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The VAULT

The VAULT

The VAULT

A person’s wine collection tells a lot about their passion and personality. While not every wine is for everyone, certain bottles simply command respect in a way that goes beyond personal taste. Every bottle is a reflection of the culture that produced it, the people who devoted hours and days, months and years to the art of winemaking, each grape carefully picked and processed when the time is just right. Some blends are so coveted, it takes you a decade to receive your first bottle, and the wait makes the wine that much sweeter. If a wine is worth adding to your collection, it performs astonishingly at any kind of social gathering and will create memories for years to come.

As a result, the market for top-quality wines grows every year. It is more important than ever to secure your spot on big waiting lists, as many brands produce only a small amount of wine annually. With how much wines can vary from year to year, due to the condition in which grapes grow, you don’t want to miss the best vintages. Part of our mission is helping people like you wrap their lips around the juiciest, most elegant blends we can find. While some people are in it for profit, we think the true joy of wine comes from tasting it, and sharing it with your closest friends, family, and loved ones. The sheer emotion that goes into winemaking rubs off on the person imbibing it, allowing you to peer through windows across time and space and rekindle your love for nature, and your love for humanity. Let’s explore this land of delicious swirling crimson together.
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1989 bartolo mascarello barolo Italy Red

Bartolo Mascarello’s 1989 Barolo (magnum) is all freshly cut roses, plums, prunes and sweet spices. The aromas and flavors continue to emerge with notable vigor and intensity, framed exquisitely by firm, silky tannins. Grace and class come to mind as apt descriptors for a wine that balances exceptional depth yet also floats on the palate with ethereal qualities that are hard to do justice to on the printed page. The finish is long and wonderfully pure, with overtones of licorice and menthol that invite a second (and third!) taste. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2030.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RP(Barolo-Bartolo Mascarello) I have no doubt that the 1989 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo will prove to be one of the greatest vintages in the long and consistently excellent career of this maestro, but it is only just starting to show its secondary layers of complexity and desperately deserves more time in the cellar to really reach its apogee. The bouquet is deep, pure and very promising, offering up a blend of cherries, beef bouillon, roasted gamebirds, a touch of wild bay, complex, autumnal soil tones and a topnote of woodsmoke. On the palate the wine is very pure, full and sappy at the core, with great soil inflection, ripe, fine-grained tannins, outstanding focus and grip and a very, very long, pure and complex finish. It is not a crime to be drinking this wine today- if you have enough bottles remaining in the cellar that you are not going to miss one ten years down the road- but this is a wine that is still climbing and its best days are still several years further out. (Drink between 2016 - 2060)John Gilman | 95+ JGOne of the most anticipated wines of the night, the 1989 Barolo is not as exceptional as it can be. I have tasted the 1989 mostly from magnum recently, so perhaps my expectations are a bit colored. Even from the big bottle, though, the 1989 has always shown slight imperfections, especially in the bouquet. In this tasting, my impression is that in the standard bottle those imperfections are more evident. There is plenty of texture and depth to the fruit, but it is the aromatics that are penalizing here.Vinous Media | 91 VM

As low as $915.00
1997 ceretto barolo bricco rocche Barolo

Dark ruby-garnet. Very aromatic, with lots of floral, berry and spice character. Full-bodied, with a solid core of ripe fruit, supersilky tannins and a long, long finish. Massive, still needs a little more time in the bottle. One of the best ever from here.--1997 Italian blind retrospective. Best after 2009. 400 cases made.Wine Spectator | 97 WSThe ostentatious, staggering 1997 Barolo Bricco Rocche possesses a dark garnet color with amber at the edge. The explosive bouquet of coffee liqueur, licorice, spice box, black cherries, kirsch, raspberries, and cedar is to die for. The wine reveals numerous dimensions and nuances as well as a boatload of glycerin. Full-bodied, massively concentrated, and exceptionally thick and juicy, with a sweetness due to the high glycerin and ripeness, this is Barolo on steroids. Anticipated maturity: now-2018.Robert Parker | 96 RPMedium red, orange at the rim. Cool, highly aromatic nose of redcurrant, dried rose, clove, cinnamon, chocolate and loam. Highly concentrated and rich in the mouth; flavors of chocolate, marzipan and amaretto show an almost liqueur-like sweetness. Big but ripe tannins coat all the surfaces of the palate. Very impressive.Vinous Media | 92+ VMAlready complex, this cru Barolo from Ceretto is packed with exotic aromas and flavors that range from pipe tobacco, cedar and cherries to tar, earth and mushrooms. A licorice or tarragon note pulls it all together. This is a full yet balanced wine that should age well for a couple of decades.Wine Enthusiast | 92 WE

92
VM
As low as $549.00
1997 gaja sperss barolo Barolo

A virtually perfect effort is the 1997 Sperss (30,000 bottles), which represents the essence of truffles, earth, and black cherries in its striking aromatics and multidimensional, opulent, full-bodied palate. The acidity seems low because of the huge glycerin levels and prodigious concentration of fruit, but I suspect it is normal in the scheme of oenological measurement. This profound wine requires 3-4 years of cellaring, and should age well for 30-35 years.A genius for sure, Angelo Gaja can not be faulted for what he puts in the bottle. This work of art is worth every cent it will fetch.Robert Parker | 99 RPAdmittedly, Gaja’s 1997 Sperss doesn’t quite hit the high notes it so often does. More often than not, the 1997 has been pretty much open for business, but this bottle is more reticent than other recent examples.Vinous Media | 97 VMDark ruby. Loads of blackberry, vanilla and milk chocolate on the nose. Turns to licorice and flowers. Full-bodied, with a subtle tannin structure and fresh and focused fruit. Balanced and pretty wine. Just starting to open.--1997 Italian blind retrospective. Best from 2008 through 2017. 2,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

99
RP
As low as $5,999.00
2000 giacomo conterno barolo monfortino riserva Italy Red

Conterno’s 2000 Barolo Riserva Monfortino gives an impression of accessibility only because it is so open relative to some of the surrounding vintages of this great, legendary Barolo. The 2000 has tons of fruit backed up with considerable tannic heft. With time in the glass sweet, balsamic notes make an appearance, but this is one of the few 2000s that needs considerable cellaring to show all of its cards. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2040.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPI am thrilled to see how well the 2000 Barolo Riserva Monfortino shows in this tasting, as it is a vintage that can sometimes get lost between the 1999 and 2002 in this era. My impression is that the 2000 still hasn’t truly shown its true potential just yet. On this night it remains closed and not particularly expressive. The seductive qualities the 2000 showed as a young wine aren’t especially apparent today. Time in the glass brings out pretty floral overtones. Overall, the 2000 comes across as a Monfortino that is more finesse than power. Even so, readers have to be patient here.Antonio Galloni | 97+ AGDark ruby red in color. Subtle and reserved on the nose, with blackberry, tea, sandalwood and blueberry. Opens to coffee and vanilla bean. Full-bodied, with an amazing, condensed palate of ultraripe fruit and silky tannins. Fresh and superlong. Very tight and fresh. Needs so much time to open and come around. Like a genie in the bottle. Best after 2014. 750 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WS

98
VM
As low as $1,820.00
2004 giacomo conterno barolo monfortino riserva Barolo

The 2004 Barolo Riserva Monfortino is drop-dead gorgeous. I have tasted the wine multiple times from barrel and three times from bottle and never been anything less than blown away. The 2004 is a subtle, layered Monfortino that captures the sheer elegance and finesse of this great vintage. It is sweet, perfumed, silky and utterly mind-blowing. From barrel it has always been a 100 point wine, but it has just been bottled and naturally a bit closed in on itself. Still, with some time in the glass its silky, perfumed fruit and dazzling class come to life. The 2004 is remarkably harmonious for such a young wine. Readers will have much fun debating which is the greatest Monfortino of recent years. Could it be the 1996, 1999 or 2002 for their huge structure and classicism? Or, is it the 1997 for its opulence? What if the dark horse 1998 and 2000 steal the show? Personally, I adore the 2001 and 2004 for their completeness, but the 2004 is the sexiest of them all. Sadly, 2004 is also the year Giovanni Conterno passed away, but one can’t escape the feeling his spirit lives in this wine. Kudos to Roberto Conterno and his team for this magnificent, thrilling Barolo. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2044.The drive from Barolo to Monforte was a little different this year. Peering across the valley over the hillside where the Conterno winery sits, the observant eye will notice a number of large barrels outside the main building. Roberto Conterno had no choice but to replace a number of his casks this year as the staves had begun to bend from many years of use, and Conterno was understandably afraid of the unthinkable, that the casks could finally yield to old age full of wine. Still, he was clearly upset by having to replace barrels that he personally moved into the new winery with his father during the summer of 1985. Just to think of the wines that were racked during that move. The 1978, 1979 and 1982 Monfortini were still in cask. To be honest, seeing the empty space in the winery as the new casks were about to arrive was quite a shock. The wines, however, were not. I tasted all of the wines currently in cask plus the new releases from bottle. My high expectations were easily surpassed. Conterno fans have a lot to look forward to. Roberto Conterno has decided to give his new Nebbiolo from the Cerretta vineyard another year in barrel. At the moment Conterno is leaning towards releasing the 2009 as a Langhe Nebbiolo rather than Barolo, although that could always change. Readers who want to learn more about the 2011 harvest at Conterno may want to take a look at my video interview with Roberto Conterno.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 100 RPThe 2004 Barolo Riserva Monfortino confirms its place as one of the finest Monfortinos ever made. From magnum, it is so special. The long growing season produced a Monfortino of unusual silkiness, perfume and elegance. In many ways, the 2004 is the first modern Monfortino – the first vintage that was gorgeous right out of the gate, qualities it shares with the 2008 and 2014, also wines from later-ripening vintages. Soaring aromatics and silky tannins give the 2004 so much sheer appeal that recall the 1982. The 2004 has long been one of my favorites, as it is again on this night.Vinous Media | 100 VM

100
RP
As low as $4,099.00
2007 Gaja Barolo Conteisa

Blueberry and lemon aromas follow through to a full body, with firm and racy tannins and a delicate finish. This is refined and polished. Drink after 2013.James Suckling | 95 JSThe 2007 Langhe Conteisa is impeccably ripe and silky on the palate, with expressive La Morra red fruits, flowers, mint and spices that emerge from the glass. This is another soft, seamless wine from Gaja, with gorgeous purity in the fruit that carries through all the way to the deeply satisfying, creamy finish. The tannins remain impeccably refined and beautifully balanced with the fruit. The wine is likely to firm up a touch in bottle, but it should be one of the most accessible of Gaja’s 2007s. The 2007 is easily among the finest Conteisas ever made. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027.My most recent visit to Gaja was quite an experience, as I tasted all of the estate’s 1989s, 1990s and 2007s. The 1989s and 1990s are reviewed in this issue’s What About Now feature. Angelo Gaja, always loquacious on a wide range of subjects, says virtually nothing about his wines, an approach I have increasingly come to appreciate in an era where so many producers are constantly in pitch mode. Then again, Gaja doesn’t really need to say anything, the wines speak for themselves. I tasted the 2007s at the winery in November 2009 and then again in New York in January 2010. Both times they were spectacular. Stylistically the 2007s remind me of the 1997s in terms of their opulence. Gaja’s wines are often immensely appealing when young – which is certainly the case with the 2007s – but then close down in bottle for a number of years, sometimes many years. My impression is that the Costa Russi and Conteisa are the most likely of these 2007s to offer the widest drinking windows throughout their lives with a minimum of cellaring. Fermentation and malolactic fermentation take place in steel. The wines then spend approximately one year in French oak and a second year in cask prior to being bottled. As has been the case for a number of years now, Gaja’s Langhe wines incorporate a small percentage of Barbera. On a final note, it’s great to see Gaja’s daughters Gaia and Rossana increasingly involved in the winery. They, and their younger brother Giovanni, have big shoes to fill, but couldn’t have asked for better teachers than Angelo and Lucia Gaja.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RPFull medium red. Rather unforthcoming but mellow aromas of plum, mocha and licorice. Silky on entry, then more tightly wound toward the back in spite of its plush, layered texture. Lovely raspberry, spice and underbrush flavors blast through the building, granular tannins on the long aftertaste.Vinous Media | 94 VM

95
RP
As low as $1,449.00
2010 gaja barolo conteisa Barolo

The 2010 Conteisa is a stunner with all the overwhelming elegance that is inherent to this vintage. It opens steadily to reveal red flower, cassis, baking spice, anisette and tobacco. The aromas are expressive and deep with enduring richness. The tannins are slightly sweet and already soft. This is a collectors’ choice. Drink: 2018-2040.I have some happy news to report from the exciting world of Angelo Gaja. The estate that was notoriously difficult (if not impossible) to visit for those outside the wine trade is now opening its doors to the public. There is a steep entrance fee, but the scheme makes perfect sense in my option. Any wine lover can make an appointment to tour the estate and sample wine for up to 300 euros a person. The money must be paid to charity as none of the proceeds go to Gaja. If you have a favorite non-profit organization, make a donation in that amount. Once you send receipt of payment to Gaja’s tasting room staff, your visit will be granted. It sounds like a fair exchange to me.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPMade with Nebbiolo from Gaja's holdings in the Cerequio vineyard in La Morra, with a touch of Barbera, this combines finesse, structure and depth. It's highly perfumed with rose, balsamic notes, berry and spice that follow through to red cherry, raspberry, white pepper, licorice and mint flavors. It's balanced with polished tannins and closes on a mineral note. Drink 2018–2030.Wine Enthusiast | 97 WEAromas of sliced porcini, dried rose petals and dark fruits such as plums. Full body, chewy and rich with dusty tannins. Juicy finish. Needs time to soften still. Better in 2017.James Suckling | 95 JSThe 2010 Conteisa is a wine of extreme finesse. Flowers, sweet red berries, hard candy, mint and licorice all emerge from the glass, supported by silky, polished tannins. Today the 2010 impresses for its fabulous, crystalline purity and striking overall balance. The style is aromatic, lifted and all about elegance. The 2010 has only recently been bottled. I won't be surprised if it is even better in another few years. Conteisa is mostly Nebbiolo with a dollop of Barbera, from the Cerequio vineyard in La Morra.Vinous Media | 95 VMFloral top notes lead to black cherry and strawberry fruit, with flourishes of tobacco, iron and spice. This red is balanced and light- to medium-bodied, showing a terrific texture. Ample tannins leave a dusty feel on the lingering finish. Best from 2018 through 2032. 1,250 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

97
RP
As low as $1,849.00
2010 luciano sandrone barolo le vigne Barolo

The 2010 Barolo Le Vigne is brilliant. Focused and explosive in its aromatic intensity, the 2010 is fresh and wonderfully nuanced in the glass. It is also aging at a slower rate than the Cannubi Boschis. At nearly ten years of age, the 2010 is fresh, vibrant and so full of energy. It is also every bit as memorable as it was on release.Vinous Media | 100 VMThis compelling wine delivers a combination of concentration and complexity. It opens with a multifaceted fragrance that includes mature black fruit, leather, cinnamon and balsamic notes. The palate is still tightly wound but offers bright red berry and black cherry layered with notes of tobacco, alpine herbs and baking spices alongside bracing tannins and invigorating acidity. It’s young but impeccably balanced. Drink after 2020.Wine Enthusiast | 97 WEA gorgeous young wine with flowers, sandalwood and berries on the nose. Full body, with ultra-fine tannins and a long, long finish. Wonderfully harmonious. A blend of wines from different vineyards. So attractive to drink now but better in 2017.James Suckling | 96 JSThe 2010 Barolo Le Vigne is composed from an assembly of fruit sourced from the townships of Barolo, Novello and Serralunga d’Alba. It reflects Barolo tradition in which, years ago, this noble wine was made from a wide assembly of fruit instead of single cru sites (as is the custom today). Bright cherry fruit, blackberry and creme de cassis segue to profound layers of licorice, spice, cola and anisette. It feels strong and tonic in the mouth with a pleasingly velveteen texture and a fresh dose of zesty acidity. Drink: 2017-2030.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPA rich version, boasting floral, macerated cherry, plum, menthol and tobacco flavors. The tannins are dense, but this remains vibrant and elegant overall, finishing with spice and earth notes. Exhibits excellent harmony and length. Best from 2018 through 2035. 1,450 cases made. Wine Spectator | 94 WSLuciano Sandrone blends Le Vigne from crus he farms and, mostly, owns. In this vintage, he selected fruit from Baudana, Merli and Vignane, aging the wine in 500-liter French tonneaux, 20 to 25 percent new. His Barolo can be massive, and Le Vigne is boldly ripe and black-fruited in 2010, but also poised and balanced in its size. The tannins are intense, coating the mouth with their powerful earthiness, with the rootiness of a parsnip pulled straight from the ground. The fruit closes in over the tannins, so they don’t feel at all gruff. The lasting impression is elegant and classical, what the wine will become in ten years.Wine & Spirits | 94 W&S

100
VM
As low as $765.00
2010 vietti barolo villero riserva Barolo

Luca Currado is on a roll. This is the third vintage (in as many years) that blows me off my feet. The 2010 Barolo Riserva Villero is a spectacular achievement and a wine that we all aspire to have in our cellars. There is a level of truism here—an authentic portrait of the Nebbiolo grape—that is outstanding. The fruit from Villero saw 45 days of skin maceration and few rackings. The wines of Vietti are always made in reduction to guarantee their long aging future. The bouquet offers many fleeting aromas that add to its enormous complexity. You get wild berry, licorice, anise seed and a touch of iron rust. On average, this very special wine is only released every four years.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 99 RPThis Barolo is built on an expansive scale and it has a stunning concentration that literally takes your breath away. Although it’s already seven years old, the beautifully crafted tannins and acidity make this very lively at the super long finish. Drink or hold. This has several decades of life ahead of it.James Suckling | 98 JSVirile and imposing in the glass, the 2010 Barolo Riserva Villero packs a serious punch. Swaths of tannin wrap around a huge core of fruit in a dark, virile Barolo that shows the more brooding side of the vintage. Sage, tobacco, menthol, violet and smoke add nuance throughout. Readers will have to be patient, as the tannins are likely to remain formidable for many years to come. As outstanding as the Villero is, it is never the most compelling Barolo in the Vietti range. Frankly, the pricing for the Riserva is more the result of managed scarcity rather than purely of the quality of what is in the bottle.Antonio Galloni | 96 AGA harmonious red, this features expressive aromas of rose, cherry, licorice, tar and tobacco. The dense, refined tannins are beginning to mellow, and this is starting to reveal its potential. Still has a ways to go, so forget about it for another two to three years. Best from 2021 through 2043. 300 cases made, 58 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 95 WS

99
RP
As low as $529.00
2013 gaja sperss barolo Barolo

Gaja's 2013 Sperss is fabulous. Deep and powerful, yet also wonderfully translucent, the 2013 hits all the right notes. Graphite, game, smoke, licorice, plum, black cherry and dark spice are some of the signatures, but as is always the case with the best vintages, Sperss is a wine of vertical intensity and muscle. The 2013 won't be anywhere near ready to drink for a number of years. All the pedgiree and character of these Serralunga sites come through in an exceptionally beautiful and vivid Barolo from Gaja.Antonio Galloni | 97 AGThe gem of the 2013s is the 2013 Barolo Sperss which comes from limestone-dominated soils. The 2013 is deep, concentrated, and structured, with a fabulous sense of minerality in its black cherry, leafy herbs, damp earth, and licorice aromas and flavors. From a late, cool vintage, it has awesome purity of fruit, plenty of tannins, and a huge finish. It’s a brilliant wine any way you look at it. I’d happily drink this elixir today, but it deserves at least 3-4 years and will keep for 25+.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDAmazing aromas of cherries, oranges and light prunes with hints of wet earth and mushrooms. Very perfumed. It's medium-bodied, firm and direct. Great vino. Needs at least five years to come together but already a joy to taste.James Suckling | 96 JSThis wine shows the quintessential attributes of the Serralunga d'Alba appellation with dark fruit flavors and powerful intensity. The 2013 Barolo Sperss paints a very authentic picture of its unique territory with rich layers of black fruit, wet earth, black truffle, licorice and spice. The wine's tannic structure is firm and lasting. It shows broad shoulders and rich texture overall. This beautiful Barolo boasts a dark color and thick concentration with the aromatic elegance obtained in the 2013 vintage. This important wine is now part of the Barolo DOCG family.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPUnderbrush, toast, menthol, grilled herb and star anise aromas lead the way. Firmly structured but loaded with finesse, the taut palate delivers Morello cherry, raspberry, licorice and a toasted note while assertive, close-grained tannins provide the framework. It's still young and austere so give it time to fully develop. Drink 2023–2033.Wine Enthusiast | 96 WETextbook rose, tar and cherry aromas and flavors, with accents of oak spice, licorice and tobacco, are the hallmarks of this complex red. Powerful yet harmonious, showing fine structure and a lingering finish. Best from 2022 through 2040. 375 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 96 WS

97
VM
As low as $769.00
2013 vietti barolo ravera Barolo

The 2013 Barolo Ravera is a real stunner. An exceptional, brilliant wine, the 2013 Barolo Ravera possesses breathtaking aromatics, translucent fruit and energy to burn. In 2013, the Ravera is dark and brooding, with fabulous intensity and the linear, focused precision that is the signature of this site in Novello. I have tasted and followed the 2013 Ravera for a number of years. It has never been anything less than thrilling. It is all that and more today. Readers who can find the 2013 should not hesitate, as it is tremendous.Vinous Media | 100 VMThis is a stunning wine. The 2013 Barolo Ravera is a jaw-dropping creation that boasts soaring intensity with absolute clarity and purity of its aromatic impact. The bouquet is layered and rich with dark fruit, soft spice and cured tobacco. The integration of its aromas is seamless, polished and silky. But the wine is also compact and tightly wound around itself, meaning it still needs time to peel back like the opening petals of a rose bud. Give it at least five more years of cellar aging. The wine imparts a perfect Nebbiolo mouthfeel, showing intensity and firmness with an incredibly long and smoky finish.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RPFresh and viivid with strawberry, rose petal, and sandalwood. Full body, firm and silky with a beautiful balance and length. A fabulous young Barolo. Try in 2020.James Suckling | 97 JSA fruity style, boasting pure and expressive cherry and raspberry flavors, shaded by floral, chalk and tobacco elements. Elegant yet intense, with a lingering finish echoing fruit and tobacco notes. Terrific energy. Best from 2021 through 2038. 300 cases made, 100 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 95 WSDark berry, chopped mint, sage, tobacco and a balsamic note are some of the aromas you’ll find on this. Firmly structured and youthfully austere, the palate delivers red cherry, raspberry compote, anise and clove framed in vibrant acidity and tightly-woven tannins that give it a firm finish. It needs time to fully come together and develop complexity. Drink 2025–2043.Wine Enthusiast | 94 WE

100
VM
As low as $859.00

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