Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Andrieux & Fils Vacqueyras “Cuvee Andre” Vieilles Vignes, Red, France.
The Andrieux wines have been a great find for me and for many people looking for value priced high quality wines with nice packaging and exciting flavors. Alex Andrieux puts these wines together from select grapes only from old vines in the region, mostly in the southern Rhone area, even though his also has a very intriguing Cote-Rotie offering as well. Last year he blew me away with his white, rose and basic Cotes du Rhone, all of which flowed gracefully and with good charm, terroir and character, but I must admit these 2010 wines look like the best yet, and I especially love this 2010 Vacqueyras red, mostly Genache, though a good dose of Mourvedre really does the trick here, plus a little Syrah helps as well. The nose is spicy and deep with black fruits, crushed stones, violets, white pepper and framboise before the round and lively palate of much the same along with red cherries, strawberry, blueberry and juicy acidity. This wine is clear and vivid with touches of baked earth, lavender and anise all playing nicely with the black, red and blue fruits. A soft kiss of tannins and a super subtle oak help with balance and focus making for a serious wine that could develop a bit more complexity over the next few years in bottle, even though I might suggest enjoying this little beauty sooner vs. later, as it is very good now.
($20 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Chasseur Chardonnay Russian River Valley.
Here is a very interesting and fun Chardonnay that has vibrant intensity and bursts with exotic flavors, this is lip smacking good wine. Chasseur has long been a great label for small production Pinot and Chard, mostly from the Russian River Valley, and Sonoma Coast, rivaling many new and old names from Kosta Browne to Williams Selyem for quality. This 2009 Russian River Valley Chardonnay is fine and well crafted wine with rich depth and fresh lively balance, the nose has citrus flowers, smoke, hazelnuts and stone fruit that leads to a palate of peach, apple, pear and fig layers with hints of lemon curd and toasty brioche. There is a really seductive ginger spice that runs through this lovely Chard and gives added allure and complexity. Look for this wine to develop nicely for another 2 to 3 years, best to enjoy it in it’s youth though, highly recommended.
($40 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Domaine Georges Vernay Viognier “Le Pied de Samson” VdP des Collines Rhodaniennes, Rhone White, France.
Christine Vernay is a master with Viognier and has projects around the world promoting grape, but it is her Northern Rhone wines that grab most of the attention, though I must mention that her Viognier from work in Cortona, in Tuscany is looking very promising for D’Alessandro. She a legend in Condrieu and her wines from there are masterpieces of elegance and pleasure, so it was very interesting to try this Viognier to see where it fit in. The 2010 “Le Pied de Samson” comes from just outside the boundaries of Condrieu, but it has the same character and seems utterly complete and focused with tight acidity and loads of mineral essence. While not as lush or full as her beautiful Condrieu this brisk and crunchy crisp style of Viognier should wine her a new set of admirers and the restaurant wine buyers will find this wine much loved by customers for price and ease of use, as it will be a great food wine. The nose has classic honeysuckle and jasmine with crushed stones and peach pit before a tangy palate with white plum, apricot, bright citrus and chalk rock. The finish hints at tropical fruits and mineral, but fresh acidity really keeps everything in check and tightly wound, look for a bit more roundness and depth in a year or so in bottle.
($39 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Domaine Philippe Pacalet Gevrey-Chambertin, Red Burgundy.

One of the underground stars of Burgundy Pacalet makes a wonderfully crafted wine with glorious silky rich textures and focused fruit that seems so vivid and pure in essence. I heard he uses partial carbonic fermentations and organic low yielding grapes, and from what I tasted of his 2009 village wines nothing seems to out of place, even if I didn’t care for his Chambolle, it may have been an off bottle, I loved his Nuits-St.-Georges and Pommard wines, but it was the 2009 Gevrey-Chambertin that lit up my day the most. This why we wine geeks love Burgundy,  no question this wine is a class act and it has an extra degree of sexiness that is so compelling it begs to be tasted again and again. The nose is refined and slightly subtle with hints of rose petals, violets and a whiff of smoke and earth before a round palate of cherry, plum and strawberry fruits while chalky minerals, truffle and tea spices play in the background. The oak proves only to fame the bright and lively fruit and giving a slight vanilla and baking spice touch that is just the right amount. This wine should continue to gain in depth and complexity over the next few years in bottle, but I shouldn’t think you’d want to cellar it away for very long, especially as it is so tasty already. The price might be a tad high for quaffing pleasure, but the detail and care of the wine growing and winemaking make it still worth grabbing some. Thanks to Farm Wines for allowing me to taste this gem.
($85 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Georges Descombes Brouilly, Cru Beaujolais, France.
A new find for me, Georges Descombes makes some wonderful Gamay wines from the Beaujolais region, and this Brouilly is a sharp and stunning wine that delivers plush fruit, depth and graceful elegance. The nose is floral and fresh with lilac and wild flowers and black cherries, leading to a palate that has wonderful mouth feel and silky texture, though plenty of life and interest with red and black fruits throughout. The Brouilly bursts with strawberry, plum and tangy cherry fruits, hints of iodine, walnut shells and mineral notes add to the experience. Touches of dried flowers and earth also play subtle back ground roles in the lush and exciting red. I am glad I found this winery as I think from what I tasted, the Beaujolais Villages, Morgon and this Brouilly all of which were pure class, I can say these rank up there with Lapierre, Foillard and Jean-Paul Brun and I can tell you I will be enjoying a few of these myself over the next few months. Thanks to Farm Wines for turning me on to these great wines!
($22 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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Happy Halloween

Grapelive Scary “Good” Review

By Kerry Winslow

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N.V. Sean Thackrey “Pleiades” XXI, Old Vines, California.
This multi-vintage blend of red and white grapes includes Grenache, Barbera, Syrah, Sangiovese, Viognier and Marsanne and Pinot Nor, making for a wild and unique wine that I described on Twitter as like “Kissing Scarlett Johansson, drinking Gamay while smoking menthols” to a few laughs, but all joking aside this is a totally fun wine that is so tasty and so wrong in many ways. It is like drinking a David Lynch movie, but then Sean Thackrey does craft some crazy good wines, and the new edition of Pleiades is as good as it gets with a raw sex appeal and subtle charms with some weirdness to make things interesting. The nose is a mix of dried flowers, dried cherries and candied citrus peel before a palate that feels like a fine Cru Beajolais, but has a huge licorice and eucalyptus burst. Hints of earth, strawberry and tangy cherries add intrigue and the slightly lighter color makes you want more and more. This wine has a bit less grip than the last few, but drinks a lot more elegant and has much more balance. I go on and off Sean’s wines, but this is a really groovy wine and brings me back into the fold of his fans and makes me want more.
($26 Est.) 91+ Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($23.95)

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Grapelive Latest

Special Tasting: 1992 JL Chave Hermitage Rouge

By Kerry Winslow

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1992 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage, Rhone Red. (Syrah)
This was very special, I knew I was a very lucky to taste this wine, as it is not often you get a chance to try vintage Chave and while 1992 was not a great year, I enjoyed this rare chance to sample one of France’s great wines. Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage wines are legends, and recently I had read Neal Martin’s great article in the Wine Journal about older Chave and was left mouthwatering for just this chance, and I was not disappointed I can tell you, in fact even with all my expectations this 1992 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge proved remarkably seductive and beautiful with delicate details and plenty of live and energy. The nose was bright still, but with mature notes of dried roses, black tea and stewed plums leading to an earthy and fresh palate of cherry, mountain berries, mushroom, mineral, licorice, lavender and a meaty essence with a touch of smoke. The tannins were silky smooth and the finish was lengthy, though a touch crisp. Everything played well together and was in balance with subtle complexities and elegance not unlike a fine old Burgundy Grand Cru. Hermitage and Syrah can prove magically and this wine takes you there, it is a sublime expression of the terroir and the grape, a big thanks to Farm Wines for sharing this experience with me.
($N/A) 93+ Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Anthill Farms Syrah “Campbell Ranch Vineyard” Sonoma Coast.
Okay, so there is only tiny amounts made and hardly anyone has ever seen a bottle of any of Anthill Farms, but damn, this is a fantastic bottle of wine and a fine Syrah being offered at a unreal price to those that can find it. Anthill Farms is an underground cult producer best known for stunning Pinot Noir, but this 2009 vintage lineup of Syrahs are amazing, and the 2009 Anthill Farms Syrah “Campbell Ranch” Sonoma Coast is pure class and comes from a rugged cool climate that gives real Northern Rhone essence and total quality. Like the 2009 Peay Vineyards Syrah, this wine shows that California can produce a world beating Syrah that can compete with any Cote-Rotie or Hermitage at a fraction of the price. Anthill’s Sonoma Coast at $22 is a super steal too, but this wine is a huge leap up, and is still way under $30. The 2009 Campbell Ranch shows pepper, game, violets and blueberries up front with earthy and vibrant complexities that highlight true Syrah characteristics and allows a wine that can be enjoyed now or aged for many years to come. The palate shows boysenberry, lavender, truffle, kirsch and black currant notes with tangy blueberries re-emerging mid palate along with mineral tones. A touch of licorice and white pepper again add to the depth and savory notes to this fantastic Syrah. This is lovely and sexy red wine that goes great with lots of foods and will be a great addition to any cellar.
($26 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Jean-Marc Vincent Santenay “Gravieres” Premier Cru, Red Burgundy.
This stunningly seamless and pretty Santenay is one of the best finds on the vintage from the Cote de Beaune and truly marks the arrival of this Domaine, which is yet another Kermit Lynch treasure. With rose infused cherry fruit and subtle red earth and game this 2009 Jean;Marc Vincent Santenay “Gravieres is a class act throughout, this is the real deal for true Burgundy freaks, like me, and the price is more than fair for what you get in return. This Burgundy shows silky depths and lingers like a beautiful woman’s kiss stays with you, this is a Pinot to remember. Red fruits flow across the palate, raspberry, plum and bright cherry before mineral, truffle, soft wood and lavender emerge while tea spices and apple skin hint at the fine tannins and balanced acidity. Tasted three time, with nothing but Burgundy magic showing on each sip of this pure and joyful Santenay.
($50 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($47.95)

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Riofavara Spaccaforno “Eloro” Sicilian Red, Italy.
This rich and lovely Nero D’ Avola is rocking right now and makes for a stunning red that showcases this Sicilian grape in all it’s glory. Riofavara, imported by Kermit Lynch, is a small family estate on the island and so far everything I’ve tried from them has been fantastic, these are terroir driven wines of great quality and texture. While Arianna Occhipinti brings huge attention to the region with her exotic and natural wines, Riofavara has quietly added some equally beautiful wines to the list of top Sicilian vino. This Nero shows layered finesse and earthy spicy complexities with bright and lush plum, blueberry and wild strawberry fruit, red pepper, silky tannins and hints of anise and lavender. Certainly, the pure pleasure of this wine will win new fans, both “Old World” and “New World” admirers alike, and the price is scary good, don’t miss this wine it is a gem. If you are looking for something different and want a focused and balanced wine, no question this Riofavara will do the trick.
($18 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive

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