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WINE DEALS 2/12/2024

On sale:

B. Leighton Syrah Olsen Brothers Vineyard 2018, Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley. Project with Charles Smith.  Winemaker notes:  Inviting, Intriguing, brooding and vivacious. Black cherry, wet earth, grilled meats, fireplace ash and black pepper take you there and then beautiful notes of seaweed, camphor and black tar finish it off in time for another sip and more exploration of this wonderful wine.
Regular great price: $48.99 
On sale for a limited time: $38.99!

1) Hiedler Ried Kaferberg 1OTW Gruner Veltliner 2021, Kamptal:  $75.99  Its unique geology and altitude make the Käferberg in Langenlois one of the outstanding vineyards in the Kamptal region. In a small area, you can find old crystalline rock fragments intermingled with marine sediments (clay marl) and rare gravels deposited in the Paratethys Sea millions of years ago and lie directly on the bedrock of the Bohemian Massif. Our vines grow at an altitude of approximately 340 meters, on two terraces on the southeast slope of the vineyard, where some chalky loess has also accumulated over the past millennia. The small grapes from the old vines planted in the 1940s achieve exceptional concentration on this soil. The additional salty-mineral freshness creates a distinctive and exciting contrast.

2) Dr. Burklin-Wolf Ruppertsberger Gaisbohl Dry Riesling 2021, Pfalz:  $101.99  “In this discipline [dry Riesling], this estate has essentially no rival in all of Germany. In fact, given their sheer vineyard potential—they’re capable of producing seven grand crus and an equal number of premier crus in any given vintage—this may well be the best and most consistent producer of great dry Riesling in the world.”
— Joel B. Payne, Vinous, January 2013.
This wine is made from younger vines of PC + GC rated vineyards in the village of Ruppertsberg, so following the re-planting of many vineyards affected by esca this contains fruit from young vines from the Gaisbohl, Reiterpfad and Hoheburg vineyards.
A powerful and compact dry Riesling for 2021, the pithy tannins supporting the generous body. Fascinating interplay of herbal, lime and crisp pear character with the bright acidity. With aeration it develops an incense note. From bio-dynamically grown grapes. Vegan. Drink or hold.  92 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, August 2022.

3) Vols Stirn Riesling Kabinett 2021, Mosel:  $33.99  This cadaster parcel gives a more serious wine with more red-soil sassafras and hyssop; it’s like a good Merkelbach Kabinett.

4) Domaine Nudant Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2020, Cote de Beaune:  $229.99  A delicious, buttery bouquet with aromas of toasted almonds. Ample, supple and silky on the palate with a long finish. A highly noble wine.

5) M. Chapoutier Chante-Alouette Hermitage Blanc 2018:  $119.99  Brilliant and golden green. The nose is complex and subtle with aromas of quince, walnut, honey, ginger, acacia with a hint of lime blossom. A powerful wine with a distinct finish of almond. Very elegant with good length.  Pairs well with lobster, fish, foie gras, blue cheeses, and spicy dishes with curry.  Marsanne.

6) Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Vintage 2016:  $107.99  A charming mouthfeel with notes of fresh pineapple and sudachi zest, amplified by a creamy and delicate texture. A persistent finish with a chiseled structure. Deliciously fruity intensity with elegant notes of nuts and stone fruits (greengage and crunchy cherries). Prolonged and nuanced development of exquisite notes of baked goods (crepe dough and puffed cereals). A superlative aroma, with a refreshing and sophisticated purity.

7) Cakebread Cellars Family Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve 2021, Carneros, Napa Valley:  $77.99  The 2021 Reserve Chardonnay offers a bright golden color and aromas of ripe golden apple, peach, and baking spices. Across the full-bodied palate, concentrated flavors of ripe orchard and peach fruit harmonize with notes of melon, pear, and cream. Balanced and fresh, the long finish is driven by hints of apple and toasted oak.

8) Domaine Serene Chardonnay Evenstad Reserve 2020, Dundee Hills:  $69.99  The Evenstad Reserve Chardonnay represents the art of blending select barrels from Domaine Serene’s estate vineyard sites in the Dundee Hills. This combination of Dijon clone vines, Jory soil, and the high elevation estates in the Dundee Hills produces fruit of unparalleled quality for this reserve wine.

9) Familia Torres Mas La Plana Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Penedes:  $89.99  The Mas la Plana is graceful and balanced despite its firm and dominant tannin profile. Bright crunchy acidity ensures a wine that will develop in the cellar for years to come. This polished red displays hints of its Mediterranean heritage with herbaceous bramble while holding true to brooding currant and loamy earth, reminiscent of old-world Cabernet Sauvignon.

10) Paris Wine Company Les Athletes du Vin Chenin 2022, Vin de France, Loire Valley:  $19.99  A fruity wine, well-balanced wine with beautiful acidity, marked by flavors of white fruits (peach, pear) and some citrus undertones.

11) Fattoria San Giuliano Barbaresco 2016, Piedmont:  $64.99  Fermented in stainless steel. The cap was punched down twice a day for a period of 7-10 days. Part of the wine aged in 600/1,500 liter Slavonian oak casks and part in medium-toasted barrels for 18-24 months. After racking and blending together, the wine was bottled and aged for an additional 6 months prior to release.  Brilliant garnet color. Aromas of minerals and flowers blend well into a well-rounded bright body.

12) Domaine Gueneau Sancerre Rose Chavignolet 2022:  $29.99  Aromas of fresh wild strawberries and raspberries with hints of chalky minerality on the nose.  On the palate, the wine is crisp and refreshing with dry tannins, juicy red fruit and a mouthwatering saline finish.   Pinot Noir. 

13) Argiolas Cardanera Carignano 2021, Isola Dei Nuraghi IGT, Sardinia:  $22.99  Color: Ruby red. Nose: Intense, perfume with notes of wild “macchia Mediterranea” smells and fresh red fruit. Palate: Fresh, savory, balanced. with a fine and balanced tannins.

14) Kosta Browne Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir 2021, Sonoma Coast:  $159.99  Sophisticated and enticing with a bouquet of vibrant pomegranate, sage, and a hint of lemon blossom. The sleek texture is balanced by medium acidity, highlighting red fruit flavors and a refreshing trace of herbs—a classic Gap’s Crown Vineyard expression.

15) Stefano Amerighi X Vin des Potes La Botte Secrete 2019, IGT Toscano Sangiovese:  $37.99  Sangiovese-based red wine that is part of the Vin Des Potes project. Stefano has vinified this wine in collaboration with sommelier friends Basile Passe and Yoan Tavares creators and creators of Le Vin des Potes, an organization that has managed to bring together 11 winemakers who all work with the same philosophy based on respect for mother nature, making their grapes in a natural way. Crunchy red fruit on the palate and some hints of fennel on the nose, best enjoyed now with a slight chill.

16) Institution Red Wine 2018, Napa Valley:  $244.99  Jeb Dunnuck 95pts.  “Seriously ripe without crossing the line into overdone, this profound Cabernet Sauvignon is a wash of blueberry and blackberry fruit with smoky swirls of spice, pencil shavings and flower petals. Crafted by Russell Bevan – an institution in his own right – this is a hedonistic descent into delicious madness that will have you coming back for more. Fortunately, it’s up for a long-term commitment – You could lock it away for a decade and it won’t miss a beat.”

17) Setzer Gruner Veltliner Weinviertel DAC 2022:  $21.99  The typical Weinviertel DAC, a peppery and fruity Grüner Veltliner with moderate alcohol for a pleasant consumption.

18) Maison Stephan Syrah 2021, Vin de France:  $39.99  Don’t let the ‘Vin de France (VDF)’ designation fool you. This is serious Syrah from Maison Stephan whose appelation-based wines from Northern Rhone retail for hundreds of dollars. While a touch lighter in body, it’s no less complex. Dry, medium body, fresh. Blackberry, black pepper, bing cherry, peony, black olive. Savory tones, mineral finish.

19) Ott Ried Spiegel 1 OTW Feuersbrunn Gruner Veltliner 2021:  $84.99  Light yellow-green, silver reflections. Fine exotic white fruit, a touch of pineapple, floral notes, some lime, cool aspects, underpinned with nuances of floral honey. Full-bodied, very good complexity without any form of opulence, harmonious and youthful, lemony touch on the finish, lively and animating, mineral and persistent, very good length, definite ageing potential.  PM

20) Fisher Unity Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Napa/Sonoma Counties:  $51.99  Shows a rich dark garnet hue in the glass. Aromas of ripe plum and cherry pie mix with a hint of rhubarb and baking spice on the nose. On the palate, elegant fine grain tannins culminate with classic cabernet flavors of bergamot and cassis. Remarkable persistence.  55% Napa County / 45% Sonoma County, 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6% Malbec, 4% Petite Verdot, 4% Syrah, 3% Cabernet Franc.

21) Michel Chapoutier Bila-Haut 2020, Cotes du Roussillon Villages:  $16.99  Deep garnet red color. Aromas of black cherry. This wine is fleshy, well-structured with the warm and savage of soils of the Roussillon area.  Syrah, Grenache and Carignan.

22) Alta Orsa Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve 2019, Mendocino:  $44.99  This wine opens with a full plate of charcuterie aromatics of fennel salumi, blood sausage, black tapenade and wild cassis compote. On the palate it is brooding, meaty, savory, and hints bittersweet chocolate as it opens up. It carries great structure and tension.

23) Alexis Hudon Matouse 2021, Vin de France:  $25.99  Matousè is made from 4 different Sauvignon Blanc parcels with vines from 70, 40, 15 and 10 years old. Selected from a vineyard with limestone, clay and flint stone soils in the region of Touraine, Loire Valley.  Alexis used a long cold temperature winemaking process in a fiberglass vat, with little filtration and minimal sulfur to give pure flavors and dense texture.  Matousè is a nutty, rich Sauvignon Blanc. It is clean and complex. There is an elegant depth to this wine with consistent acidity rolling across the tongue. 

24) Domaine Bordes les Grezes 2020, Vin de France:  $28.99  Its mouth is ample and lively, with enough fat to accompany elaborate dishes, but always fresh with a nice mineral tension. The complexity is really there, with notes of pear, apricot, citrus, slightly brioche.  50% Grenache, 50% Ugni.

25) Famille Gueguen La Vigne de 1975 Chablis 2022:  $32.99  Crushed stone and oyster shell offset pretty blossom and white peach in this fresh, lip-smacking Chardonnay. Although slim in profile, it offers plump pear and Mirabelle flavors lifted by a zesty spine of acidity. Vinified with no oak influence, it’s a steely wine with mineral intensity.

26) Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cuvee Red Wine 2020, Howell Mountain:  $49.99  65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 2% Malbec.  A higher percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon has found its way into this wine that is dark, deep, nuanced and supple. Sourced from young vines on our Candlestick Ridge Vineyard the 2020 HMC displays immediate Howell Mountain power in the glass with lavender, thorny fruits and mineral at the fore. Without doubt, its a slightly more serious wine than previous bottlings, with a long life ahead in the cellar, though it will taste great if opened immediately after receiving it on your doorstep.

27) Piazzo Arge Barbaresco 2019, Piedmont:  $55.99  Barbaresco Argè is indeed the result of the blend of various vineyards located between San Rocco Seno d’Elvio and Treiso, two areas so close but different, joined in a harmonious sip which maintains the structure typical of Barbaresco.  Fruity notes of red berries, cherries in alcohol and jam; flowery hints of withered violets and spices.  Warm and dry, quite tannic and long aromatic finish.

One of my favorite allocations has just arrived!  I love these wines.  They are amazing now and get even better with time.  If you’ve never tried these and want to elevate your level of wine enjoyment, grab these now! 

28) Sin Qua Non Disenta III Syrah 2021:  $344.99  Best price you’ll find!  98-100 Points Robert Parker: “I tasted the 2021 Syrah Distenta III as a precise blend from barrel on July 6—it’s due to be bottled in August. It comes from three estate vineyards: The Third Twin (51%), Cumulus (26%) and 23% Eleven Confessions (23%). The Syrah is blended with 11.3% Grenache, 3.3% Mourvèdre, 2.1% Petite Sirah, 0.9% Petit Manseng and 0.7% Muscat and was vinified using 21% whole clusters. It matured around 23 months in 53% new French oak, 43% one- to three-year-old barrels and 4% concrete. Opaque ruby-purple in the glass, the Distenta III’s aromatic complexity requires plenty of patience, as a singular truffle, earth and coffee bean character gives way to electric streaks of crème de violette, blueberry liqueur and peppermint patty. The palate is medium to full-bodied and exceptionally light on its feet. It glides silkily through the mouth with fireworks of freshness, and its floral fruit is tempered by graphite tones. Around 1,880 cases and 600 magnums are projected to be released in January of 2024.”
99 Points Jeb Dunnuck: “Scheduled to be bottled in August, the 2021 Syrah Distenta III looks to be another insanely good Syrah from Krankl. Checking in as 82% Syrah, 11% Grenache, and the rest Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, and a smattering of white varieties, its deep purple hue is followed by classic, cool climate Syrah notes of smoked black fruits, iron, black olives, and meaty, peppery nuances. With incredibly purity, full-bodied richness, and perfectly integrated tannins and acidity, it will have 15-20 years of prime drinking. It’s an absolutely magical Syrah in the making.”
“There are few greater success stories in wine than that of Sine Qua Non’s Manfred Krankl. Austrian-born and showing up penniless in Los Angeles in 1980, he went on to create one of the greatest wine estates in the world today by sheer talent and work ethic.”

29) Sin Qua Non Disenta III Grenache 2021:  $344.99 98 Points Robert Parker: “Because my visit was scheduled for July 6, just two weeks after bottling on June 22, I tasted the 2021 Grenache Distenta III as a precise blend from barrel. It comes mostly from the Eleven Confessions Vineyard (71%) and The Third Twin (23%) with the balance from the Cumulus Vineyard. It is a blend of 79% Grenache, 8.4% Syrah, 7.4% Mourvèdre, 3.2% Petite Sirah, 1.6% Petit Manseng and 0.4% Muscat. The Distenta III was vinified using about 35% whole Grenache clusters, and it matured in 42% new French oak of various sizes for around 23 months. It has a medium to deep ruby color and is incredibly fragrant at this stage. Wild berry jam aromas are accented by tones of wildflower, tar, tangerine and coffee beans. The full-bodied palate is concentrated yet lively, bursting with crunchy, floral fruit and surprisingly energetic acidity. It has detailed, grainy tannins and a long, lifted finish that wears its alcohol well. 1,459 cases and 600 magnums are projected, to be released in the spring of 2024.”
“There are few greater success stories in wine than that of Sine Qua Non’s Manfred Krankl. Austrian-born and showing up penniless in Los Angeles in 1980, he went on to create one of the greatest wine estates in the world today by sheer talent and work ethic.”

First come!  These are very limited, cult wines!

30) Gandona Chardonnay 2019, Sonoma Coast:  $69.99  Great price!  “I BELIEVE A WINE SHOULD TELL THE STORY OF THE SOIL AND REPRESENT WHAT THE LAND HAS TO OFFER.”  Understanding the vineyard and its potential is a continually evolving process. With each year, I become more inspired by the ability of the land of Gandona. ~ Philippe Melka, Winemaker

31) Robert Craig Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Napa Valley:  $61.99  The 2019 Affinity is an estate grown, single vineyard selection from La Londe Vineyard in Coombsville’s Mt. George foothills just south of Stag’s Leap. Our primary mission at Robert Craig Winery is to produce wines that feature pure site expression, and the soul of Affinity has always come from La Londe Vineyard, where the vines struggle in stony soils to yield a tiny 3.5 tons per acre with tremendous focus and intensity. Affinity is not an “entry level” Cabernet selection from our winery. It receives the same care and attention in the winery and vineyard as our mountain grown selections, yet the farming cost is lower due to the accessible nature of the site.
The 2019 edition of Affinity is dark black with pure cassis and espresso bean coming through the wine, which remains supple despite the high tannin count. The additional Bordeaux varieties help the Cabernet to unlock and show itself fully. As always, the Affinity Cabernet represents one of the single best bargains for collectible, age worthy Napa Valley Cabernet.  Blend: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, 1% Malbec.

32) Atilia Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2022, 1 liter:  $21.99  Light bodied and dry, steely and minerally, subtle tropical fruit and flowers, with medium plus acid, a slight spritzy texture, and a clean mineral finish. Org, Sust, Vegan.

33) Cardinale Red Wine 2019, Napa:  $369.99  Guided by the vintage character of each year, Cardinale assembles the distinctive flavors and personality of individual Napa Valley appellations into a richly layered, balanced whole. The final blend of the 2019 Cardinale Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was born from eight appellations, eleven vineyards, and 32 individual wine lots. With its great primary fruit characters, but also tons of rose petal, cedar, espresso bean, and pain grillé, the 2019 vintage has a compelling savory aspect– a perfect frame for the intense, dark fruit of the mountains. Whether I’m at home in my kitchen blending spice rubs or crafting Cardinale, having a rich array of uniquely different components available to combine is a true joy, and I hope you enjoy the results as much as I do.  CHRISTOPHER CARPENTER, Winemaker
91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot.

34) Martinelli Lolita Ranch Vineyard Zinfandel Estate Grown 2021, Russian River Valley:  $63.99  Delectable aromas of Black Forest cake, red plum, and sweet barrel spice are found in the nose. A juicy entry with flavors of red currants and rhubarb are found in the mouth. A hint of white peach is found in the long-lasting finish.

35) Trespass Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2019, St. Helena:  $121.99  What we love most about Trespass Cabernet Franc is its unwavering expression of site. Wines come from all over, in a multitude of microclimates and terroirs, but when a single varietal is planted on the correct site, the result can be profound. Trespass Cabernet Franc has stolen that secret and shares it with the world. Bold nose of dark red fruits, blueberry and plum with the savories of cedar and hints of earth.
The palate relates to even more of the dark fruit and bits of cocoa nib. Varietal character carries nicely throughout the overall sensation of this wine with a nice shadow of Right Bank herbals so typical and welcome to Cabernet Franc. Just 125 cases of this wine produced and while quite young today, we trust that aged correctly this wine will drink superbly to 2039 and beyond.  125 Cases Produce.  100% new French Oak for 22 months.  Unfiltered and Unfined.

36) Sullivan Rutherford Estate Coeur de Vigne 2020, Napa Valley:  $89.99  True to style, the 2020 Coeur de Vigne has an elegant savory note with undertones of minerality and distinctive soil- borne complexity. This wine exhibits an Old-World style of winemaking that has fresh acidity and structure but exhibits New World nuances that are pure, rich and coating. This juxtaposition allows the Coeur de Vigne to be versatile and can be enjoyed on its own or with food. Flavors of dark chocolate and black cherry fade into chewy tannins, providing an elegant length on the palate. The Merlot-dominant blend can be enjoyed now or cellared for years to come.  Blend: 68% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot.

We had a great guest speaker on 2/7 and the wines were all very good so I wanted to add them to this list:

37) Paolo Demarie Langhe Arneis 2022:  $21.99  Brilliant, sunny, bright with shades of straw yellow and green reflections.  Full-bodied nose, robust and intense, composite and delicate. Floral as well as fruity nuances of broom, camomile, peach and apricot.  Dry, palatable and pleasantly harmonic. Fresh and persistent with a slightly almond aftertaste.

38) Paolo Demarie Sabbia Orange Wine N.V.:  $41.99  Sabbia is a boutique orange wine that has won high tasting scores from experts like James Suckling (92) and Jancis Robinson (16.5), because it’s totally delicious. The secret of Sabbia is that it’s a white wine produced like a red wine. The grape juice remains in contact with skins and seeds during fermentation, and ages in French oak barriques. The resulting wine offers mesmerizing aromas and flavors of almonds, apricots and green tea. The flavor is much closer to Sherry Amontillado, which sees oxidative aging in solera, rather than to the traditional white Arneis (which is protected from oxygen at all cost).  Most importantly, the method turns it into an age-worthy wine that can happily rest in your cellar for 5-7 years. Thanks to its flavors, Sabbia will pair really well with scallops or oysters, as well as with sweet and sour Indian or Chinese dishes.

39) Paolo Demarie Langhe Nebbiolo 2021:   $22.99  This is a fun and youthful expression of the most noble and powerful grape of the piedmont region. The flavors lead with dark berry fruits, hints of earth, chocolate, and flowers. The wine is unoaked, leaving the fruit to take center stage, a medium bodied wine with a short but vibrant finish.

40) Paolo Demarie Roero Riserva 2020:  $33.99  Deep carnet with brick-colored reflections.  Ethereal nose and intense with hints of violet, raspberries and blackberries, tinged with elegant touches of spice.  Full-bodied wine, harmonious, warm and powerful. Sensations of violet and red fruits with an undertone of the pleasant spiced fragrances of licorice and cocoa.  Roero is a small paradise made up of sandy dunes in yellow ochre clay tones covered with green vineyards, all of which combine to create a magical and enchanted landscape.  The vineyard from which it comes is the oldest vineyard of Nebbiolo grapes owned by the company, planted in 1946 by Giovanni Demarie along with his brother when the latter returned from the war. 

41) Paolo Demarie Valmaggiore Roero Riserva 2019:  $55.99  Ethereal and intense with hints of violet, raspberries and blackberries, tinged with elegant touches of spice. A full-bodied wine, harmonious, warm and powerful. Sensations of violet and red fruits with an undertone of the pleasant spiced fragrances of licorice and cocoa.

42) Paolo Demarie Barbaresco 2020:  $59.99  Brick-red in which ruby shades appear that tend towards orange over the years.  Composite nose and varied, characterized by harmony and completeness. The fresh fruit of the early months makes way, during later development, for the world of spices. Thus to the violet, the rose, the geranium and often to the apple and cherry there are added shades of vanilla, cinnamon and green pepper.  Dry flavors, caressing, gentle robustness, reveals consistency, race character and extraordinary aristocracy.

43) Paolo Demarie Barolo 2019:  $61.99  Barolo has been defined many times as the king of the wines; noble and generous, known in Italy and to the foreign countries for his austerity, wealth of tastes and of aromas.  Produced south-west of Alba, in a region with rolling hills, which are steeper in some areas, Barolo is a wine with singular and precious characteristics that are determined by the complex geological profile of the area.  Today Barolo is the most esteemed Italian denomination, and the two castles of the Marchese of Barolo and Count Cavour, where it was created, are important oenological centers.