Grapelive: Wine of the Day December 10, 2017

2016 Weingut Leitz, Riesling Trocken Sekt, Dragon Stone, Sparkling Wine, Rheingau Germany.
A fun and vibrant sparkler, the Leitz Dragon Stone Sekt Riesling Trocken has has a smoky/flinty mineral start with soft mousse and a forward fruit and brioche personality on the palate. Coming from the Drachenstein, Dragon’s Stone, above the Rudesheimer Berg on the edge of the Niederwald forest, looking down on the Rhein, with it’s vein of quartzite and loose slate, the Leitz bubbly is easy to love, but with serious underpinnings and inspiring charms. These 2016 Rheingau and Nahe have a special meaning for me, as I was there during the harvest, in particular Leitz, I love the guys there, Johannes and his team took me and treated me better than family! I have walked the Drachenstein many times now, it’s a wonderful hike around the monument and in the shadow of nature preserve overlooking the Rhein and back down to Rudesheim itself, the views are stunning from up there, in my own experience magical, that all give this wine an extra bit of meaning and celebration. The mouth feel is racy, but polished with beautiful white flowers, crystalline wet stones, yellow peach, tangerine/lime, apple skin and toast/bread dough. It has a good energy, tight little bubbles, brisk in delivery, but gains a bit of width with air and is pure crisply dry, just a slight hint of SO2 hides the initial impact, though it does blow off quickly leaving a wonderfully expressive Riesling Sekt that is flavorful and classy. Drink this Leitz Dragon Stone Riesling Trocken Sekt (Brut style sparkling) 2016 vintage anytime, great as an aperitif or even better with cuisine, insanely good choice for crab cakes!
($26 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day December 9, 2017

2016 Sadie Family Wines, Chenin Blanc/Palomino “Skerpioen” Old Vine Series, Swartland, South Africa.
A gorgeous white old vine field blend of Chenin Blanc and Palomino (the Sherry grape!) from Eben Sadie of Sadie Family Wines, probably the most exciting winemaker in South Africa right now, and who is getting lots of well deserve press, this was my first experience with his white(s), but I’ve been a huge fan of his reds, like Eben’s Columella (Syrah & Mourvedre), which are mind blowing in a way that remind you of old school Chateau Rayas, Chapoutier Le Meal Hermitage or pre 1995 Beaucastel without the Brettanomyces! Grown on extremely chalky Swartland soils at one of the coolest sites in the region which gives it’s driving acidity and mineral charms, seriously this natural/traditional white has the presence of a Grand Cru Chablis (meets Breze Saumur) in the glass, these bush vine, dry farmed, organic, were planted between 1958 and 1967 and the concentration and intensity shines here! This Paardeberg winery’s small handcrafted Skerpioen is glorious and vividly flavored with a tight vein of bright citrus, white peach and unripe green apple fruit, flinty/stony wet rock, steely dynamic elements along with unsweetened honeycomb/wax, lemon oil, delicate spices and bitter melon notes. Words fail here to explain the underlying energy, force and beauty that comes through on the briskly dry palate, this is stunning stuff, wow, this white has the x factor and then some, and it’s pale golden hue glistens with a sexy glow, it’s racy and classic in a way that makes the mouth water and get your salvation glands rocking, though it does fill out texturally on the palate in a very seductive way. Imported by Broadbent Selections, Sadie Family Wines are not cheap, but worth every penny, Raveneau and Joly fans both will be muttering to themselves when they try this stuff! Of the world’s great white blends, Mas de Daumas Blanc, Luis Rodriguez Ribeiro, Randall Grahm’s Le Cigare Blanc Reserve and Sadie Family standout this year! Best to allow a few more years on this Sadie Chenin led Skerpioen white, best from 2020-2036.
($50 Est.) 94-96 Points, grapelive

 

Sadie Columella Review

Grapelive: Wine of the Day December 8, 2017

2016 Domaine d’Ouréa, Tire Bouchon, Vin de France, Rhone Red, France.
The deep and intriguing Adrien Roustan d’Ourea “Tire Bouchon” rouge is a unique Rhone blend of Grenache Noir, Carignane, Aramon, Oeillades & Syrah starts with loose tobacco leaf, stony notes and sweet floral tones along with an almost carbonic (Gamay) like directness of fruit. Adrien Roustan, a natural style vigneron, is a rising star in the Southern Rhone and his Domaine d’Ourea is based in Vacqueyras, he also has vines in Gigondas, and makes some of the most interesting versions of these I’ve tried in recent years, they are very dark and because of the high elevation they are fresher and almost more Syrah like in the glass, he is all organic, which adds to the energy/intensity found in these d’Ourea offerings. The Tire Bouchon (cork puller) Rouge is a serious quaffer, made of 50% Grenache (Noir), 20% Carignan(e), 10% Aramon, 10% Oeillades and 10% Syrah, from vines that are under conversion to biodynamic, and because it includes ancient and rare Aramon and Oeillades (grapes) it must be called a Vin de France, but don’t let that fool you, this is a killer value and a wine of wonderful expression and quality, balanced and complex with unexpected grace and length. Layers of blackberry, tangy currant compote, plum, morello cherry and juicy strawberry all unfold on the full bodied, but not heavy, palate with a lovely spicy contrast of savory peppercorns, chalky gravel, leathery elements, sticky lavender and inner brightness, in a very dark purple/garnet wine. With air a more grippy wine emerges here with boysenberry, blueberry and anise flowing into the mix, this stuff is every changing and fun with ripe tannin, texture and good acidity that cuts a fine lift to this red, the Grenache and Carignane give this wine it’s core and while happy now to allow the minor grapes to have their moment in the limelight, it’s their form that will rise in the next few years, I love it as it is young and vibrant, drink it up now! Note to self (and you) do not miss Domaine d’Ourea 2015 Vacqueyras and Gigondas, imported by Floraison Selections, they will be legendary/classics, awesome cellar bargains, stock up!
($16 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day December 7, 2017

2015 Viticultores de Ribeira Sacra Y Envinate, Lousas, Vinas de Aldea Vinos Atlanticos, Ribeira Sarca, Galicia Spain.
The gang at Envinate has crafted a gorgeous wine here, after allowing for it to blow off it’s slight reductive funk, it turns beautiful with classic peppered violets and damson plum, and it’s vital medium body gives subtle pleasures and life, wow this 2015 is a seductive charmer, especially after plenty of air. Envinate, which means “wines yourself” is four friends that are from vastly different regions of Spain from the remote Canary Islands to Murcia, they are winemakers Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez, all regional stars, if not superstars! Roberto Santana almost singlehandedly has made the wines of Tenerife mainstream and world renown with his volcanic and rustic offerings made from mostly mission grapes, especially Listan Negro, but his partners have had almost the same successes from their areas too, and this 2015 Viticultores de Ribeiro Sacra y Envinate Lousas comes from vines overseen by Alfonso Torrente, and it’s one of the best Envinate I’ve tried! And this is their village level offering! It’s all Mencia (think Syrah meets Burgundy with a touch of Fleurie mixed in!), 100% whole cluster, native fermented in bins and then raised in used mid size oak casks without racking, bottled with a tiny amount of SO2, unfined and unfiltered, it’s a beauty with lovely detail and lots of mineral spice. The grapes are hand tended from steep plots, these Sil River valley slopes look like the Rhein or Mosel and the soils are smoky slate and granite, which gives these Mencia wines their likeness to the Northern Rhone, in particular Cornas and St.-Joseph, as is so in this Envinate Lousas (Slate in Galician) Vina de Aldea, sourced from 60 year old organic vines. The contrast of sweet violets and dusty red pepper (flakes) and flinty notes really is really seductive and entrancing, I love this stuff, this as well as Laura Lorenzo’s Daterra Viticultores and Pedro Rodriguez’s Guimaro are two of my favorite Ribeiro Sacra  and area wines, drink this over the next 3 to 5 years easy.
($38 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day December 6, 2017

2011 Domaine Labet, Chardonnay, Cotes du Jura “Les Varrons” Vin Ouille, France.
A deep and pretty Chardonnay from Domaine Labet, this Cotes du Jura Les Varrons wine is a Vin Ouille, non flor, offering that is fresh and vivid with Burgundy like class with brilliant minerallite and Premier Cru density. Domaine Labet is a traditional house in the Jura, and while they do the oxidative style too, they excel in the topped up barrel style as this one shows clearly, this is a solid label to look for, imported by Charles Neal, and their Chardonnay is always a great choice, especially this version. Julien Labet, who is taking over the Domaine is exploring “natural wines” with his own label, but goes classical here and this 2011 Labet Les Varrons is performing with verve and panache, still vivid and delicately pale in the glass, opening to a medium full bodied Chardonnay with a steely edge, but with maturing flavors and understated richness with layers of bosc pear, golden delicious apple, kumquat, dried apricot, quince and lemon butter as well as wet stones, chalk and briny essences. This distinctly unique Chardonnay gains a bit of earth, spice and fleshy mouth feel with air along with hints of herb and floral tones in a wonderfully balanced wine with brisk intensity and pleasing texture. The single parcel Les Varrons Chardonnay is from 65+ year old vines set on Benthonien and Bajocien limestone with clay and eolien sediment, some of the most ancient in Europe, it is fermented using native yeasts and then raised on it’s fine lees in 225 French barrels, mostly well used, and as a side note Julien (Labet) studied at Domaine Ramonet in Chassagne-Montrachet and in South Africa at Hamilton-Russell, both makers of world class Chards! This 2011 has turned into a slightly exotic and stylish wine, somewhat of a thrill for me to pop the cork on as this wine was a bit of an afterthought, since I was at first after Julien’s own label red blend Metis (Trousseau, Pinot and Poulsard), though now I’m so glad I was able to drink this one, it’s a beauty right now and it will be an intriguing wine to follow further into the future.
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day December 5, 2017

2015 Domaine Vincent Paris, Cornas “30 Granit” Northern Rhone, France.
An earthy pure Syrah from Vincent Paris, the 30 stands for the degree of slope, giving lots of terroir, but with the ripe flavors of the vintage with a rich vein of black fruit and lovely detailing throughout making for a fine example of varietal and region. Hints of game, anise and spicy notes lead on the nose while the palate unfolds with damson plum, blackberry/boysenberry, tart currant, blueberry and cherry backed up with wild mushroom, flinty stones, tapenade, cedar, leather and sweet kirsch. Air brings a more dense feel in mouth and though young the tannins are rounded allowing a textural pleasure and generous length, this Syrah has good form and is performing really well. After a bit more time in the glass a pretty side comes through with subtle violets, mineral tones, salted black licorice and brambly raspberry. After 20 vintages now as a vigneron, Vincent Paris who started his winemaking career in 1997, nephew of Cornas legend Robert Michel, isn’t a newbie here, but is still considered a young star here in this ancient and traditional region of the Northern Rhone, and he is a co-president of the appellation, showing the respect of his peers. Grown on granite soils, the Vincent Paris Granit 30, comes from plots of organic Syrah vines that not only are on that 30% grade, but also average 30 years of age, Vincent goes to the extreme in limiting crop size with ultra tiny yields to get the concentration at his vineyard sites that sit at 300 meters above sea level that has perfect south facing which allows extra sun ripening. This cuvee is fermented two thirds in barrel and one third in stainless steel then raised in most used French oak for about a year, with only about 1,000 cases made, this producer is new to me, but I’ll tell you I’ll be getting more of his wine for my own use and will be following up with his other wines. With the price of Cornas rising, Vincent Paris is making some great values, and I believe very cellar worthy, drink is lovely 2015 over the next decade.
($36 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Special Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galicia’s Star is Rising

Spain’s Galicia region on the Atlantic coast is a historic wine area that goes back to pre Roman times and while remote and almost forgotten this is a region on the rise and with an amazing array of wines and passionate winemakers. From Bierzo’s legendary winemaker and guru Raul Perez, the godfather of Mencia, to new stars like Nanclares y Prieto, Veronica Ortega and Enivante’s Ribeira Sacra project. Here are a few of their offerings, they are really worth searching out, even though hard to find in some cases in the states, these are wonderful terroir driven wines.

 

2016 Nanclares y Prieto, Albarino “Dandelion” Rias Baixas, Galicia Spain.
Beautiful pure and almost Kabinett/Feinherb Riesling like (intensity of form) with generous flavors in the mouth this gloriously delightful Albarino from Alberto Nanclares and Silvia Prieto is vivid, saline and textured with bright green apple, tangerine and peachy stone fruit on the crisp palate, with wet stones and light spices, it’s so well balanced you’d think it might be slightly off dry, but with brisk energy giving it a cat like taught muscle like focus! The unpretentious and humble Nanclares is one of Albarino’s great stars from the Cambados area of the Rias Baixas region in the Atlantic influenced Galica, his wines all from organic grapes show a leesy depth, while still being mineral driven and salty, with this Dandelion cuvee coming from 30 to 60 year old vines near Val do Salnés grown on sand and granite soils, right at sea level with locally historic pergola training. The Dandelion is fermented with native yeast, naturally, in stainless steel with no malo and aged a year on the fine lees, it is unfined and unfiltered allowing the complete capture of every nuance and terroir elements, and this 2016 is the best yet, that I’ve tried on this wine, it’s detail and varietal vitality is fantastic, especially for the price. This wine will be killer with crab this holiday season and is an amazing sea food cuisine partner, from oysters to grilled baby octopus as well as mackerel and sardines, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it! Drink it now and often, not easy to find, Silvia and Alberto have a cult following, I got my bottles from Vinopolis Wine Shop in Portland, Oregon, and it’s well worth the search as is their estate bottlings as well as is their super rare Mencia (Ribeiro Sacra) offerings, imported by Jose Pastor Selections, these are not to be missed wines from Galicia.
($22 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

2015 Bodegas y Vinedos Raul Perez, Mencia, Ultreia Saint Jacques, Bierzo Tinto, Spain.
It was a great honor to meet and taste with Raul Perez, one of Spain’s most heroic and influential winemakers, also known as the godfather of Mencia, at the Skurnik Wines West Portfolio tasting in San Francisco, it was an amazing event and collection with a fantastic array of producers and wines. Raul Perez’s lineup was mind-blowing and lived up to my huge expectations in every way, and I was wildly thrilled with each and every one of these offerings, especially this new Ultra Saint Jacques Bierzo Tinto that delivers wonderful depth and complexity at a price that makes it a bargain by any standards. Perez has mentored many rising stars, including Pedro Rodriguez, one of my all time favorites, at Guimaro and still has Veronica Ortega, who’s wines I recently discovered, working with him. Made from mainly from Mencia, but with some inter planted Bastardo (thought to be Trousseau) and Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) coming off vines that average about 75 years old, this dark and ripe vintage shows an almost northern Rhone like character and has a earthy/savory/spicy edge like an lighter Cornas. This Bierzo Ultreia Saint Jacques Tinto was fermented with native yeasts, about 80% whole cluster in large oak cask with long macerations lasting between 2 and 5 months and then aged in mixed vessels including some cement, as well as 225L and 500L oak, unfined and unfiltered. It’s pretty in detail with violet/floral tones, peppercorn and a medium body that flows with sweet tannins, vibrant, but smooth acidity and flinty mineral elements as well as a core of loganberry, plum, candied cherry and tart currant fruits as well as salted black licorice, lavender, pipe tobacco, shale stones, earthy charms and a hint of cinnamon. This 2015 is lovely stuff that drinks very well right now and should prove pleasing for 3 to 5 years, for this price you’ll want a case!
($20 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

2015 Viticultores de Ribeira Sacra Y Envinate, Lousas, Vinas de Aldea Vinos Atlanticos, Ribeira Sarca, Galicia Spain.
The gang at Envinate has crafted a gorgeous wine here, after allowing for it to blow off it’s slight reductive funk, it turns beautiful with classic peppered violets and damson plum, and it’s vital medium body gives subtle pleasures and life, wow this 2015 is a seductive charmer, especially after plenty of air. Envinate, which means “wines yourself” is four friends that are from vastly different regions of Spain from the remote Canary Islands to Murcia, they are winemakers Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez, all regional stars, if not superstars! Roberto Santana almost singlehandedly has made the wines of Tenerife mainstream and world renown with his volcanic and rustic offerings made from mostly mission grapes, especially Listan Prieto, but his partners have had almost the same successes from their areas too, and this 2015 Viticultores de Ribeiro Sacra y Envinate Lousas comes from vines overseen by Alfonso Torrente, and it’s one of the best Envinate I’ve tried! And this is their village level offering! It’s all Mencia (think Syrah meets Burgundy with a touch of Fleurie mixed in!),100% whole cluster, native fermented in bins and then raised in used mid size oak casks without racking, bottled with a tiny amount of SO2, unfined and unfiltered, it’s a beauty with lovely detail and lots of mineral spice. The grapes are hand tended from steep plots, these Sil River valley slopes look like the Rhein or Mosel and the soils are smoky slate and granite, which gives these Mencia wines their likeness to the Northern Rhone, in particular Cornas and St Joseph, as is so in this Envinate Lousas (Slate in Galician) Vina de Aldea, sourced from 60 year old organic vines. The contrast of sweet violets and red pepper and flinty notes really is really seductive and entrancing, I love this stuff, this and Pedro Rodriguez’s Guimaro are two of my favorite Ribeiro Sacra wines, drink over the next 3 to 5 years easy.
($38 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

2013 Bodega Veronica Ortega, Mencia, ROC, Valtuille, Bierzo, Spain.
The carefully hand harvested ROC by Veronica Ortega is bright and fresh with an almost Dolcetto like bite and feel, but gains with air and becomes a bit more serious with time in the glass, turning into a lovely full flavored Mencia. Veronica, the Cadiz native, who has trained around the world including a stint at Burn Cottage in Central Otago with Ted Lemon and was mentor by the famed/legendary Raul Perez, uses 80-100 year old vines for her signature ROC bottling, with native yeast ferments and 14 months in French (mostly well seasoned) barriques, showcasing her Valtuille terroir in a less overt manner than some Bierzo, crafting a wine that highlights the mixed soils which include clay, sand and slate and at good elevation, which allows vitality and structure. She ferments in cement vats with normal punch downs with a 20 day maceration, with 50% whole cluster from organic grapes, making a wine with traditional character and with aging potential, it’s got a pop rock feel right now, but it looks set to get really rocking good over time! Interesting, Ortega’s ROC continues to remind me of Piedmonte, with a full Barbera like color and Alto Langhe Nebbiolo like feel on the firm/youthful palate! The ROC 2013 starts with earthy blackberry, tart cherry and tangy currents, it’s still primal on entry with a tight slightly closed feel before giving way to sweet raspberry, strawberry and plum fruits along with bitter citrus peel, light herbal notes, mineral tones, balsamic/iodyne and wild spices, finishing with some tannins and delicate wood shadings. Imported by Eric Solomon Selection, Veronica’s wines are not always easy to locate, though are starting to attract more attention, be on the look out for her latest releases!
($35 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Also look for the wines of Guimaro, Luis Rodriguez and Laura Lorenzo, the region’s newest superstar! See reviews at grapelive Reviews

Grapelive: Wine of the Day December 4, 2017

2016 Nanclares y Prieto, Albarino “Dandelion” Rias Baixas, Galicia Spain.
Beautiful pure and almost Kabinett/Feinherb Riesling like (intensity of form) with generous flavors in the mouth this gloriously delightful Albarino from Alberto Nanclares and Silvia Prieto is vivid, saline and textured with bright green apple, tangerine and peachy stone fruit on the crisp palate, with wet stones and light spices, it’s so well balanced you’d think it might be slightly off dry, but with brisk energy giving it a cat like taught muscle like focus! The unpretentious and humble Nanclares is one of Albarino’s great stars from the Cambados area of the Rias Baixas region in the Atlantic influenced Galica, his wines all from organic grapes show a leesy depth, while still being mineral driven and salty, with this Dandelion cuvee coming from 30 to 60 year old vines near Val do Salnés grown on sand and granite soils, right at sea level with locally historic pergola training. The Dandelion is fermented with native yeast, naturally, in stainless steel with no malo and aged a year on the fine lees, it is unfined and unfiltered allowing the complete capture of every nuance and terroir elements, and this 2016 is the best yet, that I’ve tried on this wine, it’s detail and varietal vitality is fantastic, especially for the price. This wine will be killer with crab this holiday season and is an amazing sea food cuisine partner, from oysters to grilled baby octopus as well as mackerel and sardines, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it! Drink it now and often, not easy to find, Silvia and Alberto have a cult following, I got my bottles from Vinopolis Wine Shop in Portland, Oregon, and it’s well worth the search as is their estate bottlings as well as is their super rare Mencia (Ribeiro Sacra) offerings, imported by Jose Pastor Selections, these are not to be missed wines from Galicia.
($22 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day December 3, 2017

2014 Piedrasassi, Syrah, Rim Rock Vineyard, Arroyo Grande Valley.
Sashi Moorman’s Rim Rock Syrah might just be his signature wine with it’s edgy stemmy intensity and deep layers of black fruits, this is one of California’s ultimate expressions of Syrah and it’s an alluring wine that will challenge your palate and make you re-think what this grape can do! Moorman, who oversaw most every vintage at Stolpman and has his hand in Raj Parr’s Sandhi as well as leading the effort for Oregon’s Evening Land Vineyards, is one of California’s star winemakers, it’s been a thrill to follow his career over the last decade and a half, he’s helped Syrah gain traction in the middle price range, especially with the great value offerings he has crafted at Stolpman over the years, and when we rewrite Syrah’s history in the state he will join the grape’s heros like John Alban, Adam Tolmach (Ojai), Randall Grahm (Boony Doon), Manfred Krankl (Sine Qua Non), Pax Maule (Pax & Windgap) Vanessa Wong (Peay) and others. While Syrah may never get to be the next big thing in the mainstream market, it has found a great niche and honestly for the money some of California’s great red wines are Syrah, wines like this Piedrasassi especially prove that! Also right now, you should search out Booker, Drew, Halcon, Cattleya, Lucia (Pisoni), Anthill Farms, Sheldon Wines, Melville, Radio-Coteau and Joyce Vineyards, who I just got a preview of, (Joyce Tondre 2016!) and you’ll not want to miss. This spicy Rim Rock Vineyard, a 150 case production handcrafted wine, shows racy peppercorns and olive tapenade that add contrast to the density of the opulent boysenberry, plum, blueberry and black cherry fruit, added mineral tones, cedar, earthy notes, cassis, crushed violets, tobacco leaf and anise. The mouth feel gains breadth with air, though only 13% natural alcohol, this is a brilliant wine and the whole cluster stem inclusion gives it a powerful Cornas, think Allemand or Clape, Northern Rhone feel and warm California ripeness (smooth, but firm tannins) giving palate impact, this is a wine that will reward the patient and looks to be a classic/legendary Syrah, drink from 2018 to 2028.
($55 Est.) 95+ Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day December 2, 2017

2015 Ampeleia, Alicante Nero, IGT Costa Toscana, Italy.
Wildly sweet and sour this Alicante Nero (True Grenache or Alicante Bouschet?) from Elisabetta Foradori tastes like Cru Beaujolais meets Jura Trousseau/Poulsard with fresh and vibrant flavors and a light to medium body picking up substance and ripe character with air, while still having a charming old world earthy/savory core. This is part of Ampeleia’s ‘Monovarietali’ single varietal project, coming from a small plot of organic estate vines known as “Vigna della Pieve”, grown on Tuscany’s coastal sandy soils and strewn with pebbles at about 800 feet above sea level, and sees native ferments and aged only 6 months, in cement tank. This pretty Mediterranean red has bright flavors and is wonderful fresh and vibrant with layers of medium bodied fruit and ripe textural mouth feel shows sour plum, cranberry, brambly raspberry, mini backyard strawberries, minty herbs, a hint of leather, dusty stones and snappy anise. Turns a bit more lush with air and gives a warm impression, gaining in style and complexity with every minute in the glass, while all the while still being vivid, transparent and elegantly focused, this is lovely expressive wine that highlights the diversity and uniqueness of this sleepy little part of Tuscany. Interesting, the winery (and many places in Italy) often refer to Alicante as a form of Grenache, though it really is not the same grape, Alicante Bouschet was an old crossing of Petit Bouschet, which was a earlier crossing of Teinturier du Cher and Aramon, and Grenache Noir which has been cultivated in France since around 1866 and is now found around the world, though used mainly as a blending grape or found in heritage field blends. Alicante Bouschet is one of the few red grapes that actually has red juice and pulp, it has a thick skin and does well in almost any climate, it’s in Spain, in the western Galicia where it’s known as Garnacha Tintorara and blended with Mencia, it’s also in Alentejo Portugal as well as in old vine vineyards in California, where it is usually blended into Zinfandel blends, like Ridge Lytton Springs and I believe Bedrock and Bucklin’s Old Hill Ranch. In some ways Alicante reminds me of Cinsault or Trousseau, though usually darker in color, but this one has a Gamay like juiciness and a bit of tannin and floral notes that are like Petit Verdot too. Drink this lively fun wine now and often, it’s naturally delicious and is a great food wine.
($27 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive