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Grapelive Tribute to “Summer of Riesling 2011”

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Weingut Selbach-Oster Riesling “Rotlay” Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Mosel, Germany.
Johannes Selbach explained to me the craziness of the 2010 vintage and the super high levels of acidity, and the extreme power of the wines, that will show up in time. While the 2009 vintage was near perfect on all levels, almost easy for the winemakers and great for customers, the 2010 will be more intense and especially dry feeling while young, but watch out the higher must weight wines, spatlese and aisles, plus the TBA and Eiswein, will be killers! This maybe the best sweet wine year in many vintages will long lived and balanced wines. Selbach makes a few special cuvees, and the “Rotlay” is one of them, it is an amazingly deep and polished wine, though still firmly framed and ridged at this young stage, with layers of complexity and lush flavors. Sweetly rich, but with bracing acidity giving stunning balance and lift the “Rotlay” shows tropical fruits, green apple, white stone fruit and candied pineapple with crystalline mineral essence and citrus flowers. I love this wine now, and would pair it with Thai or Indian curries or spicy dishes in its youth, but rewards will come to those that cellar this beauty for 5 to 10 years when it really fills out and blossoms, look for slate, petrol fumes and rose oil to slowly unfold and a honey tone to show up over time. This wine has a future that is sure and I should wager a large sum that it will become a classic standing up to some of the best white wines of the world, this is a remarkable Riesling.
($61 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Weingut Johannes Leitz Riesling “Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck” Rheingau, Germany.
This stellar Riesling is all about terroir and relates its soils to the glass in stunning fashion with bright mineral and intense bracing acidity along with huge dry extract and depth of fruit. Still massively young, but wonderful in flavor and richness with white peach, fresh apricot, green apple and hints of honeyed lime. Johannes Leitz and Eva Fricke are making some of the most important wines of the Rheingau, highlighting the different soils and exposures near Rudesheim above the Rhein, exploiting brown and grey slate, red schist and ancient sea bed soils to amazing effect. This wine is full, Auslese must weight, zinging with powerful acidity and has complex aromas, flavors and a long finish, a true Grand Cru white. Still lots to develop here, so make sure to put a few away in the cellar for as long as a decade if you can! Sweet and tangy with subtle smoke, pineapple, flinty slate essence linger on almost a minute after the last sip. Look for great things from Leitz in the 2010 vintage, and “Rosie” hereĀ  is one of them.
($49 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Happy 4th from Grapelive

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Robert Biale Zinfandel “Black Chicken” Estate, Napa Valley.
Black Chicken Zin, named after Aldo Biale’s codeword for secret wine sales during the proibition, is one of the best Zinfandel’s produced and the 2009 is a stunner! This all American, California great has intense and vibrant black and red fruits, briery spices, sweet smooth tannins and texture and a long fruit driven finish. This wine screams excitement and has lots of dry port extract and thickness, but still feels fresh. Bold and brash Zinfandel flavors hold firm start to finish with mountain blackberry, boysenberry, raspberry and plum fruits and hints of cedar, mocha and pie-filling. Best to enjoy this big wine young and with hard cheeses and or BBQed meats, a near perfect 4th of July red to savor with flags and fireworks!
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Domaine Brintet Mercurey Vieilles Vignes (Red Burgundy, Old Vines) France.

A recent find for me, imported by Charles Neal, the Domaine Brintet Mercurey is a stylish and richly flavored Burgundy that has live and force driving it, clearly a Domaine to watch! I was most impressed with this smoky and deep Pinot Noir that has black cherry, plum and currant fruits along with subtle smoke, mineral essence and truffle earthiness. This dark fruit focused wine should fill out and gain in bottle over the next few years, but I wouldn’t be too shy about opening a few bottles in the very near future as this is a gem and a stunning value for a quality Burgundy, and one from such a remarkable vintage. Thanks again to Charles Neal for discovering another interesting Domaine and adding it to his portfolio of fine wines and spirits.
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Domaine Pierre Guillemot Bourgogne, Red Burgundy, France.
This small domaine turns out some really great wine, and at super prices from the Beaune region of Burgundy. Kermit Lynch again was the guy behind bringing Guillemot to our neck of the woods, and again we must say “Thanks!” and give kudos to him and Guillemot, as it is nice to be able to get some fine red Burgs that we don’t have to feel quietly about buying and popping their corks! This vintage produced a stunning vintage all around Burgundy, especially the Pinot Noir wines and there are some great deals available, and this 2009 Pierre Guillemot is certainly one of them. The Bourgogne Rouge is a select cuvee of premier sites around Savigny-Les-Beaune, where Guillemot sources most of their fruit and is a fine example of the area. The nose is racy red fruit and spicy flowers with a silky palate of strawberry, raspberry and tangy cherry with hints of truffle, tea spice, mineral and apple skin. This wine opens up into a pure delight and gives lots of elegant pleasure, drink it over the next 3 to 5 years for the best enjoyment in the this very lovely wine.
($24 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week: An American Classic-Happy 4th of July!

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir “Beaux Freres Vineyard” Estate, Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley.
Beaux Freres is an iconic estate in the beautiful Ribbon Ridge area of the Willamette Valley, and is one of the great domaines of Oregon, and the world. Always a collectors trophy and wine lovers dream Beaux Freres Vineyard is considered one of the world’s great Pinot Noirs, comparing well with the best Grand Crus from Burgundy and causing envy in the best of California. Mike Edzel and his team have done it again with a stunning and richly smooth 2009 from this famed estate, which counts Robert Parker as a partner, and family member, that is why he refuses to rate them personally, and ironically he doesn’t need to as his rivals at Wine Spectator always rate them very highly, giving 93-96 in the last few vintages!
This 2009 is a classic with silky texture and mineral laced red fruits, leading with rose petal floral notes, spicy sweet wood giving subtle smoke and vanilla and cherry and mountain raspberry filling the mouth. This vintage is open and lush, but should gain with some time in bottle and drink great into the next decade.
($80 Est.) 94-95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Bodegas Riojanas Rioja Blanco “Vina Albina” (Semi Dulce) Spanish White.
This wine is about 90% Viura and 10% Malavasia and is fermented in stainless steel to retain freshness before moving to oak casks for 6 to 9 months, stirred on the lees and was picked just late enough the catch a bit of noble rot. This wine feels dry and crisp with chalky mineral and white peach along with vibrant citrus standing out on the clean palate. This vivid and bright wine has only the faintest whiff of honey and finishes with life and vigor, never feeling heavy or sweet. This is a very lovely white that is great now, though should age a decade easy, picking up many new interesting characteristics along the way.
($20 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

A Classic Chateauneuf that rocks now!

By Kerry Winslow

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2000 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateaunef-duPape Rouge, Rhone Valley, France.
This wonderful and near perfect Chateauneuf is really getting good into it’s second decade and while it has a long life ahead, it is certainly ready to enjoy now. This wine from magnum was dark, earthy, spiced laced and brooding when first opened, but after a about 20 minutes in decanter it expanded and took on an elegant presence that stayed until the last drop was finished, which sadly had to happen, leaving me spellbound and wanting more. The nose is classic VT and has lavender, gamey meat, leather and dusty pepper to go with red fruits and truffle notes before an almost Burgundy like palate with baked cherry, plum, boysenberry and strawberry fruits cascading in silky layers. The baked earth, red spice, pepper and fennel add to the mix in the background and the finish is dry and balanced with lingering cassis and rose petal. This sexy Vieux Telegraphe is everything you’d want and more from a great wine and has years of enjoyment to give!
($200 Est. Magnum 1.5L) 96+ Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Pacific Northwest Wines Update: Wines to Look For

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Patton Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir “Lorna-Marie” Estate Grown, Willamette Valley, Oregon.

Sadly this beauty is wildly priced, otherwise it would be an Oregon classic, but for that kind of money Beaux Freres would be a better choice I think, even though only a tiny amount was made. With my pricing gripes, this is a stunning Pinot Noir with nice depth and clear focus that is a step up from their regular bottling. I have admired Patton Valley for a good many vintages and am always impressed with the pureness and lovely texture they get in their Pinot Noir. The 2008 Lorna-Marie is darker and sexier than the others in the line up with smoky blackberry, mineral spice, crushed flowers and a full plummy palate of sweet cherries and tea notes. The subtle backdrop of forest floor, strawberry compote and vanilla add just the right amounts of each to the mix and the acidity lifts everything without any bitter trace. There is not much doubt that this wine is nothing short of excellent, just that touch of envy that I can’t afford it., but I am none the less grateful for the effort and will enjoy a few bottles of their very delish Willamette Valley and be as happy as a clam.
($70 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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2008 Retour Pinot Noir Willamette Valley.
Even though I don’t believe the bottle I tasted was a perfect one, there was so much to enjoy in this Eric Hamacher made Pinot I have high hopes that the next one I try will rate even higher. I have only tasted Retour once before, but I have sampled Hamacher’s wines many times in the past and must say, not only is he a great person he is a fine artisan that produces wonderful Pinot Noirs, and even some fine Chardonnay as well. The 2008 Retour is subtle and a wine of great finesse with intriguing delicate flavors that remind me of some Spatburgunders or classic Cortons from Burgundy with hidden intensity and silky richness that lingers on and on with red fruits, toffee, slate like mineral essence and truffle. *Like I mentioned this bottle was maybe slightly bruised or heat affected, so I have a gut feeling the next one will show more heightened fruit, but even if it was a solid example, I was left wanting for nothing and would very much recommend it for it’s class and unique restraint.
($50 Est.) *93-94 Points, grapelive

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2008 Gramercy Cellars Syrah Columbia Valley, Washington State.
This lush chocolate and blueberry pie of a wine has hedonistic written all over it, but the is a certain grace about it and a spicy kick in the pants that is refreshing and charming too. The nose lets you know it is a Washington Syrah, it won’t fool you at all, not that I wanted to be tricked, it just is what it is and is just great the way it is. This 2008 has some nice acidity to hold the mocha and vanilla cream in check and will a few years it should be something even more special. There is boysenberry, cassis, espresso and creamy cherry layers, hints of fennel, pepper and vanilla in this full-bodied red and the finish is long and mouth coating. I really like Gramercy Cellars, they do really fun and serious stuff, so I recommend trying a few bottles if you get the chance!
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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2008 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley, Washington State.
This juicy rich Cabernet is very nice now, but I would suggest giving it some time in the cellar to fill out and deepen, it is round and has some baby fat at the moment and loads of red fruitiness that kind of hides the true nature and Cabernet character at the moment, even though it is a really enjoyable wine. The 2008 has a spicy edge and smooth tannins behind round up front raspberry, currant and cherry fruit with a mix of cedar, tobacco leaf, mocha and sweet oak vanilla. Just a bit young yet, but shows wonderful promise if you are willing to put it away for a few years. On a side note, Gramercy also makes one of the best Tempranillo wines in the States and the 2008 is a rockstar version, check that out as well, it is really amazing.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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2009 White Rose Estate Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Another knockout from this winery, honestly I was thrilled by their 2008, but this 2009 vintage looks even more interesting! There is a sweet and savory Burgundy like quality that sings in this well made Pinot Noir from the heart of the Willamette Valley. This is made from a selection of barrels from prized vineyard sources that adhere to mostly organic practices and are cropped for balance and intensity, and it really shows in the finished product. This is a star winery that deserves attention and gives a remarkable bang for the buck! White Rose’s 2009 Willamette Valley cuvee as plenty of interest and depth with fresh cherries, mineral, tea spices, lavender and plum leading the way, with some rose petal perfume and subtle oak notes. There is lots of vivid life in this wine, but everything is balanced, focused and silky. If you want a super wine from Oregon, this is the real deal, I highly recommend it.
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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2009 White Rose Estate Pinot Noir “Dundee Hills A.V.A” Willamette Valley, Oregon.
If you are looking for a true “Terroir” wine, well here you go, not only is this pure Oregon Pinot at it’s best, and it translates the Dundee Hills in perfect fashion. The Red Hills of Dundee shine through in this cuvee with loads of soft red fruits, edgy mineral, red soils and truffle. The Dundee A.V.A gives an extra red spicy, almost rocky cayenne pepper note along with a strawberry and lavender tone and this Pinot highlights those and remains true to them right through, start to finish. The nose has rose petals and plum and the mouth is rich with silky fruit, raspberry, tangy cherry and wild strawberry. The earthy and stone mineral streak is subtle and adds complexity while fresh acidity keeps this feeling light, even though there is plenty of rich layers. White Rose is making some amazing wines and this one stands out, so if you can find it, pick up a few it will blown you away.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Domaine Adele Rouze Quincy Loire Valley White, France.
This heavenly Sauvignon Blanc is one of the great values of the vintage in my book with bright freshness and chalky mineral essence. The nose has white flowers, orange blossoms and tangy citrus leading to a steely crisp palate that displays pretty lemon/lime, hints of grapefruit and gooseberry with lots of zest and mouth watering acidity. The rocky mineral makes you think of limestone and lifts interest in this fine white from this mostly underrated region of the Loire, while I may even say it rivals some of the best from Sancerre, bravo Quincy and kudos to
Charles Neal for finding this beauty! ($19 Est.)

93 Points, grapelive

Can be special ordered by SFWTC

www.sfwtc.com

1-800-681-WINE

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