Monthly Archives: July 2013

Wine of the Day July 22, 2013

2010Kesner2010 Kesner, Chardonnay, Rockbreak Vineyard, Sonoma Coast.
Jason Kesner, assistant Winemaker at Kistler, is making quite a name for himself making wonderful Pinot and Chardonnay under his own Kesner label, especially striking is this 2010 Kesner Rockbreak Chardonnay, this lovely and full expression really shines with dynamic flavors, texture and charm. I’ve tried just a few of his wines, but I am a big fan and think he’ll be a label to watch going forward, these are well crafted artisan wines made in very small amounts. I tasted this wine again recently in a ultra Chardonnay challenge against some top producers including Kistler, Hyde de Villaine and one of my new favs Arnot Roberts, all were sublime all in the 94-95 Point range, but I will say the Kesner might have been the winner on the day, with flowing rich density, juicy acidity and gorgeous length and hints of the exotic it was magical. The nose is full of white flowers, touches of smoke, hazelnut and tropical essences leading to a layered palate of apple, peach, pear and lemon curd with faint traces of honeysuckle, pineapple, green melon and clarified cream and vanilla, finishing rich in the mouth but with a burst of energy and tangy citrus. Drink this beauty over the next 3-5 years, bravo.
($60 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive


Avail at ($58.95)

Wine of the Day July 21, 2013

2012JamainPG2012 Denis Jamain, Domaine de Reuilly, Reuilly Pinot Gris, Loire Valley.
This steely wine looks like a light rose with a pretty orange/pink tint, but it is really a skin contact white wine from the “Grey” Pinot Gris grape, though really it is as fun and refreshing as any rose out there. Denis Jamain is making some of the most interesting artisan wines in this part of the loire and his whole Domaine de Reuilly line up is stunning for 2012, especially this Reuilly Pinot Gris, which is one of my all time favorite wines made from this varietal. The nose is mineral laced with white flowers and bright citrus leading to a vibrant palate of apple skin, chalk, river stones with cool melon, white peach and zesty lemon/lime. This unique expression is captivating and vigorous wine that is a must try, and while it will be called a rose, it is some much more and very thought provoking, very cool indeed, check it out before it sells out! Another Kermit Lynch Imports wine, of course.
($20 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive


Avail at

Wine of the Day July 20, 2013

2012Felines2012 Domaine Felines Jourdan, Picpoul de Pinet, white Languedoc AC, France.
One of my favorite summer whites, the Picpoul is a great and refreshing wine with good depth and charter showing brisk citrus, stone fruit and tangy notes. The 2012 Felines Jourdan is lovely bright and light bodied, though a nice round creaminess comes through with air, and there is a hint of mineral intensity as well, I just adore this fun Picpoul de Pinet, it is fast becoming a staple in my summer favorites, the last three vintages have all been stellar examples, and this new 2012 is gorgeous and easy to love. This wine opens with lime, white flowers, tangerine and white peach and the pit, plus a cool steely stony essence. This is a delicious little white that goes well with picnics, fish, smoked meats and nutty cheeses. Drink this nice Languedoc white over the next year or so for the best of it’s charms and pleasures, what a nice wine, I’ll be enjoying it myself through the warmth of August no question.
($15 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day July 19, 2013

2011BarrocheCHDP2011 Domaine La Barroche, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Signature, Rhone Red, France.
La Barrocche’s 2011Signature Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge is savory and intense wine with tons of unique character and robust flavors, not your typical Chateauneuf at all. This red comes at you with loads of spice, chalky minerals and a good dose of tannins with subtle, almost hidden fruit which is very backward for a Grenache based wine, in fact this wound up Chateauneuf will need plenty of time to fully reveal itself, but it is still very seductive and intriguing now with a huge mouth filling palate of salted black licorice, briny iodine, soy, kirsch and plum flavors, with some air and plenty of coaxing there is more boysenberry and hints of a strawberry/lavender essence. This serious and austere wine finishes with gripping tannin and is severely dry and dusty. There’s tons of potential here, and the fruit and richness should flow freely in time, but patience and forethought will be required to get the best out of this wine, my best guess would be drink from 2018-2022. That said, I really like the savage force found here and I like the overbearing salted tangy black licorice, but I’m weird that way, best to serve young with food, lamb or prime rib sound like good ideas.
($56 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day July 18, 2013

2010SwitchbackCS2010 Switchback Ridge, Cabernet Sauvignon Estate “Peterson Family Vineyard” Napa Valley.
This latest Switchback Ridge is the best yet from this estate in the eastern zone of Napa Valley and crafted by Robert Foley, this is fantastic Cabernet that is full of richness and varietal pureness with robust black fruit, chocolate and smooth ripe tannins. Loads of cassis, blackberry, cherry and plum lead on the mouth filling palate with hints of sage, licorice, pencil lead, cedar and vanilla, plus a super long currant laced finish. This seamless Cabernet weighs in about 14.5% and has the focus and acidity to be extremely classy and not over the top, like I mentioned this is what I feel is the best effort to date for the Peterson Family Vineyard (Switchback Ridge), it is awesome from start to finish. This Cabernet has fantastic depth, density and richness, look for it to drink well into the next decade and maybe beyond, this is super wine.
($85 Est.) 94-95 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day July 17, 2013

2011MeyerNakelS2011 Weingut Meyer-Nakel, Pinot Noir S, Dernau, AHR Germany.
Werner Nakel, The Red Baron, makes some of the world’s finest and sought after Pinot Noir period, these are gorgeous and generous wines that without question rival the best of Burgundy and beyond. Werner and his family were pioneers in Trocken Spatburgunder and are dedicated artisans farming old vines in the Ahr region of Germany, the northern most site for serious red wines in the whole country. The Ahr was founded as a wine region by the Romans and it is one of the smallest regions in Germany with steep south facing vineyards set on blue, weathered slate and greywacke soils, and while tricky, this microclimate produces majestic Pinot Noir, especially the wines of Meyer-Nakel. Decanter Magazine has awarded Meyer-Nakel “Best Pinot Noir in the World” in exhaustive blind tastings against wines from cur sites in Burgundy, New Zealand, California and Oregon, and I myself have tasted 1,000’s of Pinot Noir wines and can honestly say the Meyer-Nakel wines are that good. I took quite an effort to find Meyer-Nakel, but it was worth it, I even went to Germany to get a few bottles, back in 2009, and this year I managed to rustle up a six pack of the 2011 Meyer-Nakel S Pinot Noir, and I couldn’t help but open one within hours. For me the Meyer-Nakel wines have the same excitement as greats like Beaux Freres, Pisoni Estate, Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche and Meo-Camuzet Vosne-Romanee, they are modern and lush with dark fruit and clean with new French oak influence. There is something very special about Pinot Noir grown on slate, it has an extra dimension of mineral, spice and terroir that really appeals to me and the wines of Meyer-Nakel, August Kesseler and Becker are all fantastic examples of what great German Pinot can achieve. The 2011 Weingut Meyer-Nakel, Pinot Noir S, Dernau Ahr, Germany is deeply colored, super lavish in body, texture and flavors with an amazing array in bouquet and palate, there’s roses, cassis, flinty smoke, mocha, violets, black cherry, cola bean, red pepper and mixed berry. This sublime Pinot weighs in at 14%, and is perfectly ripe and full of intensity, character and charm with an exceptional finish, while remaining youthful, fresh and vibrant throughout. A lingering blueberry and plum plus savory mineral essence last forever in the mouth, this is ultra impressive wine that in all honesty should get even better in another 3-5 years, though I cannot imagine my 5 bottles lasting that long, sadly.
($60 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day July 16, 2013

2012DielNahesteiner2012 Schlossgut Diel, Riesling Nahesteiner Trocken, Nahe Germany.
Diel’s gorgeous dry Nahesteiner Riesling is bright and vigorous with loads of extract, mineral notes and gripping acidity, without question this one of the great steals in Trocken for the vintage. The 2012 Schlossgut Diel Nahesteiner Trocken starts with fresh orange blossom, sea breeze, chalk dust before a palate of lime, yellow peach, dried apricot and grapefruit essence with hints of river rock, apple, iodine, flint and lemon oil. This steely Riesling is intensely lively with a real kick of acidity, but everything folds together nicely, balanced and focused all the way, even a roundness in the mouth comes through, and there’s a good length to the citrusy finish. Diel’s dry wines are all refined, tasty, crisp and full of flavor and class, especially this Nahesteiner, be sure to get your hands on some when it comes out later this year, drink 2014-2020.
($28 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day July 15, 2013

2010WesMarPN2010 WesMar, Pinot Noir, Hellenthal Vineyard, Sonoma Coast.
This absolutely gorgeous Pinot Noir is a stunning wine with brilliant flavors and loads of character, this is far and away the best yet for this artisan winery. Along with Hirsch and Peay, Hellenthal shows the Sonoma Coast terroir in all it’s glory with intensity and gravitas that is hard to beat with dark rich fruit, savory spices, mineral tones and sublime balance with fresh acidity and refined tannins. The nose is beautifully detailed with wilted roses,  violets and vibrant clarity of red fruits, sweet herbs and subtle oak leading to a vivid palate of raspberry, black cherry, fresh plum and spicy currant with hints of pepper, lavender and candied citrus, finishes lengthy with creamy fruitiness and a whiff of vanilla. The layers are lush and pleasing, but still with lively lift and focus making this Pinot Noir truly something special, bravo! Drink from 2014-2020, without question a fantastic hand crafted Pinot Noir that deserves lots of attention.
($45 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day July 14, 2013

2006Pandol2006 Pandol, Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains.
I found this in my cellar, I had believed I had drunk them all ages ago, so it was fun to go back and try this very handcrafted Pinot by Jenny Pandol, it was her first public release from select sites in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Jenny has sourced fruit from Windy Oaks, Schultze Family and in 2008 made a glorious Alfaro Family Pinot, and if memory serves me, there were only 2 or 3 barrels of the 2006 made. I remember this being a finicky wine when young, but now with the age it is really coming together nicely, and it drunk super delicious last night with dried currants, tangy cherry and pouched plum leading on the silky palate while fennel, wilted roses, tea spices and truffle/earth notes add complexity. A touch of cedar, vanilla and soft wood toast come through on the finish with some raspberry tart. There’s not likely much of this wine around, sadly, but if you come across it, it is really tasty.
($30 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day July 13, 2013

2011Pecchenino2011 Pecchenino, Dolcetto San Luigi Dogliani DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy.
This brilliant Dolcetto is vivid and purr with fresh berry fruit, acidity and charm, Pecchenino really nailed this vintage and made a very pleasing and interesting wine. Sadly the 2010 sample was corked, but that happens, and while that was a disappointment, this 2011 more than made up for it and I highly recommend that you locate and try this entertaining Dolcetto as soon as possible, this might be the best Dolcetto value of the vintage. This wine leads with a fruit driven attack on the palate with fresh crushed blackberry, plum and black cherry fruits, hints of mint leaves, candied orange rind and sweet herbs. This light/medium red has everything to be serious, but simple enough just to be fun and easy, best with picnic and or classic cuisine, this is highly enjoyable for short term drinking pleasure, drink over the next year or two, this is my new go to pizza/pasta wine no question, a super little wine.
($16 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive