Monthly Archives: February 2014

Wine of the Day February 8, 2014

2012LuciaSyrahSoberanes2012 Lucia, Syrah, Soberanes Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The Pisoni family’s Soberanes Vineyard, with it’s young vines, is proving a sensation, it just might be the most exciting new vineyard on the central coast, and Jeff Pisoni is taking full advantage of the quality and character found on this amazing site in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The vines here are the result of knowledge gained from the now legendary Pisoni estate and from top sites that the Pisoni and Franscioni families have planted and managed, like Garys’ Vineyard, plus the experience Jeff Pisoni has gained working with Peter Michael and other estates in the Sonoma Coast area. Soberanes has huge potential and might become as famous as the original Pisoni estate in the years to come, planted here are vines that include the famous Pisoni clone Pinot Noir, much rumored to be a La Tache/suitcase clone, an Old Wente clone Chardonnay and maybe the most exciting an Alban clone Syrah which gives the Santa Lucia Highlands some better material in what has been one of the great success’ of the region, Syrah. Yes, Pinot Noir from here is still the buzz word and yes it is still fantastic, and of course Chardonnay put the region on the map in the first place, but since 2004, and even before, Syrah has produced some of the regions best reds, I honestly think Roar and Lucia have made Syrah just as good as their Pinot, I remember tasting the 2004 vintage and even rating the Syrah higher, and this Soberanes 2012 is fantastic! Jeff Pisoni has crafted a rich, meaty and complex wine here and shown a bit of the future with this dark and layered Syrah, interesting it makes for a wonderful contrast to his wife’s same vineyard and vintage version under the Cattleya label. While Bibiana’s is more floral and higher pitched, Jeff’s is more blooding and earthy, you could say the Cattleya is like Cote-Rotie and the Lucia is more Hermitage or Cornas in style, but really both are Santa Lucia stars, these are great wines from great talents. The 2012 Lucia Soberanes Syrah starts with wild game, new leather, blackberry, briar patch and wild flowers that fill the nose before the explosion of intensity on the palate with boysenberry, blueberry, black currant and spiced plum fruits along with raw meat, black olives, melted licorice, lavender oil and white pepper. There is a bit of raw tannin and vibrant acidity, this wine is still really young, but with air the wine opens to reveal a polished nature and glorious texture with hints of cassis, cedar and cigar spice with just a faint charcoal note. the finish is vivid and lingering, it re-enforces the black and blue fruits and gives a touch of magic that will certainly make you want to have more, don’t miss this excellent wine, drink from 2014-2022.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day February 7, 2014

2010LindesRemellurilabastida2010 Remelluri, Lindes de Remelluri, Rioja, Vinedos de Labastida, Spain.
Telmo Rodriguez, one of Spain’s great winemakers, has turned around his family estate Remelluri in Rioja and he is making some of his finest wines of his prolific career, especially these secondary Remelluri offering from old vine purchased fruit, under the Lindes de Remelluri label. These two vineyard select wines, coming from vineyards that used to go into the Remelluri reserva are now separated into two new single vineyard bottling, and while both are excellent, it is the Labastida that really stands out for me, it comes from a mainly Tempranillo site in Rioja Alavesa where there is higher elevation and unique chalky soils, a very different terroir and character than La Rioja Alta, and it shows in it’s flavors. Telmo, having made wine at Jean-Louis Chave in Hermitage and in Bordeaux, has accomplished himself as a champion of place over varietal and employes artisan craftsmanship in the cellar, his wines hardly ever show oak or alcohol, they always show purity and a sense of place, these are magnificent expressions of Rioja, they are completely distinct and soulful wines that are seriously seductive and charming with style and substance in spades. The 2010 vintage Lindes de Remelluri is 90% Tempranillo and the rest a mix of Garnacha and Graciano, it is a field blend from extremely old vines that provide tiny yields of amazing complex and deep fruit, this 2010 Labastida is impressive, intense and tannic with a garnet/black hue along with a heady perfume and richly textured palate, this is dramatic stuff and will be long aging wine. The nose shows violets, dried flowers and sweet herbs with hints of cedar and blackberry leading to a firm and powerful palate of black cherry, damson plum, blueberry and mixed red and black berry fruits with loam and mineral that remind me of left bank Bordeaux, spice and hints of wild strawberry. There is a tangy currant running throughout and lingering liqueur cassis feel in the same vein, and some lavender, licorice and earthiness rounding out the complexity in this dense and layered Rioja. This is captivating and fantastic wine, this is not to be missed and certainly is another feather in Telmo’s cap, drink this gorgeous beauty over the next two decades, no question a great cellar candidate, this is an affordable collectors item, best from 2018 to 2035.
($30-35 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive


avail at ($29.95)

Wine of the Day February 6, 2014

2012CattleyaSyrah2012 Cattleya, Syrah, Soberanes Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
Bibiana Gonzales Rave is a Colombian woman winemaker, you don’t hear that too often, and she is also extremely accomplished and talented in her craft, she has made wine in Cote-Rotie and now plies her trade her in California, making her wines under her own Cattleya label. Bibiana crafts small lot Chardonnay from the Russian River, a Pinot Noir from Carneros, and this glorious Syrah from Pisoni’s Soberanes Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. I should also mention she is the wife of Jeff Pisoni, and that is how she found out about the Soberanes site, and fell in love with it’s terroir and especially it’s Syrah. Her first vintage got a huge buzz in the wine world, and I couldn’t ever seem to get my hands on a bottle, so I was very excited to finally get a chance to taste her wine, and I can tell you it was not a disappointment, her 2012 Soberanes Syrah is fantastic, she certainly gives her husband a run for his money on quality and style, and that is saying a lot, Jeff Pisoni himself is one of California’s best young winemakers. Soberanes is the Pisoni family’s newest site and is located closer to Garys’ Vineyard, but at a slightly higher point in the Santa Lucia Highlands, it offers great exposure and distressed soils, it also has their top clonal selections in the vines, including Wente Chardonnay, Pisoni Clone Pinot Noir and Alban Clone Syrah, this might make Soberanes legendary in a few years when these vines get a bit more age on them, but regardless the potential is there and the quality is already stunning. The 2012 Cattleya Syrah, hand crafted with a long maceration time, and a precision controlled fermentation, cool for the extended soak and warmed when necessary to bring out subtle complexities really shows in this beautiful and aromatic wine, the wine is full of rich density, but delicate, this is a masterful example of the varietal and highlights Bibiana’s talents. The nose starts with violets, loamy earth, hints of wild game, briar and creme de cassis lead, then there is a dark palate of blueberry, boysenberry, loganberry and plum fruits with pepper, black olives, grilled herbs, meat and mineral notes. The layers are supported by pretty smoke and vanilla from the good use of French oak, the smooth and supple tannins melt into the wine and the fruit is lifted by acidity and the wine shows a vitality and vivid nature with a nice lengthy finish that lingers with kirsch, bitter chocolate, black licorice and dusty fruit essence. This wine should gain and develop in bottle, even though it is top notch now, also it will be hard to find as it was a tiny production, hence the price, but it is worth the search and the cost, drink from 2016 to 2022.
($70 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day February 5, 2014

2013Lucy2013 Lucy, Rose of Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands (Pisoni Family)
The Lucy Rose was made to give money to breast cancer research, at least one dollar for every bottle sold, that alone makes you want to get a few bottles, but the Pisoni Family Rose is, regardless of great cause, a super delicious pink wine crafted from estate grown Pinot Noir. This is one of my favorite domestic Rose wines, and this new 2013 vintage, which is soon to be released is one of the best yet, it is bright, fresh and has lots of style and energy. The 2013 Lucy shows a hint of sour cherry, sweet herbs, spice and mineral along with a touch of floral before a blast of citrus, red peach and watermelon. With a bit of air some lovely strawberry comes through and the wine settles down and tastes a bit more like a chilled Pinot Noir along with a subtle richness. This pink is a wine to drink and enjoy young, with it’s vivid flavors, vibrant color and easy to love style the Lucy is a winner all round. Drink over the next 12 months, look for it to be hitting the shelves between Feb 15 and March 2014, and don’t miss it.
($18 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive


Coming Soon: The Santa Lucia Highlands Report

New vintages of Pisoni/Lucia, Cattleya, Tudor, Wrath, Miura, Roar, Pelerin, Morgan and more!

Jeff Pisoni, Kerry Winslow & Gary Pisoni

Jeff Pisoni, Kerry Winslow & Gary Pisoni

Wine of the Day February 4, 2014

2010FelsinaRancia2010 Fattoria di Felsina Berardenga, Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva, Castelnuovo Berardenga DOCG, Tuscany Italy.
Felsina’s historic Rancia is an ancient plot that was once a Benedictine monastery site in the limestone/alberese and galestro marl soils of Chianti Classico’s southern most area near Colli Sensi very close to Siena in the Castelnuovo Berardenga region, which has chalky slopes reaching up to 420 metros and perfect south-east exposure. From this beautiful piece of land the Felsina estate produces some of the great wines of Tuscan, certainly some of the greatest Chianti, like this wonderful Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva, the original owner Dominic Poggiali Felsina the name sake of Felsina would be proud of the evolution of this winery, but most of the credit for making Felsina a world class wine must go to Giuseppe Mazzocolin, he is the man that has brought so much acclaim and energy to this fantastic property, and now his son Giovanni Poggiali is moving the estate to even greater heights. I have enjoyed Felsina since the mid nineties and have had to meet Caterina Mazzocolin, the daughter of Giuseppe and a winemaker in her own right at Felsina, and I was impressed with the complete passion and dedication she and her family has to wine and place, these wines reflect that soul and commitment. Felsina never fails to honor it’s terroir and never disappoints, especially Rancia. The 2010 Felsina Rancia is lush, earthy and textured with pure Sangiovese character and subtle charms, Rancia has a feeling about it that reminds you of maybe Margaux or a fine Bordeaux, but remains true to place and varietal, though very unique in it’s qualities and it has rich layers of flavor and terrific length. The 2010 stands out as an elegant example, it shows a nose of dried currants, wild herbs, tobacco leaf and moss covered stones, truffle and kirsch leading to a round and generous palate of dark cherries, plum, a mix of berries and balsamic dipped strawberries along with mineral notes, smoke, cedar, baking spices and licorice. The wood use is exceptional and deft, it really is framing the fruit, acidity and never becomes obvious. This is a graceful and lovely wine, a Tuscan treasure no question, both this glorious Rancia and Felsina’s Fontalloro are stunning in this vintage, I highly recommend chasing these wines down, they will go fast I’m sure. Drink the Rancia over the next decade, even though it is already fantastic it should gain with some time in bottle, best from 2015 to 2022.
($48-54 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day February 3, 2014

2012KrugerRumpfKapellenbergT2012 Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Riesling, Munsterer Kapellenberg, Trocken, Nahe Germany.
The dry Kapellenberg Riesling from Rumpf was a fresh experience, I had not had an opportunity to taste and spend time with this wine before in a finished sense and oh my, this is delightful and serious stuff, I had to check the Terry Theise Germany guide to get my head around where this vineyard site was and why it seemed so unique from other Kruger-Rumpf offering and why it was different from most Nahe wines. Of course, sure enough there was something to be learned, thank you Mr Theise, the Kapellenberg is a tiny parcel set in a valley near where the Nahe meets the Rhein, close to the Rheinhessen with different soils, here there is more quartzite with clay loess, this I believes gives the wine a more generous nature, maybe less heightened energy, but this wine certainly feels more round and is easy to enjoy, even in it’s youth, the dry nature doesn’t shock the palate in anyway, everything is lush and graceful. The 2012 Kruger-Rumpf Kapellenberg Trocken is a fine and entertaining Riesling with class and style, it starts with lime, melon and yellow peach along with a core of ripe apple, kiwi and tangy tangerine while mineral notes and tropical essences fill in the background, this wine doesn’t feel super dry or brisk, it has lovely texture and length about it, not that you get a sweet sensation, it is just that it is less aggressive, this is a subtle and balanced dry wine made with a gentle artisan touch. The 2012 vintage is a major success story in Germany and with out question the Kruger-Rumpf wines reflect that, and this Munsterer-Kapellenberg Trocken is a super value and a terrific little wine, drink from 2014 to 2023.
($22 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day February 2, 2014

2011ForadoriMorei2011 Foradori, Morei, Teroldego Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT, Trentino, Italy.
Elisabetta Foradori’s wines are hand-crafted, biodynamic and natural with some of the cuvees raised and aged in amphora, like this magnificent Teroldego Morei that is aged on it’s skins for 8 months in the clay “Tinaja” from Spain. The Morei comes from stony alluvial soils high in the Dolomites, the Italian Alps, in the greater Alto Adige or Sudtirol close to Trentino, this terroir is transmitted in Elisabetta’s wines and the Teroldego grape, the only red varietal she uses. Teroledgeo is a direct relative of the French grape Dureza which is one of the parent grapes of Syrah, but Teroldego is unique and it’s soul belongs to it’s region in the Dolomites, it tastes and symbolizes the place. Foradori’s Teroldego wines are legendary and the 2011 versions are no exception, with this 2011 Morei showing deep fruit, mineral and a gorgeous purple/black hue. These Amphora wines always have a savory essence to them and that long skin contact gives them extraction and complexity, this vintage shows good intensity and ripeness with loads of blueberry, boysenberry and black cherry fruits with spiced damson plum, balsamic notes, sea salted lavender, crushed stones, black licorice and a hint of game along with a tangy core of black currant. There is refined fine tannin, good acidity and the Morei shows terrific poise, balance and flows gracefully on the palate, there is a seductive and alluring floral essence that starts on the nose and folds into the wine and lingers on the finish. This is a stunning wine, all of Elisabetta’s wines are remarkable, but this one really turned my head, I highly recommend finding Foradori’s offerings, her 2009, 2010 and this 2011 are all sublime, along with her whites as well. The 2011 Morei Teroldego should be a good long lived wine as well, enjoy over the coming decade, this is lovely and intriguing wine.
($48 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day February 1, 2014

2012LeitzRosieSpat2012 Weingut Leitz, Riesling, R├╝desheimer Berg Roseneck, Sp├Ątlese, Rheingau Germany.
Johannes Leitz makes some of the finest wines in Germany and his Rheingau Rieslings are world renown, so I would be telling you anything new here when I gush about his latest set of wines from Rudesheim, especially this fantastic 2012 “Rosie” Spatlese. Rudesheim’s Rudesheimer Berg vineyard is one the best walking tours in the wine world, I was there in 2009 and hiked almost every inch of this amazing site above the Rhein River, this is a magical place to visit and seeing eagles, red foxes and castle ruins are just an added bonus to experiencing these vines. The Roseneck sits in a lovely exposure on grey slate soils with quartz veins and some loam facing southwest, the light here is spectacular with the river and beautiful skies, the grapes have a very special spot to live and it certainly shows in the wines. The 2012 Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck Spatlese is richly flavored and perfectly defined with subtle sweetness and impressive elegance, structure and intensity, plus this beauty will only continue to improve with age making for a wonderful rewarding investment in drinking treasure. The nose is bright and sings with rose petal, lime flower, white tea, sea shore, wild herbs and citrus leading to a medium full palate that flows with green apple, yellow peach, tropical tones, almost cherry sensations, white plum and lime along with spicy flint, wet stones, saline plus iodine, mango and mineral steeliness. The texture is glorious and turns creamy, but never loses it’s drive and vibrancy, this is classic stuff and I can only hope to have this wine in the future after it evolves or the decade to come, it just may bring even more rewards than I can imagine, this is a Spatlese to search out and cellar mid term, drink from 2016 to 2025, without a doubt this is terrific Riesling of pure terroir and classic substance.
($48 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive


Coming Soon: Grapelive 2013 Riesling Preview Report

For more on Leitz and 2012 German Riesling check out the Grapelive 2012 Riesling Report READ ON

Johannes Leitz and Kerry Winslow Jan 2014

Johannes Leitz and Kerry Winslow Jan 2014