Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week: An American Classic-Happy 4th of July!

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir “Beaux Freres Vineyard” Estate, Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley.
Beaux Freres is an iconic estate in the beautiful Ribbon Ridge area of the Willamette Valley, and is one of the great domaines of Oregon, and the world. Always a collectors trophy and wine lovers dream Beaux Freres Vineyard is considered one of the world’s great Pinot Noirs, comparing well with the best Grand Crus from Burgundy and causing envy in the best of California. Mike Edzel and his team have done it again with a stunning and richly smooth 2009 from this famed estate, which counts Robert Parker as a partner, and family member, that is why he refuses to rate them personally, and ironically he doesn’t need to as his rivals at Wine Spectator always rate them very highly, giving 93-96 in the last few vintages!
This 2009 is a classic with silky texture and mineral laced red fruits, leading with rose petal floral notes, spicy sweet wood giving subtle smoke and vanilla and cherry and mountain raspberry filling the mouth. This vintage is open and lush, but should gain with some time in bottle and drink great into the next decade.
($80 Est.) 94-95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Bodegas Riojanas Rioja Blanco “Vina Albina” (Semi Dulce) Spanish White.
This wine is about 90% Viura and 10% Malavasia and is fermented in stainless steel to retain freshness before moving to oak casks for 6 to 9 months, stirred on the lees and was picked just late enough the catch a bit of noble rot. This wine feels dry and crisp with chalky mineral and white peach along with vibrant citrus standing out on the clean palate. This vivid and bright wine has only the faintest whiff of honey and finishes with life and vigor, never feeling heavy or sweet. This is a very lovely white that is great now, though should age a decade easy, picking up many new interesting characteristics along the way.
($20 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

A Classic Chateauneuf that rocks now!

By Kerry Winslow

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2000 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateaunef-duPape Rouge, Rhone Valley, France.
This wonderful and near perfect Chateauneuf is really getting good into it’s second decade and while it has a long life ahead, it is certainly ready to enjoy now. This wine from magnum was dark, earthy, spiced laced and brooding when first opened, but after a about 20 minutes in decanter it expanded and took on an elegant presence that stayed until the last drop was finished, which sadly had to happen, leaving me spellbound and wanting more. The nose is classic VT and has lavender, gamey meat, leather and dusty pepper to go with red fruits and truffle notes before an almost Burgundy like palate with baked cherry, plum, boysenberry and strawberry fruits cascading in silky layers. The baked earth, red spice, pepper and fennel add to the mix in the background and the finish is dry and balanced with lingering cassis and rose petal. This sexy Vieux Telegraphe is everything you’d want and more from a great wine and has years of enjoyment to give!
($200 Est. Magnum 1.5L) 96+ Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Pacific Northwest Wines Update: Wines to Look For

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Patton Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir “Lorna-Marie” Estate Grown, Willamette Valley, Oregon.

Sadly this beauty is wildly priced, otherwise it would be an Oregon classic, but for that kind of money Beaux Freres would be a better choice I think, even though only a tiny amount was made. With my pricing gripes, this is a stunning Pinot Noir with nice depth and clear focus that is a step up from their regular bottling. I have admired Patton Valley for a good many vintages and am always impressed with the pureness and lovely texture they get in their Pinot Noir. The 2008 Lorna-Marie is darker and sexier than the others in the line up with smoky blackberry, mineral spice, crushed flowers and a full plummy palate of sweet cherries and tea notes. The subtle backdrop of forest floor, strawberry compote and vanilla add just the right amounts of each to the mix and the acidity lifts everything without any bitter trace. There is not much doubt that this wine is nothing short of excellent, just that touch of envy that I can’t afford it., but I am none the less grateful for the effort and will enjoy a few bottles of their very delish Willamette Valley and be as happy as a clam.
($70 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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2008 Retour Pinot Noir Willamette Valley.
Even though I don’t believe the bottle I tasted was a perfect one, there was so much to enjoy in this Eric Hamacher made Pinot I have high hopes that the next one I try will rate even higher. I have only tasted Retour once before, but I have sampled Hamacher’s wines many times in the past and must say, not only is he a great person he is a fine artisan that produces wonderful Pinot Noirs, and even some fine Chardonnay as well. The 2008 Retour is subtle and a wine of great finesse with intriguing delicate flavors that remind me of some Spatburgunders or classic Cortons from Burgundy with hidden intensity and silky richness that lingers on and on with red fruits, toffee, slate like mineral essence and truffle. *Like I mentioned this bottle was maybe slightly bruised or heat affected, so I have a gut feeling the next one will show more heightened fruit, but even if it was a solid example, I was left wanting for nothing and would very much recommend it for it’s class and unique restraint.
($50 Est.) *93-94 Points, grapelive

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2008 Gramercy Cellars Syrah Columbia Valley, Washington State.
This lush chocolate and blueberry pie of a wine has hedonistic written all over it, but the is a certain grace about it and a spicy kick in the pants that is refreshing and charming too. The nose lets you know it is a Washington Syrah, it won’t fool you at all, not that I wanted to be tricked, it just is what it is and is just great the way it is. This 2008 has some nice acidity to hold the mocha and vanilla cream in check and will a few years it should be something even more special. There is boysenberry, cassis, espresso and creamy cherry layers, hints of fennel, pepper and vanilla in this full-bodied red and the finish is long and mouth coating. I really like Gramercy Cellars, they do really fun and serious stuff, so I recommend trying a few bottles if you get the chance!
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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2008 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley, Washington State.
This juicy rich Cabernet is very nice now, but I would suggest giving it some time in the cellar to fill out and deepen, it is round and has some baby fat at the moment and loads of red fruitiness that kind of hides the true nature and Cabernet character at the moment, even though it is a really enjoyable wine. The 2008 has a spicy edge and smooth tannins behind round up front raspberry, currant and cherry fruit with a mix of cedar, tobacco leaf, mocha and sweet oak vanilla. Just a bit young yet, but shows wonderful promise if you are willing to put it away for a few years. On a side note, Gramercy also makes one of the best Tempranillo wines in the States and the 2008 is a rockstar version, check that out as well, it is really amazing.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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2009 White Rose Estate Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Another knockout from this winery, honestly I was thrilled by their 2008, but this 2009 vintage looks even more interesting! There is a sweet and savory Burgundy like quality that sings in this well made Pinot Noir from the heart of the Willamette Valley. This is made from a selection of barrels from prized vineyard sources that adhere to mostly organic practices and are cropped for balance and intensity, and it really shows in the finished product. This is a star winery that deserves attention and gives a remarkable bang for the buck! White Rose’s 2009 Willamette Valley cuvee as plenty of interest and depth with fresh cherries, mineral, tea spices, lavender and plum leading the way, with some rose petal perfume and subtle oak notes. There is lots of vivid life in this wine, but everything is balanced, focused and silky. If you want a super wine from Oregon, this is the real deal, I highly recommend it.
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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2009 White Rose Estate Pinot Noir “Dundee Hills A.V.A” Willamette Valley, Oregon.
If you are looking for a true “Terroir” wine, well here you go, not only is this pure Oregon Pinot at it’s best, and it translates the Dundee Hills in perfect fashion. The Red Hills of Dundee shine through in this cuvee with loads of soft red fruits, edgy mineral, red soils and truffle. The Dundee A.V.A gives an extra red spicy, almost rocky cayenne pepper note along with a strawberry and lavender tone and this Pinot highlights those and remains true to them right through, start to finish. The nose has rose petals and plum and the mouth is rich with silky fruit, raspberry, tangy cherry and wild strawberry. The earthy and stone mineral streak is subtle and adds complexity while fresh acidity keeps this feeling light, even though there is plenty of rich layers. White Rose is making some amazing wines and this one stands out, so if you can find it, pick up a few it will blown you away.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Domaine Adele Rouze Quincy Loire Valley White, France.
This heavenly Sauvignon Blanc is one of the great values of the vintage in my book with bright freshness and chalky mineral essence. The nose has white flowers, orange blossoms and tangy citrus leading to a steely crisp palate that displays pretty lemon/lime, hints of grapefruit and gooseberry with lots of zest and mouth watering acidity. The rocky mineral makes you think of limestone and lifts interest in this fine white from this mostly underrated region of the Loire, while I may even say it rivals some of the best from Sancerre, bravo Quincy and kudos to
Charles Neal for finding this beauty! ($19 Est.)

93 Points, grapelive

Can be special ordered by SFWTC

www.sfwtc.com

1-800-681-WINE

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Grapelive Latest

New Release from Failla!

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Failla Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
This wonderful cool climate Pinot is crafted by Ehren Jordan, Turley’s winemaker, and is named after his wife “Failla” which he has been doing on his own for a few vintages now. The 2009 seems to be a breakthrough vintage and a stunning wine with amazingly pure flavors and elegance that highlight the year to perfection. Jordan has let the vintage and terroir speak in a clear way and paid tribute to his firm love of Burgundy in a fine and impressive fashion. The nose is focused with bright fruit, deep perfume of roses and violets with a hint of smoke and a cool mineral edge before a rich and balanced palate of black cherry, raspberry and plum fruits. Nice touches of earth, spice and subtle toasty oak shadings that leave a hint of vanilla, plus a fresh currant/strawberry note on the finish. This wine is vivid and alive with layers and interest, the best Failla to date, kudos to Ehren and his artisan touch. ($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive New Producer Update: Dos Lagos Vineyards, Better the second time around!

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Dos Lagos Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley.
Tom and Marcie Dinkel have again proved to be a star of the vintage, after last year’s amazing effort, this one might even be better, as the 2008 Dos Lagos shows more life and complexity. Tom Dinkel credits his vineyard team lead by Hector Lopez, with doing a monumental job under stressful and difficult conditions, for getting perfect grapes to famed winemaker Robert Foley to craft this amazing wine. The 2008 Dos Lagos Cabernet is dense and richly textured with powerful tannin structure and ripe flavors, leaving no doubt to Foley’s talents in making a blockbuster wine, though while the alcohol is near 15.5% it is a balanced Cabernet in the modern style. The nose is full of blackberry, mocha and pencil lead, with hints of vanilla and tobacco leaf, before a lush palate of currant, cassis, blackberry and plum fruits with a thick creamy body. There is added depth with hints of rocky mineral, dark chocolate and cherry liqueur, plus a touch of minty black licorice. This extreme vineyard site produces only tiny yields so there is not much of this intense wine available, all of which makes this Cabernet a rare find, and one that continues to get better with each vintage under the deft touch of an artisan Cabernet master.
($125 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge, Rhone Red, France. (Syrah)
While the vintage was tricky and lots of Northern Rhone reds suffer from a lack of ripeness and seem light, the Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage is a masterpiece and has a Grand Cru Burgundy like elegance and finesse. So, it may not be the blockbuster and collector success as the 2005 and 2007 are, but it is still magic and beautiful with the added benefit of being drinkable young with delightful freshness. This wine will fill out some, no question and should last ages, but it should be a drink earlier Hermitage, I might suggest within a few years, as it proved lovely after only a hour in the decanter. The nose is bright with violets, bacon, pepper and blueberry before a palate of boysenberry, cherry, creme de cassis and a subtle touch of gamey meatiness with white pepper and mineral notes. There is fine tannins, acidity and silky texture much like a graceful Burgundy, but with pure Syrah and Hermitage terroir charm. Chave’s 2008 vintage wines all show remarkable class and beauty, from their Crozes-Hermitage “Silene” to the very impressive Saint-Joseph, both being top values as well, but the classic Hermitage is something very special indeed.
($225 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Domaine Tempier Rosé Bandol, France.
The 2010 vintage is intense and bright with all the stuffing you’d expect from this tasty dry Rosé with raspberry essence, strawberry, watermelon and red citrus fruit layers plus fresh acidity, depth, rocky mineral and nice texture. This Rosé is artisan crafted from hand picked grapes that consist of 50% Mourvèdre, 28% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 2% Carignan, then three techniques are used to make the rosé: direct press, short maceration, and saignée (5%) then the cuvee is aged in cuve for 6 to 8 months before bottling. This is a sexy and exciting wine and could be the greatest summer wine of the vintage! Just wish the price was more easy on the wallet…
($38 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($37)

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2007 Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero, Spanish Red.
I have long been a fan of this wine and have enjoyed it many times, and this vintage continues to impress with elegance and depth. I am glad to have had a whole evening to admire it, as it requires a bit of time to come out of its shell and open up. The nose starts out smoky, earthy and tight before revealing dried flowers, cassis and red fruits. The palate is robust to start, but smooths out to show firm silky tannins and blackberry, plum and dark cherry fruit with rocky red earth, cedar and cranberry. This wine takes on pure terroir essence, though you get elements that first make you think Bordeaux before coming back to classic Tempranillo in character and detail. This is a very stylish and polished wine that should get better over the next 2-3 years and drink very well for 5-6 years more. I great wine to enjoy anytime with almost any food, I’ll be grabbing a few bottles myself this summer.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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