Grapelive Latest: Feb 27 & 28

Grapelive Daily Pick: Value Selection

By Kerry Winslow

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delas07v.gif2007 Delas Cotes-du-Ventoux, Rhone Red, France.
Year after year this little Cotes-du-Rhone from the Mount Ventoux area of the Luberon is always a great go to value wine, and one I tend to use for everyday use. Then comes a vintage like 2007, where a good table wine suddenly tastes bigger and more grand, making this Cotes-du-Ventoux stand out and even reminds one of a fine Chateauneuf-du-Pape or Gigondas! Delas puts out clean, pure and classy wines from all over the Rhone, both North and South, with this little wine being one that gets lost in their portfolio, but one searching out for style and flavor far above its modest price. This vintage of the Cotes-du-Ventoux is Grenache dominated with a touch of Syrah and it shows true Rhone character with bold grapey fruit, spice and earthy layers. With a beautiful purple/red color, this pretty Cotes-du-Ventoux hints at the pleasure to come. The nose is fresh and floral with violets and wildflowers, before vibrant red and black fruits come through, the palate is rich and lively with blackberry, grenadine, currant, plum and cherry liqueur filling the mouth with a background of subtle pepper, rocky earth, lavender, fennel and crème de cassis. This red is full and lush, but still has balance and zestiness, it is not over done or raisiny at all, making for a remarkable red that is a more than a steal at the price, in fact, I would buy it at twice the price and be very happy!
($12 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

www.ranchocellars.com

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 26

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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snos08chard.gif2008 Snosrap Chardonnay Cyrano Series (by Parsonage Village Vineyard) Monterey.
Parsonage continues to grow in size and style, adding some new value wines to their line-up, while the quality in their estate wine soars and gets more terroir driven with each year. The Snosrap series, made from select purchased grapes from selected vineyards in the Monterey region, focuses on value and made for everyday enjoyment, as well as for bistro by-the-glass programs. The Parsonage tasting room sells most of these wines and they fly off the shelves at wine stores in the Monterey area, as few wines can match the quality for the price that these wines offer. This vintage of the Snosrap Chardonnay is ripe and round with good touches of French oak, while still giving some Burgundian flavors of hazelnuts, mineral and some lemon zest. The palate has pear, apple, peach and a flash of pineapple with soft acidity and warm creamy vanilla spice. Drink now, or expect this wine to gain weight and buttery flavors over the next few years and drink well for another 5 to 7.
($20 Est.) 91-92 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 25

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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buelwitz.gif2007 Erben von Beulwitz Kaseler Nies’chen Kabinett (Ruwer)
This dry Riesling has hints of fresh sweetness and good richness, but is clean and focused with bright peach and apricot to go with some nice tangy green apple fruit on the palate. There is some interesting slate, stones and mineral notes well hidden now in the background, as well as flashes of tropical exotic fruits. The Erben von Beulwitz estate is a class act and I must say I’m very impressed with their wines, and this one is a fine example of this grape and region as it drinks great and finishes with crisp acidity and citrus flower notes while leaving a lingering touch of sweetness that is in perfect balance with the wine and makes for lots of fun food pairings or great on its own.
($23-25 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

www.deevinewines.com

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 24

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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stolpman07.gif2007 Stolpman Syrah Estate, Santa Ynez Valley.
This is a big brooding monster at the moment and I hope it will settle into a complex and balanced wine, given some more time in bottle. Stolpman has been turning out fine Syrah for many years and the 2005 Stolpman Hilltops was one of my favorite Syrahs of the vintage, and the 2007 could be that good, but it is just too much a savage wine at the moment, even though it has everything in spades to be great. It has fruit, spice, chocolate, earth, game and tannic power with a palate of blueberry compote, blackberry, cassis, mocha, wild meat, smoke, liqueur and peppery notes. The wine is thick and richly dark as well, that of course will impress many a wine drinker on its own, I just hope the wine will come together and that the tannins will resolve, giving an elegance or smoother feel. Potential is there and I can’t wait to revisit this wine in a year or so.
($30 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 23

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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melvillevchard.gif2008 Melville Chardonnay Verna’s Santa Babara County.
There can be no doubt, the Melville family offer the best estate wines for the money in California, and this new vintage of Verna’s Chard can not be faulted, re-enforcing  my view even further. With Greg Brewer, Brewer-Clifton, making the wines and the Melville family helping in with great fruit, Melville Winery and Vineyards just seem to get better and better. This 2008 Melville Chardonnay Verna’s is lush and round, with pure fruit and classic Burgundian character. The nose is nutty and smoky with hints of matchstick and citrus, before lots of pear, peach and apple fruits flow across the palate, with flashes of hazelnuts, kiwi and wet stones, finishing with a citrus, almost lemon kiss and very light and subtle oak spice. This vintage was made with almost no new wood, but it still is everything you would want from a fine white and a great value for what you get in style and pleasure.
($24-26 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 22

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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baldwin081.gif2008 Baldwin Vineyards Zinfandel “Rattlesnake Ridge” Sonoma Valley. (Follow up notes from a recent visit to the vineyard, and a re-cap of tasting notes from Zap)

I recently visited the vineyard and enjoyed meeting Jerry Baldwin, after singing the praises of this wine at Zap (Zinfandel tasting) when I first tried it. The vineyard is set in a beautiful hillside location and overlooks the Sonoma Valley heading toward Kenwood, in fact I learned that one of the oldest vineyard sites in Sonoma, that was near a Wells Fargo Stagecoach stop, is only a mile and the scene from the winery is dramatic in contrasts. Baldwin is still working on some of the details of when and how this stunning Zin will be released, and I was very happy to hear the $50 price tag was really going to be a much more fair price of about $42, putting in line with other wines in its class, like Lamborn, Turley and Brown Estate. Since there will only be about 3 barrels worth released for this vintage, it is a good deal and a remarkable debut for this young vineyard. This Zin has the feel and focus of a great Bordeaux wine, but with the full and classic Zinfandel flavors and character, with plenty of rich fruit and sweet spices. As reviewed before it shows, blackberry, plum, raspberry and currant fruits with touches of lavender, bramble and subtle wood notes. Jerry tells me that the following release, the 2009 is doing great in barrel all ready and that it will really blow me away, if in case I was not that impressed with the 2008, which of course I was and continue to be marveled by! I can’t wait to try the finished released wine later this year, and also the second wine Baldwin makes from another vineyard from older vines on the valley floor, which is due out as well, later this year. I recommend getting on their mailing list and checking these wines out.
($42 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

*Barrel Sample (ZAP Tasting) Please note the label will different, as this was a quick mock up for the barrel sample and not the finished label.

www.baldwinwines.com

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 20-21

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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rochiolichard08.gif2008 Rochioli Chardonnay Russian River Valley.
Every year I journey up to the Russian River and find my way to Rochioli to pick up a few bottles at winery and enjoy the place, even though I’m on their list and get my little allocation shipped a few times a year. I like the feel of the area and of course love the wines. This year, I found sunshine, the winery cat “Sweetpea” and this new vintage of estate Chardonnay waiting for me, it was nearly heaven. The 2008 Chardonnay has ripe and vibrant flavors with good balance and freshness and looks set to be another winner in a long line of success here. The nose has white flowers, smoke, citrus and a touch of baked apple pie, leading to a rich and tangy palate of pear, peach and apple fruit with hints of fig, hazelnuts and spicy vanilla. The wine feels smooth and buttery in the mouth, but it is not flabby and is lifted by nice acidity that gives a touch of lemon curd on the finish. This full Chard is young and should gain some weight over the next year in bottle, but it is lovely now, so I don’t plan on waiting long to savor my bottles. ($36-50 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 18

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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rochiolisb09.gif2009 Rochioli Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley.
This is one of my favorite times of the year to visit the Russian River, and see Rochioli when there is less crowds and best of all the Winter/Spring releases are available. I am a big fan and have more than a little bias when it comes to Rochioli, and I admit it up front and that I am a proud member of their mailing list, that said, they do make some of the best wine I’ve ever had and will continue to sing its praises freely. The Rochioli Sauvignon Blanc is always a hit, and this is the brand new 2009 vintage, which is fresh and bright on the palate with lemon/lime, grapefruit, melons and peach fruits all lively and vibrant in the mouth. There is some light herb and grass tucked away in the background, but is not aggressive and adds a savory element to the wine. This wine should develop a rounder feel and gain some depth with a few more months in bottle, though it is easy to enjoy now, and I’m thinking of drinking mine as fresh as I can with seafood and spring greens. ($26-35 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 17

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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aw08pn.gif2008 August West Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands.
This winery is on a hot streak and they just keep rolling out great wine at awesome prices, especially this Pinot Noir from selected lots of fruit and made by Ed Kurtzman, Freeman, Sandler and of course Roar, as he is partners in this winery with Gary Franscioni, Roar winery and the Garys’ and Rosella’s Vineyards, and Harold Graham, Graham Vineyard in the Russian River. This wine tastes of the place, the Santa Lucia Highlands, with blackberry, plum, dark cherry and blueberry fruits, with some smoke, cassis, vanilla in the background, but really subtle, this wine is all about pleasure and the pure fruit and flavors. This is a quality Pinot Noir that is just getting better each time I try it, in fact in the last tasting of this wine it out scored some big name Pinots in my tasting notes on the same day, this includes a 2007 William Selyem Pinot too, plus a few others that sell for twice the price. ($30-35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

*Available at Rancho Cellars $29.95

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Grapelive Latest: Feb16

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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brown081.gif2008 Brown Estate Zinfandel Napa Valley.
Dave Brown and his family all put in the greatest possible effort and passion to produce high quality wine from their Chiles Valley, Napa estate and it shows in the bottle and the glass, as they made one of the best Zinfandels in the state. The newest release, the 2008 vintage shows ripe, sweet fruit and lush texture with smooth tannins and bramble spices, with a fresh nose and a super pretty dark color. Everything is coming together nicely and while intense and thick, it has a certain balance and life that sets it apart, lifting it up and demanding attention. This is a fine Zinfandel that can be enjoyed now, but also for the next 3-5 years, so find some quick, as there is never enough to go around. ($36 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive

*Tasted at ZAP

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