Grapelive Latest: Jan. 13

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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copainpn.gif2007 Copain Pinot Noir “Wentzel Vineyard” Anderson Valley.
Copain is rocking and rolling right now, putting out one awesome wine after another and I was blown away by this savory and pretty Pinot from the little known Wentzel Vineyard in the Anderson Valley, which had a near perfect vintage in 2007. This wine is very, very young still and will fill out much more in the next year or so, though it is lovely now with great balance and class all ready. The nose is smoky sweet with subtle perfume and floral tones before a racy and edgy palate of raspberry, plum and cranberry going nicely with a ripe cherry core with apple peel, tea spices, currants while finishing crisp, but with some nice vanilla and leaving a bit of creaminess in the mouth. The wine should bulk up and get deeper as the acid drops and the fruit moves forward, be patient and hold a few bottles, drink in 1 to 5 years. ($50 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

*Can be ordered special at:

RANCHO CELLARS

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Grapelive Latest: Jan. 12

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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prieler.gif2007 Prieler Pinot Blanc “Seeberg” Burgenland, Austrian White.
Wow, the Austrians will be very happy to crow about this wine and claim it as their own, but it has a brilliant almost white Burgundy like class and purity with mineral and terroir showing strong in this interesting wine from the Burgenland region. Unlike most Pinot Blanc or Weissburgunder, this wine is not subtle or simple in anyway, this is a world class white that shows remarkable depth and elegance that reminds you of a fine Puligny or Grand Cru Chablis. There is focus and vibrant flavors that is delivered with vigor and the palate has lots of pretty pear and apple fruits, before liquid mineral, hints of honey, earthy and chalky notes with some bright citrus elements as well. This wine is full, but has wonderful texture and balance to hold your attention and leaves you wanting more and more. This is a fantastic wine that may just be my favorite Pinot Blanc in the world! At least for now, but I am very keen on trying the next few vintages of Prieler to see where this wine goes! I have a friend in Austria, so I think I’ll have him investigate this winery further and get me some more info. ($30-35 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

*This is rare wine but can be special ordered at:

RANCHO CELLARS 

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Grapelive Latest: Jan. 11

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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gaston.gif1999 Gaston Chiquet Champagne “Special Club” Brut, Dizy, France.
Nicolas Chiquet’s 22 hectare estate on chalky soils with 20% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier and 40% Chardonnay is one of secrets of the region and produces many fine Champagnes that are rare, but not impossible to find. This “Special Club” is a wonderful vintage style bubbly that has the class and structure of Dom Perignon while having more of a pure terroir character. This fine and deep Champagne has intense yeast and toast on the nose with lots of nutty layers on the palate with bread dough, lemon tart and spiced apple and pear fruit. Being disgorged fresh in 2008 this “Special Club” has all ready developed into a rich and focused sparkler and gives amazing flavors and beautiful texture. The lingering hazelnut and chalky fruit stays with you and leaves you begging for more. This is a Champagne that not only makes special moments magic, it makes moments special and magic by itself! ($77-85 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

*Still in stock at Rancho Cellars, where I bought this bottle. call  831-625-5646

RANCHO CELLARS

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Grapelive Latest: Weekend Review Jan. 9 and 10

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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ryanchennin.gif2008 Ryan Chenin Blanc Arroyo Seco, Monterey County.
Peggy Ryan, know for her elegant and deep Pinot Noirs, has produced a delightful and hand-crafted white wine from the grape of Vouvray fame and it is turning out a bright and refreshing wine that has a light touch, but still demands attention. The Ryan Chenin Blanc is an interesting white that shows off the best of this grape, while not too serious with a lively charm. The nose is tangy and has lots of citrus and peach, but at first it is really subtle and doesn’t give away much, while the palate has citrus, peach and pear with a high tone accent and a rocky or chalky edge that gives hints of depth. I wouldn’t suggest thinking too much about the wine itself, but it should really come to live with Oysters and or white fish. While I am a big fan of Ryan wines and I quite enjoyed this one, it really is a bit pricey when compared to the French Vouvray or other Loire Chenin, plus there are some very good Chenin Blanc’s coming from South Africa as well, though, that said, I think it is a fun and worthy effort, so you might want to try it if you see it around. ($24 Est.) 85-86 Points, grapelive

*This wine is brand new one and a fresh release, it should be hitting fine wine merchants soon. It can be ordered now by the case at

Rancho Cellars, Carmel, CA.

(by special request only)

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Grapelive Latest: Jan. 6

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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rochioli08sb.gif2008 Rochioli Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley.
One of my favorite wineries, Rochioli, has been producing one of the best loved Sauvignon Blanc for many, many years now, even if they are much more famous for their wonderful Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Even though it doesn’t get the press it deserves sometimes, this is a very fine and fun wine that even surprises me, a long time fan, with its quality and this vintage even raises the bar further. Sometimes a wine reaches heights of pleasure because of the moment and mood, that said this wine helped make the mood and moment that much more perfect. While having fresh oysters and steamed fresh mussels this wine matched every taste and lifted everything up with bright fresh flavors and still showing depth of its own. The nose is full of citrus flowers with hints of herbs and grass before a crisp and savory palate of lemon-lime, quince, grapefruit and melon. There are some sweet and spicy notes that hint at fresh herbs and nice clean peachy stone fruit finish. ($28-34 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: Jan. 5

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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bridesmaid05.gif2005 Bridesmaid Red Napa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend.

Pam Starr, Crocker & Starr and formerly at Spottswoode, and Drew Neiman, who worked with Kongsgaard and Luna, have teamed up to create the Bridesmaid line of wines that offer big Napa flavors at fair prices, which shows their talents and hit the sweet spot in the market, especially now. This vintage of Bridesmaid Red is a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a touch of Syrah and one that works well making for a easy to love wine that has all the ripe and powerful fruit you could ever want, but it comes with refined and smooth tannins that make for a fun wine to enjoy young. The nose is fruity and hints at perfume before a big mouth of red fruits and a mix of plums, cassis, currants and liqueur notes with touches of mocha, cedar and vanilla. All in all a very impressive wine that has the richness of a Cabernet, while drinking fun like a polished Zinfandel. There is focus and clean winemaking in this Napa Valley red blend and it is very well balanced with a nice bright note that keeps things fresh, even five years since its harvest, enjoy now! ($39 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Event

Rancho Cellars Vintage Bordeaux Seminar
January 22, 2010  6:30pm-8pm at Rancho Cellars, Carmel.

(Kerry Winslow, grapelive.com is helping to promote this special event)

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bord001.jpg2000 Bordeaux Tasting “A Classic Vintage Ten Years Later”
The wines of Bordeaux, a study in terroir and vintage featuring all red wines from the main regions of Bordeaux from the upper and lower Medoc, plus “Right Bank” and “Left Bank.” All the wines being shown and tasted scored at least 90 Points by the famed wine critic Robert Parker. Learn about vineyards, the grapes, the soils, and the 1855 Classification and the Chateaux of this special wine area. The 2000 vintage was one of the classic years and was rated right up there with some of the best of century, including the fabled 1982 vintage. Only a small number of spaces will be available for this limited presentation and only pre-paid reservations will be taken. This Rancho Cellars Event hosted by Jacques Melac is a rare opportunity for the wine-buying enthusiast that wants to learn about vintage wine in a fun and educational way. Conducted in a serious tasting format with a knowledgeable guide giving commentary, plus time for self evaluation of each wine. This rare and special seminar is part of a long standing and now continuing educational tradition at Rancho Cellars to bring the world’s greatest wines and winemakers to our local area. Don’t miss this the chance to try some of the world’s most famous wines from France’s premier wine region with a decade of cellaring, and from a classic year and book your spot early.
$75 per person, includes tasting and Hors d’oeuvres by Chef Janet Melac
phone: 831-625-5646
www.ranchocellars.com

Featured Wines and Reviews by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Pauillac:
2000 Chateau Pontet-Canet Pauillac, Bordeaux , France. 92 Points, Parker.
“Like its neighbor, Mouton Rothschild, this wine seems to have closed down considerably after bottling. The impressively saturated opaque purple color offers up some promising aromas of black currants, vanilla, truffle, smoke, and mineral. In the mouth, it is full-bodied, powerful, layered, and enticingly textured, but oh, so backward and firm. The finish is long, but this broodingly backward, large-scaled Pontet-Canet will require considerable patience. Does it rival the brilliant 1995 or 1996? I am not sure. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2030.” List $65-125. ($61 each)

Pomerol:
2000 Chateau Petit Village Pomerol, Bordeaux, France. 90 Points, Parker.
“A striking bouquet of candied black fruits, allspice, cinnamon, and herbs jumps from the glass of this dense purple-colored Pomerol. The intriguing fragrance reveals notes of mincemeat as it sits in the glass, providing an exotic element to this 2000. The wine is rich, ripe, and full-bodied, with outstanding purity, concentration, and thickness. Drink this in-your-face Pomerol now and over the next 15-16 years.” List $80-125 ($75 each)

Margaux:
2000 Chateau Brane Cantenac Margaux, Bordeaux, France. 92 Points, Parker.
“Undeniably the finest Brane-Cantenac in 40-50 years, the deep ruby/purple-colored 2000’s beautiful aromatics of smoke, black currants, tobacco, earth, and flowers jump from the glass. In the mouth, it is pure, elegant, medium-bodied, with savory tannin and adequate acidity, and a measured yet authoritatively flavored mid-palate and finish. How encouraging it is to see this property get its act together. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2020.” List $71-125 ($65 each.)

Pessac-Leognan (Graves):
2000 Chateau Haut-Bailly Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France. 90 Points, Parker.
“Patience will be rewarded with this style of Bordeaux that typifies restraint and subtlety. The deep ruby-colored 2000 is an impressive youthful Haut-Bailly. It offers endearing notes of black cherries, raspberries, and currants mixed with tobacco smoke, soil overtones, and subtle wood. The acidity is low, the tannin is present, and the overall quality is pure and well-balanced. This is a classic example of finesse and elegance. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2025.” List $72-142 ($65 each)

Saint-Estephe:
2000 Chateau Cos D’ Estournel Saint-Estephe, Bordeaux, France. 92 Points, Parker.
“This wine puts on weight and grows in stature every time I go back to it. In fact, from the bottle it was better than ever. A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, the 2000 Cos d’Estournel suffers only in comparison with its successor, the 2001. Deep bluish purple in color with a reticent but emerging bouquet of cedar, licorice, blueberry, cassis, vanilla, and lead pencil shavings, this medium-bodied, slightly sinewy Cos d’Estournel has relatively high tannin, an excellent mid-palate, and a persistent finish. Purity and classicism are hallmarks of this top-flight wine. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2022.” List $150-249 ($125 each)

Saint-Emilion:
2000 Chateau Angelus Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, France. 96 Points, Parker.
“The finest effort since the 1989 and 1990, this dense purple-colored wine has an extravagantly ripe, concentrated style. The 2000 (in a new engraved bottle) offers up aromas of blackberry liqueur and vintage port. As the wine sits in the glass, graphite, wet stones, smoke, barbecue spices, and olives also make an appearance. It unfolds on the palate in layers, is full-bodied, big and rich yet incredibly poised, well-balanced, and pure. Quite backward, this is one of the greatest Angelus made to date. Yields were a modest 35 hectoliters per hectare. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2030. Bravo!” Lists up to $388, reg $275 ($244 each)

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*Grapelive is helping to promote this event

** Rancho Cellars has these wines for sale as well, with a limited amount available now online and some being sold the night of the event.

Please call Rancho Cellars at 831-625-5646 to RSVP or to purchase wine

Grapelive Latest: Jan. 4

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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schonborn05.gif2005 Weingut Schloss Schonborn Riesling Spatlese “Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg” Monopole, Graflich Schoenborn’scher Eingenbau, Rheingau, Germany.
This is a perfect introduction to Rheingau Spatlese Riesling and a prime example of terroir wine from a quality producer from this classic region. Schonborn is known worldwide for its wine and this Riesling comes from a monopole vineyard plot in Pfaffenberg making just that extra bit special and makes for a unique wine. I tasted this white blind, and at first I though it was a Mosel, because the fruit was so pure and clean with bright flavors and very subtle flint and petrol which I feel are more aggressive in the Rheingau than the Mosel, plus the alcohol and sugar seemed lower, again more like a top Mosel, but in the end the classic Rheingau flavors won out, all in a good, if not great way! The nose is full of Rose petal, verbena and candied tropical fruits, but not too fruity or sweet and there is plenty of mineral and acidity to make for a really well balanced wine. The palate is lush and round giving richness and depth, starting with white peaches, stone fruits and exotic island fruits with hints of citrus and citrus flowers. After some air lots of savory apricot come forward with tangy green apple in the background along with that subtle rocky flint and petrol notes. This is a very good wine that is a pleasure to drink and easy to love, and I do love it! ($27-35 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

DEE VINE WINES

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Grapelive Latest: Jan. 2 & 3, 2010

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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diamondcreek87.gif1987 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill Vineyard Napa Valley.
Diamond Creek, the first “Cult” Cabernet in California, is still a classic and considered a “First Growth” for the new world and have for decades made world class Cabernet. I have been lucky enough to have been able to try a few Diamond Creek wines and barrel samples even, along with having long chats with Al and Boots Brounstein the owners, enjoying the stories and energy of these remarkable people, sadly Al passed away a few years back leaving a huge void in the wine world. This 1987 vintage of Volcanic Hill is amazing and still very youthful and fresh, a mind blowing wine that ranks up there with 1982 and 1989 Bordeaux! The nose is full and bright with touches of black olive and boysenberry jam, not giving much hint of the age, and showing subtle sweetness or flowers and dark fruits before a very Bordeaux like tour de force on the palate with lush layers of blackberry, currants, plums and cassis. This vibrant wine has a background of classic flavors that include tobacco(cigar), pencil lead, spice box, sage and licorice with a woody cedar element that is pure class. Everything is near perfect, even with this age this Cab still pours on the power and richness. The French oak shows a tiny bit of vanilla and smoke, while framing this wonderful wine and lifting the fruit with stately elegance.  This wine is clear and holds up with only a small amount of tealeaf sediment at the bottom and on the shoulder, so pour carefully or decant. Considering this is 2009, almost 2010, this wine has stood the test of time and won! This is utterly glorious mature Cabernet that surpasses all expectations, after an hour it only just begins to hint at age with some slight stewed fruit notes barely coming through. ($150-275 Est.) 97 Points, grapelive

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Happy New Year

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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copain07.gif2007 Copain Syrah “Tous Ensemble” Mendocino County, California.
Wells Guthrie and Kevin McQuown have been making some of the great values in Syrah for many years now, as well as top of the line single vineyard cuvees, and this wine is a superb example of their commitment to high quality and ease on the wallet! 2007 being another fantastic vintage, reminds of other top years like 1994, 1999 and 2004 for Northern California regions, a vintage of sublime ripeness and intensity with depth and balance showing even now in these young wines. Copain’s “Tous Ensemble” is a rich and focused Syrah that is mouth filling and full of flavor with layers of boysenberry and racy red fruits that include savory currant, plum and cherry, while there is hints of pepper, lavender, flowers, blueberry, roasted coffee bean, smoke, wild meats and subtle sweet vanilla. This wine is very impressive and opens up like dark chocolate, nicely with refined tannins hidden well in the background along with a touch of acidity that hold it together and keep everything fresh and vibrant, while still being round and elegant. Bravo to the whole Copain team for providing us with a lovely Syrah that delivers all you’d want from a fine red at a super price. ($22 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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