Grapelive Latest: Feb 17

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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aw08pn.gif2008 August West Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands.
This winery is on a hot streak and they just keep rolling out great wine at awesome prices, especially this Pinot Noir from selected lots of fruit and made by Ed Kurtzman, Freeman, Sandler and of course Roar, as he is partners in this winery with Gary Franscioni, Roar winery and the Garys’ and Rosella’s Vineyards, and Harold Graham, Graham Vineyard in the Russian River. This wine tastes of the place, the Santa Lucia Highlands, with blackberry, plum, dark cherry and blueberry fruits, with some smoke, cassis, vanilla in the background, but really subtle, this wine is all about pleasure and the pure fruit and flavors. This is a quality Pinot Noir that is just getting better each time I try it, in fact in the last tasting of this wine it out scored some big name Pinots in my tasting notes on the same day, this includes a 2007 William Selyem Pinot too, plus a few others that sell for twice the price. ($30-35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

*Available at Rancho Cellars $29.95

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Grapelive Latest: Feb16

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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brown081.gif2008 Brown Estate Zinfandel Napa Valley.
Dave Brown and his family all put in the greatest possible effort and passion to produce high quality wine from their Chiles Valley, Napa estate and it shows in the bottle and the glass, as they made one of the best Zinfandels in the state. The newest release, the 2008 vintage shows ripe, sweet fruit and lush texture with smooth tannins and bramble spices, with a fresh nose and a super pretty dark color. Everything is coming together nicely and while intense and thick, it has a certain balance and life that sets it apart, lifting it up and demanding attention. This is a fine Zinfandel that can be enjoyed now, but also for the next 3-5 years, so find some quick, as there is never enough to go around. ($36 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive

*Tasted at ZAP

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 15

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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bcmc08.gif2008 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir “Mount Carmel” Santa Rita Hills.
Steve Clifton and Greg Brewer, two super talents of the modern era in Pinot Noir (and Chardonnay) are fearless in their desire to make the best wines they can, and this vintage is another new step forward for this dynamic duo! Their passion shows and it really comes out in their wines, which are heady and hedonistic gems that merit worldwide note. This vintage is a slightly new direction, as they have expored the limited of high alcohol in the past, while still making wonderfully balanced wines somehow, this wine is way dialed back with a listed alcohol of only 14%, without loosing any of the charms of their past efforts, which is very impressive, even stunning! I will tell you, while this wine is still fairly young, it is rich and beautiful in a more Burgundy like manner, in fact most Burgundies wish they could be this pretty and silky on the palate! This intriguing Pinot has a nose full of flowers, spice and grenadine, I would guess this is from the whole cluster fermentation, and it has layers of velvety fruit, cherry, strawberry, plum and wild raspberry while the structure is balanced and the tannins ripe and spicy. The background holds smoke, mineral, lavender and subtle French oak vanilla. This is a Pinot that is not trying to be Syrah or anything else, just giving lovely classic flavors that are both stylish and elegant.
($57 Est.) 94-95 Points, grapelive

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Limited but it can be ordered at

Rancho Cellars by special order 831-625-5646

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Grapelive ZAP Zinfandel Tasting

“ZAP leaves a Purple Haze Over the City”

Grapelive Special Report on ZAP Zinfandel Tasting, Fort  Mason, San Francisco, CA. Jan. 30, 2010

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Zap Zinfandel Fest 2010 “Purple Haze” Recap
By Kerry Winslow

This year was the 19th annual ZAP festival, a Zinfandel celebration like no other and an event for fanatics and professionals alike. Long lines and over indulging seems to be one of the main features, both cherished and loathed, for better or worse, but no one can it is not a fun tradition to gather at Fort Mason, in San Francisco, in January and stain your teeth purple. This year was harder than most to get up for with the economy what it is and the thought of fighting the crowds less appealing with each passing year, though in the end Zap won me over, and I found some new and interesting Zinfandels that wowed me and that gave me that loving feeling again. I arrived at Zap early, when only trade and media types are allowed in, about 3 hours before the massive crowds descend on the unprepared winery owners and winemakers pouring their latest Zinfandel creations, still even at that private time and being it was closer to 10am the place was rocking and buzzing with excitement. I even found it hard to fight my way to certain tables to chat with the winemakers, but then I remembered there was a quiet media only room where we could go to taste and write notes in relative peace and feel like we were being productive, and this proved to be the best way to find some new wines.

brown08.gifBecause the event is packed with hundreds and hundreds of new release Zin and because, lets be honest here, the are many that are not so interesting, you really have to be ultra picky to get much done in terms of real reviewing, so I must admit I always miss a couple great wines each year. That said, I did find some awesome Zinfandel this year, and I’m going to focus on those here, and let others go into greater detail overall. I will also note that the “old guard” Zin producers have staged a comeback, I found that both Ravenswood and Ridge Vineyards to have found that magic again and both showed fantastic wines that deserve high praise and critical acclaim, though I tend to search out new small producers these days. Regardless it was nice to see and I must give them kudos for their efforts, especially the Ridge Lytton Springs and the Ravenswood Old Hill, as they were both inspiring and dynamic wines that showed off their terroir and the zinfandel grape to good effect.

baldwin08.gifWhile tucked away in the media sanctuary, with other wine writer types, no be left nameless, I was introduced to some unheard of wineries and new producers, some by word of mouth, a little eavesdropping never hurt anyone, or by just shear luck and adventurism. By pure chance I picked up a bottle without a real label that had a photocopy stuck to it that send it was a barrel sample of 2008 Zinfandel, and wow, it was an amazing wine that had it all class, texture and pure Zinfandel charm and flavors. What was this nectar? Who makes it and where are the vines, I had to know, I needed to know, I wasn’t going to be denied. Well, at first, I was, but after plugging in and doing the Google, I slowly learned more, but it took a few days to get all the details. The wine, the 2008 Baldwin Vineyards Zinfandel “Rattlesnake Ridge Vineyard” (Glen Ellen) Sonoma Valley, a barrel sample, not a finished bottle. What I found out later made it all the more impressive; in fact this was the premier release of this wine and from the very first crop of the vineyard! Okay, yeah, are most great Zinfandels from old vines, I mean older than your Grandfather’s father old, well, yes there are, but this wine seems to be the exception from any common wisdom, and it was from a new winery and an equally young winemaker! Beginners luck, maybe, but I think it is the start of a long and bright future for this vineyard and winery, that comes from tasting the wine first and foremost, though I will tell you the owner has a long career of success, so I won’t have any doubt that he’ll make great things happen here too. Gerald Baldwin is the owner and it is his vineyard where he resides, in case the name doesn’t ring any bells, he was one of the original founders of Starbucks and the owner of Peete’s Coffee, as well as many other highly successful projects! I won’t bore you with the list, as it would take up the whole page! Back to the wine, it is coming out later this year and there was only enough juice to make some 60 cases, so even though it might seem pricy at $50 a bottle, it is worth it and I think it would be good to get on his list as soon as possible. He even emailed me to fill in the details on this wine himself, and that was before I know who he was, and I can tell you, he was humble and enthusiastic when talking about this wine and the second Zinfandel his is doing and I was left with a very good impression and excited to taste this wine when it is released. (www.baldwinwines.com)

tofanelli071.gifThe best of show was a tough pick between five great wines that for me spoke of what real Zinfandel can be and is, the classic California drinking wine, not for collectors or people that buy luxury label, but an honest wine that you just love to drink with out pretense or fanfare. While many Zinfandels age well and are super editions to any home or restaurant cellar, most of us love the grape and wine because we can drink it now and love it for its fruity and spicy sexy goodness when it is young. So, for me these were the best of show and my top picks of the 2010 ZAP tasting, and I’m sure I am leaving out plenty of Zins that merit attention, please forgive me if I didn’t get around to mentioning your favorite, but these were mine. First up, was the stunning and complex 2007 Tofanelli Zinfandel Napa Valley, which showed richness and elegance that put it at another level than 95% of all the other Zins I tried, it was easily number one in my notes, though a few others were not far behind, like the 2008 Baldwin described above. So at number two, I have the 2008 Brown Estate Zinfandel Napa Valley, always one of my guilty pleasures and a wine that has always stood out for me with intense fruit and a long zesty finish with a thick texture to savor, another fine vintage from this quality winery. At number three I had another barrel sample to go on, but again I trust myself that the finished wine will blow you away, it is the 2008 Biale Vineyards Zinfandel “Black Chicken” Napa Valley, another winery that always impresses me and Bob Biale is a talented guy, no question this is world class wine and a hedonistic Zinfandel with gobs of black fruit and vibrant flavors and superb depth. So then the 2008 Baldwin Zinfandel “Rattlesnake Ridge” Sonoma Valley, number four. Now it is down to my final selection from this years Zap Zin Fest, and this was a tough call, because there were two other wines that were very close to breaking into the top five, the two Sandler 2008 Zins, made by Ed Kurtzman, the talent that also crafts Roar and August West Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay, all of which are great wines, including his two new Zinfandels and the other runner up to number five was the 2006 Talty Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley, another wine I had not heard of before and one of the wines I was turned on to by those selfless other wine writers in the media area, that instead of quietly getting their own scoop, happily pushed me in the right direction, thanks guys, that was classy of them. The Talty 2006 was the best of that vintage I found at the show, and a very lovely wine, it would be good to check in on these guys if you get to Dry Creek, I know I will. Also, I must add one more to highlight before getting to final pick, and that would be the J. Dusi Zinfandel Dusi Ranch, Paso Robles, I was lucky enough to get a chance last summer to tour and taste their wine at the Dusi Vineyard and I loved their 2007 at the time, and I gave the 2008 at Zap my top Paso Zin nod. Okay here it is, the last wine and word from the 2010 Zap, at number five, I have to go with the near perfect California Zinfandel and one of my all time weaknesses, the Ridge Vineyards 2008 Lytton Springs Estate, Dry Creek, Sonoma County. There you have it, my top five wines, with out a doubt, all wonderful picks no matter the order and all wines that I will buy this year no question. The Ridge Lytton Springs especially with come home with me many a night or BBQ when it is released this summer, with loads of red and black fruit and peppery spices it really speaks to me and I like the briar and fresh berry tanginess.

Sometimes we in the industry get jaded or burnt out on crowded events and sometimes high volume, rock concert like groupies can put you off, but somehow Zap can overcome theses petty pains and put huge smiles on everyone’s face and give us all lots of fun and pleasure. While Zap makes for a long day and leaves a ringing in your ears, it also leaves you with sense of pride in our grape, the Zinfandel, and it is always a very, very happy place with the most enthusiastic wine fanatics in the world.

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Top Five Zins from this years ZAP:

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tofanelli07.gif2007 Tofanelli Zinfandel Napa Valley
Most Zin lovers will know that some of the best Turley wines in the past have used fruit from the famed Tofanelli Vineyard and that this small production Zinfandel is one of the most interesting wines made from this grape. This vintage of Tofanelli is near perfect and this Zin shows off all its talents with rich and flavorful layers of dark fruit and polished balance and class, not always found in modern Zinfandels. This wine is everything that Zin can be without crossing that line and being over the top or bloated, it has lush sweet fruit and smooth texture, but still is lively and fresh. The nose is crushed berries and spicy leading to a blackberry, plum, raspberry and currant filled palate that flows in waves in the mouth. There is some tangy boysenberry, briar and wild spices that pop into the mix that adds to the whole and the finish is long and savory. ($36 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

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2008 Baldwin Zinfandel Rattlesnake Ridge (Barrel Sample)

2008 Brown Estate Zinfandel Napa Valley

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley

2008 Biale Zinfandel Black Chicken Napa Valley (Barrel Sample)

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Others to watch:

Ed Kurtzman, Sandler Zinfandel, and “The Industrial” Zinfandel tasted very good in 2008 barrel samples and should get even better closer to release later this summer. I also enjoyed the 2006 Talty Zinfandel Dry Creek, and will look forward to trying more of their wines in the future. Old favorites from Ridge and even the old vine Ravenswood showed very well in barrel samples from the 2008 vintage, and Four Vines had their very rich and focused 2007 Biker Zin in the press room and it was a go to wine with snacks. I want to mention J. Dusi as well as this was a chance to try their third release, the 2008 and it was very good and looks to develop further, so be sure to check it out when it is on the shelf, which should be soon.

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 12-14

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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castalia08.gif2008 Castalia Pinot Noir “Rochioli Vineyard” Russian River Valley.
Terry Bering’s career at Rochioli continues and he does a bit under his own label from select blocks of the famous Russian River vineyard. Having had almost every vintage since he started Castalia, there is no question about quality and the wines heritage. The 2008 vintage is proving to be as good if not better in certain cases than the 2007, and the wines will develop and age nicely as the balance and structure looks great. With old blocks of Rochioli Vineyard wines going for near a hundred bucks in the other big names, the Castalia seems to be a major steal, and it always has. This insider secret wine always delivers full Rochioli goodness and style, making for a classic Pinot. This wine opens with lots of fresh fruits and cola, with a perfume of floral notes sneaking through. The mouth is full and ripe with lots of plum and black cherry, touches of licorice, lavender, tea spice and mocha are mixed well on the background. The finish is long with hints of smoke and vanilla, without question you can taste the terroir and the house style of Rochioli, very pretty wine. ($50 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive

Just released and at:

Rancho Cellars

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 11

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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copainjamesberry.gif2007 Copain “Les Copains” James Berry, Paso Robles Vin Rouge. (Rhone Blend)
From the famed James Berry Vineyard, famous for the wines of Saxum and others, the Les Copains is one of the great Rhone style reds in California, and it is made up of about 42% Mourvedre, 42% Grenache and the rest from Syrah. This wine is on the same level as Alban and Tablas Creek, while still reminding of the great wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Bandol with a huge and vibrant palate of baked cherry, blueberry, boysenberry and plum fruits with hints of chalky earth, strawberry, game, cassis and peppery spices. This wine should develop further and gain in all areas over the next 3-5 years. The alcohol is just right too, at 14.4%, making for a very polished and full-bodied wine. This is a wonderful and textured wine that drinks great all ready, I must say it really is pure pleasure in a glass. ($40-45 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

Order Copain at:

Copain Wines @ Rancho Cellars

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Grapelive Latest: Feb 10

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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sheldon06grenache.gif2006 Sheldon Wines Grenache Santa Ynez. (Vogelzang Hillside Selection)
Dylan Sheldon’s Sheldon Wines Grenache is a lovely and pretty wine that gives much pleasure and shows off the vineyard site, which is also used by Sine Qua Non, Margerum and other top wineries. Dylan decided the Grenache was so good on its own he bottled it solo, as he usually uses it in his flagship Vinolocity, Chateauneuf-du-Pape style red (with Syrah) that has got many 90 Point scores and has been a cult favorite at the Hospice du Rhone tasting event over the last few vintages.  Back to this wine, the 2006 Grenache shows classic Rhone flavors, grenadine, cherry liqueur, plum, strawberry and peppery spices, along with some earth and subtle lavender and wood notes. Drink now and enjoy this fun wine! ($25 Est.) 90-91 Points, grapelive

www.sheldonwines.com

or buy at: Rancho Cellars $22.50

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Grapelive Special Review

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Fairchild Cabernets

By Kerry Winslow, grapelive

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Lawrence Fairchild is a name to watch, he is producing two outstanding Napa Valley Cabernets under his own label, both made by Paul Hobbs at Hobb’s Winery itself. One is sourced from top fruit at Beckstoffer’s To Kalon Vineyard and the State Lane Vineyard made famous recently by Kapscandy Estate, while his own estate on the eastern side of the Valley is maintained by the famed vineyard manager Jim Barbour is high up near Lake Hennessey, it is called Sigaro. This tiny estate vineyard only produces a ton and a half of fruit an acre and there was only 4 barrels made in 2006!

The To Kalon blend, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is also a small production wine with only 140 cases crafted, and seems to be a steal in the ultra cult league, especially given that Paul Hobb’s own To Kalon goes for about $300. Early barrel tastings by the critics garnered praise for the richness and for Paul’s elegant hand in the winemaking. It seems hard to believe this vintage is all ready Fairchild Estate’s fifth release and they are still a well kept secret, though it won’t be for long!

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fairchildcs06.gif2006 Fairchild Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.
This stunning Cabernet is one of the finest new wines I’ve tried over the last year! I must say Kudos to Lawrence Fairchild and his winemaker Paul Hobbs on their dedication and efforts on this amazing wine. Without question Fairchild must be the best kept secret in the Valley, as it is right up there with Bond, Insignia, Schader and it just blows away the likes of Opus and Dominus. The nose is elegant and perfumed with wild flowers, vanilla and dark currants leading to a huge palate of blackberry, boysenberry, cassis, dark chocolate and cedary spices. The full-body and thickness is remarkably well balanced and the fine tannins feel smooth and sweet, but focused and firm. The finish is pure and super long leaving a savory, smoky vanilla and red currant aftertaste. After some air it picks up more interest, with melted licorice, mineral and liqueur notes coming out, making this a world class contender Cabernet! ($125 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

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fairchildsigaro06.gif2006 Fairchild Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Sigaro” Estate, Napa Valley.
This wine is a surprise with both elegance and power in spades, showcasing its terroir and hillside fruit to perfection, all the while feeling young and Bordeaux like. Only four barrels were made from this intense vineyard site that only gave only a ton and a half of fruit per acre, that is less than half the amount of grapes than other top vineyards give and this leads to more depth and fullness in the wine. Paul Hobbs must have used most of his talents to tame this wine and let it show its class and grace, while at the same time letting the natural brawny side show through, at least now in its youth. The nose is full of sage, briar and classic Cabernet currant, black olive, chocolate and sweet dark fruits before a grippy palate of mouth-filling black fruits that include wild blackberry, plum and tangy cherry. The mountain fruit really feels strong and vibrant with lots of bramble, earthy mint, licorice and spice adding to the whole package, making me almost certain that some good cellar time would be in order and give great rewards, in fact I feel that it will surly age well for a couple of decades, much like Dunn and or Diamond Creek have done over the years. Could this be a new California Chateau Latour? It just might be… ($150 Est.) 94-96 Points, grapelive

www.fairchildwines.com

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Grapelive Report From Italy


Antinori’s Tormaresca –  At the Bocca di Lupo Estate in Puglia

By Brandy Falconer, grapelive.com guest columnist

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tormaresca1.jpgLast week I had the pleasure of traveling to Puglia (Apulia) in Southern Italy to visit one of Antinori’s two estates under the Tormaresca label.  We left Naples, driving southeast on the A16 toward the heel of Italy’s boot, and about two and a half hours later, encountering sun, snow and rain along the way, we arrived at the Bocca di Lupo estate.  Directly translated as “Mouth of the Wolf,” it should also be noted that a common expression of “Good Luck!” is translated as “In bocca al lupo!”
My first thoughts when we arrived were of (my) home, the Salinas Valley, with its beautiful flat rows of agriculture, surrounded by green rolling hills in the distance. Even the weather was the same this time of year, a cloud-filled grey sky with a bit of rain and wind…which kept changing every minute. I appreciated the signage that guided us to the winery, something that doesn’t exist everywhere in Italy, and though the building was new and a bit stark on the outside, there was nothing sterile or overly modern about it. It fit in beautifully with the landscape, as if it was simply a renovated farmhouse and barn, reflecting the movement from grape-growing to winemaking at the facility. Grapes have been grown here for centuries, as in most of the south, and in the last decades there has been a noticeable movement from growers to producers.

tormaresca5.jpgWalking through the front door of the winery was like being welcomed into a home or small resort. Offices occupy the downstairs, then a spiral stone staircase brings visitors to a window-lined upstairs where there are meeting rooms, a salon and dining room, all looking out on the vineyards and across to the hills. The interior and exterior are represented in pale colors with sand-colored stone block, which is not only beautiful and serene, but also the result of a desire to use only indigenous materials in the construction. The furnishings also reflect the history of the area, equally inviting and functional; it is easy to feel comfortable here. Their guest rooms (sorry wine pilgrims, for business associates only) are cozy and relaxed, and above all quiet; something I really appreciate after living in downtown Naples for the last several months.

Maria Teresa from the Marketing and Sales department arrived to guide me through the winemaking facilties, which are spacious, modern and practical in a beautiful setting. Rather than looking dormant for the winter, the super-clean presses and tanks seem to be just taking a work break before spring. While one small cellar for the white wines is set up to easily move the barrels after a brief aging period, the main cellar has long, low rows of red stained barrels.  Not at all a “warehouse” cellar, this deep, square chamber is so quiet and visually pleasing  that it resembles a spa. It was so cold outside, the cellar actually seemed warm, and there was even a bit of fog hanging in the room which added to the atmosphere.

tormaresca3.jpgAdjacent to the cellar, we entered the tasting room. With its low arched ceiling and stone walls, it was much like being in a traditional cave cellar, but a large arch window at one end, looking out on the quiet cellar below created a charming ambiance. The long wooden table was set with glasses and bottles, and the tasting began. We started with the 2008 Chardonnay, considered their “base wine”. Not to be confused with “bottom of the line,” this un-oaked Chardonnay (music to my ears), with its fresh, well-balanced acidity and minerality is a wine that you can enjoy with your entire meal. The more complex 2008 Pietrabianca Chardonnay, made with a small amount of Fiano grapes and aged 4-5 months in oak barrels, has a richer, more tropical fruit flavor with hints of caramel. Tasting this wine again after 10 minutes in the glass, I immediately thought of my mom’s famous cheesecake and how delicious the combination would be. This isn’t your mother’s Chardonnay!

Something worth mentioning now is that although we did not have the chance to taste the Calafuria Negroamaro Rosato (Rose) this time, I did sample it at Vinitaly this Spring, and was impressed. Though it is not exported yet in the US because of limited quantities, I believe we will be seeing it, and many more beautiful Rosato wines from southern Italy soon, so prepare your palates and set aside your preconceived notions.  Now, on to the reds. The first poured was the “base red,” called Neprica with its beautiful ruby color. Satisfying many palates in the US, this wine and its name, is a harmonious blend of Negro Amaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon, hence, NePriCa. The concentrated flavors and dry finish of this wine bring to mind a dish of lean meat stewed with tomatoes, like pepper steak. As I began asking about the winemaking philosophy at the estate, it was a pleasant surprise to be joined by the estate winemaker, Laura Minioa, who comes from a family of winemakers and agronomists. With her guidance, we moved on to the 2006 Negroamaro Salento IGT from Tormaresca’s other estate in Puglia, Masseria Maime. Laura explained that this estate’s proximity to the ocean offers a variation in terrior and results in a distinctive expression of the grapes grown there. The Negroamaro’s dense ruby color prepares you for the blueberry and deep forest aromas and earthy flavors. Next in the glass was the Primitivo Torcicoda  Salento. An even darker, purple-ruby color with aromas of prunes and straw gave way to a nice, smooth mouthful, with flavors of dark fruit jam and aged meats. This is an enjoyable wine, and my favorite of the lineup.

tormaresca6.jpgIt would have been a shame to come all this way and not be able to enjoy these wines in their native environment…at the dining table.  Luckily, there was another group visiting the winery and I was invited to enjoy lunch along with the other guests.  To start, the Chardonnay was the perfect palate cleanser in between bites of delicately fried artichokes and  bruschetta with melted cheese and black olives individually wrapped in parchment bags. The more substantial Pietrabianca Chardonnay complimented the full flavored home-made pasta with mushrooms and tomato-caper sauce. The surprise was the 2006 Bocca di Lupo Castel del Monte Aglianico DOC which was silky on the tongue with a tannic bite finish. Aromas of apple spice cake and chocolate covered cherries made my mouth water as much as the rosemary beef loin with which it was served. The wine enhanced the dish beautifully and the herb and salted flavors in turn harmonized with and softened the wine, which is what I believe is an exquisite pairing.  In contrast, the last sips of Aglianico in my glass acted as a palate cleanser between bites of the decadent chocolate lava cake. As if we needed another dessert (am I complaining?) traditional almond cookies were served with the Kaloro Moscato dessert wine. Though I am not traditionally a fan of the Moscato grape, I enjoyed the orange flower aroma and flavor of this wine, especially with the cookies. Yes, I had more than one…for the sake of research of course!

Something to be said about this winery and estate is that there is a refreshing consistency among the aspects of the business, I think due to the strong sense of history and culture of Puglia, and the generations of experience of the Antinori family.  The facilities, wine and food are all well thought-out, traditional, and simple without being plain – good representations of this little-known part of Italy.  Puglia is a region to which I will always be glad to return, and Tormaresca offers wines that will be a pleasure to enjoy again and again.

Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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sheldon07pn.gif2007 Sheldon Pinot Noir “Roma” Vineyard, Anderson Valley.
After crafting many interesting and critically acclaimed wines over the last few years, Dylan Sheldon and Tobe Sheldon, Sheldon Wines have released what maybe their best yet with this wonderful single vineyard Pinot Noir from the Roma Vineyard in the Burgundian like Anderson Valley. Sadly, it may turn out to be the only vintage, as fires in 2008 wreaked havoc to the grapes and then the vineyard was sold. I loved the Sheldon 2005, and 2006 Pinots, but this one is something very special and I suggest getting some before it is gone for good. Dylan makes some fun and unique Rhone style wines as well, and he’ll focus mostly on them as he seems to be off the Pinot Noir bandwagon for the time being, though he is making a Loire style red made from Cabernet that has beautiful balance and old world elegance. Back to the Pinot, Dylan let the terroir and vintage shine through and ended up with near perfection. The nose has pretty floral notes, roses and wildflowers before hints of tea spice and red currants come through. The palate is still young and brisk with black cherry, plum and raspberry fruits in rich layers, in the background there is mineral, lavender and violets leading to a long finish with subtle oak notes and lively clean acidity. This wine drinks like a fine Burgundy and will most surely grow and develop over the next year at least, getting even better. ($50 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

www.sheldonwines.com

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Wine Reviews, Articles & Travel