Monthly Archives: January 2014

Wine of the Day January 31, 2014

2012Donnhoffeiswein2012 Weingut H. Donnhoff, Riesling, Oberhauser Brucke, Eiswein, Nahe Germany. 375ml-Half Bottle.
Cornelius Donnhoff’s Oberhauser Brucke icewine 2012 is absolutely perfect and one of the most pristine examples of sweet wine I’ve had the privilege to try, this monumental and profound Riesling transcends class-action, it is so heavenly and beautifully detailed it is pure art in a glass. The 2012 Brucke Eiswein was crafted from ideal non-botrytis hand-picked berries, which adds to the elegant and precise character in this focused wine, I can honestly say without any hesitation I would rather drink this glorious nectar than Chateau d’ Yquem Sauternes any day, this Donnhoff sweet wine is utterly sublime, it feels dreamy and lighter on the palate with out any cloying toothache quality, there is live, vividness and purity of terroir that shines through, a transparency that defines this stunning Donnhoff. The nose is bright, floral and intoxicating with fresh white roses, citrus flowers and crystalline mineral notes along with hints of tropical and exotic fruits leading to a richly textured palate of delicate sweetness, with apricot, lemon curd, apple butter, mandarin orange, golden peach fruits along with pineapple, vanilla, clove, lychee, kiwi and tangy lime with a steely/flinty note in the background. There is well judged acidity adding structure and highlighting every complexity, this stunning wine almost never finishes, this might be a 100 year wine, I have no doubt this is a wine with amazing potential, point scores do not even matter here, words fail as well, I am feebly trying to say this is stuff of legends, and if you ever want to spurge for something luxurious and rewarding to put in your cellar, you couldn’t do much better than this. This is unbelievably good now, I can only imagine what glories are to come, for the wine drinker this is like seeing a Michelangelo, this is a masterpiece, drink from 2018-2050, though it would be incredibly hard not to open the minute I got my hands on it! Donnhoff’s Oberhauser Brucke Eiswein 2012 seriously is one of the greatest wines I’ve ever tried period. (coming spring of 2014)
($250 Est.) 100 Points, grapelive


For more on Donnhoff 2012 Riesling check out Grapelive’s 2012 Riesling Report READ ON

Coming Soon Riesling 2013 Preview

Cornelius Donnhoff & Kerry Winslow (photo taken by Terry Theise)

Cornelius Donnhoff & Kerry Winslow (photo taken by Terry Theise)

Wine of the Day January 30, 2014

2012SelbachOsterAnrecht2012 Selbach-Oster, Riesling “Anrecht” Zeltinger Himmelreich, Mosel Germany.
Johannes Sellach’s magnificent Anrecht is easily a potential 100 Point perfect wine, this 2012 is set for a glorious future and is a top echelon wine on par with the finest white wines in the world, be they from Hermitage, Batard-Montrachet or anywhere, and without question of the most collectable Rieslings of the vintage, as well as being an amazing value. Germany in 2012 produced wines that are mind blowing, even famed importer Terry Theise can’t hide his enthusiastic thrill from this vintage, he usually maintains that all the vintages are special, but 2012 is certainly more equal than most, it may just be the best year in my lifetime, for sure in my experience tasting wines and it continues to get better as the wines start to develop. Such is the case with great producers, names like Donnhoff, Leitz and Diel made some wines that will be legendary, as will this Anrecht by Selbach-Oster. The 2012 Selbach-Oster “Anrecht” has massive extract, texture and complexity, but it is still very primary and involved at this stage, honestly it will need a few years to truly begin to reveal just the surface of it’s greatness, though like the tip of the iceberg, you can see it is there. The nose is still shy, but when coaxed shows citrus blossoms, a melted ice stream freshness with river stones, a hint of sea salt and brine, honeyed white peach, crisp apple and tropical essences, in the mouth this wine expands with a full range of layers and amazing texture and creaminess. There is exotic passionfruit, lime, white tea, orange marmalade and apricot along with a steely and spicy mineral core, this wine is heavenly rich, though it has wonderful class and detail and lingers for ages on the finish with tangerine, pineapple and white plum. The Anrecht is stunning, it has everything you’d ever want in a Riesling, it has a touch of botryitis that will serve it well long term, as well as a full sweet palate, but there is well integrated acidity and this wine has staggering intensity and vigor. The 2012 Anrecht will be coming out in the Spring of 2014 in the US, be sure you don’t miss it. (Buy all the Selbach 2012’s you can, in fact almost any 2012 German Rieslings!)  Johannes Selbach, who recently entered into a partnership with famed American winemaker Paul Hobbs to make wines in New York’s Finger Lakes, has made one of the world’s great wines with this Anrecht, it is gorgeous and will reward some cellar time, drink from 2016-2030.
($42 Est.) 97-100 Points, grapelive

For more on 2012 Riesling Highlights check out the Grapelive Special Riesling Report READ ON

Coming Soon: Grapelive 2013 Riesling Preview Report

Terry Theise, Johannes Selbach and Kerry Winslow-Jan 2014

Terry Theise, Johannes Selbach and Kerry Winslow-Jan 2014

Wine of the Day January 29, 2014

2010VajraFreisa2010 G.D. Vajra, Freisa “Kye” DOC Langhe, Piedmonte, Italy.
The Vajra Freisa is exotic and glorious, by far the most intriguing and complex version of this grape I have sampled so far, the 2008 and 2009 were stunning wines as well, showing Vajra has a magic touch with this native varietal which is gaining a strong following. Freisa is rich and colorful like Barbera, it has a bit more perfume like Ruche (another rare local to Piedmonte grape) and has a intense wild strawberry essence, in some ways I might say it is like a meeting of Nebbiolo and Gamay, but regardless the G.D. Vajra Kye Freisa is a wine that deserves it’s high praise, this is very special stuff. The 2010 is gloriously complete and attractive in every way possible with a bouquet of lilac and roses with hints of lavender, fennel and kirsch along with mineral, red fruits and spice cake leading to a medium/full mouth showing the trademark strawberry, raspberry and juicy plum as well as some darker notes of loganberry, sweet herbs, saline and touch of licorice. This wine is round and lush on the palate with silky tannins, vivid layers lifted by nice acidity and a lengthy finish, this is fantastic Freisa, I highly recommend you search this Italian rarity out, it will not be an easy find, but it will be worth it, this wine offers a great reward, drink from 2014 to 2020, and don’t miss any of Vajra’s wines from their Riesling to their stunning Barolo, this winery is pure quality and flair.
($48 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day January 28, 2014

2009LaSpinettaCampe2009 La Spinetta Vursu, Barolo Vigneto Campe DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy.
Giorgio Rivetti’s Campe Barolo is always a special treat, in fact all the La Spinetta wines are delicious treats and even through the Cru Barbaresco wines remain his best, this Barolo is pretty close, especially this 2009 Vigneto Campe which shows amazing fruit, depth and elegance. The Campe is a powerful wine with plenty of tannins, acidity and extract, but it feels like velvet and the winemaking was masterful to produce such a wine. The nose is filled with earth, mineral, herbs, roses and basaltic dripped red fruits leading to a firm palate of black cherry, damson plum, raspberry, tar, briar, black licorice, sea shore brine and hints of truffle. With air some pretty strawberry, soy and cedar notes add to the complexity along with flashes of kirsch, cassis, vanilla and wild game. This layered and well rounded Barolo is harmonious and lush, but still has a long rewarding life ahead, and the finish is impressively length and lingering, drink from 2016-2026. I was completely seduced by this hedonistic Nebbiolo, I have been a long time fan of La Spinetta and this wine completely hits all the right spots, it is a fine effort that drinks like and gives the same emotional response as a Grand Cru Burgundy, fantastic.
($135 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day January 27, 2014

2012RidgeCH2012 Ridge, Chardonnay, Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains.
Ridge Vineyards continues to produce fine and wonderful Chardonnay without much fuss or attention, certainly this is because of their success with their Zinfandel blends and of course their Monte Bello Bordeaux like red that without question is one of America’s great wines, but still it is a surprise people haven’t discovered the Chardonnays here. These wines get critical acclaim and high ratings, plus they are much less than the competition in this class for the most part, regardless, I highly recommend getting some of the 2012 and sample it for yourself, this is lush, dynamic and full throttle Chardonnay. The 2012 weighs in at 14.5% and is a riper edition of this Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay that comes from Ridge’s home Monte Bello estate vineyard, it is a full bodied wine and is fairly powerful with a creamy texture, but still with plenty of life giving acidity and is very focused. The 2012 Ridge Estate Chardonnay starts with a blast of citrus blossom, hints of smoke, vanilla and apple pie before entry to a palate of layers that include apple, yellow peach, pineapple and lemon curd along with honeysuckle, hazelnuts, river stones, clarified butter cream, golden figs and spicy cloves. The texture is lavish and hedonistic, this vintage pushes the envelop a touch here, though I admire the deft touch in keeping everything balanced and the winemaking shows a lot of stylish finesse. This vintage might want to be enjoyed younger than the 2010 and 2011 versions, I am on the fence, so I do suggest drinking over the course of 3 to 5 years. I think this is darn good stuff and is highly entertaining.
($50 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day January 26, 2014

2011Manincor2011 Manincor, Reserva del Conte, Lagrein-Merlot-Cabernet, Vigneti delle Dolomiti Rosso IGT, Alto Adige, Italy.
This beautiful and expressive red comes from Manincor’s estate and Panholzer sites, both with perfect facing south east exposure, perfect for even ripening and these vatietals in the picturesque surroundings above Lake Kaltern in Italy’s famed Alto Adige region. The Reserve del Conte Rosso is a blend of 35% Lagrein, 40% Merlot and 25% Cabernet, grown of sand, clay and limestone soils, in what are some of the warmest South Tyrol vineyards that allows perfect conditions and certainly give this wine it’s richness, depth and complexity, the grapes are grown organic and all natural yeasts are used in the fermentations, the vineyard sites are picked and crushed separately with small lots being done in a combination of large wood vats, cement and some stainless, long skin contact with daily punch downs give plenty of extraction, color and tannins, but everything is gentle and refined in this elegant and positively stunning wine. In Italy, it is common that you see just Cabernet on the label, this can mean either Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc or both, regardless in this wine it doesn’t matter which, this wine is sublime because of the cuvee and and the terroir. The 2011 Manincor Reserve del Conte is a beautifully detailed wine, it starts with wild flowers, hints of violets, mountain berries, sweet herbs, cassis and subtle earthiness, leading to a polished palate of blueberry, cherry, damson plum and black raspberry fruit, along with hints of pepper, cedar, cigar wrapping, crushed stones, truffle and salted black licorice. There is a lingering wild strawberry note and mineral streak that is appealing in this most intriguing wine, I must say, not having this wine before, this stuff is fantastic and I’m hooked, especially at this price, I look forward to enjoying this wine and tasting lots more from this property, I recommend sampling some yourself. Drink over the next 5 to 7 years, this 2011 was wonderful surprise, with supple tannins, good acidity and gorgeous hue, it looks and tastes very sexy indeed, don’t miss this.
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive


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Wine of the Day January 25, 2014

2010JanzenCS2010 Janzen, Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, Napa Valley.
The Jansen by Bacio Divino Cellars, made by Claus Janzen with his son Kyle along with winemaker Kirk Venge is a label of single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, with this Beckstoffer To Kalon being to flagship. In case you haven’t heard of Beckstoffer or the famous To Kalon, this is one of Napa Valley’s most prized and heritage sites for Cabernet Sauvignon, part of Oakville and just south of Rutherford. Claus Janzen has been a long time client of Andy Beckstoffer and the grapes have always gone into the Bacio Divino blend, a Napa Super Tuscan wine, and Claus has made a single vineyard Cabernet from here since 2004, these are world class grapes, and the wines are simply fantastic. I think the 2010 might be the best yet from this small winery, especially the To Kalon, it reminds me of La Mission Haut Brion, Pontet Canet, Ridge Monte Bello, Shafer Hillside and strangely the 1994 Bryant! This is a wine of incredible class and detail, but still pure Napa Valley with concentration, terroir profile and depth. This beautiful Cabernet is not the over-blown Port like overripe wine that some producers have pursued in style, this wine has more a timeless character, and while cliche, it does show a bit more Bordeaux like restraint and poise, there is a real mineral streak and a certain chalkiness that comes from To Kalon along with deep black fruits, and the subtle French oak is already completely integrated into this glorious wine. The 2010 Janzen Beckstoffer To Kalon starts with hints of lilac, acacia and dusty coco powder along with creme de cassis leading to a dark mouth filling palate of black currant, blackberry and plum fruit with hints of smoke, stones, sweet tobacco leaf, black licorice, briar and spicy cedar. This wine has big structure and firm tannins, but remains remarkably balanced and refined for such a young wine. While a unbelievably drinkable Cabernet even now, this wine has even more potential and rewards to come, this is a sublime effort one of the best 2010 Napa Cabernets I’ve tasted to date, drink 2018-2030.
($165 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day January 24, 2014

2012Lapierre2012 M. Lapierre, Morgon, Cru Beaujolais, France.
One of the most sought after wines in the world, and who’d have thought, an old vine Gamay would attract so much attention, the Lapierre Morgon is an exciting red that never disappoints with it’s hedonistic and old world charms. This is the cuvee N, no sulphur, made for Kermit Lynch, and one of Natural Wines greatest success stories, though most agree it does need extra care and good cellaring, meaning no shock or exposure to temp changes to be at it’s best, and while some hardy souls put it away to age, it is best to drink this wine young and at it’s freshest. I have myself hid a few bottles away and found no ill effects, and in fact a couple of years age brought out some finer details and delivered a stunning wine, though this is a wine that is certainly enjoyed in it’s youth. While most people hail the 2009 vintage, a major moment in Beaujolais history, I find I like the more subtle years, even off years in Morgon, like 2007 and especially what I’m seeing of the 2012 wines, with this new Lapierre really making a grand impression on me, this is a wonderful wine of intensity, color and life. The latest Lapierre Morgon, coming in at 12.5%, is delightful and entertaining with classic blackberry, plum, walnut oil and tart cherry layers on the medium weight palate, the dark purple hue is impressive in the glass and the acidity is nicely judged, this year’s Lapierre is much more refined, polished and has ripe tannins, good length and drinks fantastic. The wine opens up to reveal deeper flavors with air and more complexity with hints of candied red citrus, kirsch, mineral, wild herbs and fig, this is pure Gamay at it’s best, the brave might set some in the cellar for a few years, but the impatient will drink this up and quick.
($35 Est..) 93 Points, grapelive


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Wine of the Day January 23, 2014

2012SavaryVV2012 Domaine Savary, Chablis, Vieilles Vignes Selection, France.
A racy brisk Chablis with dynamic character, the Savary Old Vine is a terrific and classic wine that offers a stunning value. Olivier Savary is a rising talent in Chablis and his wines are secretly called baby Raveneaus, highlighting the quality and style his wines show. The 2012 Savary Vieilles Vignes is vibrant and fresh with pure Chardonnay varietal charms, lime, lemon and green granny smith apples with hints of steely mineral, loads of chalky limestone and wet river stones. This is a white Burgundy lover’s dream, this is very vivid and elegant wine, do not miss.
I’ve been a fan since the 2007 vintage, and this wine year after year has been consistently one of my favorite Chardonnays, especially for the price, there are not too many wines that compare, drink now through 2020.
($28 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive


Avail at ($26.95)

Wine of the Day January 22, 2014

2011PacaletBelAir2011 Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey-Chambertin, Bel-Air Premier Cru, Red Burgundy, France.
Philippe Pacalet’s new 2011 wines are a revelation and take his label to the next level, from a difficult vintage they are stylish, richly flavored and possess that Burgundy magic, the undefinable element that becomes the holy grail of all wine critics and wine lovers, it is that unexplainable joy and or emotional response that certain Burgundy (Pinot Noir as well) can give that just makes all the stars align and haunting music play when you experience it. Whatever the X factor is, Pacalet’s wines have it, especially his Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Crus, like this fantastic Bel-Air, which is already drinking with lovely fruit, poise and length. The 2011 Pacalet Gevrey-Chambertin Bel-Air Premier Cru is deeply layered with a nice floral perfume and a complex character, it comes from broken rocks, a touch of clay and a root of limestone soils, it was made from a tiny yield of grapes, which explains the concentration and intensity, all the vines are organic and only native yeasts are used, everything was 100% whole cluster (fermented with stems) and aged on it’s lees for 16 months in cask without racking, this is natural and gentle artisan winemaking, and the results are stunning, with under 13% for those that find that important. The nose starts with rose petals, wild flowers, hints of game, spice, kirsch and a mix of red fruits, leading to a full mouth of black cherry, plum and mountain berries along with pepper, chalky stones, mineral and truffle notes. With air a tangy raspberry, sandalwood and briar side come through, hints of fine tannin coat the palate plus a juicy red peach, guava and lavender oil. This a firm and salty wine still, but very expressive and captivating even at this young stage, bravo to Pacalet, this is great stuff, drink over the coming decade.
($110-125 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive