2009 Weingut Leitz, Riesling “Leitz Out” Rheingau, QbA, Germany.
I decided to re-visit this 2009 Leitz Out to see how it was doing, and to tell you the truth I have a favorite restaurant, Burma Superstar in San Francisco on Clement Street, that pours this by the glass and I have it every time I go. This 2009 is still fresh and full of flavor, and has filled out a touch making it a joy with the spicy Burmese food, though it is wonderful on it’s own as well with just a hint of sweetness. The vintage 2009 was pretty awesome across the board, but fairly ripe, so it is great to see this entry level Riesling showing so well, so well I opted for a whole carafe. The nose starts with tropical fruits, white flowers, slate and a whiff of petrol before a flowing palate of green apple, peach, nectarine, dried/candy pineapple and tangy stone fruits with hints of honey and lime. This is pure and refreshing Riesling that is simply delicious and should be for another few years yet. Finding any 2009 will be difficult, but 2011 looks set to be a strong vintage and should be coming into stores and restaurants in the next month, summer of 2012, be sure to look for it.
($16 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2009 Radio-Coteau, Syrah “Las Colinas” Sonoma Coast.
This is uber lovely Syrah, one of the best out there in my opinion, and like the Peay “Les Titans” shows that the Sonoma Coast is a fine region for this grape, giving a real Northern Rhone profile to these glorious wines. In a tasting flight recently against Cote-Rotie and Crozes-Hermitage the Radio-Coteau more than held it’s own, in fact it was really difficult not to believe it was a top French wine, though it just have been better over all, and it was my top pick by a clear margin. The nose reminds of the famed Cote-Rotie with crushed violets, bacon and fennel while dark berry and currants come to the fore with air leading to a rich and vibrant palate of black plum and cherry while tangy boysenberry fills the mouth and a blueberry compote lingers on the finish, but there is garrique, cracked pepper, licorice and smoky sweet fig all adding to the complexity and depth of flavors. The body is medium full with refined tannins and good fresh acidity making this an elegant and classic Syrah that should age gracefully and drink great for a decade, I highly recommend searching this rare gem out, there is very little of it around, but it is worth the hunt.
($50 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive
Avail at www.sfwtc.com ($47.95)
2011 Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rose, Provence France.
I surely would rate this beautiful and crisp Rose much higher if the price was a bit lower, and my only real complaint here is that I can’t afford more of it, plus it sells out too fast. Kermit Lynch’s jewel of Bandol Domaine Tempier is a first class winery and without question this is a super quality wine that will always be sought after and enjoyed regardless of cost. A cuvee of Grenache and Mourvedre, though mostly flavored by the Mourvedre the Tempier Bandol Rose shows bright cherry, watermelon, plum and strawberry with a huge burst of red and pink citrus. The wine opens to liquid mineral, hints of spices and cranberry, but it is the juicy acidity that drives this dry Rose. This wine will drink great this summer, though it can go a few years, in case you lose a few bottles in your cellar, but I can hardly imagine anyone not drinking it up sooner vs. later!
($40-42 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
avail at www.sfwtc.com ($40)
2010 Domaine Combier, Crozes Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France.
This pretty and vibrant Syrah is full of beautiful black and blue fruit, spice, mineral and shows lovely pose and balance. The nose starts with violets, blueberry and game notes before a elegant palate of boysenberry, cherry and plums with white pepper, black olives, garrique and bacon. This wine is vivid and sleek with nice freshness and medium weight making for an easy and delightful Syrah that drinks great now and should age another 5 years most certainly. This is another great find from importer, Charles Neal, I suggest checking it out, it is a super value.
($34 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive
Avail at www.sfwtc.com ($29.95)
2011 Bjornstad Cellars, Rose of Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast.
Greg Bjornstad, former Flowers winemaker, makes some fantastic Chard and Pinot under his Bjornstad label these days and consults for a few select clients and working with great vineyard sites, including one of my favorite Pinot Noir vineyards “Van Der Kamp” on Sonoma Mountain, I highly recommend getting some. New for me, this lovely Rose of Pinot Noir which has great detail and depth for a pink wine and still packed with fresh spice and acidity. Made like a white wine, stirred on the lees this beautiful Rose is full of flavor with watermelon, sour cherry, wild strawberries and red citrus layers. These is a hint of pepper, lavender, rose petals and liquid mineral essence. This is a winery only wine at the moment, but I should think the quality of this wine will extend it’s reach far and wide. This is one of nicest domestic Pinot Rose wines I’ve tried ever had.
($20-24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Spreitzer, Riesling “101” QbA, Rheingau, Germany.
Spreitzer’s 101 is a little entry level Riesling somewhat geared for beginners, but even so it is a fine and lovely wine with plenty to admire. Bright and tangy fresh the 2011 Weingut Spreitzer Riesling “101” is a pretty white with lime, apricot, peach and honeydew flavors along with some white flowers and mineral tones. This zesty Riesling has just a touch of sweetness, but is balanced with citrusy acidity and hints of savory saline with only a whiff of petrol. This fun wine is not overly complex, but it drinks great and offers some good value for the asking price, drink over the next 2 years.
($17 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive
2011 Grey Stack Cellars, Sauvignon Blanc “Rosemary’s Block Dry Stack Vineyard” Bennett Valley, Sonoma.
Peter Young’s Grey Stack Sauvignon Blanc is one of the great white wines of California, and this plot in Bennett Valley in Sonoma near Sonoma Mountain and Santa Rosa is a unique micro climate. If you’ve not tried Grey Stack Cellars wines, you really should, especially their fantastic Sauvignon Blanc, it is seriously good stuff, and I enjoy the Chardonnay and their reds as well. The 2011 Grey Stack Cellars, Sauvignon Blanc “Rosemary’s Block Dry Stack Vineyard is mind-blowing in every dimension and detail with exotic tropical essences, body, life and length. the nose is lemon/lime, kiwi and mangos leading to gooseberry, melon, passionfruit and grapefruit on the palate while hints of mineral spice and lots of leesy richness. Bright intensity of flavors and tangy acidity throughout gives energy and focus to this stunning Sauvignon Blanc, trust me, don’t miss this fresh white if you can help it, it is a marvelous wine.
($35 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive
2010 Domaine Bernard Baudry, Chinon Blanc “La Croix Boissee” Loire Valley, France.
Baudry’s wines are some of the Loire’s finest and this organic estate turns out fantastic Chinon, but this Chinon Blanc, made from 30 Year Old Chenin Blanc vines, had always alluded me, though I have always been intrigued by the rare Chinon Blanc this special cuvee was a shockingly great wine. The barrel aged La Croix Boissee is rich and majestic with honeyed peach and pear fruit, clove, lemon/lime, liquified flowers, nutmeg, river stones and hints of vanilla and brioche. I love Montlouis and Vouvray Chenin Blanc’s so I had hoped I would love this wine too, and I was blown away by the depth and complexity of this rare Chinon Blanc, even if it is not as mineral laced as a Huet or as candied as a Chidaine it is a charming and lovely wine that has lush layers and mouth filling flavors embraced by the French wood. There is a lingering white liqueur note that adds interest even though the wine is finely balanced and vibrant. Those that like exotic wines will do well to search this beauty out, and white Burgundy fans, you’ll adore it as well. Imported by Kermit Lynch.
($42 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
Avail through Kermit Lynch, and www.sfwtc.com ($38.95)
2011 Ott, Rose Cotes de Provence “Les Domaniers” France.
Domaine Ott, one of the top Rose producers in Provence has an amazing selection of Estate, Chateau and and Domaine Roses to chose from, all of which prove to be remarkable and unique in style and terroir, then there is this Ott Selections Rose “Les Domaniers” which is a cuvee of multiple estate and fruit. While only the entry level Ott, the 2011 Ott “Les Domaniers” is a little gem and a pretty and flavorful dry Rose that is still not cheep, but worth the price in a pinch, since the Domaine Ott Chateau bottling run close to $40 a bottle. The 2011 Les Domaniers shows rich and lively fruit essences with tangy plum, raspberry and strawberry leading the way with watermelon, red citrus, spice and mineral tones. This dry Rose from France’s famed Provence is mostly Grenache based, but there is Cinsault and a few other grapes that could be in there, and there is good acidity, though a bit richer and fuller on the palate than most pink wines from the region.
($24 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive
2008 Remelluri, Rioja Spanish Red.
Telmo Rodriguez’s beautiful and layered Rioja is as good as it gets, really it is hard to find anything not completely joyful and refined about this wonderful red that is mostly Tempranillo with touches of Garnacha and Graciano. While the 2007 was especially amazing considering the vintage, this 2008 just seems more of everything, with denser fruit, richer depth and firmer tannins making for a Rioja with a long glorious life ahead of it. The nose is pure with subtle smoke, earth, spice and currant laced dark fruits leading to a full mouth of cherry, boysenberry and plum fruits with lavender, licorice, rose petals, crushed rocks and vanilla bean essence. Touches of wild strawberry, cassis and fresh cut tobacco add to the complexity in this Rioja, and the finish is long while the smooth texture and tannins hold everything in near perfect order. I’m sure this wine will merit a higher score after a few years in bottle, so be sure to picked more than one bottle, and be sure to check out the Remelluri Blanc and the new Lindes de Remelluri Rioja Red, a huge value wine at close the $24, all of these should be out early summer of 2012.
($40 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive