2010 Fronton de Oro, Malpais, Gran Canaria DO, Canary Islands, Spain.
The Fronton de Oro Malpais is 70% Preto, with the remaining 30% divided evenly between Tintilla (Graciano) and Listán Negro. It is raised 4 months in French and American oak giving a bit more texture. Not much is written about Preto, but it seems to be more common in Dao region of Portugal and also found in the Asturias region of Spain where it is known as Albarin Nergo. Regardless of origins this grape makes for a racy and seductive red wine with medium weight and Pinot Noir like transparency and has exotic spice and floral notes along with volcanically charged minerallity. Every time I try the wines of Fronton de Oro I get geekier and geekier for these unique and rare treats, and this 2010 vintage seems to be the best yet, especially this 2010 Fronton de Oro Malpais from Gand Canary Island, the biggest of the Spanish Canaries which sit some 50 miles from the North African coast. The Malpais shows dried roses, hints of violets, red currants, cayenne pepper, chalky minerals and plum and strawberry fruits. Nice acidity, tannin and seriously saline elements help with lift and structure and push the fruit nicely and make this wine especially good with food, I’ve enjoyed it with sardines, pasta dishes and many different cheeses.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
Avail at www.sfwtc.com ($26)
2010 De Forville, Nebbiolo d’ Alba “San Rocco” Piedmonte, Italy.
This beautiful Nebbiolo is classic in style and structure, in essence a pure wine full of true Barbaresco charm and grace. I am really becoming a fan of this winery, as I get a chance to try them, and this 2010 Nebbiolo especially excites with textured layers and firm acidity and tannins holding the clear fruit together nicely. The nose starts with dried roses and tea spices along with fresh cherries, mint and truffle before a palate of tangy plum, cherry and strawberry fruits while mineral, tar, licorice and earthy elements play in the background. This wonderfully focused wine will age nicely for many years, but I really dig it’s force and vigor now and would happily spend a few evenings exploring it further. Not many Nebbiolo’s deliver as much complexity, style and quality for this price, so definitely search out De Forville!
($24 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2009 Copain, Syrah “Les Voisins” Yorkville Highlands.
This is one of the best yet from Wells Guthrie and is a world class Syrah from high elevation and cool climate sites which remind of the northern Rhone, but showing it’s own character. The 2009 Les Voisins Syrah is darkly fruited with blueberry, plum, boysenberry and cassis all playing roles in this layered wine with hints of bacon, meat and wild flowers going well with cracked pepper, licorice and mineral notes. This is a beautifully detailed wine that retains vibrant flavors with balancing acidity to go with the fleshy fruit and rich texture. This Syrah is an easy choice, and is over delivering at the modest price.
($34 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
2011 Valle Dell’ Acate “il Frappato” Vittoria Frappato DOC, Sicily, Italy.
Valle Dell’ Acate is located in Bidini, run by Gaetana Jacono who is another amazing woman, like Arianna Occhipinti down the road, that has elevated Sicily and this region of Vittoria to unbelievable heights. Valle Dell’ Acate is known for their elegance and quality the world over and their Cerasuolo di Vittoria is one of the great values of the Island, but it is the il Frappato that I found irresistible in a recent tasting of their wines. The 2011 il Frappato is fresh, vibrant and wrapped in a silky texture with clean detailed flavors that burst to life on the palate with wild strawberry, plum, lingonberry and zesty brambleberry fruits and peppery spices. There is a nice hint of mineral, anise and dried flowers that add to the whole on this balanced wine that delivers lots of entertainment and pleasure.
($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2008 Fattoria dei Barbi, Morellino di Scansano DOCG, Tuscan Red, Italy.
This beautiful and textured Sangiovese (Morellino) based red from the Maremma area on the Tuscan Coast is one of the most interesting and layered wines I’ve tried from the Scansano zone, which received it’s DOCG status from the 2007 vintage, proving again the quality of the region. This vintage of Barbi Morellino is pretty with wild flowers, lavender, mint and strawberry with a darker note on the full palate of blackberry and plum while tobacco leaf, cedar and mountain herbs all play roles in the background. Fattoria dei Barbi is a first class Brunello producer and makes a great array of reds, everything I tasted of their currant line up stood out for terroir and quality, but this wine is a marvel especially at the price.
($22 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive
Avail at www.sfwtc.com ($18.95)
2011 Domaine Comte Abbatucci, Rose “Gris Imperial” Corsica, France.
This vibrant and smoky rose is full of energy and life, made from Sciacarellu which is one of Corsica’s own varietals, and crafted by one of the island’s best known producers, Domaine Comte Abbatucci, it is a fun and serious wine. Sciacarellu is grape grown mostly in the Ajaccio area of Corsica and it is believed to be originally from the Italian mainland, but it is here on Corsica where it shines and makes for a lovely strawberry flavored wine, and is especially good in this Abbatucci rose where it shows tangy grapefruit, smoke, tart cherry and strawberry with hints of zesty spices, herbs and mineral. This is super refreshing and crisply dry, and is great on a warm afternoon.
($25 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive
Avail at www.sfwtc.com
2010 Corino, Barbera d’ Alba DOC, Piedmonte, Italy.
Don’t miss this super sleek and pure Barbera from Corino in La Morra for it is a lovely and interesting wine that delivers exactly what is expected and a bit more with bright and chewy red fruits, spice and floral notes. There is a sweet and savory charm that runs throughout and it starts with zesty blackberry, cherry and spiced plums while hints of summer flowers and herbs add complexity along with touches of bitter chocolate and cranberry. This wine with it’s acidity and fruit is a great food wine and should be enjoyed as a valued guest at any meal, drink over the next few years. The 2010 Corino Barbera has a wonderful freshness and vibrant core of fruit that shine through and it is hard to resist, especially for a Barbera fan like me, I know I’ll be enjoying a few more bottles of this very pleasing example.
($22 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive
2009 Stoller, Pinot Noir “JV” Estate, Dundee Hills, Willamette, Oregon.
This 2009 Stoller is really turning out to be a super wine and a fantastic deal in top quality Pinot Noir and gives lots of pleasure. Pure Dundee terroir and lush layers of fruit flow freely here and there is pretty rose petals, red spices and flinty minerals keeping things interesting while silky tannins and subtle acidity keeps things together nicely. The main body of fruit leans on plum and raspberry, but the is a lovely core of black cherry running throughout and lingers on the finish with a touch of strawberry preserves as well, plus a very nice flash of smoke and vanilla. If you are looking to buy a great drinking Oregon Pinot, this 2009 Stoller JV is the one to stock up on, no question this wine is drinking great now and should be a joy for the next 2 years at least.
($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2010 Owen Roe, Pinot Noir “The Kilmore” Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
This rich and lively Pinot Noir is really coming good with detailed layers of dark fruits, silky texture and vibrant acidity and zest making this Kilmore a remarkable effort in a difficult vintage. The 2010 Owen Roe Kilmore Pinot weighs in at just about 13% alcohol making for a more Burgundy like charmer, with grapes coming from great sites in the Yamhill-Carlton area and mix of Pommard, Wadenswil and Dijon clones all of which add to the beauty and complexity found in this elegant wine. The nose is a pure bouquet of flowers, subtle spice and a fresh mix of berries and dried currants leading to a round palate of black cherry, plum and wild strawberry fruits while hints of smoke, pepper and iron come through in the background. There is a cool mineral streak throughout, but the lifted fruit core is graceful and long giving loads of pleasure. This is a wonderful Pinot Noir that is strikingly true to it’s terroir and vintage that is perfect for drinking now and over the short term.
($45 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2009 Jean Foillard, Fleurie Cru Beaujolais, France.
The 2009 vintage in the Beaujolais is legendary and Jean Foillard is one of the top guns with Gamay, so you knew this would be good, and it seems like a extra long time to wait for such a wine, and now that it is finally here expectations were running high, and for that reason it may seem a touch disappointing no matter how good. That was the case for me, I was expecting the world, I wanted heaven in the glass, and while this is an exotic and beautifully made wine, it was a slight let down, which of course is not all that fair, but I’ll buy a few bottles and revisit this Fleurie at a later date and see. Again, there is little here to fault, though it did seem a touch hot with alcohol, though it has glorious dark fruit, a perfumed nose and terrific length. The bouquet leads with dried flowers, incense, walnut and cassis before flowing into a medium to full palate of blackberry, wild strawberry and cherry fruits with tangy dried currants, baking spices and candied red citrus. A touch of earthy truffle, saline and plum/blueberry tart linger on the aftertaste. The 2009 Foillard Fleurie is not as elegant or dreamy as the 2007, but it is a richer, denser and much more hedonistic wine that will certainly please many, many people.
($50 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive