From the Belvedere in La Morra, looking toward the towns of Barolo and Monforte

More Treasures from the Cellar

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Some new arrivals, and as well we've found some more fine wine in the cellar that was under our radar. Some lagged because of damaged labels - as noted - but after all, you don't drink the label, and the prices more than compensate for what we guarantee is only cosmetic damage. Something for everyone! Jamie Wolff

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Franco Espanolas 1970 Rioja Royal

True to its name, Bodegas Franco-Espanolas was founded in 1890 by a Bordeaux wine merchant with French and Spanish investors. Sold in 1973 to a large conglomerate, the Franco-Espanolas label persists to this day. We haven't tried any contemporary vintages, but bottlings from the 1960s and '70s are perennial favorites of our Rioja-loving clientele. This 1970 Gran Reserva is an easy introduction to the brand, with aromas of coffee beans and sweet raspberry which combine on the soft, pretty palate with cedary spice, leather, and bitter earth. Ariana Rolich

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Franco Espanolas 1973 Rioja Bordon Crianza Consecha Especial

Franco-Espanolas has long offered two premium lines of wine. “Royal” is the lighter bodied, more Burgundian style Rioja; “Bordon” is the more robust, tannic, and Bordeaux-inspired one. Despite being only a Crianza, the 1973 Rioja Bordon Crianza has aged remarkably (one could say astonishingly) well, and will please any lover of old-wine straight from the bottle.  Full of brambly black cherry fruit, this full-bodied Bordon rounds out the palate with chocolate, carob, meaty, and savory flavors, while framed by finely grained tannins. Jonas Mendoza

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Marques de Arienzo 1987 Rioja Gran Reserva

The wine brand Marqués de Arienzo was created in the mid-1980s after the House of Domecq (one of Spain’s oldest winemakers) decided to build a winery in Rioja in the 1970s. Arienzo was the second effort by the company to launch a Rioja brand; it became both a commercial success within Spain and internationally.  Domecq  was later purchased in 2005 by the French group Pernod-Ricard; the Rioja winery, vineyards, and brand name were  subsequently divested in 2010 to Bodegas Muriel  and Herederos del Marqués de Riscal. With a brick red hue, this fully mature Rioja entices with dried cherry fruit and herb flavors, along with subtle hints of roasted meat, dill seeds, and balsamic. This wine will benefit from decanting, and stands to improve after several hours of opening. Jonas Mendoza

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Montecillo 1973 Rioja Reserva Vina Monty (arrives 4/25)

Bodegas Montecillo was established in 1874 under the name "Hijos de Celestino Najavas" by the sons of Celestino Najavas, and renamed in 1947 after Montecillo, a hill outside of Fuenmayor (Rioja Alta). Having studied in Bordeaux and Burgundy, the sons implemented modern French customs and techniques (tasting rooms, cooling equipment) in the pursuit of quality wine. In 1973, Osborne Wines purchased Montecillo and sold all of its vineyards. The 1973 is fully mature, with a delicate build, plenty of acidity, cedar, gently spicy berry fruit, and ferrous earth. Ariana Rolich

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Montecillo 1981 Rioja Gran Reserva Vina Monty

The 1981 Montecillo Gran Reserva was among the more powerful and forward of the older Riojas that we tasted from the 1970s and 1980s. With a deep brick red hue, the nose becomes quickly enveloped with deeply savory burnt tobacco and meaty notes. After about an hour in the glass, the palate becomes more fruit-driven with strawberry compote and wild blackberries, underlied by leather and sweet spices of clove and cinnamon. Medium bodied, the tannins are well-integrated, and the acidity drives both the savory and fruit flavors toward a graceful finish.  This wine is  ready to drink now: pair this with Manchego or simple preparations of lamb or beef. Andy Paynter

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Palacio 1978 Rioja Glorioso Reserva

Bodegas Palacio was established by Bilbao businessman and politician Cosme Palacio, his brother Manuel, and father Angel, in Laguardia (Rioja Alavesa) in 1894. In The Wines of Rioja, John Radford tells a fascinating history: "This was not a good time in Rioja: no sooner had Cosme established his business than the phylloxera louse appeared and proceeded to decimate the vineyards. Some bodegas laid down and died, others fought the plague with every new idea at their disposal. Cosme's reaction was atypical: he simply moved his operation to Valladolid in Castile-Leon (where phylloxera would not strike for several years more), rented a bodega, and hired a promising young winemaker by the name of Txomin Garramiola to make a wine in the Rioja style, until he could return to Rioja. Txomin went on to make a wine called Vega Sicilia in 1915, and the region became the DO Ribera del Duero in 1982..." The bodega has changed hands a number of times since its initial sale in 1972, but the Glorioso lineup that was first bottled in 1928 persists to this day. The 1978 Reserva is 100% Tempranillo with a delicate floral and botanical nose, elegant tannins, and flavors of brambly purple fruit, savory chestnut meat, and salty earth. Ariana Rolich

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Palacio 1980 Rioja Glorioso Reserva (arrives 4/25)

Founded in 1894, Bodegas Palacio is a more-than-hundred year old winery located in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa. Glorioso was their first label, dating back to 1928. Michel Rolland started consulting for the winery in the early 80’s, so this vintage represents some of the last traditionally styled Riojas the winery made. With bold flavors of stewed red cherry and cherry tomato, savory dried herbs, and smoky undertones, this is mature Rioja to enjoy for immediate consumption. Jonas Mendoza

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Rioja Alta 1976 Rioja Ardanza Reserva (some damaged labels)

Any fan of Rioja Alta's current releases should taste a bottle of Ardanza with age. The 1976 vintage was nothing to write home about in most other collectible wine regions, but has proven itself to be quite delicious in Rioja. Ardanza contains up to 20% Garnacha, which makes it rich and visceral with age, with bold earth, roses, blood orange, and iron interlaced with musky fig and dusty purple berries. Ariana Rolich

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Senorio de Libano 1982 Rioja Reserva Castillo de Sajazarra

At the end of the 1960s, the Líbano family bought a castle in Sajazarra (in the most northern part of La Rioja Alta) in order to rebuild it and make their home there. They started making wine inside the castle for their own consumption, but later expanded. The new winery was built in 1973 (within the castle’s gardens); all of the nearly 50ha of vineyards are owned and cultivated by the winery.  1982 was a remarkable vintage in Rioja (one of only 10 vintages deemed “Excellent” by the Consejo Regulador in the past 50 years). The Libano Rioja shows astonishingly bright red cherry fruit for a more than 30-year old Reserva on the palate, rounded out along with mature flavors of hoisin and celery stalk. A Rioja for immediate consumption. Jonas Mendoza

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Roulot, Guy 2011 Meursault 1er Cru Clos des Bouchères Monopole

This is a rare wine. This is a great wine. This is an historic wine. Why historic? Because this is the first vintage of Jean Marc Roulot's new monopole — Clos des Boucheres. Beautiful white fruit and flowers on the nose, lots of complexity, minerality and salinity, power and big, rich flavors and a very long finish. Very refined and detailed, lots of dynamic tension. A wine of exquisite balance that will age brilliantly. A tour de force! JBT

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Pignard 2012 Beaujolais-Villages

The Pignards work 4.5 hectares in and around Morgon and Regnié. Biodynamic farming, natural fermentations and minimal SO2. We've walked through their vineyards which are absolutely beautiful — "wine is made in the vineyard" say the Pignards and it shows in the gorgeous fruit and mineral character in their wines. The 2012 Beaujolais-Villages is from 40 year-old vines on decomposed granite soils. It shows the bright pure fruit of the 2012 vintage but with very good ripeness as well. Pretty deep red color, aromas of tart cherry, raspberry, rose and blood orange, really lovely! Silky palate with dark cherry, blackberry and earth — a bit fuller than most 2012s, balanced by bright acidity and saline minerals. Delicious now and will drink beautifully over the next 3 to 5 years. DL

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