2014 Domaine de Marquiliani-Anne Amalric, Rosé Gris de Marquiliani, Vin de Corse, France.
The new Marquiliani Rosé is delicately pale with just the faintest of orange/pink tints, but is vibrant and flavorful and is one of the top Rosé wines of the season, sadly very little is going to be available, as Kermit Lynch, the importer has had such high demand it is virtually an instant sell out, so race to your local and get some! The 2014 Rosé Gris de Marquiliani is made from 90% Sciaccarellu and 10% Syrah showing succulent tart cherry, wild strawberry, mixed citrus and watermelon along with a hint of flint, pepper and steely mineral tones. There is a vivid core of grapefruit and peach pit that adds to the mouth watering nature with a splash of rose water and light lavender in the back ground in this fabulous summer pink wine from Anne Amalric of Domaine de Marquiliani, this is brilliant stuff, everything is subtle, dreaming and full of vitality, this will engage your senses and leave a huge refreshing smile smile on your face. If there was a thing like a cult Rosé, this would be a contender and it is remarkable how beautiful and detailed this wine always seems to be, very impressive and delightful every vintage, but especially so this year, Corsica is on a roll, all of the 2014’s from the island are worthy, in particular this Marquiliani of course, but also look for the Yves Leccia and Clos Canarelli, both of which are sublime as well. Drink the sexy Rosé Gris de Marquiliani over the next year, though I’ll be it quick run thing, it is so tasty, you’ll be hard pressed to wait.
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2014 Yves Cuilleron, Viognier, Les Vignes d’ a Cote, Rhone, France.
This is a real winner, Yves Cuilleron has a gift for great Viognier and his baby version is delightful and stylish. Yves Cuilleron’s single varietal series Les Vignes d’ a Cote offers lots of quality for the money and are very pretty wines, especially this 2014 Viognier and his 2014 Syrah bottling and you should keep an eye out for them, imported by Rosenthal, they will be hitting the shelves very soon. For those that want a study in Viognier and don’t feel like popping for a Condrieu should consider this Les Vignes d’ a Cote it delivers classic and true character with liquid stones, honeysuckle, apricot and tangerine notes throughout and opens to reveal a textural thrill and creamy center with hints of clarified butter and toffee notes with enough acidity to hold things in balance, this looks like the best wine in the 2014 vintage for Cuilleron’s Les Vignes d’ a Cote series, it has more intrigue than the Marsanne and Roussanne this time around and should prove lovely and enjoyable for the next 6 months to a year, drink up, this is yummy stuff. ($19 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive
nv Delgado Zuleta “La Goya” Manzanilla DO, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Dry Sherry, Spain.
The La Goya Manzanilla is the premium version of Delgado Zuleta offerings made from older solera Manzanilla Pasada, crafted by this old Bodega, originally founded in 1744 near the Guadalquivir River mouth right on the Atlantic. This bright and tangy dry Sherry has classic Manzanilla vibrancy and sea breeze/salty character and is very fresh and zesty with dried tropical fruits, orange rind, peachy notes, chalk and oily pecan along with a briny core and citrus layers. The older aged Pasada adds to the complexity and nuttiness while remaining light and vibrant, this is very interesting and stylish Manzanilla that will play nicely with or without food, but maybe best with tapas or cheese plates. The Sherry region is mysterious and underrated, especially these dry perky styles from the ancient vines growing out of the coastal sand dunes right near the ocean and Sanlucar de Barrameda in particular, these are wonderful wines and an unique terroir, it is time to rediscover Sherry and the La Goya by Delgado Zuleta is a great place to start. ($17 Est. 375ml) 92 Points, grapelive
2014 Stolpman Vineyards, Sangiovese, Carbonic, Ballard Canyon.
The Carbonic Sangiovese from Stolpman is a fun and easy wine, a bright and fresh example of ready to go village red that is made by dumping the grapes into a stainless tank whole cluster add a bit of fermenting juice and seal the tank and let it go for 15 days, occasionally venting in CO2, this process is a way to ferment without the extraction of tannins and make a pop and serve wine, no extended aging or oak required. The color here is not overly dark, ruby and garnet and the nose is floral and juicy with lots of cherry and strawberry aromas and main palate flavors along with crushed raspberry, cinnamon stick, pomegranate, sweet and savory herbs, dried currant and pipe tobacco. This is best slightly chilled and with summer outdoor foods and BBQ, as well as traditional pasta, mushroom dishes and mixed meats and cheeses. The Stolpman gang is innovative and are making an awesome array of wines, they have become one of California’s leading wineries with their Syrah offering being some of the best in the new world along with seriously delicious white Rhone style whites and red blends. It all starts with the vines and the grapes, and that is where they excel, these are winegrowers first and foremost and it shows in every wine they produce. This almost Beaujolais style red Carbonic Sangiovese is really nice and pleasing, drink it up over the coming year, best from 2015 to 2017.
($22 Est.) 88-90 Points, grapelive
2014 Weingut Selbach-Oster, Riesling “Schmitt” Zeltinger Schlossberg, Mosel Germany.
The brilliant and exotic Schmitt comes from the steep slate hill above the church, set back from the Mosel, there is great southern exposure here and less affected by noble rot, a big plus in 2014, it allowed these rich and lush wine to remain crystalline and focused, this is one of the great wines of the vintage! Johannes Selbach’s top wines are not Trocken/Grosses Gewachs, there are single block wines from Cru sites, they are also heavy weighted, dense and medium sweet, but it is not about the sugar, it is all about the terroir and overall balance, these are wines of hedonism, power, textural pleasure and vitality, especially the Schmitt in 2014, it explores the boundaries of perfection in a fantastically difficult vintage. The was a savage thinning of the crop and a tiny window to get the grapes in to make this masterpiece from the old vines at Zeltinger Schlossberg, it is truly amazing with all the problems and heartbreak endured here that a wine of this quality and gorgeous detail managed to happen at all, there are some areas that were wiped out by rot, flies and other unfortunate conditions during the growing season in 2014, but somehow this block come through and made one of the most glorious Riesling wines of the year. The 2014 Schmitt by Selbach-Oster starts with a sweet perfume, the 2014 wines across the board are wonderfully aromatic with heady bouquets, this wine shows white roses, dripping jasmine, hints of gardenia and tropical essences that lead to a full bodied, Auslese weight palate with apricot, green apple, lime and mango fruits leading the way along with a mix of spicy mineral and flinty stones, briny sea shore notes, soft honey decadence, creamy verbena and sweet peach flesh. The finish carries over the core of fruit and richness, but there is a burst of dynamic acidity and vibrancy, this is not a flabby wine and you are left with a dreamy/haunting impression with lingering tangerine sorbet, crushed stone and wet steeliness, this is fabulous Riesling and one you’ll want in the cellar, this has 100 Point potential and it will also drink well young, it already has poise and elegance, but should last two or three decades! This sexy Riesling will be released sometime this fall and I highly recommend securing it when it comes, this is special stuff, drink from 2016 to 2028, and don’t be afraid of it’s sugar levels, it drinks like a lavish Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne and is a spectacular wine from Selbach-Oster!
($52 Est.) 95+ Points, grapelive
2011 Brovia, Barolo DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy.
The soon to be released Brovia Barolo normale is a generous and sexy Nebbiolo that still has serious stuffing, but can be enjoyed in it’s youth, much more so that the 2010’s, if you are looking for a great Barolo that can age and can be drunk near term this is your wine. Brovia makes a polished old school Barolo with refinement and elegance, from vineyards around Castiglione Falletto, along with G.D. Vajra and Oddero these are some of the most highly regarded and reasonably priced wines in their class, as well as making a fine Dolcetto and Barbara. The latest set of wines I tasted were all wonderfully expressive and total quality, even the 2013 vintage, which was a very difficult year, another highlight was their pretty 2012 Langhe Nebbiolo all from Barolo fruit and a steal at about $34 a bottle. The 2011 Brovia Barolo starts with a heady mix of wilted roses, tar, grilled fennel, red berries and sweet and savory earthy notes leading to a full palate of tangy cherry, damson plum, dried currants and mix berry fruits along with salted black licorice, minty herb, porcini/wild mushroom, red spices, cedar and chalky stones. The tannins are firm, dusty and have some grip, but meld in nicely letting the fruit coat the mouth and the acidity is just enough to keep everything lifted and fresh, this is a vibrant, vivid and seducing Nebbiolo that pumps out the pleasure from start to finish, it is well balanced, complex and shows solid density and length, highly impressive especially at such a young stage. There is a lot to admire in this bread and butter Barolo from Brovia even now, but it certainly will gain with time in the bottle, best from 2017 to 2025, though as mentioned it would not be a crime to open a few early, it is really good stuff, and I can’t wait to try the later release of the 2011 single Cru wines!
($54 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2014 Schlossgut Diel, Rose de Diel, Spatburgunder, Nahe, Germany.
One of the stars of the vintage, the Schlossgut Diel’s Rose of Pinot Noir is lovely with aromatics, mineral spice, vigorous acidity and with layered and lengthy fruit. This classy and vibrant Rose de Diel starts out with it’s pretty salmon and pink color and enticing perfume with rose water, lavender oil and citrus which guides you to a vivid palate of faint strawberry, tart cherry and watermelon along with a core of steely citrus and unripe stone fruit. There is great finesse, lift and detail here making the Diel Spatburgunder Rose a winner and one of Germany’s top pink wines, in the background subtle flint, shale and river stones add complexity and there is a delicate herb, saline and tea spice as well, this is a gorgeous effort and should drink nicely for more than a year, and it is a savvy summer sipper, drink between 2015 and 2017, and don’t forget to score some of the Rieslings from this address, I found the Kabinett level 2014’s to be a huge success and family priced, but the Rose is stunning and a must try version!
($28 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2012 Scherrer, Zinfandel, Scherrer Vineyard Old & Mature Vines, Alexander Valley.
This was a great discovery, after having Scherrer many times over the years, his new 2012 Zin from his estate vines is a wonderful expression of varietal and place with a throw-back feel with a classic late eighties or early nineties character with dark fruit, spicy elements and pure vibrancy. There is lots to love here, Fred Scherrer has done a masterful job of making an exciting Zinfandel with deep flavors and plenty of fresh life, it has vigor and still is very seductive and pleasing, in someways it reminds me of Bedrock and or Carlisle, but still all Fred with rustic and robust edges. The highlights here include fresh blackberry, raspberry, dried currant, minty herbs, pepper, cinnamon stick, salted black licorice, morello cherry, cedar and briar notes along with smooth, but perky tannins, a crunch of stones, mineral and a lift of acidity that adds a burst of vitality, quite remarkable in such a warm vintage and over all it comes in as joyous and complex as Ridge Geyerville or Lytton Springs with nice density without sky high alcohol or port like flavors. The finish leaves a long boysenberry, sweet tobacco/sage note and a touch of earth and is tangy juicy making it great with robust cuisine. This is the best Scherrer I can remember, he is really on it these days, and his latest Rose is great too, I highly recommend taking some time and looking at the Scherrer offerings. While everything his does is impressive, the Zin is my favorite, especially this Scherrer Vineyard Old & Mature Vines Zinfandel, it certainly is outstanding with artisan craftsmanship, a racy and sexy style, and a little post modern with refined tannins, but a hint of wildness about it, I love the stuff, drink over the next 3 to 5 years, best from 2015 to 2021.
($38 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
2013 Domaine Jean-Baptiste Ponsot, Rully, Montpalais, 1er Cru White Burgundy, France.
This was an impressive surprise, after two solid vintages and quality offerings comes this stunning Premier Cru effort from 2013, making Jean-Baptiste Ponsot a name to look for, this is a step up from the prior releases I’ve sampled! If you are looking for expressive and interesting white Burgundy at very fair prices I suggest you search out the 2013’s from this Charles Neal Imports producer, they are not that far off some big names in terms of style and quality, these are well made and stylish wines by Jean-Baptiste Ponsot with the 2013 Premier Cru Montpalais Rully being especially intriguing and appealing. Rully, established as an AOC in 1939, is in the northern part of Burgundy in the Cote Chalonnaise and has about 150 acres of Premier Cru vines with 23 Crus, it is more famous for it’s whites, and it is a grand terroir with some big names, like Domaine A et P de Villaine making wines from these vineyards. The 2013 Jean-Baptiste Ponsot Les Montpalais Premier Cru Rully starts with it’s pale hue with just a kiss of gold around the rim and a subtle nose of white flowers, hay, wet stones and citrus leading to a vibrant palate that is a mix of Chablis and Chassagne lets say, with vital acidity and mineral tones along with a full array of green apple, pear, white peach, nectarine flesh and a dynamic core of lemon as well as chalky river stones, saline, hazelnut and light brioche element. This wine is steely Chardonnay and while at first impression you’d think light and cooly crisp there’s more to come, it really unfolds on the palate with air and delivers rich detail, terroir and character in beautiful fashion, this is delightful and expressive stuff, highly entertaining and a stupid good value, drink over the next 3 to 7 years.
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2014 La Spinetta, Il Rose di Casanova Della Spinetta, Toscana IGT Rosato, Italy.
The Rhino Rose, as I call it sometimes from La Spinetta’s Tuscan estate Casanova Della Spinetta is made from 50% Sangiovese and 50% Prugnolo Gentile (the best clone of Sangiovese famous in Brunello and Montepulciano as in Vino Nobile) done in a dry and vital style, much less fruity than most Tuscan Rosatos with vibrant energy and refreshing character. Every year this wine seems to get better, more interesting and focused, maybe that is down to Giorgio Rivetti’s perfectionist nature or his dedication to natural and holistic farming in recent years, or both! The 2014 Il Rose di Casanova is bright, tangy and pleasing, starting with the pale hue, a golden/orange and pinkish glint comes from the glass, similar to the fine Corsican Roses, which are some made of that island Sangiovese, and the palate is fresh with zesty flavors and crisp acidity with sour cherry, strawberry essence, peach flesh, watermelon, rose oil, blonde tobacco/herbs, mixed citrus and hints of wet stones and savory mineral spice. It takes a bit of time to open up and unfold, but there is lots to enjoy and it has a wonderful sense of delicacy and subtlety with graceful steeliness and overall balance, this is a Rose that can be joyous with or without food, a good cool sipper and still deep enough to handle a range of cuisines, it should fill out some over the next 6 months to a year, but no need to wait. There is a lot of great Rose out there this year, and it will make for some tough choices, but you should get a few of these La Spinetta’s, it is seriously fun and delicious, drink over the next year.
($19 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive