2013 Domaine Maby, Tavel, La Forcadiere, Rhone Rose, France.
This Tavel has an amazing hue of violent pink and is intensely flavored with zesty citrus, juicy watermelon, raspberry and tart cherry along with hints of pepper, stony mineral, red peach, strawberry/rose water and a bust of grapefruit/citrus acidity. Domaine Maby does a 24 hour cold soak, ferments in stainless doesn’t allow malo to make this joyous Tavel Rhone Rose. This pink wine gains depth and has loads of vivacious charm, a perfect summer sipper and a total package wine that can do all your breakfast, luck and dinner duties! Tavel is made up of mostly Grenache, but has Cinsault, Mourvedre plus Clairette and Grenache Blanc to add complexity and the Domaine Maby is a pure and vivid example and is absolutely suburb and delicious with subtle floral notes and is very refreshing with a taught crisp finish, but with a lengthy aftertaste. Drink up! This would be especially good while watching Les Bleus, the French national soccer team in this years World Cup!
($24 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive
avail at www.sfwtc.com ($21.95)
2011 Domaine Dupuy de Lome, Bandol Rouge, Provence, France.
I might go as far to say Domaine Dupuy de Lome has the most beautiful winery and setting in the world! Set in a forest near the sea in a castle, this Provence estate oozes charm, romance and must be the greatest place to work imaginable, without question you should look this place up.This Mourvedre based Bandol with a little Cinsault from Domaine Dupuy de Lome is drinking wonderfully and highlights the ripe tannins of the vintage and juicy acidity making for a serious Bandol that can and should be enjoyed in it’s youth. This is still classically style and true to it’s old world roots and character with plenty of earth, spice and vigor along with joyous fruit and generous texture. It is hard not to love this wonderful expression of terroir and Provencal warmth with copious black and red fruits, mineral and game showing through out with black cherry, tangy currant, damson plum, basaltic dipped strawberry, anise and lavender oil. This entertaining and firm red has density and glorious mouthfeel, but never feels over the top with impressive drive, energy and lift, drink over the next 3 to 5 years, and do not be afraid to pop the cork on this refined and poised Bandol anytime the mood hits you.
($36 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
avail at www.sfwtc.com ($31.95)
2012 Domaine A et P de Villaine, Bourgogne Rouge Cote Chalonnaise, Les Clous, Burgundy, France.
One of the deals of the vintage so far, Aubert de Villaine’s newest cuvee Les Clous Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise Rouge 2012 is richly flavored with intense Pinot fruit, earthy spices, mineral and savory elements with tangy red berry, cherry and wild plum layers along with pepper, hints of game, bacon plus cedary wood notes. This old world Burgundy has much to enjoy and will certainly entertain over the coming decade of life. This wine has plenty of stuffing, drive and vigor with good acidity and silky tannins making for another winner for the de Villaine estate. 2012 is going to be an interesting vintage, there was difficult conditions and hail, along with a wonderful harvest, but of a tiny crop, so there will be very little wine, up to 60% less on the market in most cases and that with an extra burst of demand, all these things are going to lead to a rush on Burgundy and an unwanted jump in prices. That all said, places like Cote Chalonnaise still offer great values, even from the guy that is the managing director of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.
($42 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
avail at www.sfwtc.com ($36.95)
2013 Union Wine Company, Underwood, Pinot Noir, Oregon.
The Underwood Pinot is from grapes from many different locations across Oregon, this is fresh and deliciously juicy with pleasingly simple layers of bright fruit, making for an easy going honest wine. The Union Wine Company made in Oregon label has been making waves offering exceptional values in many different wines, with most coming from Willamette Valley sites. The basic Underwood is also available in cans! And it is delightful and very joyous in both vessels, though I do prefer the regular 750ml bottle, but it is very Oregon to offer this no pretense option. The 2013 shows light floral and spice notes with tangy raspberry, cherry, plum and cola bean with no oak enhancement, hard to beat this wine at the price, drink over the next year or so. Be sure to check this wine out, and also look for there other offerings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris under Alchemist and Kings Ridge. While the cans might be too hipster for me, I’ll certainly enjoy a few bottles of this straight forward Pinot Noir, hard to pass up a sweet deal deal like this!
($12 Est, 750ml bottle-Also Avail in 4pk 375ml Cans) 87-90 Points, grapelive
avail at www.sfwtc.com
2005 Joseph Phelps, Insignia, Proprietary Red, Napa Valley.
What a pleasure to taste this wine, I must say a big thank you to the winery for having this beautiful and stunning library release open for tasting at their wine garden, they are doing their tastings mostly outside until the winery gets it’s massive remodel finish. I highly recommend a Napa trip and an appointment at the Phelps winery during this time, it is an awesome setting and experience, even if you miss out on a cellar tour, you get a chance to taste a bigger selection of fantastic wines, outdoors in the heart of the Napa Valley, not a bad deal. I was up in Napa for a quick trip, but was pulled to Joseph Phelps and I am grateful I gave them a call and was able to taste through the offerings, their lineup included the 2011 Cabernet, some of their Freestone wines, which were super, more on later, and two vintages of their flagship Insignia, the 2006 and the gorgeous 2005. While the 2006 was certainly good, it has began to mature quickly, best to drink early, but the 2005 is flat out awesome with a youthful look and feel still and incredible length and detail showing now in the glass. This 2005 is almost all Cabernet Sauvignon, but with a few percentage doses of Petit Verdot and a splash of Merlot, this is a powerful and full bodied wine with some firm tannins, but it feels ultra decedent and lavish on the palate, it is smoky and has a subtle floral tone on the nose, but it makes it’s biggest impact in the mouth with an explosive array of black and red fruits and a rich mocha note with blackberry, plum, creme de cassis and cherry along with cigar wrapper, licorice and graphite. This is what you’d expect from a great wine and a Napa classic, I am terribly impressed with the 2005, a vintage that was pretty tannin filled and awkward on release, this wine has really come together and gives plenty of pleasure and style, drink from 2014 to 2025, fantastic stuff from a California legend.
($145-185 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive
2011 Cave Conrad Caloz, Humagne Rouge “La Mourziére” Les Coteaux de Sierre Valais AOC, Switzerland.
The Humagne Rouge grape is rare and wildly exotic with high levels of tannic structure, it was thought to have been native to Valle D’Aoste in Alpine Italy, but where it is almost extinct, it is almost exclusive to Valais SWitzerland and there is less than 350 acres of it in total production. This varietal is also known as Cornalin, and or Cornalin d’ Aoste, but it is almost certain to be historically native to Switzerland, though it is sometimes confused with and even called Petit Rouge. Cave Caloz’s stunning expression of Humagne Rouge is one of the greatest alpine wines I’ve even tasted and is a remarkable wine of complexity, depth and with a hauntingly long aftertaste with rich almost a northern Rhone Syrah feel, but with racy red fruits instead of black/blue, this is gorgeous wine, pretty, detailed and with a velvet covered tannin grip. This poised red with thrill mountain wine fans, and for those that geek out on Jura and Savoie reds, it is time to get into Switzerland, and while the whites have impressed lately, as well as a few Gamay and Pinot Noir wines, this Swiss red with blow your mind. The sexy and seductive La Mourziere 2011 by Conrad Caloz, the King of the Mountain, starts with red currants, plum and wild berry fruits with morello cherry, candied cranberry and brambleberry as well, along with savory spice, earthy truffle, sage/herb, chalky stones and briar notes finishing with black olive, anise, strawberry liqueur and pepper notes. This is stylish medium bodied artisan wine from a talented winemaker and unique terroir, it offers a lot of detail, density and natural elements, I highly recommend finding this scarce gem, drink over the next 3 to 5 years, wonderful!
($42 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
2013 Domaine Adele Rouze, Quincy, Loire Valley, France.
This lovely and excellent Sauvignon Blanc has nice lift, tang and zest with pure terroir and varietal character, a perfect refreshing white for summer. Domaine Adele Rouze of Quincy, the first AC in the Loire Valley, has been a new star on the scene for quality Sauvignon Blanc since Charles Neal starting importing the wines a few vintages back, and I highly recommend looking for it when you are looking for a white wine, especially as a counterpoint to Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume. At around 30 Years Old, Ms Rouze is a star, she farms organic and uses estate parcels of old vines, some date back to the 1920’s, she was trained in Bordeaux and made wine there until coming home to make this cuvee from her father Jacques’ vines. Adele uses native yeast, ages on the lees and uses stainless tank, her total production is about 8,000 bottles, she is without question a small artisan producer, making an exciting wine. The 2013 version is bright with lemon/lime, white peach, melon and grapefruit leading the way with mineral and stones, faint cut grass, cat pee and saline. Everything is zippy and edgy, this wine picks up depth in the glass and remains bursting with energy throughout, making for a charming and refined expression of Sauvignon Blanc and the region.
($18 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive
2008 Domaine Meo-Camuzet, Vosne-Romanee, Red Burgundy, France.
This was a nice surprise, I had opened a bottle from my own collection of this wine last year and it was not anywhere near as good as this bottle, that a friend had opened the night before and saved some for me to taste, Burgundy can be that way, I only hope I have a few more tucked away. The 2008 vintage was iffy and while there were some top wines made, it will be a lottery as to when to drink and what you’ll get, but the Meo-Camuzet Vosne-Romanee is proving to be a success at this point, this bottling comes from estate owned vines and it shows in the concentration and intensity. Being open almost 24 hours I’m sure helped, but there is still lots of vigor, extract and acidity, so I might suggest another few years in the cellar if you have this wine, though impressive as it is now. The 2008 Domaine Meo-Camuzet Vosne-Romanee AC has classic markers and character with crushed violets, game, bacon and cassis notes along with pretty black cherry, spiced plum and blue/black berry notes plus hints of graphite, smoky/sweet toast, cedar, mineral and savory meat, saline and wild herb tones. This wine feels grippy with a certain firmness, tension and balanced weight, like I said, this is impressive Burgundy and a rare treat as not much of this beautiful wine gets on the shelves, imported by Kermit Lynch and found in select wine merchants, best to search online, 2008 and 2009 might still see a few bottles, but 2010 and even 2011 look to be long gone, though Meo is well worth the effort in finding.
($100 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
2010 Wm. Harrison, Cabernet Franc, Rutherford Estate, Napa Valley.
This is a brilliant effort, and a totally vivid expression of Napa Valley Cabernet Franc, this is neither Loire or Bordeaux in style, Wm. Harrison’s Rutherford Cabernet Franc is pure California in the glass, glorious. This vibrant and darkly hued red gleams a blue/black with garnet edges with a nose that lifts wild flowers, minty spice and sweet cedary wood notes along with a palate that shows black currants, plum, cherry and loganberry fruits with a hint of allspice, pepperiness, a touch of pencil lead, vanilla and anise plus a whiff of cigar wrapper and a lengthy finish that has a creme de cassis aftertaste. This 2010 Wm. Harrison Cabernet Franc is medium/full and has rich texture, but never feels fat or heavy, it is wonderfully balanced and is generous and pleasing wine with smooth tannins, a bit of juicy acidity and well judged French oak subtlety. While all the 2010’s were lovely at Wm. Harrison, it really is this Cabernet Franc that stands out, especially at the price, when compared to the Cabernet Sauvignon and certainly this remarkable wine would be a super companion to lamb, duck or any of your steak choices. Drink from 2014 to 2022 easy, it was great revisiting this nice little winery on Silverado Trail, and I suggest you drop in as well when you get that way.
($50 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
2013 Domaine Tempier,Rose, Bandol, France.
Without question Domaine Tempier Rose is over hyped and expensive, but it still is fantastic, and while I can buy cases of it, I can’t imagine a summer without a few bottles and the new 2013 is delicious and one of the best vintages to date. The famed Lulu Peyraud, the long time matriarch of Domaine Tempier, runs this Provence estate near the glistening Mediterranean sea, the estate has been in the family since 1834, in fact their fame began with a gold medal in 1885. Over the years the amount of Mourvedre has varied, and this year it is only 50% total with 28% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and even a splash of Carignan, but when you think of Bandol, it is Mourvedre that makes it and while the other varietals make complexity and fruity openness, the Mourvedre gives power, intensity and vigor, and the 2013 Rose which is mostly all organically farmed, no chemicals used in the vines, shows great verve and length. This Provencal joy shines bright in the glass with it’s trademark salmon/pink hue and golden edges, this vintage is very fresh with zesty tart red grapefruit leading the way with apricot flesh, watermelon, pepper, orange and wild strawberry finishing with a hint of sour cherry and leaving a steely mineral note. This Domaine Tempier, a French classic, is a vibrant dry Rose of undeniable quality and sex appeal, it is definitely a must have summer wine, it is goes great with all cuisine and will make you root for Les Bleus (French national soccer team) in the World Cup, Viva la France! Plus, it is the perfect way to celebrate the first day of Summer!
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
avail at www.sfwtc.com