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The Newest of our Pre-Sales!!

Several items on the horizon - so worth a blurb here, as many of these wines sell out through the store grapevine!  Limited quantities of beautiful wines - prices are effective for pre-purchases - the reviews below are all Parker.  Ciao 

96 points The 2009 Tinto (Quinta Vale D. Maria) is a Douro field blend. This year, it has a sexiness to it that is captivating. Yet, that is certainly not all it has. The structure is impressive as is the balance, although it may need a few years to get where it’s going. The tannins are obvious, sometimes hard edged, but they are ultimately going to integrate. In its youth, the oak is also a touch obvious, but it is equally clear that will integrate, too. This seemed easy to categorize early on as sexy, ripe and tasty. There is tremendous potential here, mostly submerged at the moment. For every 15 minute interval it was open, it changed and got better. Put this in the cellar and come back in 5-6 years. Let it show you what it has. It will be a contender for one of the best Vale D. Marias. It will be a contender for wine of the vintage. It is tremendous. Drink 2014-2030. This is the best lineup overall I’ve seen from the Van Zeller stable.  $55 (for 96 pts!!)

92 points The 2009 Po de Poeira is a Douro blend of old vines (50%) with younger vines of Sousao, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional, aged for 12 months in used oak. This is the best “second” wine made at the winery and one of the best second wines I’ve seen in Douro. It is a year in which it compares well to the flagship “first” wine. This is just one heck of a mouthful this year and it comes in at a terrific price point, too. Full bodied, mouth coating and earthy, speaking of the soil, pure and clean, this is a refined and complex wine with moderate tannins, a complex flavor medley and approachable demeanor. It is not an obvious wine and it does not always show a lot of concentration, but it always shows complex flavors and significant grip on the finish. I finally – with extended aeration – saw the fruit blossom, too. This is just lovely. There were a mere 250 cases imported of 3,000 produced. Grab it if you see it. Drink now-2019. ($25 for 92 pts!!)

Perhaps the finest example of this cuvee Guigal has yet made, the 2010 (E. Guigal) Condrieu La Doriane flirts with perfection. Profoundly intense with abundant notes reminiscent of caramelized oranges, lychee nuts, apricots, spring flowers and a liqueur of wet rocks, this superb, full-bodied, rich Condrieu possesses slightly higher acids than the 2009. It should keep for 5-10 years. (98 points for $125) - one of the biggest & best whites in the world!

The fascinating 2009 (E. Guigal) Gigondas Le Lieu-Dit, which comes from a 5 acre parcel planted with 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah, is aged in older small barrels. This superb wine is a candidate for Gigondas of the vintage. Its dense ruby/purple hue is accompanied by cascading, fragrant notes of blueberries, blackberries and black cherry liqueur. Voluptuously textured, full-bodied, complex and hedonistic, this terrific, full-throttle Gigondas can be enjoyed over the next 10-15 years. Don’t miss it! (93 points for $70) - why chase/drink Chat d Pape?

The 2006 Fossacolle Brunello di Montalcino bursts onto the palate with waves of dark red fruit and a soft, voluptuous texture that is truly beautiful. This is a decidedly forward, juicy wine built on a solid core of fruit, but all of the elements work together beautifully. This is one of the better choices among the (relatively) early-drinking wines for the vintage. As good as this is now, the fruit holds more than enough vibrancy to suggest the wine has a bright future ahead of it. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024. (93 points for $70)

The 2006 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino is a gorgeous wine laced with red cherries, tobacco, cedar and underbrush, all supported by a firm tannic spine. Argiano’s 2006 Brunello shows beautiful inner perfume and the structure to develop positively for a number of years. Floral notes appear on the vibrant, polished finish. The estate’s Brunello spent 12 months in French oak (which is mostly felt in the wine’s textural richness) and completed its aging in cask. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024 (93 points for $65)

The 2005 Terredora Taurasi Pago dei Fusi is a huge, explosive wine. It possesses superb delineation of aromas and flavors to match its dark, brooding personality. Sweet balsamic notes develop in the glass, adding further complexity as the wine gradually builds towards a powerful close. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025. Terredora Di Paolo is one of the leading estates in Campania. This is a superb set of releases, with many excellent choices at all price ranges. (94 points for $50) - for those of you who enjoy this winery's Taurasi on our high end tasting, this will not be a surprise.  Listed here is the big brother, we still have the regular (91 points for $35)

Still remarkably ruddy, albeit amber at the rim, Gerard Bertrand's 1945 Banyuls Legend Vintage - which he reports originated in mixed plantings of all three variants of Grenache - smells delightfully of mocha, cocoa, cherry jam, and hibiscus. Creamy and decidedly sweet, at the same time it retains an unexpected and welcome suggestion of sheer fresh fruit juiciness, and its finishing notes of subtly smoky, dark tobacco, toasted walnut, and bitter chocolate serve for satisfying counterpoint and assist in balancing the sucrosity. This should be lovely to return to over the next several decades, assuming a satisfactory performance by the cork. The victory vintage! (inquiries only - most likely $250 to $300)

 Quite orange-tinged amber, the Gerard Bertrand 1951 Rivesaltes Legend Vintage - said to have come from Grenache Noir, Grenache Gris, and Macabeu - is scented with candied orange rind, nutmeg, aromatic tropical woods, and high-toned hints of varnish. Still quite sweet, it preserves plenty of sap on the palate and in a finish that harbors bitter hints of orange rind, fruit pit, and chew of dried fruit skin. I imagine this will remain stable in bottle for many years. (inquiries only - most likely $225 to $250)

A deep amber Gerard Bertrand 1929 Maury Legend Vintage smells of molasses, spice cake, vanilla, sultana, and dried cherry. With modest remaining sweetness it permits one to access some additional nuances of smoky black tea, cocoa powder, and alkaline, stony mineral notes. Finishing faintly rough and warm it nonetheless presents a sappy, spicy persistence that belies its age. And it will probably change only very slowly in bottle over the decades, provided the cork functions optimally. (inquiries requested - the 1929 will be $425; a 1939 vintage is $225)

THE PORTUGAL WINES WILL BE SOLD OUT FIRST, I BELIEVE.  BUT JUST THINK OF THE GREAT OPPORTUNITIES WITH THE GIGONDAS, TAURASI, & IF PLAUSIBLE, THE CONDRIEU!  CIAO MATT