Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Eva Fricke Riesling “Krone” Lorcher, QbA, Rheingau Trocken, Dry White, Germany.
Eva Fricke is, as mentioned by many critics, a star to watch and her own micro label one to buy anytime you see it and be sure to put a few away. After tasting a few of her 2008, 2009 and 2010 wines, there is no doubt she is making wines that will age beautifully and while the wines are stunning now, they will get much better over a 5 to 10 year period, and that includes this dramatic 2008 “Krone” Trocken QbA by Fricke. Having met her, she is consumed by soils and terroir, giving her a no nonsense air and a focus on allowing the soul of the earth show through on each of her wines. The Fricke wines are mostly really dry, and intense with lots of dry extract and tangy acidity, making for a tight and broody young wine, so be sure to give her wines some air the breathe so they open up, these are not your Grandma’s Rieslings! Eva has vineyards above the Rhein and the Wisper river mouth in the small village of Lorch, first inhabited by the Celts, then the Romans and is a Catholic area, Lorch is close to where the Rhein meets the Mainz, up river from Rudesheim where she works as the cellar master for the well known Weingut Leitz. She does usually 3 or 4 bottlings a vintage with the “Krone” her top dry Cru, and it is a fantastic wine which is now highly prized and sought after for it’s depth and unique terroir driven style. The 2008 vintage was one of high acid and can be ultra brisk, but Eva nursed power concentration out of Krone and the weighty mouth feel is something special, while that zingy acidity drives the dryness on the palate giving a near perfect balance. The nose is minerally, but not slatey or petrol fumey as of yet, more clean and bright with lime and citrus blossom that leads to a palate of green apple, white citrus, honeyed mango and pineapple, but this is a tight wine with verve and tension and needs to time to develop. I believe there is more to come here and plan to put down a few bottles for a few years and see what happens, in the meantime I plan to drink a bunch of her wines from 2009 and 2010 vintages, the basic QbA Trocken is a steal at $18 Est. That said, I was blown away by this wine and love the style, terroir and character it shows, bravo!
($34 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Domaine Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin “Les Combes” Premier Cru White Burgundy.
I will be honest with you, if I tasted this wine blind I could easily believe this was a top Puligny or Meursault, in fact I might even guess even better, that is how freaking good this wine is. I had heard all the buzz about this rising star, Pierre Yves Colin-Morey, so I had high, I mean sky high expectations of his wines, and I can tell you, yes he is the real deal, without question, this guy is fantastic and his wines sublime. This 2009 Saint-Aubin “Les Combes” Premier is sublime with citrus flowers, lemon curd, golden apples, pear and figs plus hazelnuts, sweet smoke, wet stones and clove spices. There is a tropical streak and I found a touch of Pineapple and brioche as well, making for a complex and beautiful wine that is round and lengthy. This wine is a wonderful expression of Chardonnay that reminds me of Luc Morlet’s (Peter Michael & Morlet Family) style of wines with the balance and richness, but remains a true terroir driven Burgundy. I am convinced this Domaine is one of the best for white Burgundy to come along in a long time, I suggest you find some now, and I hear the 2010 is even better, so we have a lot to look forward to. I’m totally blown away, this guy is fantastic and the wines are stunning.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($37)

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The Rise of the Jura

Special Quick Tasting Report of New Jura Wines

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Domaine Labet Cotes du Jura “Fleur de Savagnin” French White.
The grape Savagnin looks to be either the great grandfather of Gewurtztraminer or more likely a mutation of Traminer, the less aromatic varietal, but regardless of it’s true history the Savagnin is the main grape of the Jura region of France and makes for a fine array of wines from dry to sweet, sherry like to sparkling. While I personal have not developed a taste for the more oxidized styles from the Jura, I am a big fan of the fresh whites from the region and this wine is a lovely and vibrant expression. Domaine Labet is rather old school, but the wines all show loads of terroir and character making them a great reference point for those just getting started with the Jura, and they are amazing food wines. This 2009 Labet Savagnin is brisk and dry with only a hint of straw going with vigorous citrus, melon, minerals and light pear notes. This crisp white has bright layers that make it perfect for seafood, though it really shines with soft creamy cheeses. Thanks to Charles Neal and his Charles Neal Selections for showing me this wine to me and importing them to the US.
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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2010 Julien Labet “Metis” Les Vins de Julien, Poulsard, Pinot Noir & Trousseau, Jura Red Blend, France.
Could the Jura be the next big thing? Well, maybe, and if so it just might be the younger generation vigerons like Julien Labet that are pushing the envelope and in his case going for “Natural Wines” with organic farming, small yields, and almost no sulfur while of course using native yeasts and wild fermentations. Like Arianna Occhipinti in Sicily and many other young winemakers, it looks like Julien has hit on something special with this approach and I look forward to see where it goes, especially after trying his 2010 Metis. This beautiful and layered red is a blend of Poulsard, Pinot Noir and Trousseau with delicate details and sublime balance, this wine shows a deft touch and while it is really cliche to say, it has a wonderful Burgundy like feel and focus. The nose has spring flowers and violets with a touch of game, truffle and spicy dried rose petals before a silky palate of cherry, raspberry, plum and wild strawberry plus a touch of blueberry. This is a seductive and very sexy wine, and without question a star to watch in the future too. The color is what you’d imagine of a wine of such elegance, with a soft ruby hue and the wine has pretty acidity and lift while still being lush and round with a nice lengthy finish that has just the right amount of fruit, spice and mineral tones that linger on. Charles Neal, again, deserve thanks and credit for finding such fun and interesting wines, though he said he was so far only able to persuade Julien Labet to let 30 cases make the trip to the US to date.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

A Special Thank You to Charles Neal of Charles Neal Selections for his time and for showing me these wines, and for his patience for explaining the details of them to me, I’m very grateful!

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Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day 2011

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2011 Domaine Jean Foillard Beaujolais Nouveau, Gamay, France.
Famous Morgon producer Jean Foillard makes some of the greatest wines of the region, if not beyond, and he makes this Nouveau, which tells a story of the latest vintage and has my mouthwatering for more! I was lucky enough to meet Jean this last summer, though my French skills were not up to any sort of meaningful conversation, then again neither was his English, and this just left me standing with an admiring smile on my face, much the same as when I have his wonderful wines. His Cote du Py Morgon is legendary and his special cuvees are sublime in a way that is hard to put into words, like a great Burgundy is as close as I can get. I was really excited about trying his Beaujolais Nouveau for the first time, and it was hard not the build expectations, but happily as it turns out the wine is great and is a perfect way to celebrate this years harvest and cheer the coming Holidays. The 2011 Foillard Nouveau shows delightful fresh blueberry, black cherry, grapey essence and zingy acidity with hints of spice, and lovely lingering strawberry. This wine is a joy and I will be having more than a few bottles myself over the next 3 to 6 months, drink now, but don’t be surprised to find this drinking well for more than a year! Very impressive, and a good indication that 2011 will be a good year for Beaujolais, and not too far off in quality to the 2009 vintage.
($20 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Available now at www.sfwtc.com ($18) and sold through Kermit Lynch

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Domaine de Montille “Clos Vougeot” Grand Cru, Red Burgundy.
De Montille makes one of the finest Vougeot’s and the 2008 is a lovely wine and gives lots of pleasure. While most know in their hearts that Clos Vougeot should be either re-classified a Premier Cru or split up, it still makes for some nice wines, it just is a shame about the prices, as you can find better Premier Crus out there. That said, the 2008 De Montille Clos Vougeot is almost worth it and it really is a beautifully textured Pinot that has smooth layers of fruit, earth, minerals and spice. With silky red fruits, pure class balance, very detailed and long of finish the De Montille is seductive and elegant. Raspberry and cherry lead the way with subtle floral perfume, nice oak shadings, incense and truffle notes all mixing wonderfully here and making for a complete Burgundy that stands out from the crowd.
($148 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Fronton de Oro “Tinto Tradicion” Gran Canaria, Spanish Red (Canary Islands)
This very interesting and spicy red from a high elevation vineyard on Gran Canaria is made up of the local varietals Tintilla and Listan Negro. Like Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica the Canary Islands are being discovered and the wines are turning heads around the world, with old timers and a new generation of young winemakers making some beautiful wines. If you like vibrant and peppery reds, you’ll love this wine, it shows baked cherry, plum and strawberry fruits with a huge dose of cayenne pepper making for a savory wine that has the feel and texture of a Pinot Noir. Hints of slate, mineral and lavender add to the mix and the finish is bright with touch of candied citrus rind and fresh cracked pepper. With question this is a wine geeks exotic red, but it is really fun and stylish too.
($20 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Avail. at www.sfwtc.com ($16.95)

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Gaujal de St. Bon Picpoul de Pinet Languedoc White.
One of the richest Picpouls I’ve tried, almost as round as Condrieu, with nice depth and length, very striking wine and exotic for a little Picpoul. The nose is bright and with lime flowers, verbena and minerally before a round almost creamy palate, was it aged on the lees? This is a cool white wine that has interesting richness, but with clean focus, no fat and vibrant acidity. The main layers on the palate include tangerine, lime, kiwi and stone fruit with a liquid mineral essence and hint of sweet herbs and melon. Wow, this is a fun and enjoyable wine that really pushes Picpoul to a new and exciting level. I highly recommend tracking this wine down and trying it in it’s youth.
($12 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Francois Chidaine Touraine (Sauvignon Blanc) Loire Valley White.
Francois Chidaine is most known for the Domaine’s lush Montlouis and Vouvray Chenin Blanc’s, but look for this Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine, because it is a stunning little wine that is more like a baby Dagueneau than a Sancerre copy with layered fruit, minerals and length. Chidaine’s biodynamic farming and small yields really brings out the intensity and terroir in all his wines and especially in this fine Sauvignon Blanc. Deep and balanced with exotic fruits and mineral core with zesty lemon/lime and gooseberry. Hints of kiwi and crushed stones add to the complexity and the finish goes on and on, even with the fresh acidity. This white from the Loire Valley in france is worth searching out by the case, as it is a unreal value and a detailed and pretty wine.
($14 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-St.-Georges “Clos Des Porrets Saint-Georges-Monopole” Premier Cru, Red Burgundy, France.
The Gouges wines are real agers, and when they hit their sweet spot the are some of the greatest wines made, and while this 2009 “Clos des Porrets Saint Georges” is young, it is one f the most thrilling Pinots I’ve had this year. I was lucky to have had dinner with the Gouges’ a few years back, and while it was tough as my French doesn’t exist, it was a pleasure to be in their charming company for an evening and trust me their wines are fantastic. Some of the oldest vines in Burgundy are in Nuits-St.-Georges, some over a hundred years old and the terroir really imparts an earthy tone and firm tannic structure to the wines, making for a Burgundy that usually takes a while to come around, though I have noticed a more gentle style emerging from this region in recent vintages and this wine is a pure joy to behold even now, though let it have plenty of air and let the classic funky and edgy verve blow off a bit. I left this bottle open 24 hours and the result was stunning, this wine is magical and devine, a Burgundy of power, structure and layered grace and beauty. The rose petal perfume and dried violets come through with a mix of earth and spices before a lush body of fruit come forward, black cherry, blackberry, plum and raspberry all mingle nicely in mouth with touches of truffle, pepper and incense. This racy and seductive Burgundy is almost dead on perfect, but I think even more may show up in a few years!
($85 Est.) 95-96 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Andrieux & Fils Vacqueyras “Cuvee Andre” Vieilles Vignes, Red, France.
The Andrieux wines have been a great find for me and for many people looking for value priced high quality wines with nice packaging and exciting flavors. Alex Andrieux puts these wines together from select grapes only from old vines in the region, mostly in the southern Rhone area, even though his also has a very intriguing Cote-Rotie offering as well. Last year he blew me away with his white, rose and basic Cotes du Rhone, all of which flowed gracefully and with good charm, terroir and character, but I must admit these 2010 wines look like the best yet, and I especially love this 2010 Vacqueyras red, mostly Genache, though a good dose of Mourvedre really does the trick here, plus a little Syrah helps as well. The nose is spicy and deep with black fruits, crushed stones, violets, white pepper and framboise before the round and lively palate of much the same along with red cherries, strawberry, blueberry and juicy acidity. This wine is clear and vivid with touches of baked earth, lavender and anise all playing nicely with the black, red and blue fruits. A soft kiss of tannins and a super subtle oak help with balance and focus making for a serious wine that could develop a bit more complexity over the next few years in bottle, even though I might suggest enjoying this little beauty sooner vs. later, as it is very good now.
($20 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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