Wine of the Day

2012SheldonRose2012 Sheldon, Weatherly Rose, California.
One of the funnest wines of the spring season so far has to be Sheldon’s Weatherly Rose, made from Graciano (a grape found mostly in Rioja, though has gained attention in the Canary Islands as well) that is both rich and zesty in this pretty and vibrantly colored pink wine. Dry and tangy with sour plum, cherry and briar this is a wildly different Rose that is worth doing a little work to get. Tobe Sheldon directed her talents and attention on select blocks of Graciano to make this wine, of which only about 3 barrels were made, and they will go fast. This bright and floral wine is very refreshing and easy smooth on the palate, but does pick up nice weight in the mouth and lingers on the finish, making for a great brunch/lunch choice for those lazy warm days of summer. As of now, only available at the Sheldon Sippy Lounge and at www.sheldonwines.com
($24 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day

2009CopainSYLV2009 Copain Wines, Syrah “Les Voisins” Yorkville Highlands.
Copain’s Les Voisins Syrah is a fine and detailed effort, and remarkably finessed with wonderful flavors and vibrancy. The nose is stunning, with violets, dark currant, mineral and smoky notes which in turn lead to a energy filled palate of plum, black cherry and boysenberry fruits while melted licorice, woodsy herbs, pepper and loamy underbrush add character. This svelte and stylish Syrah is a first class wine from Wells Gutherie and re-enforces his talents and moves Copain a notch higher in the people/wineries to follow over the next ten years list, without question this is a winery that is going places and will be demand for the decade to come. Recently I tasted through most of Copain’s lineup, and I firmly believe this wines will only get better and better, and they are pretty impressive now, bravo and kudos to all those involved. The 2009 Les Voisins Syrah is brilliant now, and will show well for many years to come, this is a Syrah for Northern Rhone fans especially, best to grab it while you can.
($35 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive

 

Avail at www.sfwtc.com

Wine of the Day

2011FeuilletFumin2011 Chateau Feuillet, Fumin DOC Valle D’ Aosta, Italy.
This dark and intense red has a Gamay meets Syrah feel, in fact they blend about 10% Syrah with the native Fumin grape which adds color and spice, and maybe a little body, though my experience with Fumin makes me believe there is plenty of everything in it by it’s self, but still this wine’s charms and complexities certainly justify the choice of cepage here. I think Fumin will really catch on with a wide audience as it delivers deep flavors, unique personality, great color and still has that fresh acidity the modern wine geek is addicted to these days. The nose has floral notes, earthy loam, blue fruits and spices which lead to a firm taught palate of bramble berry, wild strawberry, plum and cassis with vibrant acidity and supple tannins that refined giving the perfect base for this wine to show it’s vigor and class. This wine is well defined and focused with loads of character showing the deft hand of this Artisan winemaker, Maurizio Fiorano who has made a stunningly crafted wine from the remote Valle D’ Aosta. While being all Italian and soulful, these wines have an almost French style about them, making for an interesting exploration and a few arguments I’m sure, but regardless this is a wine region to search out, it is the ultimate in cool! Again thanks to Kermit Lynch Imports for finding this one.
($36 Est) 93 Points, grapelive

 

Avail at www.sfwtc.com ($34.95)

Wine of the Day

Alvear27nv Alvear, Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927, Montilla-Moriles DO, Spain (sweet sherry style wine) 375ml Half Bottle.
Alvear, a sherry style producer just outside the “Sherry Zone” in Montilla-Moriles is one of the oldest wineries in Spain and specializes in fine crafted wines, mostly Pedro Ximenez (grape) with a wealth of great offerings from Fino dry to PX sweet, of which all are excellent, especially the stickies like this fantastic Solera 1927. Alvear only taps the 1927 cask twice a year to make this selection of sweet solera, and it’s age and grace shows through with creamy richness and complexity of flavors. This wine is a rare treat, and one of the best deals in the wine world, no question, I am always amazed by this beauty, and even more amazed people still fear sherry in general, it makes me turn evangelical for these too often overlooked gems! The latest edition of Alvear Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927 shows the deep dusty coco powder and dark amber hue and the nose leads with chopped walnuts, candied orange rind, honey and dried figs with a creamy lush palate of toffee, honeyed pecans, almond paste, bitter chocolate and golden raisins with a touch of dried stone fruit and a hints of citrus. This pleasure filled PX must be tried on it’s own, but of course for added hedonistic joy enjoy this over organic vanilla bean ice cream, this is naughty sexy stuff that can replace Tawny Port on your after dinner menu and goes great with a variety of desserts.
($25 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

New Wine Discoveries: Valle D’ Aosta

New Wine Discoveries: Valle D’Aosta an Italian Alpine region on the rise
By Kerry Winslow
feuilletI love finding new places and stories in the world of wine, and Italy never fails to deliver new and interesting wines, places and peoples, considering there are some 300, 000 wine producers and close to 1,200 different grapes to make wine from in the country, which makes finding something new not all that difficult! Recently I tasted a few wines from the remote northwest corner of Italy from a tiny area known as Valle D’ Aosta that really impressed me, from a talented young winemaker.

The Aosta Valley is a mountainous semi-autonomous region in northwestern Italy that is one of the great secrets of the Wine World. It is bordered by Rhône-Alpes, France to the west, Valais, Switzerland to the north and the region of Piedmont, Italy to the south. This high altitude region, once ruled by France has lots of Alpine charm with a mix of French and Italy customs and charms, this applies to it’s people and it’s wines. This place has almost a lost in time feel and the grapes found here are for the most part indigenous and not found elsewhere, which makes these rare wines all that much more interesting and exciting. There are only a handful of artisan estates in this tiny region, with Les Cretes being the most famous internationally, and now with the help of famed importer Kermit Lynch a small family estate is hitting the world stage, Chateau Feuillet and their winemaker Maurizio Fiorano, who is making some fantastic and unique wines from his own plots that his wife inherited from her family.

Maurizio is originally from Turin, but his wife is a native, and he has been naturalized to the region and feels a strong bond to this place and the land, and he humbly says it is not hard to make great wine here, as his sites sit on shallow sandy soils with solid granite bedrock, all of which helps with drainage and gives the wines elegance while the elevation keeps lively acidity and the long hangtime helps with intensity of color and flavor development. Château Feuillet is already creating a buzz with the Kermit faithful and the wine geek world will soon follow, especially as these wines are not only extremely rare, the are remarkably delicious! Kermit Lynch released two reds of Chateau Feuillet’s wines, a Fumin (Fumin and a touch of Syrah) and a Tourrette (Made from the Petit Rouge and Mayolet grape.

Valle D’ Aoste has many great things going for it, a unique climate influenced by the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, good exposure and hillside vineyards with good distressed soils, and many intriguing grapes including the mentioned Fumin, Petit Rouge and Mayolet, plus Gamay, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir, Syrah and lots of white grapes as well, with some of the best Chardonnay in Italy, Prié Blanc, Malvoisie, Müller-Thurgau, Petite Arvine, and Muscat to name but a few. I highly recommend checking out these wonderful and charming wines and the region too, it has a wealth of wonders.

2011 Chateau Feuillet, Fumin DOC Valle D’ Aosta, Italy.
This dark and intense red has a Gamay meets Syrah feel, in fact they blend about 10% Syrah with the native Fumin grape which adds color and spice, and maybe a little body, though my experience with Fumin makes me believe there is plenty of everything in it by it’s self, but still this wine’s charms and complexities certainly justify the choice of cepage here. I think Fumin will really catch on with a wide audience as it delivers deep flavors, unique personality, great color and still has that fresh acidity the modern wine geek is addicted to these days. The nose has floral notes, earthy loam, blue fruits and spices which lead to a firm taught palate of bramble berry, wild strawberry, plum and cassis with vibrant acidity and supple tannins that refined giving the perfect base for this wine to show it’s vigor and class. This wine is well defined and focused with loads of character showing the deft hand of this Artisan winemaker, Maurizio Fiorano who has made a stunningly crafted wine from the remote Valle D’ Aosta. While being all Italian and soulful, these wines have an almost French style about them, making for an interesting exploration and a few arguments I’m sure, but regardless this is a wine region to search out, it is the ultimate in cool!
($36 Est) 93 Points, grapelive

2011 Château Feuillet, Torrette DOC Valle D’ Aosta, Italy.
This spicy Valle D’ Aoste red is made up of mostly the native Petit Rouge and even rarer Maoylet grapes and is another gem from winemaker Maurizio Fiorano at Chateau Feuillet with bright cherry, strawberry and plum fruits plus fleshy red peach and savory spices and wild herb notes. Mineral and chalky essence add character in this medium weighted Alpine wine. While not as deep or dark as the Fumin, this wine shines with balance and raciness making it a suburb wine with lots of food choices from fish to smoked ham and or specialty risotto dishes. Peppery notes and tangy fruit linger on the crisp finish.
($26 Est.) 91-92 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day

2011FauryLArt2011 Domaine Philippe Faury, Syrah “L’ Art Zele” Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes, Rhone France.
Wow, what a pretty wine, and a steal, this Domaine Faury Syrah L’ Art Zele is made from young vines in Cote-Rotie and the terroir and class really shine through, making from an early drinking elegant Syrah that is full of beauty and style. No waiting required here, the nose gives plenty of violets, earth, white pepper and blueberry before a medium palate of boysenberry, dried currants, kirsch and creme de cassis while the background is filled with crushed stones, lavender, anise and briar notes. This wine is pretty, sexy and hard to put down with good vigor, acidity and savory making you take another sip, in fact I didn’t want to put it down, it was so delicious. Even though it was made from young vines, the tannins are refined and graceful, and while not as intense as a full blown Cote-Rotie this wine damn impressive and it was made with an artisan passion no question, and I’ll be drinking a few more of these myself.
($32 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day

2010DosLagosCS2010 Dos Lagos Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley.
This edition of Dos Lagos is bursting with fruit, sweet tannin and freshness, making it the most serious effort to date with nice savory spice positive wood notes and a lengthy finish. Pure Atlas Peak volcanic tuft terroir chalkiness and firm structure highlight it’s sense of place and the detailed richness show Robert Foley’s talented influence throughout. The nose has interesting complexities with acacia, black olives, graphite and black fruits all vying for attention along with a deep purple hue, before the warming palate of currants, mocha, mineral and blackberry unfolds with hints of creme de cassis, cedar, melted licorice, savory spices and cherry essence. Background touches of game, sweet tobacco, sage and espresso add interest, air really helps at this young age dramatically so if you pop this baby open early, best results would be has by decanting. This wine is surely a Napa wine, but has a Ornellaia meets Ridge Monte Bello feel to it, and that is a huge compliment in my book and it shows a wild side as well with edginess, this is a uniquely crafted wine of concentration, but also lively, a touch raw and racy to boot. I hope to follow this wine into the future, while that past Cabernets from Dos Lagos were more flamboyant this one has become a more mature style that surly will merit a higher score after some more bottle age, Drink 2015-2019.
($125 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day

2011FtRossSeaSlopesPN2011 Fort Ross, Pinot Noir “Sea Slopes” Fort Ross Vineyard, Fort Ross-Sea View, Sonoma Coast.
Another stunning success and a top value in extreme cool climate Pinot, a great follow up to the 2010 version, in fact I would say Jeff Pisoni out did that great effort, especially considering the difficult vintage. With talent and a tiny crop comes this 2011 Pinot that shows expressive Burgundy like class and California details with violets, dried roses, kirsch and framboise leading to morello cherry, plum and cranberry berry with wild strawberry, earthy loam, mineral and spice all adding interest while subtle French oak shadings, smoke, truffle and cola linger with raspberry on the finish. There is racy acidity and ultra fine tannins giving structure and this wine should fill out and develop nicely for another 3 to 5 years.
($36 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day, No April Fools

2010RidgeMerlot2010 Ridge, Merlot Estate, Monte Bello Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains.
This wine was a star in a recent tasting lineup of new Ridge releases, and a sleeper that is often overlooked, showing impressive complexity, pleasure and depth of flavor that certainly make this wine feel right at home with a selection of fine Pomerol wines, though as always remains a true California red. While people gravitate to the Ridge Cabernet, Chardonnay and of course their Zinfandel blends this unrated Merlot quietly succeeds in delivering quality and style with round fullness and medium weight grace. The nose has hints of grilled herbs, anise, subtle oak and red berry fruit with a touch of sandalwood while the palate flows with black cherry, plum and red currants plus cedar, vanillin extract and spicy notes. The acidity lifts this wine, giving elegant balance and the ripe tannins are sweet and refined through out. Sadly this wine seems the wallflower of Ridge’s lineup, it surly deserves better and more attention than it is likely to get and for those that want a great quality, 100% Merlot, this is a wine to cherish, drink over the next 5-7 years.
($45 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

Happy Easter from Grapelive & Wine of the Day

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA2010 Koehler Ruprecht, Riesling Kabinett Trocken Kallstradter, Pfalz Germany.
I was really excited to try the Koehler Ruprecht Pfalz Trocken, and sadly I blew up the first bottle in my freezer, so after scraping Riesling ice from my refrigerator I had to postpone this review until the second bottle was more carefully chilled, and while I felt bad for my Riesling abuse, I am happy to report the Koehler Ruprecht was worth the wait. The 2010 vintage was a vintage of high acidity and rather difficult in Germany, but artisans found a way to craft some intriguing wines and Koehler Ruprecht even made some nice Trockens, in keeping with their house style. The 2010 Kallstradter Kabinett Trocken is shackling dry and brisk to start with severe lime and kumquat notes with loads of tangy acid and lip smacking crispness, though more interesting layers unfold in the glass with a core of mineral and chalk flowing throughout. Cooly steely to the core this refreshing Riesling builds a bit with air showing white peach, extract and grapefruit seeds with hints of white flowers and tangerine. This wine is very unique and very austere, leaving me wonder if that is it’s Kallstradter terroir coming through or if the native yeast gives it this character or what? All in all this is a well made and serious Riesling that while not overly easy to love, time will be needed and or food to bring out it’s more charming side, though Riesling Acid Freeks with really dig this in the short term, I will try a few more bottles in and over time to give my final blessings as it is sort of a beast at the moment I have high hopes.
($20 Est.) 88-92 Points, grapelive

 

Avail at www.sfwtc.com ($17.95)