2014 Vignobles Molozay-Chateau de Vaux, Les Gryphees, Moselle White, France.
From the upper Moselle in France near Luxembourg comes this dynamic and beautifully detailed white, made from Muller-Thurgau, Auxerrois, Pinot Gris and a tiny bit of Gewürztraminer that is dry vibrant and stylish. Marie-Genevieve and Norbert Molozay craft each grape on their own and then blend the results into this gorgeous white, all the vines are farmed biodynamic and the wines are fermented on their native yeasts. The Cotes de Moselle is a tiny area and these vines are on terraces of clay and chalky brown soils with good drainage and vigor making the wines intense and flavorful, this is one of the only French Moselle wines I’ve ever tried and I loved it and am grateful to Charles Neal who discovered it and is importing the Chateau de Vaux wines. The 2014 Chateau de Vaux by the Molozay husband and wife team starts with a delicate pale hue almost clear with a hint of gold and green and a mineral and white flower essence on the nose with subtle tropical and spice notes leading to a light to medium palate of green apple, white peach, lemon/lime and melon fruits along with a hint of apricot flesh and pit, some crushed stone, wet river rock/shale and oyster shell elements and hints of wild herbs, it finishes with smooth acidity and lingering exotic spice. This 12% white is crisp but mouth filling with sublime balance and pleasure, it provides joyous summer sipping and plays well with most cuisine, though it should prove divine with seafood, especially mussels or white fish, drink the beauty from Chateau de Vaux over the next 3 to 5 years!
($18 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2012 Foradori, Teroldego IGT, Vigneti Delle Dolomiti, Italy.
Elisabetta Foradori’s main Teroldego, formerly known as Rotiliano, is a wonderful red wine from Italy’s high Dolomiti region above Trentino in the greater Alto Adige area, it is full and full of personality, especially this 2012 vintage. The new Foradori is meaty and mineral driven with a real savory spiciness along with tangy dark fruits that slowly emerge with air, this is pretty serious stuff and it does need a bit of air to fully come out of it’s shell. This impressive and complex Teroldego has a deep garnet purplish hue, a hint of bacon/grilled meat and wild herbs and dried flowers on the nose which leads to a palate of refined tannin with blackberry, plum, cherry and tart currant fruit layers as well as all spice, pepper, chalk dust and cedar. Everything feels well defined, focused and flowing in the glass, but this wine really gets much more detailed and thrilling with food, without cuisine it feels a little rustic, but it still charms, drink from 2016 to 2021.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
nv Emilio Lustau, Almacenista Juan Garcia Jarana, Oloroso “Pata de Gallina” Medium Sherry, Jerez de la Frontera, Xerez-Jerez-Sherry, Spain.
This medium dry Oloroso Alamacenista Pato de Gallina by Lustau is luxurious and textural in the mouth with an almost sweet and creamy feel and dense complexity and charm. This is special stuff and really worthy of the search to find it, being extremely rare and exotic, without question one of the best Oloroso styles out there, along with Equipo Navazos’ special Bota series. The Lustau Almacenista Oloroso, made from select old soleras, starts with white peach, quince, nectarine, orange peel a mix of salted nuts, vanilla and cedary spices with an oily/creamy mouth feel. This is a very generous and forward style that again has a lush almost sweet impression that is very sexy and showy, but is balanced and wonderfully detailed, this is seriously decedent and lengthy sherry, perfect for sipping and great with cheeses.
($30 est. 500ml) 94 Points, grapelive
2014 Domaine de Marquiliani-Anne Amalric, Rosé Gris de Marquiliani, Vin de Corse, France.
The new Marquiliani Rosé is delicately pale with just the faintest of orange/pink tints, but is vibrant and flavorful and is one of the top Rosé wines of the season, sadly very little is going to be available, as Kermit Lynch, the importer has had such high demand it is virtually an instant sell out, so race to your local and get some! The 2014 Rosé Gris de Marquiliani is made from 90% Sciaccarellu and 10% Syrah showing succulent tart cherry, wild strawberry, mixed citrus and watermelon along with a hint of flint, pepper and steely mineral tones. There is a vivid core of grapefruit and peach pit that adds to the mouth watering nature with a splash of rose water and light lavender in the back ground in this fabulous summer pink wine from Anne Amalric of Domaine de Marquiliani, this is brilliant stuff, everything is subtle, dreaming and full of vitality, this will engage your senses and leave a huge refreshing smile smile on your face. If there was a thing like a cult Rosé, this would be a contender and it is remarkable how beautiful and detailed this wine always seems to be, very impressive and delightful every vintage, but especially so this year, Corsica is on a roll, all of the 2014’s from the island are worthy, in particular this Marquiliani of course, but also look for the Yves Leccia and Clos Canarelli, both of which are sublime as well. Drink the sexy Rosé Gris de Marquiliani over the next year, though I’ll be it quick run thing, it is so tasty, you’ll be hard pressed to wait.
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2014 Yves Cuilleron, Viognier, Les Vignes d’ a Cote, Rhone, France.
This is a real winner, Yves Cuilleron has a gift for great Viognier and his baby version is delightful and stylish. Yves Cuilleron’s single varietal series Les Vignes d’ a Cote offers lots of quality for the money and are very pretty wines, especially this 2014 Viognier and his 2014 Syrah bottling and you should keep an eye out for them, imported by Rosenthal, they will be hitting the shelves very soon. For those that want a study in Viognier and don’t feel like popping for a Condrieu should consider this Les Vignes d’ a Cote it delivers classic and true character with liquid stones, honeysuckle, apricot and tangerine notes throughout and opens to reveal a textural thrill and creamy center with hints of clarified butter and toffee notes with enough acidity to hold things in balance, this looks like the best wine in the 2014 vintage for Cuilleron’s Les Vignes d’ a Cote series, it has more intrigue than the Marsanne and Roussanne this time around and should prove lovely and enjoyable for the next 6 months to a year, drink up, this is yummy stuff. ($19 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive
nv Delgado Zuleta “La Goya” Manzanilla DO, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Dry Sherry, Spain.
The La Goya Manzanilla is the premium version of Delgado Zuleta offerings made from older solera Manzanilla Pasada, crafted by this old Bodega, originally founded in 1744 near the Guadalquivir River mouth right on the Atlantic. This bright and tangy dry Sherry has classic Manzanilla vibrancy and sea breeze/salty character and is very fresh and zesty with dried tropical fruits, orange rind, peachy notes, chalk and oily pecan along with a briny core and citrus layers. The older aged Pasada adds to the complexity and nuttiness while remaining light and vibrant, this is very interesting and stylish Manzanilla that will play nicely with or without food, but maybe best with tapas or cheese plates. The Sherry region is mysterious and underrated, especially these dry perky styles from the ancient vines growing out of the coastal sand dunes right near the ocean and Sanlucar de Barrameda in particular, these are wonderful wines and an unique terroir, it is time to rediscover Sherry and the La Goya by Delgado Zuleta is a great place to start. ($17 Est. 375ml) 92 Points, grapelive
2014 Stolpman Vineyards, Sangiovese, Carbonic, Ballard Canyon.
The Carbonic Sangiovese from Stolpman is a fun and easy wine, a bright and fresh example of ready to go village red that is made by dumping the grapes into a stainless tank whole cluster add a bit of fermenting juice and seal the tank and let it go for 15 days, occasionally venting in CO2, this process is a way to ferment without the extraction of tannins and make a pop and serve wine, no extended aging or oak required. The color here is not overly dark, ruby and garnet and the nose is floral and juicy with lots of cherry and strawberry aromas and main palate flavors along with crushed raspberry, cinnamon stick, pomegranate, sweet and savory herbs, dried currant and pipe tobacco. This is best slightly chilled and with summer outdoor foods and BBQ, as well as traditional pasta, mushroom dishes and mixed meats and cheeses. The Stolpman gang is innovative and are making an awesome array of wines, they have become one of California’s leading wineries with their Syrah offering being some of the best in the new world along with seriously delicious white Rhone style whites and red blends. It all starts with the vines and the grapes, and that is where they excel, these are winegrowers first and foremost and it shows in every wine they produce. This almost Beaujolais style red Carbonic Sangiovese is really nice and pleasing, drink it up over the coming year, best from 2015 to 2017.
($22 Est.) 88-90 Points, grapelive
2014 Weingut Selbach-Oster, Riesling “Schmitt” Zeltinger Schlossberg, Mosel Germany.
The brilliant and exotic Schmitt comes from the steep slate hill above the church, set back from the Mosel, there is great southern exposure here and less affected by noble rot, a big plus in 2014, it allowed these rich and lush wine to remain crystalline and focused, this is one of the great wines of the vintage! Johannes Selbach’s top wines are not Trocken/Grosses Gewachs, there are single block wines from Cru sites, they are also heavy weighted, dense and medium sweet, but it is not about the sugar, it is all about the terroir and overall balance, these are wines of hedonism, power, textural pleasure and vitality, especially the Schmitt in 2014, it explores the boundaries of perfection in a fantastically difficult vintage. The was a savage thinning of the crop and a tiny window to get the grapes in to make this masterpiece from the old vines at Zeltinger Schlossberg, it is truly amazing with all the problems and heartbreak endured here that a wine of this quality and gorgeous detail managed to happen at all, there are some areas that were wiped out by rot, flies and other unfortunate conditions during the growing season in 2014, but somehow this block come through and made one of the most glorious Riesling wines of the year. The 2014 Schmitt by Selbach-Oster starts with a sweet perfume, the 2014 wines across the board are wonderfully aromatic with heady bouquets, this wine shows white roses, dripping jasmine, hints of gardenia and tropical essences that lead to a full bodied, Auslese weight palate with apricot, green apple, lime and mango fruits leading the way along with a mix of spicy mineral and flinty stones, briny sea shore notes, soft honey decadence, creamy verbena and sweet peach flesh. The finish carries over the core of fruit and richness, but there is a burst of dynamic acidity and vibrancy, this is not a flabby wine and you are left with a dreamy/haunting impression with lingering tangerine sorbet, crushed stone and wet steeliness, this is fabulous Riesling and one you’ll want in the cellar, this has 100 Point potential and it will also drink well young, it already has poise and elegance, but should last two or three decades! This sexy Riesling will be released sometime this fall and I highly recommend securing it when it comes, this is special stuff, drink from 2016 to 2028, and don’t be afraid of it’s sugar levels, it drinks like a lavish Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne and is a spectacular wine from Selbach-Oster!
($52 Est.) 95+ Points, grapelive
2011 Brovia, Barolo DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy.
The soon to be released Brovia Barolo normale is a generous and sexy Nebbiolo that still has serious stuffing, but can be enjoyed in it’s youth, much more so that the 2010’s, if you are looking for a great Barolo that can age and can be drunk near term this is your wine. Brovia makes a polished old school Barolo with refinement and elegance, from vineyards around Castiglione Falletto, along with G.D. Vajra and Oddero these are some of the most highly regarded and reasonably priced wines in their class, as well as making a fine Dolcetto and Barbara. The latest set of wines I tasted were all wonderfully expressive and total quality, even the 2013 vintage, which was a very difficult year, another highlight was their pretty 2012 Langhe Nebbiolo all from Barolo fruit and a steal at about $34 a bottle. The 2011 Brovia Barolo starts with a heady mix of wilted roses, tar, grilled fennel, red berries and sweet and savory earthy notes leading to a full palate of tangy cherry, damson plum, dried currants and mix berry fruits along with salted black licorice, minty herb, porcini/wild mushroom, red spices, cedar and chalky stones. The tannins are firm, dusty and have some grip, but meld in nicely letting the fruit coat the mouth and the acidity is just enough to keep everything lifted and fresh, this is a vibrant, vivid and seducing Nebbiolo that pumps out the pleasure from start to finish, it is well balanced, complex and shows solid density and length, highly impressive especially at such a young stage. There is a lot to admire in this bread and butter Barolo from Brovia even now, but it certainly will gain with time in the bottle, best from 2017 to 2025, though as mentioned it would not be a crime to open a few early, it is really good stuff, and I can’t wait to try the later release of the 2011 single Cru wines!
($54 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2014 Schlossgut Diel, Rose de Diel, Spatburgunder, Nahe, Germany.
One of the stars of the vintage, the Schlossgut Diel’s Rose of Pinot Noir is lovely with aromatics, mineral spice, vigorous acidity and with layered and lengthy fruit. This classy and vibrant Rose de Diel starts out with it’s pretty salmon and pink color and enticing perfume with rose water, lavender oil and citrus which guides you to a vivid palate of faint strawberry, tart cherry and watermelon along with a core of steely citrus and unripe stone fruit. There is great finesse, lift and detail here making the Diel Spatburgunder Rose a winner and one of Germany’s top pink wines, in the background subtle flint, shale and river stones add complexity and there is a delicate herb, saline and tea spice as well, this is a gorgeous effort and should drink nicely for more than a year, and it is a savvy summer sipper, drink between 2015 and 2017, and don’t forget to score some of the Rieslings from this address, I found the Kabinett level 2014’s to be a huge success and family priced, but the Rose is stunning and a must try version!
($28 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive