2011 Selbach, Riesling, Spatlese, Saar, Germany.
This beautifully balanced Riesling has bright fruit intensity and pretty floral tones with a slight refreshing sweetness. The nose has hints of yellow roses, citrus blossoms and tropical essences while the palate has candied pineapple, peach and green apple layers with a touch of honey, saline, mineral spice and slate. The vintage gives a lightness and lift that makes this charming wine a playful friend and a super summer wine. The tangy/sweet balance and the hint of apricot on the finish make for a pure and interesting Riesling on it’s own, but this wine will go with lots of foods from smoked ham to seafoods, as well as many Asian foods and styles.
($20 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive
2010 von Winning, Riesling “Kieselberg” Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz.
The Deinhard family’s von Winning wines are severe and extreme examples of dry Cru Riesling from their “Grosses Gewachs” sites in the Pfalz which are intensely dry and firm, but not with out some charm and intrigue. The Kieselberg is dramatic and is full of tangy crisp grapefruit, lime and orange rind which hits you like a blast of citrus while hints of green apple and stone fruit hide behind at this stage. With coaxing and a touch of air you’ll find chalky minerals and tropical fruit, but this wine is tight and wound up, so it will be interesting to see where it goes in a few years. I have the feeling the acidity will give way to a prettier and more complete wine over time, though who knows and while there is a huge market for drier wines, these wines can be a shock to the system. There is plenty of natural extract and depth in this unique Riesling and the finish does hold lots of interest, so while I’m torn on what will come, I’m sure this style has it’s place.
($85 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2009 Ridge Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains.
While it is likely that the Ridge Estate Cabernet might get called the “Baby Monte Bello” and since it comes from the vineyards I could understand completely, but this wine fully stands on it’s own rather than in the shadow of it’s big brother. Since Ridge decided to separate the Cabernet and Merlot from the Estate and create the 2 wines, instead of the cuvee, the Cabernet has gained it’s own personality and has elevated it to a whole new level of distinction. Ridge made straight Cabernets in the past, and their 1970’s wines are still drinking well and were classics, as I suspect this Estate wine will become as well. I would be hard pressed to find a better Cabernet Sauvignon under $50 in California, or the world even than this 2009 Ridge Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains, and for sure, of what I’ve tasted of 2009 Cabernets this wine is right up there with the very best of them. The 2009 Estate Cabernet shows everything you’d ever want of dream of in a fine Cabernet with richness, depth, power and elegant details, a stunning example of why the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is the king of great wines. The nose has acacia flowers, smoky pencil lead, creme de cassis and spicy vanilla leading to a full and deep palate of blackberry, tangy currants, plum and dark cherry fruits while sweet tobacco leaf, sage, cedar notes and licorice add complexity and the texture is dense, but as all great wines feels totally in balance and has a dream like lightness and touches all the pleasure zones from start to lengthy finish. Refined tannins keep every detail in check, providing a firm mountain fruit backbone, and will allow for a long life for this beauty.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
Avail at www.sfwtc.com ($40)
2011 Weingut Donnhoff, Riesling “Kreuzenacher Krotenpfuhl” Kabinett, Nahe.
Being a huge fan of Donnhoff, it was great to see the 2011 wines were up to the highest standards, per normal for this Nahe estate and that especially the drier Trocken and Kabinett Rieslings were even more impressive than the 2010 wines. The Kreuzenacher Krotenpfuhl was totally new to me and while I loved all the Donnhoff offerings I tried, of the 2011 vintage, it was this amazing Riesling that stood out and I hope you secure a few bottles when released here in California this month. Cornelius Donnhoff’s wines are magic, glorious and world class putting Donnhoff in the top echelon of German wineries and a leader in his Nahe region. The 2011 Donnhoff Kabinett Kreuzenacher Krotenpfuhl is rich without being heavy or sweet and has elegant perfume of citrus blossoms and a mouthful of tangerine, apricot, lime and green apple with liquid mineral pureness and hints of honey, pineapple and wet slate essence. While peachy and fruit driven the acidity is zesty crisp and keeps things vivid and tension filled, and this Riesling thrills through out.
($26 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2011 Weingut Leitz, Riesling “Rudesheimer Klosterlay” Kabinett, Rheingau.
The Leitz Klosterlay Kabinett 2011 is flat out a dynamite wine with lots of energy, terroir and transparency plus it is a steal for the quality that Weingut Leitz, Johannes Leitz and Eve Fricke put into the bottle. Rudesheim has many Cru sites, like Berg, Schlossberg, Rotland, and others and many soils such as red, grey and brown schist which all play dramatic roles in the wines of the region and especially Leitz where you can really taste, feel and smell each site. The Rudesheimer Klosterlay for me has a peachy note and vivid citrus with a softer slate mineral tone that sets it apart. The nose is lively white flowers, lemon/lime and a touch of flinty rocks white the palate has white peach, apple skin, pineapple and hint of verbena. I tasted this beauty very young and I look for lots of secondary complexities to show more fully over the next few years and it should drink fantastic for a decade. I love the fresh delicacy it shows and the vibrant zesty acidity which makes me think I’ll be hard pressed to save many bottles, as it is so pure and delightful now. It is no surprise at all that Leitz is so critically acclaimed, and fresh of garbing a winemaker of the year award, these wines are stunning.
($22 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
2011 Bodegas Muga, Rosado (Rose) Rioja Spain.
I had my doubts Muga could make a rose as good as last years, but I can happily report the new 2011 Muga Rose is a stunner and a great summer value, last year I had Muga almost every weekend, and I look set to be drinking a lot of this vintage too. Bodega Muga’s Rosado is a blend of 60% Garnacha, 30% Viura and 10% Tempranillo making for a bright and fresh wine that also shows some nice roundness and complexity. This vintage is slightly more subtle with a pretty pale salmon/pink tint and loads of citrus, melon and hints of wild strawberry with tangy sour cherry and nectarine notes. This fun wine will go with everything and is totally refreshing with a touch of mineral, grapefruit and blood orange rind, with out a doubt a case at least should be in your summer plans.
($14 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive
Avail. at www.sfwtc.com ($12.95)