Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2007 La Spinetta Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi Vursu, Neive, Piedmonte.
The Neive Cru “Vigneto Starderi” is for me perhaps the finest site in Barbaresco and for me rivals the Cru’s of Gaja, Sori Tilden, San Lorenzo and Costa Russi for beauty and complexity of fruit, though Starderi is 100% Nebbiolo, while Gaja’s famous threesome are usually blended with Barbera and are classified as Langhe Rosso. Both Gallina and Valeirano are wonderful wines as well, but it is always Starderi that moves me just that bit extra. The elegance and subtle complexities seduce very much the same way a fine Chambertin or Richebourg do, making Starderi one of the great wines of the world, no question. The 2007 Vigneto Starderi is a masterpiece and will only get better and more refined with 5 or 10 years in bottle, but as with most La Spinetta wines it is almost perfect now with style and elegance showing already with lush fruit and earthy depth, I should say otherworldly layers that unfold in seemless grace. The nose is heavenly with rose petals and lavender oil with hints of warm sweet toasty oak and fennel laced cherries. The palate is firm with framing ripe tannins and lifting acidity, a true Nebbiolo is structure, but with a Grand Cru Burgundy like silkiness and length. Tarry cherries, plum, currant and licorice dazzle in the mouth and truffle and mineral notes add to the whole, while the oak is subtle and  plays a very mild background role with just a hint of vanilla. The lingering finish is crisp and long with sweet herbs and raspberry aftertaste. This wine is sublime and brilliant, Giorgio Rivetti is on the top of his game, this Starderi is his crown jewel.
($165-180 Est.) 97 Points, grapelive

(Due in US this Spring 2011)


Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2007 School House Pinot Noir Spring Mountain Estate, Napa Valley.
This is the 50th anniversary release of this unique Napa hillside Pinot Noir, it comes from vines that are claimed to be DRC cuttings smuggled to Napa and planted way up on Spring Mountain, from Vosne-Romanee to Napa Valley with stolen love, this story has gained traction in recent years as the wine has reached more and more critics and experts, regardless these dry-farmed old vines made a wonderful and complex wine that it a must have with serious Pinot lovers, like the Pisoni wines which also have the claim of coming from DRC, though Gary says he bootlegged vine cuttings from La Tache! Legend aside, Robert Foley has again produced a deep and complex Pinot Noir from this tiny estate. The 2007 vintage was fantastic for quality, but they only got half the amount of grapes, because of severe yields, down more than half from 2005 and 2006!
($70-90 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive


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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Pavo Syrah Estate, Bennett Valley, Sonoma.
Made by Jordan Kivelstadt, former winemaker at Donum Estate and Stemmler, working with Ken Benards, Ancien and making wines at Copain. A terrific deep small handcrafted Syrah from a small Sonoma Estate in Bennett Valley. (one the super Syrah hot spots) Only 200 Cases made, super dense and opaque purple with violets, blueberry and cassis layers. This is one of the best Syrah’s of the vintage from the North Coast and frankly I could easily mistake it for any of the best in 2007 too, this is a Syrah to look for and enjoy over the next 3-5 years. The nose has it all, crushed flowers, smoke, minerals, game and bitter chocolate along with blackberry and currants. The palate is wide and mouth-filling with dark rich fruit, earthy spices and mocha, plums, mountain berries and lavender oil add interest as does a touch of white pepper and vanilla. This is a stunning artisan wine that delights with power and elegance, bravo! ($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Available at www.sfwtc.com


Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Selbach-Oster Riesling “Anrecht” Zeltinger Himmelreich, Mosel, Germany.
This single block Riesling is Auslese weight and textured, but is so well balanced it doesn’t feel overly sweet in fact it shows such depth and complexity the sugar level doesn’t matter much. This wine should gain from a few years in the cellar, though so far I haven’t been able to not open the two bottles I’ve bought, this wine is that good. The nose is minerally and citrus blossoms with hints of jasmine and bacon before a lush palate of apple, apricot, peach and loads of tropical fruits. Rocky minerals and tangy acid keeps things focused and balanced, there is slate like spicy notes too. There are background touches of honey, petrol, verbena and rose oil. This beautiful and stellar Riesling stands alone, but it does remind me of a Condrieu for exotic style and of a Grand Cru Burgundy for class, not meaning to take away anything from the greatness of German Riesling, it is just that this wine rises above perception while being true to its terroir.
($35 Est.) 95-96 Points, grapelive


Available at www.sfwtc.com ($29.95)

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