Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 St. Michael-Eppan Blauburgunder-Pinot Nero, Sudtirol-Alto Adige (Pinot Noir) Italy.

This lovely and delicate Pinot Noir from the Alto Adige tastes remarkably like German Spatburgunder with a hint of Dundee Hills added for good measure. Best known for Pinot Grigio, St. Michael-Eppan does a fine Pinot Nero and this is the best I’ve tried from them to date, and with beautiful details and silky texture this wine will appeal to Burgundy lovers as well as Oregon fans. Italy has a few good Pinots, and this is one of them with pretty cherry fruit, flinty mineral, tea spice and subtle oak. The nose is dusty with roses, truffle and a whiff of smoke leading to the cherry core on the palate, with raspberry, plum and slate like earthiness adding complexity. This is a very nice wine and a decent bargain to boot, I should think those that like a lighter, livelier and brighter style of Pinot will love this flavorful and balanced red.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Mastrojanni Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscan Red, Italy.
This estate near Castelnuovo dell’ Abate was started in 1975 when the Roman lawyer, Gabriele Mastrojanni bought the two old estates of Loreto and San Pio near the river mouth of the Orcia River in a rocky wooded area of this famous region. Planted on river rock and south facing slopes the vines at Mastrojanni are as perfectly sited as can be and it shows in the beauty and depth in the wines made here. Loreto is mostly planted to Brunello clone, while San Pia has a block of Cabernet Sauvignon which is blended with a touch of their Sangiovese Grosso in a San Pia bottling to go with their Brunello and Rosso. Interestingly enough, while the Mastrojanni Brunello gets all the attention, I have twice now in great vintages of Brunello, have been more impressed by the Rosso di Montalcino and the 2009 certainly is a lovely surprise out performing the highly touted 2006 Brunello in a recent tasting! While the Brunello is no slouch by any means, the 2009 just is more elegant and vibrant, and even better, it is half the price at least! The nose is deep with spring flowers, black currants and lavender like sweet herbs leading the way while the palate has plum, strawberry jam, black cherry and raspberry fruits. The 2009 Rosso feels silky smooth, but has good fresh acidity and tangy flavors with a background of licorice, cedar, mineral spice and violets. Mastrojanni uses big, mostly neutral French casks for this wine (aged 6 months) and the Alliers wood is subtle and refined framing this Sangiovese perfectly.
($30 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($25.95)

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Le Berne Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscan Red, Italy.
Made with Prugnolo (same Sangiovese clone as Sangiovese Grosso, as is found in Brunello), plus local varieties Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo Vino Nobile is one of Italy’s great wines, and a great value when compared to it’s Tuscan rival Brunello di Montalcino. I have found Le Berne in the last few vintages to be a real glorious red that offers class, richness and length so it was great to try this 2008 and find that it is as good as the 2006 and 2007 vintages were. If you want a great Tuscan wine and be savvy, this beauty is your ticket, no question. The 2008 Le Berne Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is full and lively with blackberry, cherry and wild strawberry fruits with touches of smoke, mineral spice, cedar and sweet mountain herbs. The nose has floral tones and a touch of truffle that also translates to the palate with notes of violets and dried roses, earthy leather and blond tobacco. The subtle framing wood adds a touch of baking spices on the finish. If you crave Brunello or Chianti Classico you should find this fantastic wine and compare for yourself, this is a stunning wine that deserves more attention.
($29 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Domaine du Moulin Neuf Bourgogne Rouge (Danjean-Berthoux) France.
This little Bourgogne is a lovely Pinot Noir with impressive fruit and silky texture, especially at this price. With a good vintage and tough economy, 2009 sure is delivering great drinking Burgundies at every price point, and even these entry level wines show interesting depth and character, and while not of collector caliber they provide great fun and are easy on the wallet. This Domaine du Moulin Neuf has good ripe fruit and soft acidity, almost tasting like a good Oregon Pinot with spicy sweet red berries, cherry and strawberry leading the way on the palate. The nose is slightly floral and a touch earthy in classic style and the finish has just a hint of oak. Overall, this is a nice Burgundy to enjoy now and is a great gateway for those that are just getting started in their experience with this famous region.
($18 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Windy Oaks Estate Pinot Noir “Henry’s Block-Schultze Family Vineyard” Santa Cruz Mountains.
Jim and Judy Schultze has been making this Pinot Noir since 1999, and I have tried almost every vintage if not all and have loved to watch as the vineyard and the wine evolve, and I can say that both wine and vines seem to have reached the peak. I was blown away when Jim showed off his first release, that 1999 Windy Oaks Estate was a dead ringer for a fine Chambolle-Musigny and this new release, the 2008 Windy Oaks Estate Pinot Noir “Henry’s Block” from the original block of vines is very similar and has that Burgundian charm and perfume that sets it apart. The nose has loads of striking violets and rose petals, sweet tea spices and mineral tones before a lively palate of silky fruits and earthy contrast with black cherry, strawberry and blueberry layers. There is a nice chalky mineral steak along with a lifting acidity that is fresh, but elegantly smooth and creamy. The subtle French oak gives hints of smoke, vanilla and mocha, though it is never the focus, only the frame, making this stylish Pinot a thing of beauty and grace. As much as I have loved prior vintages, this might be my favorite, and people looking for a more detailed and delicate style Pinot would be hard pressed to find a better wine. While 2008 in Sonoma, Carneros and Anderson Valley was not a great year, the Santa Cruz Mountains killed it, I suggest you check them out. Honestly, while this wine does show its unique terroir and is a California wine through and through it does remind me of Vosne-Romanee and Chambolle-Musigny Burgundies, a high compliment in my book.
($55 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2007 La Spinetta “Casanova” Chianti Reserva, Terricciola, Tuscany, Italy.
Giorgio Rivetti’s La Spinetta in Tuscany continues to impress and his latest release, the Chianti Reserva is a beautiful and elegantly styled wine that shows terroir and vintage perfectly. This Sangiovese gem has medium weight and lush textures with a long smooth finish, it all begins with flowers and sweet herbs in the nose with a heady mix of red and black fruits, earth and mineral tones. The subtle wood and tangy acidity make this Chianti wonderful with food and less showy than past efforts, though no one would ever be disappointed but popping the cork on this wine. The bright berry, strawberry and savory currant lead the fruit layers and tobacco leaf, lavender and truffle notes add complexities to this fine effort from a world class producer. Drink over the next 3 to 5 years and enjoy the graceful balance and pure Tuscan flavors.
($40 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2006 Brovia Barolo, Piedmonte, Italy.
This producer is new to me and I was excited to try their wines, as I had heard about them and was told lots of good things. Brovia makes their wines in a classic, almost Burgundian style with terroir and purity of fruit and most of the vineyard sources are close to Falletto, near to where Giacosa is and other top winemakers. This 2006 Barolo “normale” is a wonderful example of the elegance that can be found in Nebbiolo, and it does share grace and charms that you’d expect from a fine Burgundy. I can tell you this wine is a thing of beauty and has fruit, structure, poise and length with a nose full of dried roses, lavender oil, truffle and fennel before pretty cherry and plum fruit come forward. The body feels heavenly smooth, but with life and taut balance, while in the background game, black tea, black licorice and menthol dance subtlety. The finish is long and flavorful, almost begging you for another sip, glass or bottle! While still youthful, the 2006 is drinking great now, though it should go another 5 or 6 years, gaining in small ways I’m sure.
($50 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.
I was so happy to try the Karl lawrence as I had missed out on trying the last few vintages and it has always impressed me, and I can report it is just as good as ever, maybe better even. The 2008 Karl lawrence is rich and dense, but it is remarkably balanced and fresh too, I would liken it to 1990’s Caymus or Ridge Monte Bello in style, though it has it’s own unique character and is very distinct. The nose is floral and with touches of creme de cassis, vanilla and pencil lead leading to a firm palate of blueberry, blackberry, currants and cherry fruits with tobacco leaf, briar and licorice. This wine has graceful structure and great length, while fine tannins hold it all together, but remain smooth and subtle throughout. This Cabernet is pure class. The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from top sites, Herb Lamb, Taplin and Morisoli and it shows. This is an awesome Cabernet and a value “Cult” wine! Without question this wine is sublime and any Cab lover will admire it, but on a personal note, this wine really speaks to me and is a real favorite of mine, and it was hard not to want to rate it even higher!
($70 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry winslow

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2010 Luli Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands.
This rich and vibrant Pinot Noir comes from quality Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards and is made by Jeff Pisoni, winemaker at Pisoni Estate, Lucia Vineyards, Fort Ross and has worked with Peter Michael. Clearly Jeff, son of the famed Gary Pisoni, is clearly an established and accomplished winemaker and this project is another showcase for his talents and the terroir of the Highlands. Luli does a fresh and easy drinking lineup of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, all quality and value priced. These wines are outstanding and give insights on the vintage as they are always released early, before the more collectable wines from the area come to market. This lively and fruit packed Pinot is a good sign that 2010 will continue the great vintage streak that the Santa Lucia Highlands has going. For such a young wine it shows good depth, complexity and the acidity with even allow it to age well, even though not many will wait to enjoy this little beauty. The nose is bright with flowers, fresh berries and spice before a tangy cherry and plummy palate that shows blackberry, cranberry and juicy acidity. Watch for flashes of briar, bramble and truffle as you savory the zesty fruit and the subtle sweet toasty oak. I like this vintage even better than the 2009 and think Luli is just going from strength to strength, I suggest picking up this Pinot before the word gets out!
($24 Est) 92 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($19.95)

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Occhipinti “SP68” Rosso, IGT, Sicily.
Arianna Occhipinti is without question a star and her latest artisan “natural” wines are stunning examples and reached even greater heights. This new vintage of “SP68” Rosso is the best yet with greater detail, depth and freshness. This cuvee of Nero D’ Avola and Frappato is pure, focused and has balance with grenadine, red currants, blueberry and unique lingonberry layers, plus mineral and lavender notes. This wine has silky tannins, but vibrant live and brightness with just the right amount of lifting acidity. This beautiful terroir driven red has pretty dark garnet color, a red earthy spicy kick and has no telltale signs of oak at all, all the better because it is not needed. Even when left open for 48 hours, this vintage held nicely without losing a thing! While the 2009 felt a bit overripe, the 2010 is near perfect and a huge leap forward for this wine, bravo again to Ms. Occhipinti, she is making the wine world take notice. Arianna Occhipinti has made Frappato a household name, especially at my house!
($28 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($26.95)

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