Grapelive Latest: News

Grapelive Quote of the Day

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RE: Champage vs Viagra, getting us through the tough economic times

….’But we will always have the time to make love and drink Champagne, and we will do it even more.’

Like most of the major Champagne houses, Taittinger’s sales have been badly affected by the economic downturn, with volumes down 10% during 2009.

But Taittinger said he expected sales to rise 10-20% this year, aided by 40% year-on-year growth in China. Champagne’s only competitor? ‘Viagra’….

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger

(Taittinger Champagne)

*From an article at Decanter.com

Grapelive Latest: June 7

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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vinolocity.jpg2005 Sheldon “Vinolocity” Rhone Style Red.
This is the signature wine of this “Micro-Winery” and it is a beautiful and lush Grenache based red that is drinking wonderfully and hitting its top form. I’ve had this wine quite a few times now and seen it go through many phases, but now it has really turned pretty and layered. The nose is fruity and has a sweet bouquet and the palate is ripe and flavorful with grenadine, raspberry, strawberry and has a plum fruit core. There are touches of subtle oak, lavender, light spicy pepper and the body is round and smooth. Dylan and Tobe Sheldon wanted to make this wine, which has a dollop of Syrah, in a Gigondas style and I think they came close, though this wine is much cleaner and less earthy than the Rhone versions, so it will appeal to a much wider range of palates. This wine drinks like a fine Pinot Noir, but is a bit more ripe and racy. ($40 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

www.sheldonwine.com

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Grapelive Latest: June 5 & 6

Grapelive Weekend Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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sheldonpnsc.jpg2005 Sheldon Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast.
This wine just gets better and better, and is really ready right now to drink, giving much pleasure and peak performance. Sourced from the famed Dutton Ranch, Sheldon made a tiny production of this tasty Pinot Noir that is unfined and unfiltered, a real natural wine that has perfume and silky texture. This ruby colored Pinot is pretty in the glass with a slight touch of clouds, but still clear, luring you in and seducing you with its charms. The palate is still lively and vivid with raspberry, rose petals, sweet cherry and plum layers. The bottle age has worked magic, and makes for a wine that is totally in balance with soft acidity and rounded flavors, there are flashes of tea spices, truffle and nice vanilla oak notes that all lift the fruit and add to the whole experience. This Pinot has won me over, again and I suggest getting some quick as it is almost sold out! ($30-38 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive

www.sheldonwine.com

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Grapelive Latest: June 3

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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valdezpn.jpg2007 Valdez Pinot Noir “Lancel Vineyard” Russian River Valley.
Ulises Valdez grows grapes for famous winemakers, Paul Hobbs, Jeff Cohn and the cult wonder Marc Aubert, and he also lets them make a little wine for him, for his Valdez label, and this Pinot is made under the direction of Marc Aubert, of Colgin and his own label Aubert. The 2006 was wonderful, but this vintage is just that much better and fuller in every way. The nose is more intense and the flavors are just than much more vivid and lively, making this a real sleeper and a wine you should search out. The palate is pure Russian River, with lots of black cherry and dark plum fruit, cola and smoky sweet wood notes. Drink anytime, but I think it will just get better and more textured over the next few years, allowing some secondary flavors to come forward.
($60 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive

*avail. at:

www.dickwarnerwines.com

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Grapelive Latest: June 1

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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schug.jpg2008 Schug Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast.
I must admit, I almost forgot about this classic Pinot Noir estate, but I am glad I got a sample of this wine to review, and I revived my taste bud admiration for Walter Schug’s Carneros Estate Winery. Even in what most people are finding a lighter vintage, I keep finding balanced and textured Pinot Noirs that make me happy and this is one that I like very much and think is a nice drinking wine that offers great value. The nose has bright fruit and earthy spices with a touch of flower petals and smoke before a silky palate and a crisp fresh finish. Everything is very correct for a Burgundy style Pinot, with more delicate flavors and balancing acidity, making it super with a wide range of foods and given a slight chill also makes it lovely on a warm afternoon, which I plan on this summer! The ruby color is vivid and pretty, the body clean and round, the flavors learn on fresh cherry, and the background has subtle oak, Asian spices, mushroom and cranberry, while the finish is tangy, fresh and crisp.
($21-26 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: May 28

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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thackreypn.jpg2007 Sean Thackrey Pinot Noir “Andromeda” Devil’s Gulch Ranch, Marin.
Wow, this is a wild wine, a true Thackrey creation and so hard to explain in words! To tell you what it tastes like almost takes away the surprise, I hate to give away too much, but it is sort of like a cross between Bandol and Burgundy, but with a real twist. If you have had Sean’s wines before you’ll understand and love this wine, but it will take a newcomer a little while to get it, though it will win anyone over, as long as you have an open mind. The nose is reduced and there is a balsamic note along with dried flowers and red fruits. The Palate is vivid and loaded with menthol, licorice and baked cherry with poached plum and lavender oil. After that first impression a more subtle side comes forward with mineral, truffle, spice and sweet herb notes. Sean Thackrey makes totally unique and wild wines and expresses his genius in every single one. ($45-60 Est.)
94 Points, grapelive

*available at www.dickwarnerwines.com $45

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Grapelive Latest: May 26

Grapelive News May 26, 2010
By Kerry Winslow

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vinesinthesun.jpgMay has been an interesting time in the wine country, with lots of rain and some breaks with sunshine, which has made for lots of green growth going on in the vineyards, but causing some worry with the growers. It certainly looks beautiful when the sun comes out and I have enjoyed a few wonderful days of touring around and walking through the vines. With really tough economic times, there is a real edgy and nervous air above the famed Napa Valley, with lots of whispers about who is in serious trouble or even a few that have quietly closed their doors all together. That said, the great wines continue to sell out fast and collectors still fighting to grab as many bottles of rare vino as they can. People talk about China and Asia being the only buyers out there, but I can tell you that is not the whole story, and while Bordeaux seems to be the apple of Asia’s eye, the top California wines seem to mostly stay in the state.
Lately, I have seen Peter Michael, Aubert, Morlet and many tiny boutique Cabernet makers blow through their new releases in days, sometimes hours! That said, it is the $20-60 a bottle wines that seems to be the hardest hit in the market place, some of that is because of higher production, but it seems to me that is has more to do with a tight economy for the lower middle-class wine buyer.
I could care less for the under $10 a bottle segment, as those as products that for the most part are factory made wines that are marketed and made to a different formula, they are less wine than soda pop or energy drinks in that they have slick packages and no soul or terroir at all. There are some exceptions of course, but brands like Yellow Tail and Turning Leaf, plus thousands of others, while successful, are not much more than flavored drinks that in most cases taste almost as sweet as Pepsi. If you want a good value that tastes like wine in that price range stick to Spain, parts of Southern France and Italy, especial as the Euro has fallen in exchange rate against the US dollar.
winetrain.jpgNapa is trying to refocus and lift its reputation, after a decade of greed and snobbery things look to be coming down to earth again, and it is nice to have access to the winemakers and to be able to taste some of these highly rated and highly priced wines, some of which I had been told on more than one occasion that “We never pour our wines, all s sold to our mailing list…” Well, that has all changed, and it is all for the better, we need less arrogance and more teamwork if we are going to rebuild the wine business for the next generation and beyond. While there is again some frenzied buying at the top end, there is still much to do to make a real recovery last. The first steps look promising so stay tuned.

Grapelive Latest: May 25

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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honigcab.jpg2007 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.
This wine would have to be one of the all time underrated Cabs in Napa, but great for the wine lover that has a budget! 2007 is a super vintage and Honig didn’t mess it up, as this Cabernet is lush and deeply flavored with chocolate like thickness and good complexity. I think it will only get better with a few years of age, but it still is a good find right now. The nose is full of nice mocha and toasty sweet oak notes, and the mouth is rich with red fruits and medium weight texture. The palate is refined and balanced with plum, currant and black cherry layers, hints of mineral, pencil lead and creamy vanilla all coming together nicely. If you want a good value from a great vintage, this would be a good choice.
($36 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: May 24

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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morgan.jpg2009 Morgan Pinot Gris “Ray Franscioni Vineyard” Monterey County.
This wine is a winner, and at the price even better still, Italy makes some great Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) and will always, but if you want a really good California white under $20, then you should try this one. The palate is full of green apple and citrus with hints of mineral spice and tropical fruits, with nice zesty acidity that keeps the fruit in check and make this wine a great summer quaffer! It may seem simple, but really you are not going to find a much better Pinot Gris out there, especially at this price. This wine is a favorite in Monterey bistro scene and it goes lovely with food and I hope to enjoy some this summer with picnics.
($16-18 Est.) 89-90 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: May 22

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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honig-sauvignon.jpg2009 Honig Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley.
Honig has long been making some of the nicest wines for the money in Napa, and this vintage of Sauvignon Blanc is even better than I can remember and I must say this vintage rocks for Sauvignon Blanc. There is everything you’d want, full vibrant flavors and crisp freshness all the way through, nothing out of place here and the finish is near perfect for sipping away an afternoon or enjoying seafood with. The nose is citrus infused goodness and the palate jumps with life and tangy fruits, grapefruit, lemon/lime and melon all adding to the whole. There is none of the usual herbal/grassy flavors that can show up in Napa Sauvignon Blancs, much to my joy, and that zingy acidity is great on the finish giving a clean burst that refreshes the palate.
($18 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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