Grapelive Latest: Weekend Special Review

Grapelive Special Review

By Kerry Winslow

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99dyquem.gif1999 Chateau d’ Yquem Sauternes, White Bordeaux Sweet Wine, France.
Never ever let a chance to taste d’ Yquem pass you by, it is always magic and wonderful, that much better with friends and or lovers, lucky me I had friends around, though of course it would have been just that much better to have my someone special around too, but it did make me think of her! It is hard to imagine not smiling and being giddy when tasting this wonderful sweet wine that is like no other. Chateau d’ Yquem is sublime and worlds apart from anything else and lives up to all the hype with ease. This vintage shows the best of this famous Sauternes, but it is still very young and a touch simple for d’ Yquem, though it is not a complaint, it is just my view at this stage of development. The nose is rich with honey, vanilla and sweet smoky spices with hints of citrus and tropical fruit, which leads into a warm and lush palate of figs, lemon tart, candied pineapple and passion fruit all thickly wrapped together, but with life and vibrant charm. The finish is very impressive and lingers on and on with again a sweet smokiness and with more fig, orange honey and peach notes. ($129 375ml, or $200 750ml Est.) 94-96 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: Jan 28

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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pont00.gif2000 Chateau Pontet-Canet Pauillac Red Bordeaux, France.
This wine teases you with want and desire, being shy at first, but then crashing on the palate with classic Bordeaux flavors and complexities that include red berries, plum, currants, mineral, gun powder and black olives all delivered with a tar like quality. A background of tobacco, sage and spice fades as the wine opens up, but is in no way unpleasant and gives complexity before the tangy fruit comes back and lasts on the long finish. This wine is still very young feeling and would do with another 3 to 5 years before giving elegance, even though it shows a pure Pauillac nature. Have patience if you own this Bordeaux, and if you must open soon, give lots of time and decant it 2 to 5 hours!

*A Fifth Growth estate, across the street from Mouton and owned by the Tesseron family, Pontet-Canet is a still rising star and is a Parker favorite for quality and value with a case production of 25,000 to 40,000 depending on vintage. The vineyards are made up of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc with an average age of 27 years old.
($61 Est.) 90-92 Points, grapelive

*Still a few at:

Rancho Cellars

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Grapelive Latest: Jan 27

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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pv00.gif2000 Chateau Petit Village Pomerol Red Bordeaux, France.
No question this is a fine and wonderful wine that shows beautiful fruit and texture all ready with an amazing palate of elegant layers, this is one great Pomerol that will not let you down in anyway. The nose is refined and has just the right amount of perfume and fruit to peak your interest and make you want to fill your mouth with this nectar that has pretty red and black fruit and subtle tannins. The mouth grows as the wine expands with raspberry, black cherry and plum fruits with flashes of mint, spice and mineral. Air just brings out more and more class in this wine and shows the vintage for what it is, a classic and without any doubt will continue to show near perfect balance and length.
*Rated by Parker as Excellent and on par with Third Growths, Petit Village is now considered an estate on the rise in Pomerol with ownership, since 1971, in the hands of Bruno Prats, the owner of Cos D’ Estournel, then later AXA Insurance Group. This estate has about 27 acres of vines, 70% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Cabernet Franc with a small case production of only 5,000 from vines that average close to 30 years old. (Pomerol does not have a classification system.)
($75 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive

Available at:

Rancho Cellars

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Grapelive Latest: Jan 26

 Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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ang00.gif2000 Chateau L’ Angelus Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe Red Bordeaux, France.
I was very excited to get a chance to try this Angelus as I’m a huge fan of Cheval Blanc from just down the way, and I was not at all disappointed with this top class Bordeaux. L’ Angelus has divided the wine critics, because of its modern styling, but I found it full and rich with sublime elegance and length, plus wonderful complexity from nose to finish. This Bordeaux is worth every penny and will mature with grace while only gaining in class and richness. The nose has more evolved accents that reveal the best of Cabernet Franc allowing for a beautiful floral and fruity perfume that has dropped the new oak into the background at this stage. The palate has thickness and fills the mouth with red fruits, chocolate and spicy liqueur notes. The finish is long and has notes of toffee, cassis and vanilla that adds to the pleasure and in no way takes away from the pretty fruit core. This wine can be enjoyed now, though can go another decade easy.
*A top Premier Grand Cru Classe L’ Angelus has been long known as a great wine, even though it didn’t make it to Premier Grand Cru Classe until 1995, which it certainly deserves, even Parker noted that he thought they should have got there in 1985, and without a doubt is an estate that ranks with the superstars. Owned by the de Bouard de Laforest family, L’ Angelus sits on perfectly facing south slopes with vineyards made up of 50% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot and just 5% of Cabernet Sauvignon, which turn out close to 15,000 cases.
($244 Est.) 95-96 Points, grapelive



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Grapelive Latest: Jan 25

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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hb00.gif2000 Chateau Haut-Bailly Pessac-Leognan Red Bordeaux, France.
This is one of the most bright and pretty Bordeauxs I’ve ever tried and I was intrigued by the length and pure pleasure it delivered, this might be one of the great sleepers of the vintage! The nose is ripe and perfumed with lots of violets, roses and wildflowers mixed with spicy berry and cloves before a elegant array of fruit that comes in layers across the palate. The mouth is raspberry, blackberry, plums and red currants that come out in savory and spicy fashion with mineral, mushroom and leather notes in the background. This is one very pretty wine that is what most people expect of a fine Bordeaux or Claret (in England) and a wine that has plenty of style and depth. Enjoy this wine now, but this wine has plenty of years left to grow and expand, so be patient and enjoy, and if you can get some as it is a great value. I tasted this wine in a line up of six 2000 Bordeaux wines over the course of a few hours and from start to finish it was in my top two the whole time and compared well with wines almost four times its price!
*This small Cru Classe estate, Haut-Bailly, is making wines that according to Parker put it at least at Third Growth level and more recently seen great improvement. The production is pretty small at around 12,000 cases from vines that are close to 40 years old on average with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Haut-Bailly has a long history even if they are considered a newcomer, and the second owner in 1872 thought that adding cognac added dimension to his wines, but quality has really been much on the rise since 1979, though Parker notes that both the ’61 and ’64 vintages were fabulous.
($65 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive

Available at:

Rancho Cellars

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Grapelive Latest: Jan 23-24

Grapelive Weekend Wine Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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bigbasin07.gif2007 Big Basin Syrah Monterey/Santa Cruz Mountains.
For all those Syrah lovers out there, this wine is one to stock up on as it just might be the best Syrah for the money bar none in the state! I’ve tried this wine on three separate occasions over the last year and it just continues to develop and fill out in glorious ways with amazing lush fruit and pure Syrah character. With visions of terraced vines, like Cote-Rotie and the fabled Hermitage ran through my mind as I enjoyed this wine and it certainly has charm, vigor and richness in spades. Bradley Brown, winemaker, confessed to me that he was himself how good this wine turned out when I told him of how much I thought of it and that in my opinion it still has even more potential to go before peaking. The nose is all those things that Syrah has to offer, violets, spice, mocha, game, earth and bramble all of which transfers to the mouth and palate with ripe blackberry, boysenberry, currants and plum fruits, while added complexities include pepper, licorice, meat, bitter chocolate and smoke. Everything is balanced and focused in this wine which is a special cuvee of lots of fruit from the Santa Lucia Highlands from a vineyard near the Garys’ Vineyard and parts from the Santa Cruz Mountains where the winery is. ($28-30 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive

*Coming Soon to Rancho Cellars

www.bigbasinvineyards.com

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Grapelive Latest: Jan 21

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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salomon08gv.gif2008 Salomon Undhof Gruner Veltliner “Hochterrassen” Austrian White.
I have long been a keen fan of Salomon wines and especial the intense and dry Rieslings, but this wine is very nice too, and the Gruner Veltliner, while wine geeky and trendy as it is, makes for a refreshing wine and gives more depth than your average Sauvignon Blanc. This vintage is fresh with lots of citrus and mineral, though it isn’t light or too acidic with a round, almost oily body. The palate is full of lime and white peach with hints of rocks and apple peel before a classic nutty array of flavors come to the fore. This Gruner gains a white flower perfume and tangy notes as it gets air and will go with most seafood dishes and makes for a fun sipper as well with cheese. ($20 Est.)

92 Points, grapelive

Available by special order $17.95 

Rancho Cellars

1-831-625-5646 (by phone only)

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Grapelive Latest: Jan 20

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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lester07ma.gif2007 Martin Alfaro Pinot Noir “Lester Family Vineyard” Santa Cruz Mountains.
One of my favorite vintners, Richard Alfaro, Alfaro Family Vineyards and Joe Martin have been putting out wonderful Pinots from top central coast vineyard sites for many years now and this has always been a super vineyard and had been known in earlier vintages as the “Deer Park Vineyard”, making dark and rich wines that really pack a punch of flavors. This intense vintage, with an amazingly dark hue, is looking great all ready, and I think it is only just showing its potential, as it still is very young and tight with a huge and powerful palate. The nose is lush and has plenty of fruit, flowers and sweet oak notes before a rich mouth of blackberries, currants, plums and dark cherries, there is also a thick creamy texture that is full and shows silky tannins and balanced acidity. This Pinot Noir has a super long finish with lots of layers unfolding and it just gets better and better with air as the wine opens up. In the background there is cassis, mocha, grenadine and vanilla and it picks up a sweet perfume as it comes to live over a few minutes in the glass. Best to give this Pinot some time to develop with some short term cellaring, though if you like big wines then go ahead and start popping corks! I should also mention the very deep and dark color, as it is beautiful and gives you a big hint as to what will follow when you drink it. This is a wine for those looking for a little secret to impress your friends and a stunning wine for the price. ($35-40 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive

www.martinalfaro.com

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Grapelive Latest: Jan 19

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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lasbrisas.gif2008 Bodega Naia “Las Brisas” Rueda, Spanish White.
This fresh and fun white is a blend of Viura and Sauvignon Blanc that seems to be a very good match and making for a bright and interesting wine. The nose is tangy citrus and lime flower before a crisp and mouth-watering palate of grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest with just a hint of classic “Cat Piss” and gooseberry. This wine is vibrant and pairs well if not perfectly with seafood, but especially white fish or oysters and would be great fun at any picnic or summer afternoon sipping. Less grassy or herbal that straight Sauvignon Blanc can sometimes be and it does give a round easy drinking pleasure while still keeping a racy edge. ($14 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

*Available at

Rancho Cellars

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Grapelive Latest: Jan 18

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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baratac.gif2007 Domaine Barat Chablis AC, White Burgundy, France.
This small lesser-known Chablis estate has really got it going on, and I’m sure they’ll turn some heads with this wine and vintage. If you want a classic and pure Chablis, look no further that this one as it has it all and showcases all the historic character that the region is known and praised for. The nose is steely and chalky, like river rocks and white flower hints to go with some fresh lemon leading to a palate of green apple, white peach and plenty mineral essence that is like savory stones finishing with lots of zingy acidity while not taking away from the balance and elegant nature of this Chardonnay. Anybody dreaming of an old school Chablis done right and well, they should score some of this wine and be rewarded. ($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

*Available at:

  Rancho Cellars

1-831-625-5646

Quick Link to buy Domaine Barat Chablis $19.95

Very limited

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