Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 30, 2019

2015 Weingut Georg Breuer, Riesling Trocken, Estate Rudesheim, Rheingau Germany -photo grapelive

2015 Weingut Georg Breuer, Riesling Trocken, Estate Rudesheim, Rheingau Germany.
The 2015 Estate Trocken, sourced from a combination of sites, is a slate driven and soulful bone dry Riesling with brisk energy and earthy tones showing a steely core of liquid mineral, wet stone/flirt, gala apple, mint, fresh picked apricot, lime and grapefruit, adding a touch of raw ginger, cheese, verbena, petrol and melon rind. This is saline rich and really peaks up the saliva glands and even in a ripe vineyard is filled with zesty acidity, leaving a sharp and detailed in not austere sensation. The late Bernhard Breuer, Therea’s father, was one of the key members of Charta, an organization formed to promote a drier style of Rheingau wine. According to Terry Theise, Breuer’s famous importer, Bernhard was a proponent of this style of wine, and believed that the Rheingau was perfectly suited to producing very fine, elegant and flavorful dry Reislings, something that the younger Breuer has continued and excelled at. Theise adds, fermentations are natural or started with pied de cuve (vineyard started yeasts) with most fermentation and elevage in large used barrels for the top wines and a mix of barrel and steel for the Estate wines such as this one.

With a history dating back to the 1880’s, Weingut Georg Breuer is one of the most important small estates in the Rudesheim area of the Rheingau with prestigious holding in the famed Rudesheimer Grand Crus of Berg Schlossberg, Berg Roseneck and Berg Rottland, some of the best Riesling sites in Germany. Breuer, now run by Theresa Breuer, who has in recent years elevated the wines and converted to organic practices along with her manager Hermann Schmoranz and Swede cellar master Markus Lunden. Theresa also has her sister Marcia and her mum around to help out, and you can usually find the family in the winery or their newer tasting room and old cellars in the heart of old town Rudesheim, where I’ve visited them a few times since 2009. Tasting Breuer’s wines is also a pleasure and the 2015 Estate Trocken, one of the entry level bottlings, is a well crafted example and shows the regions terroir influence it’s a great value too. That said, you’ll be even more thrilled by Theresa’s single Cru wines, especially her Schlossberg and Roseneck, as well as her Monopole site, Nonnenberg in Rauenthal, which is set on much different soils and can be more exotic in nature than the more stoic Rüdesheimer wines. Breuer is on a hot streak of vintages since 2012 and their 2015, 2016 and the much acclaimed 2017’s are all seriously delicious.
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 29, 2019

2017 Jaimee Motley Wines, Mondeuse “Argillet” Santa Maria Valley -photo grapelive

2017 Jaimee Motley Wines, Mondeuse “Argillet” Santa Maria Valley.
Beautifully purple/crimson in the glass with a dark and spicy nose of violets, peppercorns and wild herbs this 2017 Mondeuse from Jaimee Motley bursts from the glass with plum, black raspberry, dried cranberry and heady kirsch notes. This is a wine that will seduce fans of the Northern Rhone, in particular those that like Cornas and or Crozes-Hermitage. The full bunch stem inclusion gives this thrilling wine a ton of bite, nervous energy and a hyper personality, which I really love, it lifts the ripe fruit, keeps the wine from being heavy and makes the aromatics pop, in other words it makes it an exciting wine, while youthfully aggressive, it will serve it well over time. One of the breakout young talents of the California wine scene in the last few vintages, Jaimee Motley founder and winemaker at her Jaimee Motley Wines, based in Sebastopol, and along with Lagier-Meredith, is a champion of the rare and little known Savoie red grape Mondeuse that is grown in the French alps near the Swiss border.

Motley’s career has taken off, and her mailing is the only place to get her wines on release, in fact her current set sold out within a day or so! Raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Motley moved to San Francisco to study art, but quickly got into the City wine scene and started working at some high end wine restaurants including Locanda and she ended up working with and becoming friends with Raj Parr at RN74. Later she travelled through the wine regions of Europe gaining an appreciation for traditional winemaking methods that she would carry into her career along with gaining her hands on experience at Pax, all of which shows her own wines that transmit an authentic old world charm and have a pretty, soulful and rustic appeal. Her mantra, alchemy, artistry, family. Along with her reverence and respect of nature (natural processes), acceptance of the unknown, honoring of the past while embracing the future as well as the teachings of her cherished mentors, as she notes, provided the inspiration and vision behind her Jaimee Motley Wines label.

Motley’s signature wine, the medium/full bodied 2017 Mondeuse “Argillet” comes from the sandy loam and limestones soils of the Santa Maria Valley, it was crafted with native (yeast) primary and secondary fermentation in neutral barrels with ultra low sulfur and with she employs 100% whole cluster and she ages on lees for about 11 months. An interesting side note, Jaimee also imports Stockinger barrels from Austria, which she and Raj Parr sell to selected winemakers in California. Stockinger, a historic family owned barrel maker, is one of the great artisanal coopers of Europe that even supply to famous domaines in Burgundy, and are known for their quality craftsmanship and the less toasty sweetness than give to the wines while providing refined textural quality. Mondeuse is known for it’s deep color and earthy/spicy personality, which in someways remind people of Syrah, but with a different profile set of fruits. The 2017 opens as it gets air, gaining in dimension and texture and takes on added complexity with earthy tones, cinnamon/brown spice, lingering blue fruits and elegant mineral notes.

Jaimee Motley, along with her dear friend Scott Schultz of Jolie-Laide are part of a new generation of cool kids, an artisan group that includes Cruse Wine Company, Ian Brand, Martha Stoumen, Sheldon Wines, Tribute to Grace, Dirty and Rowdy, Arnot-Roberts and others that focus on alternative varietals and or making more authentic, lower alcohol, quaffable wines without pretense as well as being influenced by various natural wine producers or lesser known regions. This Mondeuse is intriguing stuff, if you want it you’ll have to really search it out and I recommend getting on Jaimee’s list, and check out her Chenin too. With her European inspiration, I also want to make the point, this wine, especially, needs food to show it’s best, drink it with Lamb burgers, mushroom dishes, Korean BBQ pork and or robust/rustic cuisine, enjoy this Mondeuse over the next 3 to 5 years.
($38 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 28, 2019

2017 Nanclares y Prieto, Albabrino “Dandelion” Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain -photo grapelive

2017 Nanclares y Prieto, Albabrino “Dandelion” Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain.
The Dandelion cuvee, the freshest and most fruit forward of Nanclares’ Albarino(s) 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. Nanclares y Prieto, led by the humble and hard working Alberto Nanclares and his youthful and talented partner Silvia Prieto are one of best producers and super stars from the Cambados area of the Rias Baixas region. The Nanclares wines are all made from organic grapes and show the cool Atlantic influences, they even harvest seaweed near by to use as natural vineyard treatments and composting.

This 2017 is wonderfully expressive, vivid and feels ever so slightly sweet fruited with white peach, green apple, lemon sorbet and tangy lime with a subtle saline quality, wet stone as well as a hint orange blossom and wild herbs. As mentioned in prior reviews this version of Nanclares has that zesty pop of natural acidity that allows for a little residual sugar, especially with the all stainless and no malos, making for a wine of crisp detail and mineral charm, but more Kabinett (Think German Mosel Rieslings) style in personality. This Albarino can go with many cuisines as well as being a super Summer refresher, I can see many happy days ahead with this bottling, especially with spicy both shellfish dishes. The more leesy estate offering is much more serious and should never be missed, but this Dandelion is pure joy in the glass, enjoy it over the coming year.
($20 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 27, 2019

2016 Desire Lines Wine Co. Syrah, Griffin’s Lair, Petaluma Gap AVA, Sonoma County -photo grapelive

2016 Desire Lines Wine Co. Syrah, Griffin’s Lair, Petaluma Gap AVA, Sonoma County.
Cody and Emily Rasmussen’s Desire Line Wine Co. is one of the most exciting new California labels to discover with a great set of new releases to chose from, especially this thrilling cool climate dark fruited Syrah from the famed Griffin’s Lair Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap AVA near Lakeville. Cody, the winemaker, who along with his childhood sweetheart Emily moved from Iowa to Sonoma in 2011 hit the ground running, starting as an harvest intern that fall and by next harvest he was drafted into the assistant winemaker’s position at Morgan Twain-Peterson’s Bedrock Wine Co., one of the state’s best small producers. That is an epic rise and shows the passion and work ethic on Rasmussen’s part. After 5 years at Bedrock and working with great vineyards, Cody started sourcing grapes for his own lineup, all top notch sites for the varietals he loves, which are a savvy Rhone mix with mostly Syrah and a delightful dry Riesling. I was lucky enough to meet Cody at a recent trade tasting and was able to taste through his latest set of wines, these bottlings are exceptional and the quality v. price ratio is awesome, they are right up there we some top producers like his boss at Bedrock, Andy Erickson of Favia, Pax, Reeve and Sandlands to name a few. Rasmussen is making some intriguing stuff, these are beautifully crafted authentic California wines that show warm fruit density, less showy-without flashy new wood and are site driven in character.

The 2016 Griffin’s Lair Syrah, according to Rasmussen, was fermented with 50% whole cluster, with a submerged cap for the first half of fermentation and raised in neutral large format barrels for 15 months before bottling without fining or filtration. He picked during a cooler window to preserve purity and freshness and I think this really paid off with the wine showing an inner energy, vibrant black and blue fruits as well as solid structures with a nice bite from the stems and acidity to add crunchiness and contrast to the ripe density on the palate. Griffin’s Lair, set on gravel and clay loamy soils always get those “Gap” breezes and cooling influences which allows deep ripe flavors, but with vivid detail and good acidity. The medium/full body of the Griffin’s Lair is impressive in the mouth and shows a Norther Rhone profile with blackberry, boysenberry, dark plum, black currant and kirsch as well as black olive, peppercorns, camphor, a hint of bacon fat and cedar. The wine is textural and pleasing, but does have a good backbone of raw tannin for age-ability, though elegantly poised, adding a violet floral sensation that is subtle on the nose, along with minty anise and wild herb (stem driven?) to the mix with a few swirls in the glass, all of which highlights the complexity and craftsmanship. This is a list to get on quick and besides this sexy opaque purple Griffin’s Lair, look for the Desire Lines 2017 Evangelho Old Vine Red Wine (95% Carignan & 5% Mourvèdre) and the exotic, wildly perfumy and hedonistic Shake Ridge Syrah from the Amador County in the Sierra Foothills.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 26, 2019

2017 Ayoub, Pinot Noir “Memoirs” Willamette Valley, Oregon -photo grapelive

2017 Ayoub, Pinot Noir “Memoirs” Willamette Valley, Oregon.
One of my favorite values, the Ayoub Memoirs Pinot is always a well crafted effort, and this fresh 2017 version is no exception, after two warm vintages this wine feels slightly less dense and more vivid in detail, while still having a lovely ripe character. Mo Ayoub noted that in 2017, there was an unusually wet cool spring that delayed flowering, setting the stage for a later harvest, and even though the summer was hot, it was followed by a mild September with few cool days of rain prior to harvest. All of which has given the wines a remarkable freshness and vivacious nature and this 2017 Memoirs uses that to great effect, it has a beautiful lively sensation on the medium weighted palate and racy red fruits, light spicy tones and a lingering finish. The 2017 Memoirs is a blend of Pinot Noir crafted from all the vineyards that Ayoub sources fruit from, and is a personal tribute to Mo’s family with this vintage showing a picture of his parents from the early 70’s, it came in at 13.4% natural alcohol and is wonderfully textured. Robert Brittan, long time Stags Leap Vineyard winemaker, who also makes wine under his own label Brittan Vineyard and Winderlea, consults for Mo Ayoub at Ayoub Vineyard, and has made a great impact on the wines here.

Brilliant ruby/garnet in the glass the 2017 Memoirs bristles with energy, while still being heavenly in mouth feel and textural pleasure showing black cherry, plum and cranberry fruits along with that dusty (red) spice, mineral note and with a touch of earth, cedar, cinnamon and blood orange, adding a faint herbal element as well as subtle sweet toast from the French oak. Ayoub’s winemaking reflects a combination of tradition and innovation and is not set in dogma as he believes in constantly learning and applies this to each new vintage to make very elegantly styled wines. While this Memoirs is a multi site Willamette wines, there is a Dundee influence here with a red spice quality, which is fitting as that is where Ayoub feels most at home. The Ayoub Vineyard and Winery was born out of Mo Ayoub’s passion for food and wine and his own vines, planted in 2001 are all in the Jory soils of Dundee on a small four acre estate which is farmed all organic. Made from a selection of old clones like Pommard and modern Dijpn 667, 777, 114 and 115 to name a few Ayoub’s Pinot(s) are complex and full of flavor, and this one should age nicely for 3 to 5 years at the minimum.
($39 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 25, 2019

2018 Cruse Wine Company, Sparkling St. Laurent, Pét-Nat, Carneros -photo grapelive

2018 Cruse Wine Company, Sparkling St. Laurent, Pét-Nat, Carneros.
Cruse’s unique Sparkling St.Laurent (Blanc de Noirs) Pét-Nat (Pétillant Naturel) is fun and refreshing bubbly that s lightly frothy and lively with a severe dry palate with zesty flavors. Coming off the Ricci Vineyard in Carneros, on the more Sonoma side these grapes see the cool San Pablo breezy conditions which is perfect to make fine sparkling wine with zippy acidity and a racy lighter profile. Relatively unknown in the new world St. Laurent is a grape more common to Austria and the Czech Republic, where it is most widely planted, though it is also found in parts of German. St. Laurent or Sankt Laurent is grape that is related to Pinot Noir, but has a missing native grape parent that hasn’t been discovered as of yet, it’s a varietal that can do good things though never great, and interestingly I think Michael Cruse might be on the something here by using it in his Pet-Nat, which is highly entertaining. St.Laurent’s other claim to fame is that it is itself a parent grape to Zweigelt, Austria’s most common red grape along with Blaufrankisch, that is its other parent. In this Blanc de Noirs Pét-Nat, St. Laurent really shines and Cruse’s version is a lovely vivid effort that is perfect for the coming hot months ahead.

The 2018 Cruse Sparkling St. Laurent has a bright citrus and light peach fruit core, with a cheesy note, a faint hint of brioche and Wrigley’s spearmint along with a soft mousse, quiet refined for a Pét-Nat. Cruse has perfected this technique of bubbly and this one stays remarkably poised and zesty throughout, it is a fun sparkler that is easy to quaff down on the warm evening. Michael Cruse also does Champagne method bottlings, but those are extremely rare and have a cult like following, especially his Ultramarine that is like the Champagne Jacques Selosse, made by the famed Anselme Selosse, of California! While the Pet-Nat’s can’t match the luxurious and elegant nature of the méthode champenoise, which is a more involved and longer process, with the secondary fermentation in bottle being accomplished by adding a mixture of sugar and yeast, called the liqueur de tirage, to still wine after an extended period on the lees, making them more complex and traditionally richer in detail, while the Pét-Nat’s are fresher, more vibrant and easier on the winemaker’s time.

Pétillant Naturel, or Pét-Nat, is the original way sparkling wines were made before the advent of méthode champenoise, and is accomplished by making the sparkling wine, méthode ancestrale, meaning the wine is bottled before primary fermentation is finished, without the addition of secondary yeasts or sugars which creates the natural frothy bubbles, usually non disgorged with a crown cap. Slightly cloudy and rustic in most cases, but Cruse’s latest set are pretty clear in the glass and without some of sour funk found in the segment, be sure to check them out if you want a quality version, especially his St. Laurent and his Valdiguie sparklers. Pop these wines over the next 6 months to a year, I like them (Pét-Nat’s) as fresh and zippy as they can be, they are also great with lighter dishes and picnic fare. This St. Laurent Carneros Sparkling was in particular very good with a mix of clams, mussels and oysters.
($30 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 24, 2019

2017 Weingut Dönnhoff, Riesling Trocken, Roxheimer Hollenpfad, VDP Erste Lage, Nahe Germany -photo grapelive

2017 Weingut Dönnhoff, Riesling Trocken, Roxheimer Hollenpfad, VDP Erste Lage, Nahe Germany.
The 2017 Hollenpfad Trocken is gorgeous and mineral driven with radiant yellow fruits, perfumed and classically stony in nature, this is the essence of Dönnhoff and a tribute to Cornelius’ talent in the vineyards and his cellar. His estate was started by Dönnhoff’s great-grandfather, Hermann, in the 1920s, and his dad, Helmut, took over from his father, Hermann Jr. in 1966, it was a time that sowed the seeds of greatness, at that time there were only 4 hectares under vine, it was in this period that Helmut turned his full attention to producing quality wine. Cornelius, now the fourth generation, who joined his father at the winery 2007, has become one of the world’s greatest winemakers and continues his fathers traditions and follows his mantra, that the winemaking doesn’t bring quality, but it can only retain the available quality, meaning they believe the wine is made in the vineyards and that terroir is key to their wine’s greatness. Anyone that has recently tasted Dönnhoff understands this instinctively and these last three vintages have been absolutely outstanding, with both the trockens and sweet(er) wines excelling, especially bottling like this dry Hollenpfad Riesling.

It has been largely assumed by many tasters that all of Dönnhoff’s wines are 100% in steel, such is the purity here, as there is never perceptible oak flavor, but Dönnhoff is flexible and does use German oak Stückfass (1000 Liter casks), made by a local artisan cooper in Bad Kreuznach called Hösch, with the wood for Dönnhoff’s casks coming from the Lemberg forest, directly across from the Leistenberg vineyard, one of the estate slate sites. According to Terry Theise Dönnhoff’s importer, the winery was designed to have total capacity in either oak or steel, allowing Dönnhoff to vinify and age wines according to what they feel the wines need, not what they have room for. He adds that grapes are handpicked at the height of ripeness rather than by sugar levels, and each site is fermented individually with native yeasts. The winery notes the weathered warm sandstone of the Rotliegend strata lends the wines their inimitable character. Grapes grown here tend to be very small with intense, nuanced aromas. Again Theise adds that the resulting Hollenpfad, which I certainly agree, wines are elegant with a spicy mineral fruit and excellent aging potential, these are, to me, forward Rieslings that thrill the palate, in particular this 2017.

The Erste Lage Roxheimer Höllenpfad is a very famous, steep, south-facing vineyard of weathered red sandstone, and the old name Höllenpfad translates into English as “path to hell” and was likely named for the red sandstone soils, an anomaly in the Nahe, and maybe the hard work required to hand tend this vineyard. I actually find this wine more of a pathway to heaven, it is a beautiful and striking example of crisp dry Nahe Riesling with layers of fresh apricot, peach and tangy tangerine fruits, driving, but smooth acidity, steely class that reminds of Chablis along with a touch of tropical fruit, lime blossoms, saline, an almost meatiness, seductive rosewater and a hint of ginger and clove spiciness. This vintage is wonderfully expressive, refreshing and shows subtle depth and density/extract and it gains in textural form with air, highlighting this vineyard’s Premier Cru class and complexity. This is a serious effort and rivals some very expensive GG’s, but it is also a young wine that can be enjoyed now with much less quilt for popped the cork as it is a great value. This 2017 Hollenpfad can be and is remarkably flexible with cuisine choices and can be a porch pounder as well, it’s a fabulous Summer white, don’t miss it.
($33 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 23, 2019

2014 Hanzell Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Valley -photo grapelive

2014 Hanzell Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Valley.
With loads of black cherry, plum and wild raspberry fruit and hints of toast, spice and mocha the latest estate Hanzell Pinot Noir is a compelling wine of pedigreed stature, it is delicious in the glass with a seductive aromas of shaved vanilla, rose petals and earl grey tea as well as its deep ruby/garnet color making the 2014 vintage hard to resist. This was a year that went to perfect with early bud break and early harvest giving warm ripe complexity of flavors along with a touch of red peach and candied citrus zestiness that highlights the balance found here. The mouth feel is opulent and creamy and while at first the oak intrudes that impression fades as the wine opens with time in the glass until everything folds together with harmonic grace, reminding me why I absolutely love these wines. Sometimes overlooked in modern times Hanzell is still a treasured wine, with both their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir showing massive potential, delivering world class performances.

One of the classics of California Pinot Noir, Hanzell Vineyards, which dates back to 1953, when Ambassador James D. Zellerbach planted this historic vineyard on the southern tip of the Mayacamas mountain range with a vision to compete with the world’s best wines. After extensive time spent in Burgundy, Zellerbach focused on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for his Sonoma Valley estate, which he planted, and it’s worth noting that these two varieties at the time accounted for less than a few hundred acres (of each) in all of North America. Hanzelll, which has been since 1975, owned by the de Brye family who have kept its heritage and tradition alive and well with what they call a progressive and holistic approach in which they hope ensures the sustainability for generations to come, along with helping Hanzell become among the California greats like Rochioli, Williams Selyem, Joseph Swan, Mount Eden and Chalone that all gained international fame durning the 1970s and 1980s and still are legends today. One of the most important events in Hanzell’s rise to stardom was when, in 1973, Bob Sessions hired as Winemaker with his name being intertwined with Hanzell for decades and crafted some of the greatest Chardonnay and Pinot the state has ever seen. Now the team at Hanzell, led by owner Alexander de Brye has got the talented Jason Jardine, who was hired as President and Director of Winemaking in 2014, taking over from Michael McNeill and Lynda Hanson that had guided the wines here after Sessions retired in the later part of the 2000s.

The luxurious 2014 Hanzell Vineyards Pinot Noir, made by the mentioned Michael McNeill, is an all 100% estate grown blend, sourced from twelve acres of our Ambassador’s 1953, de Brye and Sessions vineyard blocks, all set on the farm’s rocky clay-loam soils, with an average vine age of nearly 30 years. McNeill chose a five day cold soak to extract just the right amount of color and tannin from the skins and fermented it with selected yeasts with about 10% whole cluster and an 18 month evevage in French oak with close to 60% new barrique, ending with a mastic and powerful Pinot Noir that come in at 13.8% natural alcohol. The site catches sea breezes that come off the San Pablo Bay and the elevation allows for cool nights that aid in retaining vibrant acidity, while getting ripe fruit intensity, this site produces some of the most age worthy wines you can hope to find in America. This 2014 is lush, lavish and silken in texture, but with good vigor and underlying structure, appealing for it’s overt youthful fruit and the layering it should age wonderfully well for another decade and a half, it’s a treat now and should be even better in 3 to 5 years.
($90 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 22, 2019

2018 Jaimee Motley Wines, Rosé of Mondeuse, Rorick Heritage Vineyard, Calaveras County -photo grapelive

2018 Jaimee Motley Wines, Rosé of Mondeuse, Rorick Heritage Vineyard, Calaveras County.
Jaimee Motley, who’s travels lead her to the Loire and Savoie, where she fell in love with Chenin Blanc and Mondeuse which have become her signature wines. Motley, an assistant winemaker at Pax Wines, was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland before moving to SF to peruse artistic talents, though after working in some of the City’s more iconic restaurants she caught the wine bug, which led to her exploration of European wine regions. That in turn inspired her to be a winemaker and as the say the rest is history, as she has become an underground sensation with her wines selling out within hours of release. Jaimee’s Mondeuse fetish not only is presented as a traditional red wine, but also in her unique Rosé of Mondeuse, maybe the only single varietal Rosé of Mondeuse available in the states.

This rarity is from the Rorick Heritage Vineyard in the Sierra Foothills region of Calaveras County, grown on limestone with top layer of schist, with long warm days and cool nights the Mondeuse has found a happy home here developing ripe flavors, though picked early to retain fresh acidity. Motley chose a unique route with her Rosé, going somewhat old school with traditional maceration and native yeast fermentation for primary before aging and malos in neutral oak cask with the wine resting on the lees for about 5 months, making for a dry and textured pink a natural wine profile with notes of hibiscus tea, guava, shaved cinnamon and peach punch as well as more familiar pink citrus, strawberry and watermelon. With air this unique Rosé of Mondeuse gets more spicy and savory in nature, in my opinion it is best to keep it chilled throughout to let the zip and crispness shine and maybe best enjoyed with robust food pairings. This is rare Rosé is fun and a bit funky, non traditional, but Motley’s red Mondeuse is her signature juice and well worth the hard search to find it.
($24 Est.) 88 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 21, 2019

nv Moussé Fils, Champagne “L’Or d’Eugene” Solera Blanc de Noirs Brut, Vallee de la Marne, France -photo grapelive

nv Moussé Fils, Champagne “L’Or d’Eugene” Solera Blanc de Noirs Brut, Vallee de la Marne, France.
The beautiful and distinctive Moussé Fils “L’Or d’Eugene” Solera Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne, a cuvee of 95% Meunier and 5% Pinot Noir was uniquely crafted from 50% 2015 vintage with 24 months of En Tirage (lees aging) and 50% from a solar reserve blend that came from between 2003 and 2014 wines all with malos and all being raised in stainless steel. Cedric Moussé is the fourth generation vigneron for this grower producer Champagne house which was founded back in 1923 and is fast becoming a star in the region. Moussé Fils, imported by famed grower producer guru Terry Theise, is one of my new favorite Champagne houses fitting in nicely between Pascal, Mignon, Savart and VIlmart to name a few and Cedric Moussé, who is all organic, has done a masterful job with his latest set of releases, including this tasty bubbly treat. This is certainly not your average Champagne and it is best enjoyed with serious food and slowly savored.

Grown on the region’s jurassic era chalky soils and from the estate’s mostly Meunier sites in the villages of Cuisles, Jonquery, Olizy and Châtillon-sur-Marne this intriguing Champers shows a ripe dimension and complex layers on the palate with wonderful finesse and a creamy mousse, it is an elegant and round wine. subtle stoniness and liquid mineral charms in the mouth along with lemon, golden fig, clove spice with hints of peach, white cherry and bread dough (brioche) as well as adding a whiff of rosewater and hazelnut. Everything feels polished and rich with a lovely texture that is elevated by the refreshing pop of the beading small bubbles. This is captivating grower fizz that will really appeal to the fringe enthusiast of soulful Champagne lovers, while Veuve and Prosecco guzzlers might not appreciate the density and depth of form here and the fact this a meal wine style bubbly not a cocktail aperitif. This is the real deal, but I also love the Moussé single village 100% Meunier no dosage Les Vignes de Mon Village Blanc de Meunier, be sure to search out these great sparklers!
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive