts. An impressive offering, undeniably rich and concentrated, with potent dark berry and licorice flavors. Offers an element of finesse and refinement, enhanced by aromatic floral scents. Drink now through 2024.
23) La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2008: $31.79 Decanter 95 pts. The best classic style of Grenache and Tempranillo pulling together joyful fruit expression and serious depth. In the mouth it is amazingly complex and so unique. A benchmark Rioja blend. A rich, sweet and savoury Reserva style with all the red cherries and a strong Grenache influence. It is somewhat old-fashioned, in a good way, with plentiful integrated oak and a fine rasp of tannin. This has a wonderful oxidative style, giving it a superb savoury nose of leather. It is a perfect combination of mellowness versus vigour, and at the same time exudes great finesse.
24) L’Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013: $31.99 With an elegant, old world structure, this sophisticated Cabernet shows savory aromas of bouquet garni, rose petal, and cocoa. A robust core of blackberry and plum with notes of black currant and cigar box are framed with polished tannins on a rich, harmonious finish.
25) Kaiken Mai The First 2007: $59.99 on deal! (Suggested retail: $85) WE 93 pts. Editor’s Choice Blackberry, raisin, cola, moss and spice aromas form a potpourri of Malbec excellence. This is super deep and dense stuff; it’s tight and ripped with tannins and acids. Flavors of licorice, blackberry, dark plum and oak are layered and serious. The first Mai made by Kaiken.
26) Wente K Merlot Nth Degree 2011: $59.99 (Suggested retail: $95, my regular price: $78) Showing a vibrant red color, this Merlot has rich aromas and flavors of black cherry, plum and toasted oak with luscious tannins and a long berry and mocha finish. 94% Merlot, 2% Petite Sirah, 2% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.
27) Wente K Cabernet Sauvignon Nth Degree 2013, Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay AVA: $87 (Suggested retail: $120, my regular price: $108) Dark and concentrated in color, this wine is full-bodied with lush tannins. Aromas of ripe plum, mint, cedar, coffee and cocoa are followed by flavors of black currant, crushed ripe raspberries, dark chocolate, and a hint of fig and white pepper.
28) Wente Vineyards Chardonnay “Eric’s Small Lot” 2015, Livermore Valley: $22 (Suggested retail: $28) Aromas of this medium-bodied, un-oaked wine suggest sliced pears and apples, while the flavors are equally fruity but have a leaner feel. The texture is dry, firm and crisp, making this a great pairing for shellfish and many other dishes.
29) Jeff Cohn Cellars The Imposter Red Wine 2012, CA: $27.99 91 points Wine Spectator “Eclectic, eccentric and altogether fun to drink, with aromas of huckleberry and spiced cinnamon opening to zesty, briary flavors of blueberry, smoky grilled anise and cracked pepper. Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Carignane, Mourvèdre, Alicante Bouschet, Black Muscat and Viognier. Drink now through 2021.”
30) Barden Pinot Noir 2013, Santa Rita Hills: $59.99 (Suggested retail: $82) WE 93 pts. All manners of sultry hibiscus greet the nose on this wine from Doug Margerum’s cool-climate brand, alongside scents of crushed peppercorns, strawberry juice and a slightly barnyard smoked meat element. The palate shows olive-crusted smoked pork with orange rinds and crushed cranberries, proving lean in body yet lively in expression.
31) Hilliard Bruce Pinot Noir 2012, Santa Rita Hills: $27.99 (Average price online: $38) In only their fourth vintage, Hilliard Bruce appears to be on the fast track to reach the upper echelons of Pinot Noirs produced from CA’s Central Coast… Their Consulting Winemaker is Paul Lato, a Rising Star in Central Coast wine production with multiple highly rated wines in the 93-97 point range. Vinous / Antonio Galloni 91 pts. Vivid ruby-red. Fragrant scents of candied red fruits, blood orange and candied rose, along with notes of chalky minerals and allspice. Taut, focused and dry on entry, then fleshier and weightier in the middle, offering juicy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a taste of anise. Closes gently tannic and long, with resonating minerality and a touch of smokiness.
32) Morgan Double L Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015, Santa Lucia Highlands: $36 ($64 online) WE 93 pts. Light cranberry and pomegranate show on the nose of this always-anticipated bottling by Dan Lee, with a pine-needle aroma to provide depth. The slightly sour flavor of Montmorency cherries mixes with snappy cranberry and underripe red currants on the sip, which gains herbal and peppery spice complexity as it breathes.
33) Reynolds Family Winery Persistence Red Wine 2012, Napa: $45 (regular price: $60) Wine Advocate 91 pts. Lastly, the 2012 Red Blend Persistence, which is a selection of some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Petit Verdot, kicks up the richness and intensity. Dense ruby plum/purple with lots of cassis, blackberry and a hint of beef, the wine is full-bodied, pure and delicious now, but capable of lasting up to a decade.
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What is Sauer Grapes all about?
I love wine. I love learning about special vintages, discovering new labels, finding gems that no one else knows about, and most of all, I love sharing my knowledge of wine!
At Sauer Grapes, we always have one dry still rose, three sparkling wines: one Champagne, one rose and one something else, five whites and five reds on the menu—always a $4 glass, $6-9 glass and a $10-14 glass—and the menu changes weekly. The more expensive glasses are always still very great deals! You can also pick any bottle off the shelf to open. If you don’t finish it, State law lets you take it home. There is a $4 corkage but I beat everyones’ prices so you can’t drink cheaper anywhere!. We also offer great craft beers, delicious tapas plates, and a variety of unique specialty foods to take home.
You’ll find I am a huge advocate of Grower Champagne. The Champagne region in France is dominated by a handful of brand names and they produce a mass-market commodity. By contrast, Small Growers, or “récoltant-manipulants,” handcraft their limited quantities of Champagne from individual villages and parcels where the inherent qualities of the vineyards imprint themselves into the wines. These winemakers are brave souls in an industrialized age: growing vinifying and bottling their own Champagne and offering it to the world as their lives’ work.