Monthly Archives: February 2009

Grapelive: Wine of the Week

andromeda1.gif2006 Sean Thackrey “Andromeda” Pinot Noir, Devil’s Gulch Vineyard, Marin County.
This was my first chance to try this rare and beautiful wine from the unique and brave winemaker Sean Thackrey, who has become a legend by making funky hand crafted wines. He makes wine in a natural and “In nature” style and his barrels live in the elements at his home on the Sonoma Coast near Bolinas. This wine is full of flavor and has rich classic Pinot fruit, with sweet plum, cherry and red berries. The wine has remarkable depth and is bursting at the seams like a great Burgundy. This turned out to be my favorite of Thackrey’s impressive portfolio for its complexity and the pleasure it gives. This Pinot is a stunner, with texture, spice and lots of exotic touches going on and nice acidity that lifts the flavors and gives it a freshness. This wine has a round velvet finish that shows pretty French oak at its sublime best. ($60 Est.) 94-95 Points, grapelive

*Can be ordered through Rancho Cellars

Call Jacques, Rancho Cellars 831-625-5646

Grapelive Lastest: Vinitaly 2009


Verona, 2009
Grapelive will be covering Italy’s top wine event for the first time, and is very happy to introduce our new reporter that will be at this years Vinitaly: Brandy Falconer. Brandy is starting her wine career after years of international travel and living in Italy. She has lived in the fast lane and comes from a famous Motorsports family, her dad Ryan is a legendary engine builder who has made Indy 500 winning motors and has success in almost every form of racing, and Brandy grew up with all the speed at racing tracks around the country. She has been a huge wine enthusiast and will be a big hit here and at whatever else she decides to do. We are very happy to have her on board for Vinitaly 2009 and hopes she sticks around to write about her future wine adventures as well. So stay tuned and check in for her columns coming soon.

Brandy Falconer is a wine enthusiast and seasoned world traveler.
Discovering her love for great wines living on California’s scenic Central Coast, Brandy got to experience the best offerings from California and the world over.
Her professional interest was sparked after taking wine classes in Carmel (at Carmel’s Rancho Cellars) under the tutelage of now Master Sommelier, Alpana Singh.  Enjoying the cultures of Europe, she has traveled extensively throughout the continent, and has also spent two years living in Italy.  Brandy’s new-found passion for Italian wines created opportunities for knowledge-building experiences that would redirect her interests to a more serious level.
Ready for a fresh challenge, she has decided to combine her love for wine with a passion for educating enthusiasts to create a new career path.  It was a natural progression that now has Brandy studying in Italy and Europe in preparation for Sommelier courses later this year.  Truly a story of following one’s passions, Brandy’s enthusiasm for discovering great wines is paving the way toward an exciting new venture.

logo2004.gifVinitaly 2009

Vinitaly this year focuses on “the world we love”: wine first of all but also quality, territory, the environment and its protection, people and human challenges, villages and their history… Vinitaly is all this: the place where every year people who love this world come together.

logo_gaja.gifGAJA celebrates its 150th Anniversary at VINITALY, with a great tasting! 1859 – 2009: an important anniversary celebrated at the 43rd Vinitaly in the company of wine-lovers and everyone who admires the person defined as the “Admiral of the Italian Wine-Growing Renaissance”: Angelo Gaja.

This year, in short, sees the Gaja family celebrate 150 years of dedicated wine-growing following the foundation of the Cellar in Barbaresco in 1859 – and, of course, Vinitaly is the ideal setting.

Saturday 4 April: the Europa Convention Centre will celebrate 150 years of this great company: intense years rich in history, anecdotes, changes and even more changes in the world of wine, in the company of Jancis Robinson, the well-known British wine journalist, wine writer and TV presenter who will animate the debate and a tasting of wines selected by the company itself: participation at the event is against payment and places will be on sale in coming weeks: all proceeds will be donated to charity.


Italy at Vinitaly
This is the area that Vinitaly dedicates to the Regions so that they can present their territories, olive oils and wines through promotional activities as well as initiatives organized on individual stands during Vinitaly.

This privileged showcase ensures a complete panorama of the multitude of distinctive features characterizing Italian regions and their unique status in the world.

4,200 reasons for visiting Vinitaly 2009! Italian and international exhibitors over a net area of almost 80 thousand square metres promoting their best production in an overview of the most prestigious wine-growing and wine-making traditions.
This area is equally joined by a further 10,000 sq.m. dedicated to everything else involved in the world of wine: technical tastings, food & wine pairings, high cuisine and much more…
Yet Vinitaly especially promotes business opportunities: the 5-day exhibition ensures more contacts than usually achieved throughout the year thanks to direct matching action: the on-line Buyers Club, the Large-Scale Distribution Buyers Club, workshops and targeted tastings are evident examples.

Grapelive Lastest

bradsevent.gifClassic Cab Tasting!
I just heard about this charity tasting in Sonoma, featuring some classic Californian wines that sounds awesome. It is for a great cause and the line up is fantastic. Please check it out!
The event will begin at 5:30 pm on Saturday, April 18th with a reception featuring Chardonnay from Gundlach Bundschu Winery and live guitar music by Gerard Serafini of Sonoma Valley Music.  An informal “pizza party” will follow the tasting, with gourmet pizzas prepared by Sheana Davis of Epicurean Connection. Little Vineyards will provide the live music and wines for the dinner.  Riedel is providing glassware. Wine collector Douglas Mo graciously donated the “Cult” Cabernets to the VOM Teen Center.
All proceeds benefit the Valley of the Moon Teen Center. Valley of the Moon Teen Center is a tax exempt 501c(3) non-profit organization seeking to provide a safe and friendly environment where teens can develop self confidence through encouragement of their potential for becoming productive citizens. The Teen Center is open 3pm-7pm, Monday through Friday. For more information, see
Tickets for the Cult Cabernet Tasting Event are $200 each, and are available by calling (707) 694-4542. Contact Gray Matters, Bradley Gray, Public Relations.

Grapelive: Wine of the Week

rochioli3corners.jpg2005 J.Rochioli Pinot Noir “Three Corner’s Vineyard” Russian River Valley.
This amazing complex Pinot Noir has deep layers of flavors and a heavenly earthy essence that makes this wine seem on the level of a fine Musigny. I was enthralled with the truffle like edge and the dark fruits that shine on the rich palate. There is the classic Russian River flavors of black cherry and cola bean, but is goes much deeper than most and gives sweet plum fruit and mocha on the finish. The French oak use on this wine is much more subtle than most Rochioli bottlings and though I always love the Rochioli style, this Pinot is a different beast all together and I think it will only get better and more classy as time goes on. Smoky vanilla and creamy raspberry linger on and on, giving and wonderful finish that brings you back to the bottle for more. This is a stellar effort and a wonderful surprise in the awesome Rochioli line up. *Note this wine is available only to Rochioli wine list customers, which is really sad. ($80+ Est.) 95+ Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Week

soter.gif2006 Soter Pinot Noir “Mineral Springs Vineyard” Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
This is a Pinot Noir of depth and perfume that has so much going on it reminds of a great Burgundy in a top vintage, but a wine that can be enjoyed young with ripe and smooth tannins and rich body. There is wild flowers, violets and bramble berries on the nose, and lush red fruits on the palate with some dark plum and black cherry leading the way. There is beautiful balance and texture all ready, with sweet, vanilla smoky French oak toastiness giving added luster to this wonderful Pinot Noir. What a vintage! And what a pretty wine, I can highly recommend this little beauty. ($60-65 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Limited, coming to Rancho Cellars! 831-625-5646