Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Monasterio de Corias (100% Albarin Negro) Spanish Red.
This has to be one of the coolest wine discoveries of the year! Monasterio de Corias comes from the Asturias region, in Northwest Spain and the wine is grown in de la Tierra de Congas, close to Galicia.This wine is stunning and flavorful with glorious Rhone-like qualities and a unique flair all its own. This rich and vibrant wine is medium weight and has silky texture, but has good fine tannins and plenty of lifting acidity to give sublime balance, this is a serious wine that is a joy to drink. I found some Syrah like character as well as Pinot Noir like class in this wine that shows perfume, mineral and spice complexities to go with layers of red and black fruits. The nose has violets, roses and white flowers as well as earthy game, mineral and briar leading to a palate of boysenberry, blueberry, cherry and plum fruits with a stony essence and dried flowers. There is a long fruit finish that also brings a pepper note, making for a very interesting wine that I hope to have many times!
($18 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Podere Le Cinciole Chianti Classico “Le Cinciole” Tuscany, Italy.
This is a wonderful Classico that delivers fresh Sangiovese flavors and character with loads of charm and life, not only is it fun and food friendly, but is a richly textured and deep Chianti that is a steal. The nose is full of herbs, dried flowers and red fruits with hints of mineral and licorice all of which are present on the palate as well along with blackberry, plum and strawberry fruits, while tobacco leaf, cedar and truffle play in the background. This is a super wine and shows the glories of the Tuscan terroir perfectly, I hope to enjoy a few bottles of this wine again soon, this is a pure and complex Chianti Classico that intrigues and seduces, don’t miss this one!
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Luis A. Rodriguez Vazquez Viña Martin “A Torna Dos Pasás” Tinto, Ribeira, Spain.
This natural and intriguing red is made from a blend of native grapes that include Mencia and others which can include Ferron, Souson, Brancellao (there is also Garnacha and Tempranillo planted in Ribeiro), and the result is near perfection in a way that gives the same joy as when you find a fantastic Burgundy. With out question this wine reminds me of a great Chambolle-Musigny, plus a touch of Santa Lucia Highlands, California as well, crazy as that seems being that this wine is not a famed Pinot Noir, but that is just how fantastic it is, and to be fair it is a creature and artisan wine of it’s own terroir. I’ve tried just a few vintages of this wine, and each time I’m completely blown away, and I think this must be the greatest wine and region yet to be really discovered! Even though, Parker and Spectator have given them outstanding reviews, it seems now it is the time for this wine to be elevated to it’s rightful place near the top of Spain’s great wines. The Ribeiro is believed to have been planted by the Romans and is near the rivers; Mino, Avia, Arnoia and the Barbatino in the Galicia provence, and was renown for sweet wines since the middle ages. This area in the Northwest of Spain is on my must visit list of wine regions, especially after tasting this amazing wine! The nose is alive with fresh flowers, mostly violets and it has blueberry and mineral spices before an elegant palate of raspberry, plum and a core of tangy cherry fruit. This wine is so pure and refined, it is hard to believe it is not a great Burgundy, but then again many a Burgundy would be paled by a blind taste comparison as this wine can hold it’s own and has remarkable depth and charms. There are sexy complexities that include red spices, lavender, stony mineral and subtle wood notes that play in sublime fashion with the vibrant fruit, making for an exciting and glorious wine that impresses beyond mere words.
($40 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.
91% from Boeschen Vineyard and 9% from Panek Vineyard the new 2009 Rudius is a focused and rich Cabernet Sauvignon that shows primary characteristics and supporting tannins at this early stage, but it looks like the best vintage yet from this hot new producer. With a small amount of Cabernet Franc this dense wine has a hint of Saint-Emilion that comes through with the thickly textured red fruits and subtle perfume, though more powerful dark fruits emerge with time in the glass lifted by sweet toasty oak from the combination of Taransaud, Darnajou and Sylvain French oak barrels, about 70% of which were new. Artisan winemaking with natural wild yeasts and limited racking show the love of terroir and commitment to purity of expression. Give this baby some time and reap the rewards of patience and faith, this is a stunning wine that should start showing dynamic force in 3 to 5 years and drink great for 10 to 20 years. Lavish even now with layers of blackberry, bing cherry, plum, currants, creme de cassis with tobacco, vanilla, graphite and licorice.
($65 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive


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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Dauvergne Ranvier Gigondas Vin Rare, Rhone Red, France.
I didn’t think it could get much better than Dauvergne-Ranvier 2007 Gigondas, but then came this fantastic new release, and I can say with out a doubt these guys are worth watching and worth every penny, this 2009 Gigondas is one of the best of the vintage that I’ve tried and it should just get better and better over the next 2 to 3 years. The 2009 is dark and thick with layers of fruit, mineral essence and vibrant peppery spices, plus sublime length and balance. The nose is fresh with grapey notes, crushed berries, sweet floral and herb notes and a vain of earthy spices before a lush and round palate of Grenache driven fruit with blackberry, plum, grenadine, cherry and strawberry along with hints of game, lavender, pepper and chalky minerals. This wine is on par with most Chateauneuf’s and should be sought after by Rhone fans, while not easy to find, this is a remarkable and beautiful Gigondas.
($42 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Ridge Monte Bello Proprietary Red Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains.
This amazing Cabernet Sauvignon based red is glorious and a profound wine of elegance and depth, with out question one of the best of the vintage and a classic Monte Bello. I very much enjoyed the subtle and delicate 2007 version, but this wine is really on another level and certainly belongs on the world’s best list. While many vintages of Monte Bello compare to first growths, this one might just go beyond them, even though it would help to describe it by saying it has elements that are similar to Haut-Brion and Chateau Margaux, though that said the 2008 Monte Bello has much more open richness and should be divine now, and through the next decade if not much longer indeed. The 2008 Monte Bello is alive with vigor and intensity starting with a nose that shows dark fruit and flowers with a touch of smoky wood and a bit of spice before a pure palate of blackberry, currant, plum and cassis layers with mineral, vanilla and tobacco notes. The mouthfeel is rich, but not coying or fat, and the length is amazing and the wine has sublime balance. I used to swear by the 1991 and 1994 Monte Bello’s, but I think the 2008 is now my all time favorite and I can’t wait to see how it develops.
($145 Est.) 97 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Extra

Grapelive Special Tasting Report

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Lapierre Morgon “Cuvee Marcel Lapierre” MMIX, Cru Beajolais, France.
This beautiful and hedonistic Gamay just gets better and more seductive with every sip and tears will well up when the bottle is drained! Sadly Marcel passed last year, though this wine is a fitting tribute to the man and his passion, if you can find any of this wonderful wine, buy it and savor every drop. I’ve been lucky enough to have tried this Cuvee on more than a few occasions and it really is now hitting its stride and should age another 3 to 5 years, it was fantastic each time, but now it is utterly remarkable and pure. The nose is full of mixed flowers, walnut shells, blackberry jam and lavender leading to a vibrant palate of much the same, but with a burst of strawberries and black cherries with violets and hints of currants. This is all about pleasure and it is hard to find anything other than perfection in this treasure. A big thank you to my friend for sharing this one!
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Peay Vinyards Pinot Noir “Scallop Shelf” Estate, Sonoma Coast.
Across the board, the 2009 Peay wines are some of the finest of the year, and Andy, Nick and Vanessa can be very proud of these amazing wines, and it is very hard to pick a favorite, but I think this new “Scallop Shelf” Pinot is the best of the best. While it is no surprise, considering the vintage and the track record of this wonderful winery, and with Vanessa Wong’s remarkable talents, after her time at Chateau Lafite and Domaine Jean Gros and other top estates, she is making some of the most terroir driven wines in California. This 2009 Peay “Scallop Shelf” Pinot is perfectly balance, delicately detailed and has glorious length and texture, this is a very very sexy wine. With a mix of clones, mostly Pommard, this wine shows silky texture and complexity with rose petals, violets, and earthy spices coming through on the nose and palate with racy red fruits, cherry, raspberry and wild strawberries filling the mouth and lingering for ages on the finish. In the background there are layers of truffle, apple skin, pepper and subtle oak framing with hints of smoke and vanilla. For those that love fine Burgundy, this wine will take you there and beyond, it has elements that remind you of Vosne-Romanee and Chambolle-Musigny, but it really is a pure expression of the wild Sonoma Coast, beautiful and extreme.
($56 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Domaine Perrot-Minot Bourgogne “Cuvee Martine” Red Burgundy (Pinot Noir)
This dry, crisp and mineral laced Burgundy is a subtle and detailed wine with tangy cherry, rose oil, spring plum and spiced tea layers. Best to enjoy this well made wine with food to dial back the grippy tannins and brisk acidity which hold back the delicate fruit at this stage. While 2008 was a difficult vintage, there were still a good number of quality value wines that have shown up and De Montille and Perrot-Minot both produced very nice under $30 Burgundies. Christophe Perrot-Minot is one of the great talents in the region and all his wines are crafted to highlight terroir and vintage, making classic style wines, and this entry level wine made for his US importer gives a lot of character for a fair price. His Grand Cru’s are some of the best in the business and command huge prices, so it is good to see this wine available for those like me that are on a tight budget, especially as I am a huge fan of Christophe’s wines and have been luck to have had a chance to taste most all of his vintages since 1997. With an hour of air, the wine takes on a more silky texture and pretty raspberry fruit comes forward, just as a good Burgundy should do, making the last glass a final pleasing tease.
($30 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Alfaro Family Vineyards Pinot Noir “Lindsay Paige Vineyard” Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains.
Fast becoming one of the top Santa Cruz Mountain Pinots, the “Lindsay Paige” is a full and darkly rich wine with smooth layers of dark fruits and creamy oak shadings along with subtle complexities and stunning length and detail. This wine is pure pleasure with wild flowers and wild berries bursting from the glass with a core of black cherry and plum, plus mocha, baking spices, mineral and tea notes. Richard Alfaro’s estate had a great vintage in 2008, both Chard and Pinot making mind-blowing wines. This 2008 Alfaro Vineyards “Lindsay Paige” is full of life, vibrant and balanced with fine silky texture, subtle tannins and acidity. This vineyard naturally produces very small berries that are intensely dark and the wines always show depth and weight with firm structure that makes me think it would be a good idea to put a few away for mid term aging, even though they drink so nicely young. With such small amounts made, this wine sells out quickly, best to get it while you can. While I loved the 2006 and 2007 vintages, this 2008 seems even more impressive, and the long lingering finish is just amazing.
($40 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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