What a week it has been around here. We were thrilled to host Mondavi Napa General Manager Glenn Workman on Monday night; who would have guessed that a guy who spent 42 years working for this iconic winery would have so many great stories? And the wines...Oooh la la (more on that below). Today, we hosted not one, but two Master Sommeliers for events (these events were promoted by our good friend Jason Kallsen of Twin Cities Wine Education - you should check out his site: www.twincitieswine.com for many upcoming events). And we've got a ton of new wines to check out.

Friday's Free Wine Tasting, 4:00-8:00
If you've ever been to one of our Cellar events, you know about the special 20% discount offered to attendees; in honor of our Mondavi visit earlier in the week, we're extending this deal to our Friday tasting guests: Mix or Match just 3 bottles of Mondavi wines (any, not just the ones being tasted) and get 20% Off! Here's the tasting lineup:

Blanchet Pouilly Fume Calcite
Mondavi Napa Chardonnay
Cave Saumur "Cocagne" Rose
Mondavi Carneros Pinot Noir
Penfolds "Bin 8" Cabernet-Shiraz
Mondavi Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Plus a Secret Sipper: TBA

Saturday's Free Wine Tasting, 3:00-7:00
We'll post the complete lineup to our Facebook page early Saturday afternoon.

New Arrivals & Deals


The arrivals of the new vintage of Blanchet's Pouilly Fumes have become a much-anticipated event around here. 2 of the 3 2016 cuvees arrived this week, the Calcite and the Vieille Vignes ($21.99 each). These definitely rival Sancerre for great Sauvignon Blanc but with perhaps a more delicate profile. Try the Calcite with us Friday!

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier 2015, CA, $15.99
If I had one wish in the wine world, it might be a doubling of the amount of chenin blanc that's out there. For a great introduction to the grape in blended form, the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier 2015($15, often less) is a perennial standout. Great florals (thanks to the viognier) and fruit on the nose, friendly flavors, a vibrant, smooth mouthfeel and a refreshing finish are hallmarks of this California white. A prototypical patio wine, this beautiful blend is a great match with salads, chicken or seafood cooked any way and pasta. -Bill Ward's Wine of the Week - Star Tribune

Penfolds "Bin 51" Reserve Riesling 2015, Eden Valley, Australia, $46.99
"Highly floral; has a definite touch of lavender on the bouquet along with notes of herb and the more usual citrus. Fascinating - the low pH gives the palate the minerally structure to carry the apple skin and lemon/citrus zest and pith. A vibrantly fresh wine bred to stay. And to think there was a time not so long ago when Penfolds had L-plates on its white winemaking." 96pts JH

Penfolds "Bin 311 Chardonnay" 2014, $45.99
"A small crop picked before the rain, fermented and matured in used French barriques for 8 months with stirring. In the minimalist style that suites Tumbarumba so well, and needs a year or two to exert its authority." 93pts JH, also 93pts JS and 91pts WA


Grandes Perrieres Sancerre Rose 2016, Loire, France, $23.99
"I have highlighted a few of my favorite roses to arrive this season (out of more than 100 tasted) previously - Puech Haut from the Languedoc, Graci from Etna/Sicily, Ehmoser Zweigelt from Austria, to name a few. Now this entry made from 100% Pinot Noir has arrived, and it definitely breaks into my top 5. I'm often not a huge fan of Pinot roses as I find them to be overly juicy, but this is focused, dry, savory, almost meaty in its flavors. Bravo!" DM


Maitia "Aupa Pipeno" 2016, Maule Valley, Chile, $14.99
"The super-tasty and gulpable 2016 Aupa Pipeño is a blend of País with some 30% Carignan (and whatever is found in the old vineyards) from a slightly cooler year. It keeps the style of previous vintages with the bright red fruit and the freshness of short macerations. In the dry-farming part of Maule they only saw 30 to 50 millimeters of rain when in the central valley they got 200! These grapes were harvested before the rain anyway, but the wine retains the freshness of a cooler year, fresher than 2015, more in line with the 2014 and 2013. 40,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in September 2016." 92pts WA

Penfolds "Bin 9" Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, McLaren Vale, Australia, $21.99
Not yet rated

Penfolds "Bin 8" Cabernet-Shiraz 2012, Australia, $21.99
"A newer wine that is composed of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon and 43% Shiraz, sourced from the Barossa Valley, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, Padthaway and Langhorne Creek. The nose is quiet striking, there's a nicely crafted oak element layered into the mix, the Shiraz comes across flambouyant and chocolatey, the Cabernet adds leafy notes. There's a little dark olive and plenty of dark fruit flavours on the palate, great depth and well-judged ripeness. This is succulent and rich, quite silky and even, showing plums and spice, deep red and purple fruit flavours, some gentle mocha oak and smooth, approachable layered tannins." 92pts JS

Penfolds "Bin 28" Kalimna Shiraz 2013, Australia, $36.99
"Sourced from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Padthaway and Langhorne Creek; matured for 12 months in used American hogsheads handed down from prior duties with Grange, Bin 389 and so forth. Healthy and deep colour, it has a rich bouquet with licorice, spice, dark chocolate and blackberry all in unison. Good stuff indeed, with the savoury/inky/graphite impact of the very long, balanced medium to fullbodied palate. This could well evolve into one of the great Bin 28s." 94pts JH

Penfolds "Bin 407" Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia, $76.99
"An interesting regional blend from McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully and the Barossa Valley; it spent 12 months in 26% new French hogsheads, the remainder in new (12%) and used American hogsheads. Like all the '13 Penfolds red releases, has very good colour, and unquestioned varietal character from the first whiff through to the finish and aftertaste. It has elegance, balance and a restrained mediumbodied persona. It fully reflects the long arm Penfolds has with its fruit sourcing." 94pts JH

Penfolds "Bin 389" Cabernet/Shiraz, South Australia, $76.99
"This has some real poise and depth in the glass; it's inky dark and deeply colored. The fruits are in the boysenberry, blackberry, plum and blueberry spectrum, and there's plenty of black tea as well as hints of bergamot. It's wine with a wealth of oak-derived spices and a coal, smoky, savory edge. The palate's plush and ripe, opening out over fleshy dark-fruit flavors in a soft and charming mode. It then charges up with plenty of rich, ripe tannin and remains long and saturated through the finish. Balanced and rich, it's really satisfying, holding succulent and on point. Best from 2020 and for more than a decade after that. This is a great 389. A 53%/47% split in 2014: sourced from Barossa Valley, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra." 96pts JH

Penfolds "RWT" Shiraz 2010, Barossa Valley, Australia, $159.99
"Year in and year out there is an understated quietness to this wine that speaks volumes about the style, as everything is working together as one; the fruit, the oak, the tannins and the inherent complexity of some seriously old vine Barossa material shines through; freshness, vitality, harmony and ageworthy are just a few descriptors that do this excellent rendition of RWT justice." 96pts JH, also 97pts WE

Penfolds "Bin 169" Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Coonawarra, Australia, $388.99
(orders placed this weekend for this wine will be available for pick-up next week)
"Deeply coloured and dark and brooding in nature, with mulberry and cassis fruit, charry oak and cedar on display; the palate is densely packed with tannins and opulent fruit, with the brooding nature of the vintage remaining on the finish; this wine will always be big boned and dark, a direct contrast to the '10." 93pts JH

Penfolds "Grange" 2012, Barossa Valley, Australia, $699.99
(orders placed this weekend for this wine will be available for pick-up next week)
"The 2012 Grange comes from just two sub-regions of South Australia this year: Barossa Valley (the majority) and McLaren Vale. This makes a lot of sense since 2012 was a cracking year in both of these areas, producing a number of extraordinary wines. As usual, this Grange contains a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon, just 2%. Very deep purple-black in color, it opens on the nose with complex earthy/meaty/savory notes, soon giving way to baked blackberries, plum preserves, hoisin and Chinese five spice with dabs of sandalwood, licorice, menthol and vanilla. The palate reveals a surprisingly open, rich, full-bodied expression exuding a powerhouse of velvet-lined decadence. Still, it characteristically possesses that rock-solid "Grange" backbone of firm tannins and great freshness expressed in a real lively lift to the finish. And the finish is epically long. There are some stylistic similarities here to the opulent, gregarious 2008 vintage, perhaps just lacking ever so slightly in the same exhilarating abandonment of winemaking protocols for the celebration of the fruit and sites. That said, this is unquestionably a stonking great Grange!" 99pts WA, also 98pts JS, 97pts WS

CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2009, Tuscany, Italy, Reg. $75.99, Sale $56.99
We had a little of this hanging around the tasting table as an un-announced secret sipper last Friday and much of it already sold on pre-arrival orders - Only 6 Bottles Remain! "Wonderful depth and richness to this wine for 2009. It's full-bodied, with a clean, polished tannin texture and a long, long finish. Last for minutes on the palate. A triumph for the vintage." 94pts James Suckling

Robert Mondavi "Reserve To Kalon" Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa, CA, $169.99
"A beautifully polished wine, with a dense ruby/purple color, it is still tightly knit and showing high-quality oak. The wine is full-bodied and rich, with outstanding depth, ripeness and purity. There is plenty of backbone and tannin for 25-30 years of cellaring. The wine shows notes of chocolate and plenty of blackcurrant fruit and blackberry. This is a beauty and certainly a great reserve and worthy homage to the legendary Robert Mondavi." 95+ pts WA, also 96pts James Suckling

Dessert Wine**********************************************************

Penfolds "Club Tawny", Australia, $16.99
"Very spicy, sporting caramel, cinnamon and tarry flavors, sweet and silky on the long finish." 89pts WS
Thanks for reading. We hope to see you soon.

Lisa, Darrin, Tony, Patti, Doug, Doug, Brad, Anna, Mckinzie and Jon

Key: WA=Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, WS=The Wine Spectator, IWC=Steven Tanzer's Old Publication, WE=Wine Enthusiast, V=Vinous (Galloni & Tanzer), North Loop Staff: LI=Lisa, TD=Tony, DM=Darrin, PG=Patti, DH=Doug

North Loop Wine and Spirits
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401