updated 2023-03-15
ANN ARBOR WINE CLUB MARCH 2023 SALE

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BORDEAUX - RED
1. 19 G DE COS D'ESTOURNEL, MEDOC    94+/100
         
$29.99 each,  $176.5 case of 6
On a gravel outcrop in northern Medoc near the port of Goulee; 35+ year old vines owned by Cos d'Estournel; 80% merlot, 20% cab sauv; wine made by the Cos team; 50% new barrels. Dark red violet. Dark and distinguished. Full bodied. Well oaked. Seems to have even more oomph than when last tasted. Just the right degree of ripeness in 2019. The barrels supply a whale of a complex nose. Full bodied, full textured, flavorful of fruit and barrel in harmony. Remains the greatest (Bas) Medoc of the 21st century. Good acid, overall balance. It's a neat, discreet, and complete Left Bank claret. Fine tannin and length. I continue to assert it's the best Bas Medoc going these days. 94+/100.
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2. 19 CHATEAU GRAND PUY DUCASSE, 5ME GRAND CRU, PAUILLAC    (95/100)
         
$43.99 each,  $258.5 case of 6
Vinous 95: 'Class personified. Possesses terrific freshness and energy. A Pauillac endowed with tons of transparency and tons of sheer class. Wonderfully sophisticated in every way. I loved it.'
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3. 19 CHATEAU FOURCAS DUPRE, CRU BOURGEOIS SUPERIEUR, LISTRAC    92+/100
         
$18.99 each,  $223.5 case of 12
Highest vineyards of the Left Bank; on gravel; 66% cab sauv, 33% merlot, 1% petit verdot; aged a year on barrels, 1/3 new. A freshness and lift of 2019 to it. Not so lush and fruit forward as the popular 2018. The blackberry cab sauv comes forth with 2019 charm, and the barrel impact it well taken up already, so positive. All plays out well on the palate, the medium weight, the refined oak, the lightly chewy tannin, and the overall harmony. All about gravel. No backwoods Listrac clay to it. Handsome Left Bank claret presentation. Very popular claret value. 92+/100.
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4. 18 CHATEAU ROCHER FIGEAC, SAINT EMILION    92+/100
         
$16.79 each,  $197.5 case of 12
At Libourne; 85% merlot, 15% cab franc averaging 35 years; est. 1880; adjacent to Chateau Figeac; aged 6 months is all new barrels. 2018 fruit amplitude matched and tempered by the barrel influence. This is not new-barrel oaky. The brief stay and the bottle-age earned integration leaves the oak complexing but short of dominating. Yes, a rich melange of 18 ripe fruit and barrel savors. Alcohol gives body without heat. A lot of Saint Emilion for the bucks. 92+/100.
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5. 18 CHATEAU BOIS DE FAVEREAU, BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR    91/100
         
$10.49 each,  $123.5 case of 12
60% merlot, 30% cab sauv, 10 % cab franc. Smells 2018 lush. Tastes that way too. Merlot rich dominance supported by the cabernets' dark fruit. Good acid. Talks the vintage talk. Deal. 91/100.
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6. 18 CAHORS, CLOS TRIGUEDINA    95+/100
         
$27.99 each,  $328.95 case of 12
85% malbec, 10% merlot; 5% tannat; from the second, third, and fourth terraces; aged a year in oak cooperage. Markedly heavy bottle. Wow, deep, dark, serious stuff. Complexity from barrel influence. Grand Vin. Big, classy, complex, enduring. Wow, one of the best Triguedina vintages I've tasted. The full, forward fruit of 2018 tempered by dry extract and fine tannin, as well as barrel stay. Purple grandeur. 95+/100.
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BORDEAUX - WHITE
7. 21 CHATEAU DE FONTENILLE, ENTRE DEUX MERS    92/100
         
$13.99 each,  $164.5 case of 12
At La Sauve; 50% sauvignon blanc, 20% each sauvignon gris, muscadelle, 10% semillon. Every vintage this supplies a peacock's tail display of its full EdM varietal range. Besides the foundation sauvignon blanc, there's the plumpness of gris and semillon, the green fruit of muscadelle. Yeah, that ying-yang of crisp blanc and muscadelle versus gris and semillon. Exciting for both aromatic and textural spreads. Vigorous as well as complex this vintage. 92/100. Widely enjoyed by the group. Orders taken.
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8. 21 COTES DU GASCOGNE, DOMAINE DES CASSAGNOLES    91/100
         
$8.49 each,  $99.95 case of 12
50% colombard, 25% each ugni blanc, gros manseng. Colombard and ugni green fruits to the fore. Soft, peachy manseng padding beneath. In tune. Oh, that manseng gives all it's worth on the palate, adding full stone fruit richness even in a cool vintage. Fans will be pleased. 91/100.
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9. 21 FRANCAIS SUD OUEST VILLA CHAMBRE D'AMOUR, LIONEL OSMIN    92+/100
         
$11.49 each,  $134.95 case of 12
Deep, sweet gros manseng peachiness cut by sauvignon blanc citricity. Mmm, that balance of manseng plumpness and sauvignon acid race. Will continue to put on weight. In tune with the series. 92+/100.
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LOIRE
10. 20 MUSCADET SEVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE L'AURIERE, VIGNERONS DE LA NOELLE    92/100
         
$10.49 each,  $123.5 case of 12
11.5%; 4 generation estate; gneiss and granite subsoil; 15-35 year old vines; 7 months on lees with regular stirring. A nice and full and forthcoming varietal and regional statement that keeps within the traditional bounds that the group appreciates. Cool, with spring-water minerality. Nice green underbrush notes. A classic muscadet--not trying to be too big for its boots. Indeed, a group favorite. 92/100.
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11. 21 SAUMUR BLANC LES POUCHES, CAVES DE SAUMUR    91/100
         
$10.49 each,  $123.5 case of 12
Chenin blanc vineyard on southwest facing slopes near the village of Meron. Once again, 2021 Loire sings. More about minerality than chenin quince and melon. Following aeration, attendees noted lime and malic green apple. Ah, in the mouth those flavors do come forth right away and linger long. Racy fruit acidity. Best value. The group agreed. 91/100.
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12. 21 CHINON RIVE GAUCHE CHATEAU DE LA BONNELIERE, M. PLOUZEAU    91+/100
         
$14.99 each,  $176.5 case of 12
Est. 1976; historic cellars beneath the fortress of Chinon; 35 year old vines on gravel. Something feral about this, and I like it. For the vintage, fairly bulky. Plouzeau's Chinons have trended in that direction lately. Well, no lack of 2021 acid here! Again, the feral impression. Plenty of extract and some fine tannin. Not an elegant take on Chinon. For fairly hearty fare, say game birds. 91+/100. This really made an impact on attendees. Multiple case orders taken. One (a frequent visitor to Plouzeau) surmised that in this cool vintage the superior cuvees were incorporated in this, the foundation wine.
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13. 21 VOUVRAY SEC, VIGNEAU    92/100
         
$19.99 each,  $234.95 case of 12
Tuffeau, clay, and flint soils; 30-40 year old vines; previous vintages Domaine Vigneau-Cheveau; probably had to purchase some neighbors' grapes in short-crop 2021. Good melon nose of chenin. No signs of botrytis in a sec rendition in a cold vintage. Well, the acid is great of course. And not only that, there's lots of extract adding texture. This is certainly a fine dinner Vouvray. I'm thinking quenelles de brochet. 92/100.
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14. 21 TOURAINE SAUVIGNON, DOMAINE CYRIL DESLOGES    92/100
         
$14.99 each,  $176.5 case of 12
On the east bank of the Cher near Chateau de Chenonceau. Wow, this is a vivid and amazing combo of citrus and soft tropical fruits. Yin and yang. All magnified as it warms in the mouth. It's not as concentrated in body as a Sancerre, but, my goodness, the extent of its flavor range is truly exciting. As well as entertaining. 92/100.
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15. 21 SANCERRE, DOMAINE DOMINIQUE & JANINE CROCHET    92+/100
         
$22.99 each,  $269.95 case of 12
Generations old estate at Bue. Cold sample leaves nose rather unforthcoming. Warming in the mouth brings out more flavor and texture dimensions. Very juicy 2021 acidity. Citrus fruit and calcaire tastes. Well balanced and lengthy. Upholds a proud series, and the price remains relatively reasonable in context. 92+/100. With warming and breathing, the nose filled out, and this became widely appreciated by attendees.
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BURGUNDY - RED
16. 17 SAVIGNY LES BEAUNE LES PIMENTIERS, DOMAINE ARNOUX PERE    93+/100
         
$29.99 each,  $352.5 case of 12
Well, I'm getting that bountiful 'griottes' Savigny pinot aroma. Full, penetrating, tactile sensations too. Juicy flavor of small, wild cherry concentration. Barrel time adds savory complexity. An enormous group favorite. Orders taken. 93+/100.
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17. 19 BOURGOGNE COTE CHALONNAISE PINOT NOIR BUISSONIER, VIGNERONS DE BUXY    92+/100
         
$15.99 each,  $187.95 case of 12
Established in 1931 by 98 winegrowers of Buxy and Saint Gengoux le National. Shallow soil, calcareous and heavily pebbled. Aged 7 months in stainless steel and 3 months in oak. Oh, that's a fine griottes aroma with that wild, rustic edge of Chalonnaise pinot. Perfect pitch. Palate fulfills expectations and adds even more body and texture than the nose suggested. Wow, this is a bargain in Burgundy pinot I'll surely be promoting. 92+/100.
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18. 21 BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGES TERRE DE LOYSE, DOMAINE LAURENT PERRACHON    92/100
         
$11.49 each,  $134.95 case of 12
70% from La Chapelle de Guinchay (sand, granite); 30% from Lancie (clay, limestone); 45 year old vines. Fresh, crisp, cool, and delicious 2021 that conveys the greater depth and breadth of aroma that is Villages. Very racy. Oh, that juicy red fruit melange is magnified on the palate. GREAT 2021 acid and good textural amplitude too. Great price! 92/100.
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19. 20 MOULIN A VENT GRAND CRU LA ROCHE, DOMAINE DE ROCHE GUILLON    92+/100
         
$16.99 each,  $199.95 case of 12
5 generations-old estate covering 23 acres; vines 30 to 90 years old. Dark red violet. That's a hefty MaV! Sweet, rich fruit too. Which coats the alcohol well. No burn. Yes, abundant fruit, weight and power, and fetching overtones of violets. Long, balanced finish. Can be used now with hearty winter fare. My image of Moulin a Vent..and at a very reasonable price. 92+/100.
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BURGUNDY - WHITE
20. 21 CHABLIS VIEILLES VIGNES, DOMAINE SEGUINOT-BORDET    93/100
         
$29.99 each,  $352.5 case of 12
80-100 year old vines. Huge extract here. Old vines white dwarf concentration. Apple, calcaire, and a degree of nutty-mealy character that comes with vieilles vignes. Weighty on the palate. Again, the acid seems modified by a degree of malo. Very full bodied mouth presence and lasting finish.The group was in awe. One commented 'One of the best Chablis I've tasted in a while.' 'Liquid rocks' comments another. Orders taken. 93/100.
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21. 20 RULLY MONTMORIN, JEAN CHARTRON    92+/100
         
$27.99 each,  $328.95 case of 12
Clay-limestone hilltop vineyard south of Premier Cru La Meix Cadot on the Mercurey border. Fermented in oak barrels, 10% new. Matured on the lees for 10 months. Plenty of oak and lees aromas. And Chalonnais resin. Body over finesse. Well, that's a fair whopper on the palate too. Generally in tune with the series, if slightly softer than my favorite renditions. Can't fault its generosity. That's 2020. Poulet de Bresse, please. 92+/100.
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22. 21 BOURGOGNE COTE CHALONNAISE CHARDONNAY BUISSONIER, VIGNERONS DE BUXY    91+/100
         
$15.99 each,  $187.95 case of 12
Est. 1931 by 98 winegrowers of Buxy and Saint Gengoux le National. Ultra cool and racy 2021 style. Both briskness of vintage and depth of Chalonnais chardonnay. Plenty of sweet, ripe fruit here and dab of Chalon resin. More elevated level of acidity than the 2020. All around great bargain in Bourgogne chardonnay. 91+/100. The group preferred this to the fine 2020 thanks to its higher acidity.
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23. 20 MACON VERZE LE GRAND CHENEAU, VIGNERONS DES TERRES SECRETS    91/100
         
$14.99 each,  $176.5 case of 12
Very lemony. Juice, peel, custard. Right. Confirmed. In tune with this Macon Villages cuvee years ago, now with Verze specific emphasis. Great acid for the vintage. 91/100.
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RHONE/MIDI
24. 21 VAUCLUSE GRENACHE, DOMAINE DE LA DAMASE    91/100
         
$12.99 each,  $152.95 case of 12
Bernadette Latour, proprietor; at Violes. Medium to medium dark ruby. Oh, this is real grenache red fruit. Savory, meaty. Well textured. Flavorful. The strength plays well Open hearted and generous grenache. Wants food. Sally and I usually split half a bottle of wine together at dinner. We drank almost the whole bottle of this with lasagna. Irresistible! 91/100.
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25. 21 COTES DU RHONE BLANC SIGNATURE, LA FONT DU LOUP    91/100
         
$16.79 each,  $197.5 case of 12
Grenache blanc, clairette, roussanne, bourboulenc; 40 year old vines. Wonderful aromatic spread and intensity, striking for the absence of perfumed viognier. Roussanne is left to be the pushiest. A little less flavor range, force. Here the textural aspects come forth. It's full, balanced, mouthfilling. Lots of mealtime prospects, poultry and pork to the fore. 91/100. Very popular with attendees. Orders taken. 'One of the better white CDR's I've had', noted one.
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26. 20 PLAN DE DIEU COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES VIEILLES VIGNES, DOMAINE SAINT DAMIEN    92+/100
         
$16.79 each,  $197.5 case of 12
80% grenache (planted 1948), 20% mourvedre; unfined, unfiltered. Not much aroma upon opening. Takes up a lot of space though. Oh, here comes the whole garrigue package! Most garrigue in a southern Rhone I've gotten in awhile. Black pepper too. Mouthfilling, evocative. Palate talks the talk. 92+/100.
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27. 21 VISAN COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES, DOMAINE DE LA BASTIDE    92/100
         
$12.99 each,  $152.95 case of 12
Est. 1988; 40% each grenache, syrah, 20% mourvedre on cobbles; average vine age: 30 years. Wow, that has perfume and pizzazz in cool 2021. Yikes! Total fragrance and clarity. Juicy acid balanced by good fruit sweetness. Visan and vintage cool take on the varietal set. Balanced and lingering in both feel and flavor. Deal. 92/100. Well liked by attendees for its exuberance. And considered ageworthy to boot.
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28. 20 LIRAC LES QUEYRADES, DOMAINE PASCAL LAFOND    92+/100
         
$14.99 each,  $176.5 case of 12
60% grenache, 30% syrah, 10% mourvedre; on sand, cobbles, clay, and limestone; aged 4 months in new oak barrels. Crisp, cool, red fruited Lirac take on the southern Rhone set. Sweet cranberry aroma. Suavity before a lightly tannic backdrop. Flavorful and definitive of Lirac. Lasting. Can be used now. A year or two will resolved the last of the tannins. 92+/100. Widely appreciated for its distinctive terroir statement. Wine of the Night for one attendee.
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29. 21 PICPOUL DE PINET HUGUES DE BEAULIEU, CAVE DES POMEROLS    91/100
         
$10.49 each,  $123.5 case of 12
15-20 year old vines; no malo. Pretty nostril filling for a picpoul. I'm both impressed and sensually pleased. And the flavor intensity is equally awesome. And the flavors are nuanced. Good value for sure. 91/100. Attendees enjoyed this. Orders taken.
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30. 15 CORBIERES LE CHARLEMAGNE, CHATEAU PECH LATT    92/100
         
$12.99 each,  $76.5 case of 6
James Suckling 91/100. My notes: Heartier still than the 2015 Minervois La Liviniere that preceded it; a rightful Corbieres. Good power and gathering maturity. Pretty darn sprawling. Sweet, rich, and more forward and robust than the former. Generous. Good price. 92/100.
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ALSACE
31. 21 ALSACE BLANC, KUENTZ-BAS    91+/100
         
$14.99 each,  $176.5 case of 12
65% pinot blanc, 15% muscat, 6% gewurztraminer, 4% riesling. A little tighter knit than the 2020. Cooler year, and I'm tasting it at an earlier stage. I could detect each variety in the 2020. They haven't spread out yet here. More play on the palate. The muscat white flowers, the gewurz bitterness. Bottle age will surely coax forth clearer images. 91+/100. Tasted 7/22/22. Steady sales since confirm its growing appeal.
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32. 19 ALSACE GEWURZTRAMINER, THE FURST    92/100
         
$14.99 each,  $176.5 case of 12
Oh, this is so lifted by its rosy airs. And there's a ginger nip too. Boy, roses to the fore. Rosier than any gewurztraminer I've tasted in a long time. It's off dry and further padded by glycerol. Good acidity performs a balancing act. 92/100.
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GERMANY/AUSTRIA
33. 20 MOSEL RIESLING MAXIMIN MAXIMIN GRUNHAUS, VON SCHUBERT    92+/100
         
$16.99 each,  $199.95 case of 12
From several parcels in the Mosel and Ruwer valleys recently acquired by the Von Schubert family; 16 g/l RS. Rather lush and gentle for Von Schubert. Shows the additional Mosel contributions. Still, there's plenty of cut and minerality to it. And plenty of acid to balance the light RS. Ample green fruit Ruwer take on riesling. Even a suggestion of horseradish, all to the positive. Bargain priced. 92+/100.
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34. 15 BERNCASTELER DOCTOR RIESLING SPATLESE TROCKEN, DR. H. THANISCH    (94/100)
         
$27.99 each,  $164.5 case of 6
Parker 94: 'The dry 2015 Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Spatlese trocken was aged on the lees until the end of August and opens with a clear, very deep and flinty bouquet with perfectly ripe and subtly intense Riesling flavors in the background. On the palate, this is a super fresh, impressively concentrated, very mineral and firmly structured Doctor that needs some years to age in the bottle. This 2015 is enormously complex and persistent and might be a challenge for most Mosel wine lovers, but it could be highly interesting for Molitor fans and lovers of tight and serious structured dry white wines. Drink 2023-2035. $58.'
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35. 20 JOHANNISBERGER KLAUS RIESLING AUSLESE, KRAYER    2++/100
         
$18.99 each,  $111.5 case of 6
Rheingau riesling peach and orange lurk behind a sulphur veil. And Auslese richness and concentration. Auslese fruit sweetness and intensity in nascent form. This has the skills to pay the bills, if you'll first loan it a few months in the cellar. 92++/100.
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36. 21 RHEINHESSEN RIESLING, NEBEL    90/100
         
$10.49 each,  $123.5 case of 12
Decent Hugelland Hessia riesling perked up by the superiority acid of a cold vintage. Yes, unusually racy for its terroir. Surprising flavor quality and intensity. Peach and citrus. Deal, and versatile dinner wine. 90/100.
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37. 21 NIEDEROSTERREICH GRUNER VELTLINER, PAUL DIREDER liter    91/100
         
$12.99 each,  $152.95 case of 12
Pungent and accurate apple-legume aroma set. Flavorful. Good body, good acid. Best vintage yet. 91/100.
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IBERIA
38. 21 VINHO VERDE VERA, VINOS ATLANTICO    92/100
         
$11.49 each,  $134.95 case of 12
60% arinto, 30% azal, 10% loureiro. Delicious amalgam of the superior, more aromatic area varietals. Perfect pitch. Flavor range spreads throughout the mouth. Ideal sweet/acid balance. Juicy finish. What's out of season about this, given the right food apps? 92/100.
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39. 20 DOURO MEANDRO, QUINTA DO VALE MEAO    (90/100)
         
$15.99 each,  $93.95 case of 6
Parker 90: 'The 2020 Meandro do Vale Meao is a blend of 50% Touriga Nacional, 35% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta Roriz and dollops of Tinta Barroca and Alicante Bouschet for the rest, all aged in used French oak for 14 months. It comes in at 14.2% alcohol. This was in bottle about a month when seen. In the tough vintage, this doesn't seem to miss a beat. It's fresh, understated, elegant and full of great fruit. It has ripe tannins for support and some ability to age too. Most of all, it's another nice bargain in this consistent brand. Drink now-2032. $24.'
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40. 19 LISBOA QSS RARE, QUINTA DE SAO SEBASTIAO    91/100
         
$8.49 each,  $99.95 case of 12
60% touriga nacional, 30% cab sauv, 10% syrah. Delivers. Full, aromatic fruit, spice, spread, all. The heavy hitter varieties show. It's not international though. Innately Euro. Sweet and racy both. Flavorful. All give and spice and range and amplitude. Mild tannin. 91/100, at least.
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41. 16 TEJO RESERVA, CABECA DE TOIRO    92+/100
         
$12.99 each,  $152.95 case of 12
Wine Enthusiast 92/100. My notes:. 1/3 each syrah, castelao, touriga nacional. 9 months in French oak barrels. Dark grape varieties, dark color. A purple cast even. The fruit mass plus the barrel seasoning and leavening. Pretty awesome, large scale, and complex nose for a wine at this price. Juicy fruit acid adds balance to the palate. Medium-full bodied. Oak and warm spices play out on the finish. Intellectually as well as sensually stimulating. 92+/100.
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42. 20 RIBERA DEL DUERO TEMPRANILLO HITO, BODEGAS CEPA 21    (93/100)
         
$16.99 each,  $199.95 case of 12
Wine Enthusiast 93: 'Dark garnet in the glass, this wine offers aromas of cherry cola, vanilla and Mediterranean herbs. The first flavors to hit the palate are pomegranate and Valencia orange, joined by notes of chocolate-covered caramel, fennel pollen and lavender. The interplay of plush tannins and striking acidity remains on the post-palate long after the last sip.'
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43. 17 RIOJA CRIANZA, CARLOS SERRES    90+/100
         
$9.99 each,  $117.5 case of 12
Est. 1896. First Rioja bodega to export. All tempranillo. 14 months in oak barrels, 70% American, 30% French. French oak tempers the woody impact. Good crianza balance of oak and supple 2017 fruit. Plusher in the mouth than the nose suggests. Again, a well balanced crianza sort. Still some drying fruit and oak tannin to resolve. Will improve in bottle for several months at least. 90+/100.
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44. 19 NAVARRA TEMPRANILLO, MARY TAYLOR    91/100
         
$14.99 each,  $176.5 case of 12
Average age of vines: 50 years. Native yeasts. The lift of Navarra's high altitude take on tempranillo, plus Taylor's pure fruit style. Ideal zone for her. And the palate disposition is just as moderate and fetching. Perfect fit. 91/100.
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45. 20 TERRA ALTA GARNACHA XILA, VILLA TRINDATE    92/100
         
$12.99 each,  $152.95 case of 12
Textbook example of TA grenache. Garnacha sweet, TA discreet. High altitude grenache for sure. Very savory grenache character with sweet finish. Talks the talk. 92/100.
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46. 15 ALMANSA SYRAH-MONASTRELL BLACK LABEL, BODEGAS PIQUERAS    91/100
         
$8.49 each,  $99.95 case of 12
50-50; aged 4 months in French and American oak barrels; Gold Medal - Berlin 2017. Black label and black wine. And black hearted. This is showing me nothing on the nose, surprising for region, vintage, and age. But not for grape varieties and screwcap. Almansa sweet, gentle, come hither. Well balanced. More flavor than aroma. Finest of tannins. Aerate/decant for aromatics, then take it to the table. 91/100. After aeration, this appealed to many attendees for the price and drinkability.
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ITALY - RED
47. 18 BAROLO ALBE, G. D. VAJRA    (93/100)
         
$33.99 each,  $199.95 case of 6
Parker 93+: 'This wine consistently delivers one of the greatest values to be found in Italian wine. The G.D. Vajra 2018 Barolo Albe has all its cards in play as an immediately enjoyable and extremely food-friendly Nebbiolo. This really is the top of the category in that sense. With straightforward winemaking (fermentation is in steel and aging in large Slavonian oak casks), the wine offers bold cherry, wild plum and plenty of fragrant blue flower and violet. This vintage has the added benefit of softly textured richness. Drink 2023-2047. $40.'
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48. 17 ROERO NEBBIOLO, MALVIRA    93/100
         
$20.99 each,  $246.95 case of 12
Est. 1950. From the top of the Trinita cru, one of Roero's best, where clay-dominant soil makes for an especially full bodied nebbiolo. Aged 18 months in puncheons, half new, half once used. Well, this is my definition of Roero nebbiolo, distinctive from Alba and Langhe renditions. Bursting with 'griottes' (wild cherries) as well as tar and roses. Racy fruit acidity gives extra vigor. Ready to put to use. 93/100.
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49. 21 BARDOLINO CLASSICO, LENOTTI    91/100
         
$9.79 each,  $114.95 case of 12
50% corvina, 35% rondinella, 10% molinara. That's fresh and crisp in 2021. Ideal Bardolino. Plenty of red fruit. Rich and full of flavor. Just the right level of fruit volume to keep the vintage's acidity under control. With extra Classico largesse, this is not a Bardolino to serve chilled. 91/100.
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50. 20 LAMBRUSCO DI SORBARA LECLISSE, PALTRINIERI    (95/100)
         
$16.99 each,  $199.95 case of 12
Wine Enthusiast 95 - EDITORS' CHOICE: 'Radiant and bone-dry, this lovely, gently sparkling wine has delicate scents of red berry and white spring flower. Savory and vibrant, the elegant palate features crushed strawberry, pomegranate and hints of vanilla framed in an extremely refined perlage. Crisp acidity keeps it lively and focused.'
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51. 18 ROMAGNA SANGIOVESE RISERVA PRODIGO, CASA VINICOLA BOTTER    91/100
         
$10.49 each,  $123.5 case of 12
All sangiovese; aged a year in oak cooperage. 18 sweet, Romagna sangiovese fresh and lifted, riserva barrel assuaged to the right degree as not to dominate the original fruit. Ho, hum, just another great bargain in this series. Sangiovese dried cherry and orange peel. More flow, less grip than the Tuscan sangiovese norm. Versatile at the table. Pleasing and harmonious overall. 91/100.
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52. 14 TOSCANA SYRAH CAPINERA VIVAIO DEL CAVALIERE, CASTELLO LA LECCIA    92+/100
         
$11.99 each,  $134.95 case of 12
At Castellina; named for a spring-fed fish pond (vivaio) at the site; aged 9 months in barrels. Lilting and lovely. That dark fruit of syrah and 2014. When Tuscan syrah is right, it's singularly attractive. Yes, very dark, even purple, berries. Man, what a generous value at the new, improved price! With tannin to burn. 92+/100. List price: $35.
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53. 20 CHIANTI FATTORIA DE SCANNANO, ROCCA DI CASTAGNOLI    92+/100
         
$13.99 each,  $164.5 case of 12
90% sangiovese, 10% ciliegiolo; 4 months in cooperage; unfiltered. Oh, that's as rich and enticing and spicy smelling as the popular 2018 vintage we had a couple years back. But it has some 2020 tannin to shed yet. Behind that is lots of flavor and texture. I'm confident. 92+/100. Popular with the group for character, price, and potential. Orders taken.
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54. 16 CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA, FATTORIA LORNANO    93+/100
         
$20.99 each,  $246.95 case of 12
Est. 1904; all sangiovese; aged 2 years in barriques and 6 months in bottles before release. More than a year advanced in bouquet development compared to the 2017 Vino Nobile that preceded it in the tasting order. Of course, this has had a riserva barrel regimen, which accelerates bouquet formation. A full fledged riserva fruit foundation plus the barrel time it deserves. Full bodied. Wide flavor spectrum. Plenty of texture and depth too. Long, chewy finish. 93+/100.
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55. 21 ROSSO DI MONTEPULCIANO, TENUTA GRACCIANO DELLA SETA    91/100
         
$12.99 each,  $152.95 case of 12
Est. mid 19th century; mainly prunolo gentile, with a little canaiolo and merlot; vines planted in 1970, 1993, 1997, and 2001; yields under 3 tons per acre. Oh, that's fresh and exuberant, and it's definitely the unique sangiovese clone befitting the zone. Special elegance to this. Yes, new and briskly tart in 2021. Makes my mouth water for food. Just the slightest and finest grained of tannins. Take it to the table anytime. 91/100.
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56. 19 MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO LUCANTO, TENUTA TORRE RAONE    91/100
         
$12.99 each,  $152.95 case of 12
Full, rich, sweet, and 2019 forward. Totally inviting. Yes, thorough appeal. Good acid; good balance. Has it all together as always. Lasting finish wisped clean by its acidity. 91/100, at least.
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57. 20 LAZIO CESANESE, SOC. AGR. CASALE DEL GIGLIO    91+/100
         
$14.99 each,  $176.5 case of 12
Est. 1967, 30 miles south of Rome. A very nice expression of the variety. Thankfully, a handful have come forth lately. Has freshness and proper material structure and filling, without being BIG. Yes, the sweet/acid balance that makes it so mealworthy. Merely the level of tannins that give texture, not obstinance. I like this source and will support it. 91+/100.
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ITALY - WHITE
58. 21 GAVI MASERA, AZ. AGR. STEFANO MASSONE    92/100
         
$13.99 each,  $164.5 case of 12
A vineyard in the warmer reaches of southeastern Gavi planted in 1978; Marc de Grazia selection. Good vintage of this. The sage and the flowers are clearly defined and most forthcoming. A classic take. Even more precision and push on the palate. There's the glycerol aspect too. And that great 2021 acidity. Honestly, the best vintage of this I've tasted. 92/100. Widely appreciated by attendees; Wine of the Night for one commentator.
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59. 21 ALTO ADIGE VALLE ISARCO KERNER, ABBAZIA DI NOVACELLA    92/100
         
$18.99 each,  $223.5 case of 12
All kerner; schist, gneiss, and quartzite soils at 650-800 meters; native yeasts. Kerner subtlety personified. Characteristic suggestion of coconut. Model kerner, bound to go and grow as it airs and warms. As it warms in the mouth, flavors trump aromas. Ingratiating kerner softness. Alto Adige varietal precision. Top vintage of this. Well liked by the majority of attendees. 92/100.
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60. 20 VENETO BIANCO COLLE DEI TIGLI, LENOTTI    91/100
         
$8.49 each,  $99.95 case of 12
Est. 1906; half each cortese, garganega; hillside (colle) vineyard capped with lime trees (tigli). The nose is of pear rather than lime. The fresh and alluring varietal set pours through to ensure this series carries on adroitly. Palate adds an abundance of citrus and stone fruit flavors. Popular with the group. Case orders taken. 91/100.
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61. 21 FRUILI BIANCO FRICO, SCARPETTA    91/100
         
$10.49 each,  $123.5 case of 12
Scarpetta is a brand developed by Bobby Stuckey, MS, and former French Laundry chef Lachlan Patterson, lovers of Friuli wines. This one, of 80% chardonnay and 20% friulano, really charmed me at a trade tasting earlier this month. Perfectly harmonious varietal concept. Full of personality. Its own thing. One glass invites another. Great value. 91/100.
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62. 21 SARDEGNA VERMENTINO ARAGOSTA, CANTINA SANTA MARIA LA PALMA    92/100
         
$12.99 each,  $152.95 case of 12
From the Alghero coast; 300 family cooperative. Fully charged varietal vigor. Bright, fresh, fragrant. Equally vigorous on the palate. Surpasses the good 2020 in flavor intensity and acid spiel. Bravo. 92/100. Attendees also found this intensely varietal and expressive. Orders taken.
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INTERNATIONAL
63. 21 FLORINA MALAGOUZIA TURTLES VINEYARD, ALPHA ESTATE    93/100
         
$16.99 each,  $199.95 case of 12
Macedonia; northwest facing at 670 meters; cold soak, skin contact vinification; two months on regularly stirred lees. Oh, there's that combo of body and perfume that makes this such a desirable variety in the right hands. Just keeps building with warmth and aeration. Big burst of varietal fruit-flower flavor melange. Body and texture appeal too. Deliciously open and well balanced at present. Ideal. 93/100. Attendees were impressed, relating it favorably to better known aromatic white grape varieties.
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U.S. - RED
64. 20 ELIZABETH SPENCER SPECIAL CUVEE MENDOCINO CABERNET SAUVIGNON    92+/100
         
$22.99 each,  $269.95 case of 12
Dark and structured Mendo cabernet nose seldom found at this price. Plenty of material, fruit. Fruit juicy flavor with good acid and fine tannin. For food. What I'd expect to get from a Spencer Mendo cabernet, and do. Got to have this one. 92+/100.
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65. 19 MONTOYA MONTEREY CABERNET SAUVIGNON    (90/100)
         
$12.99 each,  $152.95 case of 12
Wine Enthusiast 90 - BEST BUY: 'A smoky streak of peat and leather meet with dark plum, berry and iodine on the nose of this bottling. Roasted meat and leather flavors show on the palate, along with berry and dark wood spice.'
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66. 21 STOLLER ESTATE DUNDEE HILLS PINOT NOIR    (92/100)
         
$25.49 each,  $299.95 case of 12
Wine Spectator 92: 'Fragrant and elegantly structured, with fresh violet, raspberry and orange peel accents that glide agilely toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2030. $35.'
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67. 19 QUEEN OF HEARTS SANTA BARBARA PINOT NOIR    91/100
         
$13.99 each,  $164.5 case of 12
Good, crisp Santa Barbara style pinot replete with 2019 fruit ripeness to fill it out. Yes, the vintage trumps the usual Santa Barbara sleekness. This is rich fruited. As promised, the acidity is good too. 91/100.
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68. 20 PARDUCCI TRUE GRIT RESERVE MENDOCINO PETITE SIRAH    (91/100)
         
$15.99 each,  $187.95 case of 12
Wine Enthusiast 91: 'Super concentrated and richly tannic, this full-bodied wine is dark in color with a deep red rim and offers ripe, jammy intense blueberry, blackberry and dark chocolate flavors. Drinkable now due to a polished texture, but best from 2026. $30.
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69. 20 LAPIS LUNA NORTH COAST ZINFANDEL    91/100
         
$12.99 each,  $152.95 case of 12
Primary grape source: Pauli Ranch, Mendocino. 10 months in French oak barrels, 10% new. Both rich and racy. Real North Coast zinfandel/ Yeah, lush raspberry flavor and cracked black peppercorn spiciness. Good power at 14.9%. Sweet finish. 91/100.
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70. 19 PEACHY CANYON WESTSIDE PASO ROBLES ZINFANDEL    93/100
         
$18.99 each,  $223.5 case of 12
Est. 1988; family owned; mostly estate fruit; aged 18 months in barrels. This pours purple. The cooler, higher altitude Paso westside cools it off. It shows fresh rather than jammy raspberry character. The mellowness of long sojourn in cooperage. Yes, cool, bright, and juicy berry fruit. Good acid, balance. No heat or headiness. Well crafted. This family knows zinfandel. Widely appreciated by the group for its accuracy and moderation. 93/100.
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U.S. - WHITE
71. 21 STOLLER ESTATE DUNDEE HILLS CHARDONNAY    91/100
         
$16.99 each,  $199.95 case of 12
Est. 1993; from all the estate's clones; mainly whole bunch fermented; aged a year in seasoned French oak barrels. Clean and lean, essentially unwooded Oregon chardonnay. Racy fruit acidity you'd rarely find in West Coast chardonnays south of here. Shows terroir, with stylistic Euro leanings. 91/100.
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72. 21 TOAD HOLLOW FRANCINE'S UNOAKED MENDOCINO CHARDONNAY    (90/100)
         
$11.49 each,  $134.95 case of 12
Wine Enthusiast 90 - BEST BUY: 'This is a fun, yet delicate and elegant, expression of Chardonnay, and a definite bang-for-the-buck. Notes of apple, pear, lemon, lime, chamomile flower and a hint of white grapefruit are kept light and bright by the elevated acidity. The mouthfeel is smooth, almost silky in texture. $15.'
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73. 21 SCHUG SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY    (94/100)
         
$19.99 each,  $234.95 case of 12
Tasting Panel 94: 'Aromas of lemon sorbet grace the glass, where a creamy texture and alert acidity meet notes of melon, honeysuckle, and stony minerality that lingers.'
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74. 21 ELK COVE WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOT BLANC    (92/100)
         
$15.99 each,  $187.95 case of 12
Tasting Panel 92: 'Fruit from estate hillside vineyards is whole-cluster pressed and cold-fermented in small, stainless-steel tanks. The freshness is apparent starting with a complex, voluptuous nose of green apple and just-squeezed oranges. Racy acidity works with hints of cashew, green tea, and pineapple.'
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75. 22 BONNY DOON LA CIGARE ORANGE CENTRAL COAST ORANGE    (92/100)
         
$13.99 each,  $164.5 case of 12
Wine Enthusiast 92 - EDITORS' CHOICE: 'This is an orange wine blend, with 10% each Grenache and Orange Muscat, that's quite delicious. Golden in the glass, it offers dried citrus and apricot on the nose, leading into a palate that's full of textural intrigue. Flavors of orange sherbert and orange-rind tonic fill the sip.'
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76. 21 VERTERRA MATHESON, SWEDE, & KULPA VINEYARD LEELANAU PENINSULA DRY RIESLING    92/100
         
$15.99 each,  $187.95 case of 12
4 acres in three blocks; west or southwest facing; on loamy sand soils. Dry and distinguished, with just the right degree of riesling scent to its crisp, northern persona. Ho, hum; year after year. Beautiful, juicy citrus and stone fruit melange that fills and lingers. Dry but not austere. Perfect harmony. 92/100.
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SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE
77. 20 CLOS DE MENDOZA MENDOZA MALBEC    (90/100)
         
$11.49 each,  $134.95 case of 12
Suckling 90: 'Blackberry, dark chocolate and some walnut character. Chewy. Savory finish. Hints of dried fruit. Spicy.'
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78. 19 VINA MARTY MARIPOSA GRAN RESERVA COLCHAGUA CARMENERE    91/100
         
$14.99 each,  $176.5 case of 12
Heavy Bottle Award. Deep, sweet, rustic carmenere. Earthy but not funky. Good acid, flavor, balance. Accurate varietal character. Good. 91/100.
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79. 19 ANT MOORE MARLBOROUGH PINOT NOIR    92/100
         
$16.79 each,  $197.5 case of 12
Rich, ripe fruit. Unique and pretty. Full flavored and special. Upscale. I like this a lot. 92/100.
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80. 21 ANT MOORE ESTATE MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC    92/100
         
$11.49 each,  $134.95 case of 12
Yikes! That youthful sauvignon sharpness cuts like a knife. Hurts so good!/ Citrus and passion fruit flavors in abundance. And the racy acidity fulfills expectations. What we're looking for. 92/100.
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81. 20 PENLEY PHOENIX COONAWARRA CABERNET SAUVIGNON    (93/100)
         
$18.99 each,  $223.5 case of 12
Wine Spectator 93: 'An elegant version, with firm earthy notes to the star anise, green cardamom and cigar box spiciness, backed by a touch of Dutch cocoa powder. Reveals spiced plum, cassis and kirsch flavors that are plump and velvety, with a long finish. Drink now through 2030.'
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82. 18 BABYLONSTOREN SOETMELKSVLEI SIMONSBERG - PAARL RED    91+/100
         
$12.99 each,  $152.95 case of 12
'The land of milk and honey'; 45% cab sauv, 40% merlot, 7% malbec, 5% cab franc, 3% petit verdot; Whoa! In my face! It's clearly a riper, pushier New World take on claret than the four Bordeaux rouges that preceded it. All the same, it has an intriguing personality, unique, and appealing. Dark, firm, deep, and barrel touched. Well, really good acidity, which comes as a surprise. Generous in both flavor and texture. Lasting. And only 15 bucks! 91+/100.
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ROSE
83. 21 TOURAINE ROSE LE GRAND BALLON, THIERRY DELAUNAY    91/100
         
$10.99 each,  $129.5 case of 12
Gamay, with a little cab franc and cot (malbec). Very pale salmon color.. Gleeful, high toned northern rose. Yes, strawberry aroma and flavor alike. Bright fruit acidity. A joyous treat. 91/100.
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84. 21 COTEAUX D'AIX EN PROVENCE ROSE, COMMANDERIE DE BARGEMONE    92/100
         
$16.99 each,  $199.95 case of 12
40% grenache, 25% cab sauv, 20% syrah, 10% cinsault, 5% rolle. Cool, close pink fruit spread. The center varieties add more red fruit than found in most Provence roses. There's that rolle air of relief as well. This spells entertainment. Nice and crisp this vintage. Good varietal spread of feels and flavors. Indeed, this is mentally as well as sensually stimulating. I don't write that about many roses. Comes as no surprise with this cuvee. 92/100. Attendees, well versed in Bargemone vintages, agreed whole heartedly.
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85. 21 RIOJA ROSE, BODEGAS MUGA    92/100
         
$13.99 each,  $164.5 case of 12
Light red orange. Oh, this is SO giving. Robust and generous in both aroma and texture. Always good, I think this is about the best vintage I've nosed. Maybe because it's finally got the extra aging it always needs. Pink and red fruits and some pink citrus from viura. Full textured and satisfying. Lasting. No aperitif. 92/100.
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FORTIFIED/FRUIT
86. GONZALEZ BYASS CRISTINA ABOCADO OLOROSO SHERRY    (91/100)
         
$20.99 each,  $123.5 case of 6
Wine Enthusiast 91: 'The core aroma on this semisweet Sherry is maple syrup, but overall the nose is fresh and vital. Although creamy, this is balanced as a whole. Flavors of mixed nuts and toffee are familiar, while the finish hums along with no faults or bumps.'
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87. HARDYS WHISKERS BLAKE 8 YEAR OLD AUSTRALIA TAWNY PORT    92/100
         
$15.99 each,  $93.95 case of 6
Classic nutty-tawny fruit nose. Sweet and sassy. Oak, nut, time in oak. Not sticky, not musky like some of the cheaper ones. Fabulous value. 92/100.
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88. BAGLIO BAIATA ALAGNA MARSALA CREMOVO    94/100
         
$7.99 each,  $46.95 case of 6
16.5%; 1/3 each insolia, grillo, catarratto. Very attractive egg custard aroma with cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice enhancement. Palate confirms. They nailed this one. This egg-enhanced marsala concept was popular when I started in the wine business over 50 years ago. This is the first one I've seen in a long, long time. 94/100.
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89. VIOLET FRERES BYRRH GRAND QUINQUINA    96/100
         
$16.79 each,  $98.5 case of 6
The original recipe made at Thuir in Pyrenees Orientales since 1873. Amazing combination of sweetness and tonic. Very intense, well balanced, lovely. Right balance of sweetness and astringency. Good power at 18%. All elements in harmony. 96/100.
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SPARKLING
90. 08 CHARLES ORBAN MILLESIME BRUT CHAMPAGNE    95/100
         
$53.95 each,  $317.5 case of 6
Proprietaire-Recoltant at Troissy; Orban left the co-op in 1960; sold his estate to another Champagne family in 2000. 50% chardonnay, 40% pinot noir, 10% pinot meunier. Well, that's epic 2008. More solid than liquid. Super toasty-mealy. Jawbreaker concentration. Hard to swallow. Yikes! The beefeater's champagne. 95/100.
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91. PASCAL PONSON PREMIER CRU PRESTIGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE    93/100
         
$35.99 each,  $211.5 case of 6
RM (winegrower) at Coulommes la Montagne; 70% meunier, 15% each chardonnay, pinot noir; average vine age: 35 years; en tirage 3.5 years; disgorged 2/12/19; .6 RS. That's a meunier nose, full of bread dough. Speaks for its en tirage spell too. This has more finesse on the palate than last week's lower Marne champagne. Better terroir, same price. Really a pretty respectable value. I didn't know you could have all that meunier in Premier Cru. Very satisfying finish. 93/100.
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92. JANSZ PIPERS RIVER TASMANIA PREMIUM CUVEE BRUT    92/100
         
$20.99 each,  $123.5 case of 6
Est. 1986; methode tasmanoise. Fine bead. Wisps of both fruit and doughy bottle bouquet. Unique. Oh, creamy, doughy, very suave. Nice little nip of CO2 dryness at the end. A class product. 92/100.
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93. ITALIA PARTICOLARE GRAN CUVEE BRUT, TENUTA DEL BUONAMICO    91/100
         
$11.99 each,  $139.95 case of 12
Trebbiano, pinot bianco, semillon. Always like this for its brightness and its tantalizing methode champenoise character despite made via charmat. Round and well balanced fruit basis. Well balanced. Well crafted. Full mousse. Fine class. 91/100. A staple in the Scheer household.
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GRAND FORMAT
94. 19 CHIANTI, ANTICO ITALIANO magnum    
         
$12.99 each,  $76.5 case of 6
Straw wrapped fiasco. Do these still swing from the rafters in pizza parlors? They were once ubiquitous. Well, that's a pretty fancy word for a work-a-day wine. Farm workers used to take these out to the fields in the morning, soak them in a pond, and then hang them on tree branches to cool as breezes evaporated the moisture. There you had a cool beverage for al fresco lunch.
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POTPOURRI
95. deposit    
         
$0.6 each,  $2.4 case of 4
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96. BEL GIOIOSO WISCONSIN FONTINA CHEESE pound    
         
$5.99 each,  $17.5 case of 3
'Fontina is handmade by our Master Cheesemakers from fresh milk gathered daily from local farmers. Aged over 60 days, Fontina develops an exceptional mild, buttery flavor, with a smooth, almost silky texture. BelGioioso Fontina makes an excellent introduction to Italian cheeses everyone likes Fontina. This versatile cheese makes delicious sandwiches and grilled cheese and melts easily for fondues and sauces.'
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97. FORMAGGIO PIAVE DOP VECCHIO RED LABEL 12 MONTH OLD CHEESE pound    
         
$11.99 each,  $34.95 case of 3
'The milk used to make Piave DOP cheese comes exclusively from the province of Belluno (north-eastern Italy) and at least 80% is produced with milk from breeds of cattle typical of the production area: the Bruna Italiana, the Grigio Alpina, the Pezzata Rossa Italiana and the Frisona Italiana. Milk enzymes made from local milk and whey contain a type of bacterial flora that represents a sort of microbiological imprint of the geographical area of production. These elements are the determining factors in the acquisition of the distinctive characteristics of Piave DOP cheese.'
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98. R. HIRT DRIED WILD MUSHROOM BLEND 2 oz bag    
         
$5.99 each,  $17.5 case of 3
Morel, black trumpet, porcini, maitake, oyster, chanterelle, lobster, and woodear combo. Rehydrating earns you approximately one pound of mushrooms.
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99. INES ROSALES SWEET OLIVE OIL TORTAS 6.3 oz package    
         
$3.99 each,  $11.5 case of 3
'The story of Ines Rosales began in 1910 Seville. Ines Rosales began making traditional cakes called olive oil 'tortas', using the traditional, age-old recipe that had been passed down from generation to generation.' Flavored with anise and sesame seeds. 6 per package.
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100. FINN CRISP ORIGINAL 7 oz box    
         
$2.99 each,  $8.5 case of 3
'FINN CRISP Original is the flagship product in the FINN CRISP range. This classic wholegrain rye recipe was developed in 1952 for the Helsinki Summer Olympics and still remains the most loved flavor by FINN CRISP fans. Baked with sourdough it has a rich rye taste and a deliciously crunchy mouthfeel. Whole grain rye flour 95 %, water, salt and yeast.'
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