Grapelive Spotlight

Grapelive Spotlight on Oregon

By Kerry Winslow

***

stinnocent08.jpg2008 St. Innocent Pinot Noir “ Freedom Hill Vineyard” Willamette Valley.
Here is an amazing new release from Oregon, I just tasted this Pinot and was blown away! I thought 2006 was the year to end all years for Oregon, but wow these 2008’s are knocking my socks off, they are stunning and this one is just sublime. The nose is pure, almost Grand Cru like in rich detail and smokiness with fruit, mineral and perfume. The palate is lush, full and sexy with near perfect structure and balance, starting with more flowers and fruit, violets, dried roses, wild flowers and lots of plum, black cherry and blueberry all playing parts in silky layers. The vivid and vibrant flavors hold on and linger a lifetime it seems, with great toasty oak shadings that leave vanilla, spice and creamy sweet smoke. This wine will only get better and should age well, as it has stuffing and acidity to hold it together. Getting a case just might not be enough with this wine! ($45 Est.) 94-95 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: August 30

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

***

redcarhne08.jpg2008 Red Car Pinot Noir “Heaven and Earth” La Boheme Vineyard, Sonoma Coast.
Last year this wine grabbed the headlines when it scored 97 Points in Wine Spectator and graced the cover of the year’s Pinot Noir edition, but those in the know have been fans longer than that and are grateful that the 2008 got a more modest score when it was tasted in barrel, and now that it has had time to develop in bottle it is showing much better! Without question this wine is the real deal and will only get better, and for those that don’t need the hype, can get it! At the Family Winemaker’s show in August 2010, I got to try it, and wow this is great Pinot Noir and thought it might just prove to be better than the 2007! This 2008 is rich and vibrant with perfume and texture that are classic and refined at this point, with depth and structure. I found lots of interesting layers and was intrigued by the heady nose; it was like liquid flowers, roses, violets and wildflowers with mineral essence, sweet smoke and vanilla. The palate is pure Pinot, cherry and wild plum fruits are in full force, and there is some earth and spice in the background. The finish is long and leaves a silky fruit and herbs sensation with a touch of cola bean and lavender. ($60 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: August 21

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

***

el08.jpg2008 Evening Land Pinot Noir “Occidental Coast” Sonoma Coast.
This intense and wild Pinot Noir is full of dark fruits and has a wonderful and sexy perfume of violets and wildflowers with hints of sweet smoke and cherry liqueur. The palate is lush with silky cherry fruit, plums and blueberry notes, this is very much like a Grand Cru!  This is a stunning wine that looks set to be one of the best 2008 Sonoma Pinots, not a wine to be missed. With great vineyards and talented winemakers Evening Land is a serious and interesting project that looks to be hugely successful, especial after tasting the current releases from both California and Oregon, where they have Lafon helping! While all the wines merit attention, this one stood out and really spoke to me. The fruit is very impressive and the structure is near perfect, quite a remarkable Pinot given the vintage on the North Coast, which was not quite as good as 2007, though this wine is by far the best from the Sonoma Coast and certainly as good as any 2007! ($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: August 15

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

***

sheldon07grenache.jpg2007 Sheldon Grenache “Voglzang Vineyard” Santa Ynez.
Inspired by the wines of Gigondas, and after a winemaking pilgrimage to the Rhone Valley, Dylan and Tobe Sheldon started their own winery and found a special place in their hearts for Grenache. They have produced many a Grenache based wine since and they have been successful in their efforts in making a hand crafted and artistic wine that takes their respect for Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-Pape reds and styled a true California wine around it. The 2007 is still slightly wild and tight, but really opens up and shows very round and pretty fruit. The ripe fruit shows some strawberry jam, grenadine and plum, along with some tangy red berry and cherry too. There is some tannins and acidity that need to calm down, but the wine unwinds nicely with air and time to reveal spice, mineral and just a hint of subtle oak. This is a very vibrant and edgy wine that needs a bit of time to round out and fill out, and I expect it to get much better and deeper over the next year, though I enjoy it now very much. ($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: August 9

Grapelive Sneak Peek

By Kerry Winslow

***

pandol06.jpg2008 Pandol Pinot Noir “Alfaro Family Vineyard” Santa Cruz Mountains.(pre-release sample)
This micro winery in Santa Cruz continues to amaze and hand craft remarkable Pinot Noir, and this yet to be released wine may just be the best yet. Jennifer Pandol sought out the best site and clones that she could find and ended up with grapes from Richard Alfaro’s estate near Coralitos in the western most part of the Santa Cruz Mountains region South of Santa Cruz itself. Alfaro produces wonderful Pinot Noirs, Chards and Syrah from this cool climate site that has a great selection of mini terroirs and clonal material to choose from. Jennifer got enough grapes to do just about two barrels; maybe 45-50 cases and it should go fast. This Pinot is spectacular in every way; the nose is deep with heady perfume and intrigue leading to a creamy and round palate of rich fruit that is full of vibrant and vivid flavors. There is violets, roses, blueberries and plum galore, before the classic core of cherry fruit stamps its self front and center, and in the background there is tea spice, cola bean, vanilla and a hint of mineral essence. The texture is all ready silky and glorious and it will almost certainly get even better with a bit more age, as it still has plenty of ripe tannins and bright acidity to balance the beautiful fruit. As I have said a few times before, search her out and get some of this wine when it comes out! ($40-45 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

Pandol Wines

jenpandol@gmail.com

***

Grapelive Latest: August 4

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

***

savary08vv.jpg2008 Savary Chablis Vieilles Vignes, White Burgundy, France.
Olivier Savary Chablis is one of the great secrets of the wine world, a top quality product and priced well below his peers! This old vine cuvee is pure and textured with round and layered fruit and mouth feel with green apple, lemon, pear and white peach. This vintage shows vibrant flavors and steely mineral notes with a touch of lime flower and chalk in the background. Everything is in near perfect balance and without question this is a huge bargain!
($24.95 Est.) 93 points, grapelive

A Kermit Lynch selection, coming soon to San Francisco Wine Trading Company

1-800-681-WINE

***