Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 14, 2020

2014 Turley Wine Cellars, Zinfandel, Kirschenmann Vineyard, Lodi.
Larry Turley’s iconic Turley Wine Cellars has maintained exceptional quality in a pioneering style for more than three decades with some amazing and awe inspiring wines made from mainly historic California old vine vineyard sites, like this sublimely crafted Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel in Lodi. Turley, along with Ridge Vineyards, Bedrock Wine Co., Carlisle, Martinelli and Biale are keepers of the faith in the modern Zinfandel, highlighting individual vineyard sites and making wines with bold full bodied character, with many of these from vines that were planted in the late 1800s. These producers, especially Turley, are making Zinfandels that are mouth filling, lush and dense with impressive palate impact, giving loads of hedonistic pleasure in their youth, but are serious wine that can age easily 10 to 15 years and in some cases much, much longer, as I believe this 2014 Turley Kirschenmann has the potential to go quite a long way with its depth and structure, it maybe my absolute favorite ever Lodi wine, just surpassing some tasty Cinsault from the Bechthold Vineyard, which also, like Kirschenmann, is in the Mokelumne River zone. The Kirschenmann, as Turley notes, is particularly close to their heart as head winemaker, Tegan Passalacqua, owns and farms this renowned vineyard. The un-grafted old vines here at Kirschenmann were originally planted in 1915 and are set on the silica-rich sandy soils of the east side of the Mokelumne River AVA. Passalacqua takes full advantage of he river’s cool waters and the delta breezes that keeps this arid and warm terroir in balance, allowing these head-trained, dry-farmed vines some protection from the Summer heat.

This 2014, which looks like to very similar in style to the 2018 and 2019 vintages with a cooler demeanor and freshness, though richly layered and complex from a longer growing season that delivered some spectacular grapes to Turley, like those from Passalacqua’s Kirschenmann Vineyard that have produced this gorgeously textured Zin. It’s very notable that Turley Wine Cellars makes forty-seven wines from over fifty vineyards, and as they add, the vast majority of which are single vineyard designate Zinfandel(s) and Petite Syrah(s) coming from all organic sites, most of which are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers. Also, Passalacqua uses 100% natural or indigenous yeast fermentation to make the distinctive Turley wines. Tegan has lots of experience and is one of the most informed and likable personalities in California wine, after working harvests with the legendary figures like Alain Graillot in the northern Rhône Valley as well as Eben Sadie in Swartland, South Africa, along with a stint working along side Doug Wisor at Craggy Range in New Zealand, plus his time here at Turley under Ehren Jordan, their former winemaker. The 2014 Turley Kirschenmann Zinfandel excels in the glass with a lovely dark garnet/purple color and luxurious mouth feel, it unfolds with black raspberry, plum, morello cherry and Mission fig fruits leading the way along with delicate floral and snappy herb notes, adding an array of spices and a touch of cedary wood. This Kirschenmann is wonderfully rounded, polished and pure with a surprising degree of crisp detailing for a bigger wine that clocks in at around 15% alcohol, in fact this is a remarkably elegant Zinfandel, I highly recommend searching out this vintage as well as grabbing the just released 2018s.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 13, 2020

2016 Weingut Kunstler, Spatburgunder Trocken, Tradition, Rheingau Germany.
I usually rave about Gunter Kunstler’s Rieslings, but it shouldn’t be overlooked that he also produces some fantastic Pinot Noir, especially his Grand Cru offerings, like his fabulous Hollenberg Assmannshausen GG, as well as this wonderfully detailed cuvee Tradition, which is also a great value with layered red fruits, delicate spices, mineral tones and smooth textural charm. The Kunstler estate, one of Germany’s finest wineries, was established when Gunter’s father Franz Künstler in 1965 re-established the Weingut Künstler in Hochheim, which is in the Rheingau between the Main and Rhein Rivers, after his family was relocated out of South Moravian region in modern day Czech Republic. In 1992 Gunter took over the estate and in 1994 the estate was admitted to the VDP, marking that the estate had started on a path to greatness and was beginning its run of crafting a series of stunning dry Rieslings, putting Gunter’s wines in a select group of elite winegrowers. Generally in this zone of the Rheingau, it is warm and slightly humid with soils made up mostly of loess, clay, sand, loam, marl and limestone, more like the Pfalz and or Burgundy, and while Riesling is regal and elegant there is also success with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The greatest sites in Hochheim, as noted by Riesling guru Terry Theise, are Domdechaney, Kirchenstück and my favorite Hölle, which can make Rieslings seem like Batard-Montrachet!

The Kunstler 2016 Tradition Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) from a cool damp vintage that saw a brilliant vintage saving burst of sunshine in September that allowed this wine to become a lovely and polished effort with a subtle perfume, gentle smokiness and a well balanced medium bodied palate showing opulent array of black cherry, bright plum, raspberry, cranberry and strawberry red fruits along with a hint of cedar, orange marmalade, light tea notes, baking spices and a cool crisp mineral element. This wine, made to enjoy in its first 3 to 5 years after release is Kunstler’s teaser wine, offering a glimpse of what to expect from his top Cru wines, but being more fresh and open in style. Germany is fast becoming a place to get great Pinot Noir, with some these wines rivaling the world’s best examples, in particular for me are the wines of Meyer-Nakel, Becker, Diel and Kunstler of which are distinctive terroir driven wines of exceptional quality. The dry Spatburgunder is blend of different vineyard lots and made in 1,000-liter oak casks, with Kunstler using mainly the de-classified lots from his single Crus. This a nice way to dig into Germany Pinots and it is wonderfully food friendly and can be enjoyed with a bit of chill too for warm evening meals or picnics. The texture gets more lush with time in the glass and over all you feeling of completeness from this lovely ruby/garnet colored wine. All of Kunstler’s latest releases are worth collecting and the last three vintages from 2016 through 2018 are very compelling and I hear 2019 is a year that raises the bar even higher, I can’t wait to try Gunter’s versions in the year ahead.
($40 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 12, 2020

2019 Domaine La Bastide Blanche, Bandol Rosé, Provence, France.
The Domaine La Bastide Blanche, located in St. Anne de Castellet, founded back in the early 1970s is one of the great producers in Bandol, along with Domaine Tempier and Pradeaux, with a terroir of that is rich in limestone. This Domaine is well known for their intense reds and this full bodied Rosé, having a high proportion of Mourvèdre. This 2019 is, like Tempier is a ripe and expressive example of Bandol, delivering mouth filling layers of fresh squeezed raspberry, sour cherry, plum water, strawberry and blood orange along with dry extract. An array of spices, wet stone and some leesy density. This version, is as always, mostly the powerful Mourvèdre with about equal parts Cinsault and Grenache, which gives some generous fruit and fresh zestiness from all hand-harvested grapes on those clay-limestone and cailloux (stony) soils. I can imagine enjoying this with a paella, seafood stews and especially with steamed mussels in spicy broth, but this Bandol Rosé can handle a variety of dishes.

This Bandol Rosé is grippingy stuff, certainly not a whimpy or dull wine, making good use of its impressive structural quality, it’s a wine that performs best with more robust cuisine. The La Bastide Blanche Rosé was crafted with the saignee process using fully ripe and flavorful grapes. While lush and with a natural alcohol above 14%, this vintage has plenty of lift and crisp minerallity that adds some classic charm. Owners of three estates, Michel and Louis Bronzo have a very tidy collection of Bandol vines, and here at La Bastide Blanc they are farming with organic methods, utilizing small yields to add to the impact and concentration they achieve in their wines. The 2019 Domaine La Bastide Bandol Rosé was a blend of about 71% Mourvèdre, 14% Grenache, 12% Cinsault and 3% Clairette, a white grape that is co-fermented into main lot, and it should be noted that this cuvée is assembled by Peter Weygandt, the American importer, of Weygandt-Metzler at the domaine with the talented help of Stéphane Bourret, the winemaker and the Bronzo family themselves, with each year being slightly different. This is delicious and very rewarding dry pink wine and selling at almost half the price of Tempier’s Bandol Rosé, it is a real bargain!
($24 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 11, 2020

2018 Weingut Leitz, Riesling Kabinett, Rüdesheimer Klosterlay, Rheingau Germany.
The 2018 Leitz Klosterlay Kabinett is bright and focused, drinking with a snappy dry tanginess and feels very well balanced with just enough fruity off dry sweetness to go refreshingly well with Asian cuisine, like my mom’s cherished birthday traditional Tommy’s Wok (of Carmel) Chinese meal, which included orange chicken and Singapore curry noodles and BBQ pork, all of which was easily handled by this delightful Riesling. Rudesheim is one of my absolute favorite wine towns to visit and I am a long time fan of Johannes Leitz an d his wines, especially his cru bottlings from the famous Rudesheimer Berg sites, including the VDP GG’s from Schlossberg, Kaisrersteinfels and Roseneck as well as his Prädikat offerings, like this Klosterlay Kabinett. “Lay” is a very old word meaning slate (stone) and “Kloster” is the German translation of Abbey, and the Klosterlay vineyard sits beneath the Benedictine Abbey of St. Hildegard, above the eastern edge of the village of Rudesheim in part of the Johannisberg zone, almost all these sites here were church owned vines in the past and walking here you see many religious icons and symbols scattered around. Here, as Leitz notes, the Rüdesheimer Berg begins to gently undulate as it levels out toward the village of Geisenheim and turns from intense slate soils to more heavy loam, loess and clay. Johannes believes this site is best suited for a fruity style with some residual sugar and therefore he choses to makes Kabinett from this terroir. Over the years, I have become quite addicted to opening a Leitz wine on special occasions, they always bring an inner happiness and celebration of life, and this one didn’t fail to add to the joy of having my family around and forgetting the stress of this horrendous year.

The Klosterlay 2018 starts with crisp apple, white peach and lime fruits with zesty acidity cutting the density and sweetness along with a fresh saline element and spicy ginger and clove on the light feeling palate, everything is clear and precise, making for pure Riesling refreshment with a comforting old school charm. The Klosterlay site faces south and gets wonderful ripe flavors and it is mostly loess and loam with some sand and slate, plus veins of quartzite that adds complexity, there’s a beautiful mineral tone that runs the length of this Riesling and while I had it with full flavored Chinese food, it also goes great with more subtle dishes as well. I love Kabinett level wines in the Summer and Fall, the low alcohol, in this case about 9.5%, and light phenolic bitter notes lessen the impact of the underlying sugar, again, especially with Leitz’s example, Kabinett can drink in a drier sense. This vintage is jazzy and refined, opening up with white flowers, crushed flint, tangerine and quince, very poised, as you’d expect from this famous producer, but still playful and without pretense, easy to quaff and it is a wine that generates lots of smiles. The Klosterlay is farmed using sustainable Fair ‘N Green practices, as are all of Leitz’s top sites and Johannes is committed to making sure Rudesheim’s history is preserved and has started a movement to restore many of the original terraces and cares deeply about the health of the region. The basic offerings, with screw caps, at Leitz, are bottling that see stainless steel fermentation and aging with the idea they will be enjoyed in their youth, like this Klosterlay, which was intended to be drunk with its zippy details within its first 3 to 5 years. I can’t wait to return to the Rheingau and in particular Rudesheim with its amazing vineyards and views of the Rhein, this wine absolutely transports me there.
($24 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 10, 2020

2018 Evesham Wood, Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The special nine barrel Evesham Wood Dundee Hills Pinot Noir from Winemaker and owner Erin Nuccio is one of the best hand crafted and small lot Pinots from the vintage, especially for the price, in Oregon, with its beautiful details and texture it is a class act and joins Evesham’s stellar and value priced lineup. For the last twelve years I’ve been following this label after my first visit to the Willamette Valley wine country and the Portland wine scene when a friend up there clued me in on some under the radar wineries, if you are into Oregon Pinot and looking for bargains, Nuccio’s wines are a must try collection, especially the Evesham Wood’s basic Willamette Valley cuvee and this one if you can still find it. With classic Dundee Hills, Jory soil (volcanic and iron rich) influence showing, the Evesham Wood Dundee Hills Pinot delivers layers of dusty red spiced black cherry, plum and strawberry fruits along with a touch of earthy reduction, rose petals, snappy herbs, moro orange tea and delicate wood accents, all of which caresses the medium bodied palate. With air the ruby/garnet 2018 Dundee Hills Pinot gains a darker almost blue fruit tone and becomes wonderfully expressive and pure in a performance that you’d expect from a wine two or three times the cost, I knew I should have bought a few more bottles.

Nuccio says his Dundee Hills Cuvée, which came from a very famous single vineyard, is most likely one-time only wine for Evesham Wood and came about when a friend who is the winemaker this well known, but can’t be named, winery in the Dundee Hills asked if Erin was interested in some Dundee Hills fruit and as she adds, after initially saying he had enough grapes booked, he came back with a price that was too good to pass up. The plan was to have it go into the regular Willamette Valley blend, but when Nuccio started seriously tasting the barrels it became apparent he had some special barrels, so made the choice to do this bottling from those 9 barrels, which in hindsight was an awesome decision. Evesham Wood was originally founded by Russ and Mary Raney in 1986, with a mission based on the idea that small is beautiful and with a desire to create value priced and easy to drink Pinots. To maintain a high level of quality, Evesham Wood, now in Nuccio and his wife Jordan’s hands, rely on two basic principles, as Nuccio notes, to obtaining optimally ripe low-yield fruit from the best possible sites in the Willamette Valley, and using minimal intervention in the winemaking process to express terroir and complexity in each offering. Nuccio, who also has the cult favorite Haden Fig label, took over here in 2010 and has upped the quality in recent vintages even further and I highly recommend his 2016, 2017 and these concentrated 2018s!
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 9, 2020

2018 Tablas Creek Vineyard, Roussane, Adelaida District, Paso Robles.
A touch livelier than the prior few vintages and with a welcome zippy freshness of detail the 2018 Roussanne still has its impressive density on the palate with rich stone fruit and a phenolic intensity that let you know this is a serious wine, and of course tells it is Roussanne with the traces of waxy/oily notes. Tablas has now done close to twenty years of single varietal Roussanne and this Rhone grape has played a big role in their rise as a winery being a key varietal in their Esprit de Tablas Blanc, Chateauneuf du Pape blend, as well as being the major white grape of their cousin, Chateau de Beaucastel’s Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes by the Perrin Family, who are partners in Tablas Creek with the Haas family. This vintage with cooler personality, starting nicely crisp, gets more powerful with air in the glass unfolding in almost red wine like feel with layers of apricot, mixed citrus which comes through with a bright lemon tone and tart peach as well as clove spice, butterscotch, hazelnut and bitter almond oil along with subtle white flowers, tangy herb and lingering honeycomb. Once fully open the palate expands out to lavish full bodied white that makes you want something decedent on the menu, I can see Lobster tail and or swordfish steaks, and the oak influence adds a nice set toasty note that frames this Roussanne very well.

Tablas Creek makes their Roussanne using a combination of wood vessels and was blended from particular separate lots, 100% Roussanne and 100% estate grown hand harvested grapes, with all the fruit coming into the winery with excellent flavor development, vibrant acidity and very natural moderate alcohol, in 2018 this Roussanne is labeled at 12.4%, which helps explain the fine balance here. The winemakers, according to Tablas Creek’s notes, selected to use 55% from lager foudre, 35% from neutral oak puncheons, and 10% in small new French Burgundy type barriques, which adds the caramel/vanilla accent. White Rhone grapes are seeing a new rise in popularity with rare varieties like Grenache Blanc, Vermentino (Rolle), Picpoul and Clairette gaining new vineyard area each year, while classics like Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne showing renewed interest, much of that attention was stoked by the efforts here at Tablas Creek, who brought over quality clones and cuttings from France. This 2018 Roussanne is very expressive stuff, with its delicate mineral and crushed chalk details that come through with time hidden behind the weighty fruit and its one the best vintages I’ve tried, I am confident that it will age well too, I can see it lasting a decade, you can see in this vintage see a similar profile to well made Saint-Joseph(s) and or Guigal’s Hermitage Blanc. For those searching out a standard barer California Roussanne, should check out Stolpman’s, Alban’s and this Tablas Creek version, to name a few very impactful examples.
($40 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 8, 2020

2019 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone, Rhone Valley, France.
The deep purple/blue/garnet 100% Syrah Cotes du Rhone from Saint Cosme is without question one of the world’s greatest values and this 2019 vintage is thrillingly delicious with wonderful purity and layers of boysenberry, black cherry, plum and blueberry coulis along with some spicy accents, a hint of earth, graphite and salty melted black licorice. Louis Barruol’s Chateau de Saint Cosme is one of the Rhone’s finest producers, most famous for the estate’s classic Gigondas bottlings from his ancient and historic cellars at the site of a Gallo-Roman villa from the 1400s. Barruol’s ancestors acquired it in 1570, and at the end of the sixteenth century built the family home and began the tradition of quality winegrowing in the region that continues today, the Barruol’s have been vignerons for 14 generations. Saint Cosme is in the Dentelles de Montmirail range with a unique combination of soils and climate that makes it very special for wines. Saint Cosme’s vineyards are at a crossing of two geological faults, which is very rare, according to the winery, and this gives them an extraordinary diversity of soils, along with a microclimate is cool and late ripening, giving the wines balance and incredible depth.

The latest vintage of Saint Cosme’s Côtes du Rhône Rouge was crafted using Syrah grapes that were partially de-stemmed with some whole cluster from vines set on sandy limestone, red clay and pebbles on Villafranchian terraces and it was fermented and aged solely in tank. This 2029 is concentrated and impressive in the mouth adding pretty touches of violets and wild sage to its array of opulent dark fruits and lingering creme de cassis, this little Cotes du Rhone is simply outstanding, as goes without saying it’s a steal at the price. Even Barruol is saying the 2019 is one of the best versions he’s made, rivaling his 2010, and I couldn’t agree more, this is a vintage you’ll want to stock up on. Known as a Grenache specialist, Barruol is quite handy with Syrah, he also has made some fantastic Northern Rhone wines from purchased grapes, these include a brilliant collection of Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Cote-Rotie and Crores-Hermitage bottlings, all which are worth searching out. Most recently, Barruol added the Château de Rouanne in Vinsobres to his lineup and this property is very exciting, with the first efforts here showing amazing potential. There’s so to admire in Saint Cosme’s latest set it’s hard to stay focused, but this edition of their Cotes du Rhone deserves a lot of attention, be sure not to miss it!
($16 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 7, 2020

2019 Bedrock Wine Company, Rosé “Ode to Lulu” California.
Morgan Twain-Peterson’s Bedrock Ode to Lulu, a tribute to the legendary Lucie “Lulu” Tempier Peyraud, the matriarch of the famous Domaine Tempier, who’s wine are famous around the world, especially their Bandol Rosé, which this wine takes inspiration from, made from mainly Mourvedre, that gives serious structure and with a touch of generous Grenache. Bedrock’s dry and tasty pink wine is in 2019 an absolute beauty with a sense of weightlessness and Summery bright detail, it is one of the best versions I’ve tried of this wine so far with pretty delicate rosewater, tart cherry, red peach, ruby grapefruit, a touch of snappy herbs, watermelon and a sensation of strawberry on the lingering finish. This is crisp and fresh showing a lifting cut of mouth-watering acidity as well as mineral notes and a little stony element that adds to the complexity and helps with giving the impression of completeness, this latest Ode to Lulu is full of life and energy, but comes with a graceful I’m not here to be loud confidence that really shows just how impressive this Rosé really is. The pate color confirms its non pretentious personality and I enjoy how the layers unfold and how truly refreshing this vintage is, this is one of the finest examples of California meets Provence Rosés out there.

The 2019 Bedrock Ode to Lulu was crafted of 65% Mataro, aka Mourvedre from old vines, set in sand in Oakley, some over 80 years old and 35% Grenache from even older vines in Mendocino County that are grown on mix of ancient rocky soils. Made with traditional methods and picked with lower sugars, this seductive wine which some a cool fermentation and a short aging period with light lees, plus it was bottled quickly to preserve all the vibrancy. Bedrock has established itself as one of California’s premier wineries in recent years, joining the likes of Ridge Vineyards, Turley Wine Cellars and others, making a fantastic series of wines, especially their Heritage lineup of Zinfandel based reds from historic vineyards that are inter-planted with an incredible combination and array of black grapes. I highly recommend discovering Bedrock’s collection, in particular this lovely Ode to Lulu as well as their iconic offerings from their estate Bedrock Vineyard and their Evangelho Vineyard bottlings. Morgan Twain-Peterson, who is now an MW, a master of wine, is one of the greatest voices in California wine as who has been a winemaker since a child, helping his dad, Joel Peterson of Ravenswood fame make wine, grew up appreciating these gnarly head trained vines. This 2019 Ode to Lulu is a wonder summer sipper and has the substance to be enjoyed with robust cuisine, it was fabulous with Pizza too.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 6, 2020

2019 Weingut Korrell, Riesling Trocken “Paradies” Estate Monopol, Nahe Germany.
I’ve been getting more and more excited about the 2019 as I get a chance to try them, this year looks set to be legendary in most German regions, especially here in the Nahe, where Donnhoff, Schlossgut Diel, Kruger-Rumpf, Schafer-Frohlich, Gut Hermannsberg and (this) Korrell are looking to have produced some of their greatest wines to date! And this Korrell Paradies dry Riesling lives up to that buzz easily with a stunning performance in the glass, showing impeccable form and crisp elegant details, it drinks every bit as good as a Grand Cru Burgundy and highlights its unique terroir. In recent years, I’ve been blessed with getting some of Korrell’s releases, as they are not easy to find in the States as of yet, and I’ve been highly impressed with the full range of wines that Martin and Britta Korrell have put out, but I must say this bottling, their signature effort is really something exceptional with its gorgeous purity of flavors and distinctive textural quality and this vintage is another step up for this small family estate. The Paradies, is the oldest single site Korrell has and is the flagship wine of winemaker Martin Korrell, it comes from his family’s vines that are farmed with great respect for nature with sustainable and mostly organic methods, it is set on limestone and clay soils, on a hillside patch of ground in the Bad Kreuznach area of the Nahe region.

This 2019 Paradies flows across the medium bodied palate with graceful opulence and mineral tones, this wine, is the heart and soul of Korrell’s lineup, this site sees more sunshine and the limestone allows for some serious concentration, while also retaining exciting acidity. There is always great attention paid to pick dates to finely tune this signature Riesling so that it delivers all of the complexity and nuances that the site develops. Korrell mixes some traditional stainless fermentations with some native yeast and barrel ferments to craft his wines and the Paradies shows a beautiful leesy finesse, as noted in prior reviews of this wine, and the mouth feel and length are quite delectable. This vintage echos my first impressions with white peach/apricot stone fruits leading the way and with a mixture of citrus and melon as well come through along with wet stones, a refreshing saline element, crystalized ginger, spearmint tea, verbena and aromatic herbs. With air, there is a touch of tropical or exotic fruit that flitters in the background and this Paradies opens its arms and stretches out, I can alone imagine how great it will be in 5 to 10 years, it is an outstanding and regal Riesling. I enjoyed it immensely all on its own, but it got even better with a delicate Thai green curry dish, which I thought might not be its best pairing, showing this Korrell can be flexible with cuisine options. I highly recommend exploring this 2019 collection from Korrell, and I am hoping this Paradies gets more widely available, as it is such a beauty.
($45 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 5, 2020

2017 Brick House, Pinot Noir, Select, Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Only made in abundant and ripe vintages the Brick House Select Pinot Noir is a special entry level barrel selection of all estate grown, 100% biodynamic, grapes from this famous winery’s Ribbon Ridge vines set on marine sedimentary soils, it is always an incredible value and this 2017 is extra delicious, wonderfully detailed and lengthy. There’s lots to admire here, this quite lush 2017 Select starts with an array of floral aromatics, dark fruit and racy spices before fully opening up on its medium bodied and succulent palate, revealing a range of black cherry, plum, blueberry and wild strawberry fruits in a caressing and silken wave along with touches of seeped rose petals, tea leaf, cinnamon and a hint of earth and mineral. With air this pure Pinot fruited wine just gets better and more distinctive, hats off to Doug Tunnell and his team at Brick House for this exceptionally drinkable offering. Brick House does an amazing set wines, all sourced from their estate, including this one, plus Tunnell’s Les Dijonnais Pinot Noir, Cuvée du Tonnelier Pinot Noir, two Chardonnays and one of the new world’s best Gamay Noir(s).

Brick House, an Oregon classic, was founded by Doug Tunnell back in 1990 and was a major player in what I call the second wave of greats to get started in the Willamette Valley, with the likes of Beaux Freres’ Mike Etzel, Ken Wright, John Paul of Cameron and Mark Vlossak of St. Innocent to name a few and was one of first to embrace organic and holistic farming, including practicing biodymanics in their vineyards. The wines are produced using traditional Burgundian techniques and this wine saw about 20% whole cluster, with full set of the estate’s Pinot Noir clones, with stem inclusion and was fermented using only indigenous (natural or native) yeast without any manipulation or additives and then the Select Pinot was raised in well seasoned or neutral French barrique for 18 months with alone one racking, that was to tank for bottling, all of which to allow the wine’s true flavors to shine through. The vineyards at Brick House have been certified organic for 25 years and are also certified biodynamic by Demeter, which Tunnell thinks makes all the difference in the quality of his wines, giving them life and energy, and this Select makes a compelling case in support, it is drinking fantastic, enjoy it over the next 3 to 5 years.
($38 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive