Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Windy Oaks Estate Pinot Noir “Henry’s Block-Schultze Family Vineyard” Santa Cruz Mountains.
Jim and Judy Schultze has been making this Pinot Noir since 1999, and I have tried almost every vintage if not all and have loved to watch as the vineyard and the wine evolve, and I can say that both wine and vines seem to have reached the peak. I was blown away when Jim showed off his first release, that 1999 Windy Oaks Estate was a dead ringer for a fine Chambolle-Musigny and this new release, the 2008 Windy Oaks Estate Pinot Noir “Henry’s Block” from the original block of vines is very similar and has that Burgundian charm and perfume that sets it apart. The nose has loads of striking violets and rose petals, sweet tea spices and mineral tones before a lively palate of silky fruits and earthy contrast with black cherry, strawberry and blueberry layers. There is a nice chalky mineral steak along with a lifting acidity that is fresh, but elegantly smooth and creamy. The subtle French oak gives hints of smoke, vanilla and mocha, though it is never the focus, only the frame, making this stylish Pinot a thing of beauty and grace. As much as I have loved prior vintages, this might be my favorite, and people looking for a more detailed and delicate style Pinot would be hard pressed to find a better wine. While 2008 in Sonoma, Carneros and Anderson Valley was not a great year, the Santa Cruz Mountains killed it, I suggest you check them out. Honestly, while this wine does show its unique terroir and is a California wine through and through it does remind me of Vosne-Romanee and Chambolle-Musigny Burgundies, a high compliment in my book.
($55 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2007 La Spinetta “Casanova” Chianti Reserva, Terricciola, Tuscany, Italy.
Giorgio Rivetti’s La Spinetta in Tuscany continues to impress and his latest release, the Chianti Reserva is a beautiful and elegantly styled wine that shows terroir and vintage perfectly. This Sangiovese gem has medium weight and lush textures with a long smooth finish, it all begins with flowers and sweet herbs in the nose with a heady mix of red and black fruits, earth and mineral tones. The subtle wood and tangy acidity make this Chianti wonderful with food and less showy than past efforts, though no one would ever be disappointed but popping the cork on this wine. The bright berry, strawberry and savory currant lead the fruit layers and tobacco leaf, lavender and truffle notes add complexities to this fine effort from a world class producer. Drink over the next 3 to 5 years and enjoy the graceful balance and pure Tuscan flavors.
($40 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2006 Brovia Barolo, Piedmonte, Italy.
This producer is new to me and I was excited to try their wines, as I had heard about them and was told lots of good things. Brovia makes their wines in a classic, almost Burgundian style with terroir and purity of fruit and most of the vineyard sources are close to Falletto, near to where Giacosa is and other top winemakers. This 2006 Barolo “normale” is a wonderful example of the elegance that can be found in Nebbiolo, and it does share grace and charms that you’d expect from a fine Burgundy. I can tell you this wine is a thing of beauty and has fruit, structure, poise and length with a nose full of dried roses, lavender oil, truffle and fennel before pretty cherry and plum fruit come forward. The body feels heavenly smooth, but with life and taut balance, while in the background game, black tea, black licorice and menthol dance subtlety. The finish is long and flavorful, almost begging you for another sip, glass or bottle! While still youthful, the 2006 is drinking great now, though it should go another 5 or 6 years, gaining in small ways I’m sure.
($50 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.
I was so happy to try the Karl lawrence as I had missed out on trying the last few vintages and it has always impressed me, and I can report it is just as good as ever, maybe better even. The 2008 Karl lawrence is rich and dense, but it is remarkably balanced and fresh too, I would liken it to 1990’s Caymus or Ridge Monte Bello in style, though it has it’s own unique character and is very distinct. The nose is floral and with touches of creme de cassis, vanilla and pencil lead leading to a firm palate of blueberry, blackberry, currants and cherry fruits with tobacco leaf, briar and licorice. This wine has graceful structure and great length, while fine tannins hold it all together, but remain smooth and subtle throughout. This Cabernet is pure class. The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from top sites, Herb Lamb, Taplin and Morisoli and it shows. This is an awesome Cabernet and a value “Cult” wine! Without question this wine is sublime and any Cab lover will admire it, but on a personal note, this wine really speaks to me and is a real favorite of mine, and it was hard not to want to rate it even higher!
($70 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry winslow

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2010 Luli Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands.
This rich and vibrant Pinot Noir comes from quality Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards and is made by Jeff Pisoni, winemaker at Pisoni Estate, Lucia Vineyards, Fort Ross and has worked with Peter Michael. Clearly Jeff, son of the famed Gary Pisoni, is clearly an established and accomplished winemaker and this project is another showcase for his talents and the terroir of the Highlands. Luli does a fresh and easy drinking lineup of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, all quality and value priced. These wines are outstanding and give insights on the vintage as they are always released early, before the more collectable wines from the area come to market. This lively and fruit packed Pinot is a good sign that 2010 will continue the great vintage streak that the Santa Lucia Highlands has going. For such a young wine it shows good depth, complexity and the acidity with even allow it to age well, even though not many will wait to enjoy this little beauty. The nose is bright with flowers, fresh berries and spice before a tangy cherry and plummy palate that shows blackberry, cranberry and juicy acidity. Watch for flashes of briar, bramble and truffle as you savory the zesty fruit and the subtle sweet toasty oak. I like this vintage even better than the 2009 and think Luli is just going from strength to strength, I suggest picking up this Pinot before the word gets out!
($24 Est) 92 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($19.95)

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Occhipinti “SP68” Rosso, IGT, Sicily.
Arianna Occhipinti is without question a star and her latest artisan “natural” wines are stunning examples and reached even greater heights. This new vintage of “SP68” Rosso is the best yet with greater detail, depth and freshness. This cuvee of Nero D’ Avola and Frappato is pure, focused and has balance with grenadine, red currants, blueberry and unique lingonberry layers, plus mineral and lavender notes. This wine has silky tannins, but vibrant live and brightness with just the right amount of lifting acidity. This beautiful terroir driven red has pretty dark garnet color, a red earthy spicy kick and has no telltale signs of oak at all, all the better because it is not needed. Even when left open for 48 hours, this vintage held nicely without losing a thing! While the 2009 felt a bit overripe, the 2010 is near perfect and a huge leap forward for this wine, bravo again to Ms. Occhipinti, she is making the wine world take notice. Arianna Occhipinti has made Frappato a household name, especially at my house!
($28 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($26.95)

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