Grapelive Lastest: Vinitaly 2009

brandy1.jpgVinitaly

Verona, 2009
Grapelive will be covering Italy’s top wine event for the first time, and is very happy to introduce our new reporter that will be at this years Vinitaly: Brandy Falconer. Brandy is starting her wine career after years of international travel and living in Italy. She has lived in the fast lane and comes from a famous Motorsports family, her dad Ryan is a legendary engine builder who has made Indy 500 winning motors and has success in almost every form of racing, and Brandy grew up with all the speed at racing tracks around the country. She has been a huge wine enthusiast and will be a big hit here and at whatever else she decides to do. We are very happy to have her on board for Vinitaly 2009 and hopes she sticks around to write about her future wine adventures as well. So stay tuned and check in for her columns coming soon.
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Brandy Falconer is a wine enthusiast and seasoned world traveler.
Discovering her love for great wines living on California’s scenic Central Coast, Brandy got to experience the best offerings from California and the world over.
Her professional interest was sparked after taking wine classes in Carmel (at Carmel’s Rancho Cellars) under the tutelage of now Master Sommelier, Alpana Singh.  Enjoying the cultures of Europe, she has traveled extensively throughout the continent, and has also spent two years living in Italy.  Brandy’s new-found passion for Italian wines created opportunities for knowledge-building experiences that would redirect her interests to a more serious level.
Ready for a fresh challenge, she has decided to combine her love for wine with a passion for educating enthusiasts to create a new career path.  It was a natural progression that now has Brandy studying in Italy and Europe in preparation for Sommelier courses later this year.  Truly a story of following one’s passions, Brandy’s enthusiasm for discovering great wines is paving the way toward an exciting new venture.
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logo2004.gifVinitaly 2009

Vinitaly this year focuses on “the world we love”: wine first of all but also quality, territory, the environment and its protection, people and human challenges, villages and their history… Vinitaly is all this: the place where every year people who love this world come together.
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logo_gaja.gifGAJA celebrates its 150th Anniversary at VINITALY, with a great tasting! 1859 – 2009: an important anniversary celebrated at the 43rd Vinitaly in the company of wine-lovers and everyone who admires the person defined as the “Admiral of the Italian Wine-Growing Renaissance”: Angelo Gaja.

This year, in short, sees the Gaja family celebrate 150 years of dedicated wine-growing following the foundation of the Cellar in Barbaresco in 1859 – and, of course, Vinitaly is the ideal setting.

Saturday 4 April: the Europa Convention Centre will celebrate 150 years of this great company: intense years rich in history, anecdotes, changes and even more changes in the world of wine, in the company of Jancis Robinson, the well-known British wine journalist, wine writer and TV presenter who will animate the debate and a tasting of wines selected by the company itself: participation at the event is against payment and places will be on sale in coming weeks: all proceeds will be donated to charity.

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Italy at Vinitaly
This is the area that Vinitaly dedicates to the Regions so that they can present their territories, olive oils and wines through promotional activities as well as initiatives organized on individual stands during Vinitaly.

This privileged showcase ensures a complete panorama of the multitude of distinctive features characterizing Italian regions and their unique status in the world.
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4,200 reasons for visiting Vinitaly 2009! Italian and international exhibitors over a net area of almost 80 thousand square metres promoting their best production in an overview of the most prestigious wine-growing and wine-making traditions.
This area is equally joined by a further 10,000 sq.m. dedicated to everything else involved in the world of wine: technical tastings, food & wine pairings, high cuisine and much more…
Yet Vinitaly especially promotes business opportunities: the 5-day exhibition ensures more contacts than usually achieved throughout the year thanks to direct matching action: the on-line Buyers Club, the Large-Scale Distribution Buyers Club, workshops and targeted tastings are evident examples.

Grapelive Lastest

bradsevent.gifClassic Cab Tasting!
I just heard about this charity tasting in Sonoma, featuring some classic Californian wines that sounds awesome. It is for a great cause and the line up is fantastic. Please check it out!
The event will begin at 5:30 pm on Saturday, April 18th with a reception featuring Chardonnay from Gundlach Bundschu Winery and live guitar music by Gerard Serafini of Sonoma Valley Music.  An informal “pizza party” will follow the tasting, with gourmet pizzas prepared by Sheana Davis of Epicurean Connection. Little Vineyards will provide the live music and wines for the dinner.  Riedel is providing glassware. Wine collector Douglas Mo graciously donated the “Cult” Cabernets to the VOM Teen Center.
All proceeds benefit the Valley of the Moon Teen Center. Valley of the Moon Teen Center is a tax exempt 501c(3) non-profit organization seeking to provide a safe and friendly environment where teens can develop self confidence through encouragement of their potential for becoming productive citizens. The Teen Center is open 3pm-7pm, Monday through Friday. For more information, see www.vomteencenter.org
Tickets for the Cult Cabernet Tasting Event are $200 each, and are available by calling (707) 694-4542. Contact Gray Matters, Bradley Gray, Public Relations.

Grapelive: Wine of the Week

rochioli3corners.jpg2005 J.Rochioli Pinot Noir “Three Corner’s Vineyard” Russian River Valley.
This amazing complex Pinot Noir has deep layers of flavors and a heavenly earthy essence that makes this wine seem on the level of a fine Musigny. I was enthralled with the truffle like edge and the dark fruits that shine on the rich palate. There is the classic Russian River flavors of black cherry and cola bean, but is goes much deeper than most and gives sweet plum fruit and mocha on the finish. The French oak use on this wine is much more subtle than most Rochioli bottlings and though I always love the Rochioli style, this Pinot is a different beast all together and I think it will only get better and more classy as time goes on. Smoky vanilla and creamy raspberry linger on and on, giving and wonderful finish that brings you back to the bottle for more. This is a stellar effort and a wonderful surprise in the awesome Rochioli line up. *Note this wine is available only to Rochioli wine list customers, which is really sad. ($80+ Est.) 95+ Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Week

soter.gif2006 Soter Pinot Noir “Mineral Springs Vineyard” Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
This is a Pinot Noir of depth and perfume that has so much going on it reminds of a great Burgundy in a top vintage, but a wine that can be enjoyed young with ripe and smooth tannins and rich body. There is wild flowers, violets and bramble berries on the nose, and lush red fruits on the palate with some dark plum and black cherry leading the way. There is beautiful balance and texture all ready, with sweet, vanilla smoky French oak toastiness giving added luster to this wonderful Pinot Noir. What a vintage! And what a pretty wine, I can highly recommend this little beauty. ($60-65 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
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Limited, coming to Rancho Cellars! 831-625-5646

Grapelive Lastest

kerry09gl1.jpgThe past year brought many highs and some pretty bad lows, but now it is 2009 and we can look to the future. There is no getting away from the fact that the wine industry has suffered a massive down turn and that it may have changed forever as a result of the crash of 2008, but we must look forward and make hard choices if we want to continue. I have suffered, we all have suffered and it looks set to be a grim year ahead, though I think and hope things will stabilize and see some growth by summer. On the brightside of things, of which I am always looking for, seems that there is some great wine coming available and that there are some real values out there for us wine lovers. On reflection, I had some fun times and great wines in 2008, with a couple of wines that will always stick out, The 2001 Harlan Estate, The 2006 Beaux Frères Upper Terrace Pinot Noir, The 2005 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, and both the Roar and Pisoni Estate 2006 “Pisoni Vineyard” Pinots, all mind-blowing wines that stunned me with their level of greatness. Then there were my pet favorites and wines I could drink often, like the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah of Richard Alfaro, of Alfaro Family Vineyards, who’s wines and estate just get better and better each vintage. Looking back, I do have some fond memories from the past year, but I must be honest and say I am happy 2008 is gone.
So, looking forward, I think people are going to be able to enjoy many great wines at great prices, all ready I’ve been tasting some fantastic wines that are both of quality and super values. I recently sat in at a tasting of French wines imported by the famous, and folk lore hero, Kermit Lynch of Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant in Berkeley, California, and I was left with a big smile on my face at the level of quality and true sense of terroir his wines showed, and these for the most part were value priced wines. Kermit Lynch only brings in family estates where he becomes friends with and who make “real” wines, meaning it is a sense of pride in place and love of the land that is their reason in being, Kermit is turned off by huge gleaming stainless steel tanks and thousands of small barrels, he is more concerned with the people and soil and that they make small lots of wine that carries that essence into the bottle. These wines are made traditionally, but with clean winemaking, so they are not overly funky or off putting in anyway, in fact they taste in most cases more pure and natural with clean flavors and balance. A few years back Kermit wrote his story, a book called “Adventures on the Wine Route, A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France” (The Noonday Press, 1988) a tale of his travels and stories of winemakers there, and one of my favorite wine books. Long with his great selections of wine of course, you should pick up a copy of his book, and read my latest reviews of some his wines.

Grapelive: Wine of the Week

cahours.gif2006 Clos La Coutale Cahors, Red, Southwest France.
Just when you think the French have lost it, and the Argentina makes the best Malbec, you find this beauty to prove you wrong! Kermit Lynch, the old devil finds these family estates and brings in wines that will surprise you, and this is one that is going to blow you away in its price point. This Cahours is about 80% Malbec and the rest Merlot and it is full, lush and creamy on the palate with rich plum and cherry fruit with depth and balance not usually found in the area. This wine blows away Bordeaux wines in the $30-40 range and goes up against those Argentine gems as well. You can find this wine at Kermit Lynch in Berkeley or at Rancho Cellars in Carmel, Ca and I recommend you do! With its layers of sweet red fruits, savory cedar notes, ripe tannins and class it will be a great find. ($16 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Week

kunin07.gif2007 Kunin Pape Star Red, Central Coast, Rhone style red blend.
Seth Kunin has nailed it with this beautiful and textured Chateauneuf-du-Pape style blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. This wine is a steal and shows real class and balance giving great bang for the buck. The flavors are bright and pure with lush layers and a long clean finish, marrying the ripeness of California with the spice and mineral notes of the old world. This pure red has plum, black cherry, grenadine, red berry and kirsch with touches of clove, lavender, fennel and pepper. Everything is tight and crisp at first, but it really opens up with some air, making it big and round with intense Chateauneuf presence. ($20 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive

RANCHO CELLARS

Grapelive: Wine of the Week

samsara-alder.jpg2006 Samsara Syrah “Alder Springs Vineyard” Mendocino
Chad Melville’s Samsara label is really blowing minds and this wonderful Syrah certainly will bring in new fans. On a departure from his normal Santa Barbara & Santa Rita Hills, the Alder Springs from the North Coast is a beautiful wine with great depth and balance. This wine is full and round with a pretty nose of perfume and violets leading to ripe fruits of blackberry, plum and raisin, mixed with pepper, Asian spices and cassis, finishing with mocha and coffee bean. Subtle oak use gives hints of vanilla and cedar that gives some creaminess and perfectly lifts the fruit here. This is a classy Syrah that reminds of Northern Rhone versions and gives lots of pleasure and showcases the winemaker’s talent and easy touch. ($40 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive

RANCHO CELLARS

Grapelive: Wine of the Week

ryanpn.gif2005 Ryan Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
This pretty Pinot is from the well regarded Peay Vineyard on the rugged Sonoma Coast and shows perfume, red berry, soft cherry, cola and mocha. This a wine to enjoy and savor for its Burgundy style ease and structure. After air this wine gains depth and some interesting aromatics including rose petals and Asian tea leaves, then a fuller body emerges with round layers of plumy fruit. The oak is matched well to the wine giving vanilla and subtle toast. Ryan makes a lovely balance style wine that can be matched to most menus and sipped enjoyably anytime. (Est. $45) 92+ Points, grapelive

* On sale $30 at RANCHO CELLARS

Grapelive: Wine of the Week

chante06.jpg2006 Domaine Chante-Perdrix Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rouge, Rhone Red, France
This 45-acre estate, owned by the Nicolet family, produces mostly reds from its vineyards in the official A.O.C., though some whites are made as well, with the largest crop being Grenache from a classic area with large river stones in the vineyard. This is a ripe and full-blown Chateauneuf with lush textures and intense fruit that explodes on the palate. The mouth is filled with blackberry, plum, grenadine, and tangy currant fruits with leather, lavender, game, earthy minerality and peppery spices mixed in. This wine was aged in big oak ovals and doesn’t have or need anything else, as it is rich and with solid structure that shows sweet fruit and zesty acid in good balance. I love this wine and have enjoyed a few different vintages and have found it a great choice for a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This vintage is about 80% Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre and a little known grape, maybe the rarest of Chateauneuf red grapes, Muscardin, and it really pumps out the flavors and has a super long finish. This red can be enjoyed now, but it has plenty of time to go, I’d say it will be at its best in 5-6 years and should last 12-15 years easy. ($45 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive
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*Imported by EX-Cellars, and be ordered through Rancho Cellars, 1-831-625-5646
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