Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

***

2009 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon, Loire Valley Red, France.
This silky and vibrant Cabernet Franc is pure pleasure and refinement with smooth cherry, blackberry, plum and plum fruits with black olives, red currants, hints of straw, fig paste, pepper and clove spice. This wine is a cuvee of two areas of Chinon, and while it is not as terroir driven as the other Baudry offering, it is more round and complete as a whole. I enjoyed the vigor and life this wine showed the minute it hit the glass, with a hint of earthy game and mineral, but fell in love with it after an hour as it opened up, filled out and gained length, it made a great evening just that much better and proved a nice companion with my new novel, with just around 13% alcohol it doesn’t interfere with the mental process all that much. Kermit Lynch has some fantastic Loire producers, and while I always like Jouget, the Baudry wines are among my favorites, especially this wine and this vintage, it is definitely not a wine to miss. Cabernet Franc fans unite and take over!
($24 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

***

2009 Montalbera Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato “Laccento” Piedmonte Red, Italy.
This wine opens with such perfume it transports you instantly to a flower garden with heady rose petals before leading to a beautiful palate filled with wild strawberries, plums and red currants. There is lots to enjoy with this med weight, garnet colored wine with vibrant fruits, flowers, licorice and rose oil all playing leading roles though interesting notes of mountain herbs, candied citrus, rhubarb and subtle balsamic can be found in the background. This wine ends as it starts with liquid roses lingering on and on, this wine is by far the best Ruche that I’ve ever come across, though I must admit it is a rare grape to begin with. This wine was aged only in stainless steel and bottle, no oak what so ever and was indeed not needed. I had not heard of Montalbera before, and I have my friend, Austin to thank for sharing this producer and wine to me. As I was completely blown away with this lovely wine, I had to find out more, and low and behold Decanter magazine had picked this wine as one of their best of the year giving it their top 5 star rating and gold medal, so I did not discover a new treasure for you all, but I can tell you it is that freaking good and them some. Sadly it looks as if the 2009 is sold out in the States, but I am hearing that the 2010 is as good if not better, so be sure to ask around for it.
($25 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

***

1996 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Howell Mountain” Napa Valley.
In recent tastings, the Dunn Cabs have really blown me away, the 2007 Howell Mountain and the 2008 Napa Valley show sublime balance and elegant layers of fruit, and I’m looking forward to trying the 2008 Howell when it comes out next month. In the meantime, I am delighted to report that the 1996 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Howell Mountain” is drinking fantastic and I’m grateful to a friend that wanted my opinion on it, and shared a sample of this lovely wine. I think my favorite Dunn’s have been the 1991 and 1994, with 1993 and 2008 not far behind, but I was very impressed with the 1996 and while not as big as 1994 in structure is is almost every bit as complex and stylish with a real Pauillac feel, I think these 90’s Dunn Cabs are steals, and are as pleasing as Lafite or Latour. The 1996 opens with black fruits, currants and plums with cedar, sage and tobacco accents as well as graphite, mineral and briar. The palate has blackberry, currant, plum and cherry fruits that go on and on, while tannins hold things firm, but refined. This wine has reached a great period, and should be drunk soon for maximum pleasure, in my opinion, though it still has a good life ahead, I just think you’d want to enjoy it when the fruit is peaking still. This is a classic wine that deserves high praise indeed.
($130-200 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

***

Happy New Year

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

***

2006 Vilmart & Cie, Brut Champagne, Premier Cru “Grand Cellier D’ Or” Montagne de Reims.
I admit to being a huge fan of Laurent Champs and his fantastic wines, Vilmart is an amazing producer and while this 2006 is just a baby, it has a great future ahead of it, much like the new year, and that is why I opened this bottle, to have a little peak into the future. The vintage “Grand Cellier D’ Or” is a deep and seductive Champagne of elegant class and even though it is lovely know, it should be cellared for a few more years to reach anything near its super potential. The nose is subtle with hints of brioche, hazelnuts and smoky minerals before a rich and tense palate of lemon, apple and bread dough with touches of baking spices, tropical fruits and light wood notes. Look for many exotic extras to show over time and for this bubbly to blossom with true terroir and secondary elements that need time to develop. I can’t be trusted to keeping my hands of such a gem, but I would strongly advise to hide a few away, the rewards should prove well worth the investment. While Vilmart is not a inexpensive Champagne by any means, it is a true value when you look at the prices of Krug or Crystal. This was a perfect way to start the new year, Bravo Laurent and cheers to your success.
($116 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

Available at: www.sfwtc.com ($109.95)

***