Wine of the Day October 13, 2014

2013ManincorContessa2013 Manincor, Reserve della Contessa, Terlano Bianco, Alto Adige, Italy.
Near Trentino and Kaltern, the 400 year old estate of Michael Conte Goess-Enzenberg is one of the most exciting and quality wineries in Alto Adige, Count Michael’s Manincor is all demeter certified biodynamic and his wines are absolutely pure and elegant. It was a unique pleasure to meet the Conte, he is very soft spoken and humble, but with a burning intensity and passion for his vines and the beautiful nature of the Dolomites, he shows a respect for tradition, but is intrigued by the future and he has admiration for his region’s other winemakers including Elisabetta Foradori and her amphora wines and the care she puts into her estate. Michael has more than a dozen different varietals to farm and raise, from Merlot, Pinot Nero(Pinot Noir) and Lagrein to Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay along with the classic Terlaner (Sauvignon Blanc) that really stands out here. I enjoyed to tasting through all the current releases with Michael and hear about each wine from the Conte, every wine was precise and wonderfully crafted, the stand outs this time were the Lagrein, the Sauvignon Blanc and the delightful Pinot Nero, but I surprise favorite was his glorious white blend the Reserve della Contessa Terlano Bianco, a near perfect match up of Pinot Bianco 60%, Chardonnay 30% and Sauvignon Blanc 10% making for a savvy and stylish cuvee. The Reserve della Contessa comes from classic Terlan soils, ancient pulverized rock, clay and sand, these are areas that drain well and have west and east facing exposures at about 500 meters above sea level in the Italian Alpes, this leads to vigorous and steely wines bursting with flavor and acidity, and this vivid expression of terroir comes through in dramatic fashion in the Reserve della Contessa white. I’ve had three vintages now of this wine and each year I like it more and more, it shows impressive depth and grace with a greenish golden hue leading to a dense and vibrant palate of lemon/lime, peach, honeyed pear, green apple and gooseberry fruits with lots of saltiness, flinty spice, wet stones and minerality along with hints of white flowers, sweet herbs and it open to a round mouth filling textural feel without being heavy, this is sublime mountain wine. There is an almost German, or Riesling like force running through this wine that really lifts the flavors and gives fantastic extract, energy and structure, but the Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay make it smooth, lush and graceful, drink this beauty anytime over the next 5 to 10 years, this is an exceptional value from a top regional producer, don’t miss any of the Manincor wines, especially this one.
($28 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day October 12, 2014

2013ClosduTueBoeuf2013 Clos du Tue-Boeuf, Cheverny “Rouillon” Loire Valley Red, France.
Thierry Puzelat and his brother Jean-Marie run a small winery in the Le Montils area in Touraine, and are the Natural Wine gurus of the Loire Valley, crafting a beautiful selection of wines, including this gorgeous Pinot Noir & Gamay blend from the historic Clos du Tue-Boeuf, a 10-Hectare family estate Lieu-Dit, which has been noted as a great or excellent source of fine wines since the middle ages. The Loire Valley of France is maybe the spiritual home to the Natural Wine movement, certainly in France, and it was the birth place to the modern guide to biodynamics with Nicolas Joly pioneering the way, this influence has spread around the world with remarkable success. While the Natural Wine, no sulphur, no chemicals, native yeast fermentation(s) and no new wood, still seems a mere curiosity, it is also gaining traction, though it is meeting some hard push-back in certain quarters, but if you try the wines of Thierry Puzelat you can see just how good and expressive these wines can be, they are not all brown/funk that some critics have suggested, in fact these are stunningly pure and stylish wines that merit attention and are joyous in the glass. The Puzelat 2013 Clos du Tue-Boeuf Cheverny Rouillon Gamay/Pinot Noir is delightful and wonderful, it shows fresh and vibrant flavors, interesting mineral, subtle complexity and terroir character with tangy acidity and stony mouth feel. The nose is bright with hints of floral elements, wild herbs, crushed raspberry, currants and old wood leading to a zesty palate of black cherry, plum, strawberry and cranberry as well as apple skin, anise, red peach, peppery spice, nutmeg, truffle and concord grape. This is zippy youthful wine with a light to medium body, but should fill out over the next few years in bottle, but it should be enjoyed sooner v later, it’s charm is it’s energy and freshness, drink from 2015 to 2018, this is very pretty and pleasing wine, lovingly make and shows Natural Wine in it’s best light, a superb effort.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day October 11, 2014

2013GeyerhofGV2013 Weingut Geyerhof, Gruner Veltliner, Hoher Rain, Kremstal, Austria.
This electric and dynamic Gruner is a beauty, with lively acidity and crunchy minerals this wine sizzles with vivid fruit and vibrant intensity, made by the family Maier and done all biodynamic. The Hoher Rain Cru is a lovely wine, made from nature, it shows precise terroir and finesse, it was fermented using native yeast and it comes from sandy loam, mixed soils and deep loess, it is a very cool site and the extraordinary minerality and stony essences shine through, this is pure as pure gets. the fruit is subtle with hints of lemon/lime, green melon, white peach and grapefruit core along with a salty taste and hints of bitter almond and Chablis like steely elements, plus wet chalk and gravel notes. This standout Gruner would be an excellent choice with oysters and appetizers as well as being appealing as an afternoon picnic wine and an Indian summer sipper. These 2013 Austrian whites from the Danube region, not far from Vienna, either Wachau or Kremstal are showing fantastic, this is a great vintage and the Gruners are especially stunning and this Geyerhof is absolutely delicious and a stellar example of place and varietal, if you find this wine you’ll be rewarded with much joy and pleasure. Drink from 2014 to 2018.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day October 10, 2014

2011KnollRiesling2011 Weingut Knoll, Riesling, Ried Pfaffenberg Steiner, Wachau, Austria.
I was so thrilled to taste and enjoy this wine, I’ve always admired Knoll, and I haven’t had one of their wines in a long time, so I had a lot of expectations built up, and this 2011 did not disappoint, it is an absolutely gorgeous Riesling. Share over dinner, it really unfolded and showed wonderfully changing layers of complexity, this vibrant and dry white has fantastic energy and extract, and it should age great for another ten years. The 2011 Knoll Ried Pfaffenberg Steiner is a terroir driven example of top quality Austrian Riesling with poise, beautiful detail and graceful balance, there is depth, vigor and loads of intensity to enjoy and savor, there is bright citrus, spice, mineral and subtle tropical notes. The color is greenish and very pale, the nose is a mix of stones, a whiff of petrol, yellow roses and brine leading to a vivid palate of lime, white peach, apricot and melon along with hints of truffle, salt, grapefruit and wet rock. The body is medium weighted and taught, there is tangy/firm acidity and lots of sizzle, this wine still manages to feel smooth and generous in the mouth and there is a hidden depth and richness to be found when given time to open. This is very lovely, dazzling and stylish Riesling, drink from 2014 to 2026, this is all you can ask for in a dry Riesling and more!
($45 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day October 9, 2014

2012PatailleMarsannay2012 Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Marsannay AC Rouge, red Burgundy, France.
This fantastic Marsannay is a completely new discovery for me, Sylvain Pataille looks set to be a star in Marsannay and his wines are super delicious. I tasted through three reds and one white, everything he does comes from Marsannay and are all organic, and I believe biodynamic, all of the wines were highly impressive, but especially his base Marsannay AC (Pinot Noir), which I thought was stunning. Pataille makes his wines with almost no sulphur and follows in the style of Philippe Pacalet, making natural wines in Burgundy. These red Marsannay wines lovely ruby/garnet hued, very pretty in the glass and are full of flavor, energy and are very pure, time will tell how they age, but I must say, it would be hard not to drink these superb Pinots young and fresh, they are delightful and richly layered showing great already with good fruit density, acidity, minerality and subtle earthy spices. The 2012 Sylvain Pataille Marsannay Rouge starts with blackberry, cherry, strawberry and plum fruits, it really reminds me at this stage of a Jean Foillard Morgon, and that is a not a bad thing at all, then there is wet stones, truffle and cedar spice with cinnamon, nutmeg, dusty lavender and walnut oil in the background. Things unwind with air and tangy currant, blueberry and rose petals show through along with a lift of tea spice and hint of savory elements and saline. This is a fine offering and stylish wine, I’m grateful for Veritas Imports for sampling me on this exciting new producer, be sure to keep an eye out for Sylvain Pataille, and his gorgeous lineup of Marsannay Burgundy.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day October 8, 2014

2012ComptcheRidgePN2012 Comptche Ridge Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Mendocino County.
This is another very cool and exciting side project from Anthony Filiberti, he is one of California’s most gifted and influential young winemakers, working at Anthill Farms and at Knez, he has certainly made a name for himself, especially with a new generation of wine lovers, he is one of a group of stellar artisan winemakers that have shown we are in good hands for the future of California wine along with the likes of Ross Cobb (Cobb & Hirsch), Duncan Meyers (Arnot-Roberts) and many more to be sure. Anthony’s wines are terroir driven, cool climate wines that highlight acidity, delicacy and vintage and this new Comptche Ridge from the wilds of Mendocino is bright, fresh and vivacious with pretty fruit and lots of personality, this limited offering is very close in style the the Anthill Farms as you’d expect, but with the benefit of being a little easier to get your hands on as it hasn’t been discovered yet! The 2012 Comptche Ridge Vineyards shows a generous and loaded palate with a sweet and savory bouquet with soft floral notes, spice and mineral elements, there is black cherry, tangy currant, plum and strawberry fruits going along with light oak, cedar, briar, wild herbs, fennel/anise and saline. Filiberti’s wines, this one included, always are pleasing with subtle tannins, vivid layers, lifting acidity and a less extracted color, this wine has a light ruby hue, but with lovely deep flavors. Hints of earthy character, tea and red peach add to the young freshness in this poised Pinot Noir, Burgundy like is very cliche, but it does help you understand while being a true California coastal wine, there is a grace, class and vibrancy that reminds you of the inspiration of Pinot Noir’s spiritual home. Filiberti, who once was mentored and cut his teeth at Bergstrom in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as well as spending time at the famed Williams Selyem, is making some wonderful wines and if you’ve not been lucky enough to try the sensational Anthill Farms or his Knez wines, you might want to do so, and especially this beautiful new Pinot Noir from Comptche Ridge!
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

 

avail at www.sfwtc.com ($44.95)

Wine of the Day October 7, 2014

2012RidgeLytton2012 Ridge, Lytton Springs, Proprietary Red, Dry Creek Valley.
Ridge’s iconic Zin blend the Lytton Springs is mostly old vine Zinfandel (about 70%) along with Petite Sirah (about 20%), Carignane and a touch of Mourvedre aka Mataro making up the rest, and all from their Lytton Springs estate in Dry Creek, coming in at 14.4%, with this 2012 release. This latest edition of Lytton is a classic, and while I always love the Lytton, it maybe the best in many years with great character, richness of flavors and stylish structure and lift, without a doubt this is going to be a winner with everyone, and interestingly enough, I think this new Lytton with bridge the gap between Cabernet fans and Pinot Noir fans too, this wine has it all going on, with depth, finesse and charm, a California wine that can easily stand on the world stage and deliver fruit, layers and balance. The 2012 Lytton starts with floral notes, red fruits, bramble and smokiness leading to a vibrant palate of black raspberry, boysenberry, plum and currant fruits along with briar/spice, cigar wrapper, minty herbs, cedar and anise, finishing with a hint of vanilla, bitter coco and kirsch. This wine is pretty intense with ripe tannins, sweet fruit, but has poise and graceful flow, this is a wonderfully pleasing Lytton Springs that can be enjoyed now and over the next decade and a half with ease. Kudos to the Ridge team, this wine is nearly perfectly crafted, the deep color, a vivid garnet shines in the glass and each sip is a glorious experience to savor, drink from 2015 to 2025, very very impressive and joyous.
($38 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day October 6, 2014

2010BroviaBarolo2010 Brovia, Barolo DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy.
The 2010 vintage is looking epic, these are Barolo wines that might only come around two or three times a generation and there are some amazing wines just hitting the market that you should really jump on, and this regular Barolo from Brovia is for sure a top choice for quality and value. Brovias Cru Baroli are going to be legendary and spectacular, but this “normale” Barolo is fantastic, and it is a blended cuvee of their top Cru sites. Brovia from Castiglione Falletto is one of the great traditional new generation producers, a winery that uses old school techniques, but with intense attention to farming and every detail, I have become a huge fan of these wines over the last five years since being introduced to them. They are considered the Burgundy of Barolo, and in the 2007, 2008 and now in 2010 vintages, you can see why, these are beautifully crafted wines that gives pure Nebbiolo character, but are done in an elegant, poised and restrained fashion. The 2010 Barolo by Brovia is seductive from start to finish, leading with sweet and savory herbs, multi floral bouquet with incense, rose petal and mineral tones. The palate is vigorous with damson plum, cherry, balsamic dipped strawberry, red currant and black licorice flowing along with gravelly stones, saline, bitter herbs, tea spice, tar and truffle adding nice cut and counterpoints to the fruit, there is some fine grained tannins, as you’d expect from a young Barolo, but it doesn’t get in the way of massive appealing pleasure found in this classy Nebbiolo. There are added complex components to be found to, with cedar, mint, game and kirsch finding there way into the pretty layers that unfold in the mouth, this wine has good density and stunning length, it most certainly will age gloriously and drink well into the next decade and more, while it will be hard to wait too long on this Barolo, it should be advised to hold on for another couple of years before exploring it’s many exceptional facets, drink from 2016 to 2026. Be sure to look for these Brovia 2010 Barolos, and for great everyday stuff check out their fabulous Barbera too!
($56 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

Wine of the Day October 5, 2014

2012VTBlanc2012 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc, La Crau, Rhone White, France.
The Brunier team at Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe have done a masterful job with the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape white wine, and while it still remains a rare curiosity against their more dominant red wine, I actually like it better in this vintage and find it amazingly pleasing and rather elegant. This wine has not been as consistent as the main red wine over the years and it has not got the cult like following that Chateau de Beaucastel has built up around it’s white wines, but in some vintages Vieux Telegraphe puts out a great white, and while not ultra great, this 2012 is a very stylish example and is drinking wonderful at the moment. That said, it should be a great deal better in 2 to 3 years. I have found a little bottle variation so far, I was able to taste it 5 times from 5 bottles and 3 out of 5 were brilliant, 2 out of 5 were a touch shy, not as good, so I think a year in bottle will bring things right. The 2012 VT white shows loads of citrus and stone fruit, gets creamy towards the mid palate and finishes with enough spice and bitter elements to keep vibrant and focused, it is no where near as lavish as Beaucastel, but you will be rewarded with an elegance and finesse instead and it should go remarkably well with food. There is a lovely golden hue, a bright nose with floral notes and spice, hints of saline, peach pit, apricot, tangerine, pear and a lemony feel, it gathers density with air and the are notes of butter rum, fig and sublet Roussanne oily intensity. This years cuvee is made up of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and a touch of Bourboulenc, and it comes from La Crau one of Chateauneuf’s great lieu-dit(s) that has the classic galet stones and farmed in old school bush vine fashion. The latest white from Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe is a sleek, stone and vivid offering that will certainly get better in the coming months in bottle and should have an early window of enjoyment, drink from 2015 to 2020.
($80 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive

 

avail at www.sfwtc.com ($74.95)

Wine of the Day October 4, 2014

2012BeauxFreresZena2012 Beaux Freres, Pinot Noir, Zena Crown Vineyard, Eola/Amity AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
I had heard the rumor that Beaux Freres was so happy with certain 2012 purchased fruit that they’d do single vineyard wines from their partner’s grapes, and this Zena Crown is one of them, maybe the only to be offered, and it is magnificent, a ultra pure Pinot Noir that goes beyond beautiful! I have been working on 2010 Barolo notes and other fantastic Nebbiolo, and it would take something really special to get me away from them, and this Beaux Freres Zena Crown did that, this wine is extremely world class, graceful and wonderfully deep, in fact it is more evolved and focused that the Beaux Freres Vineyard estate wine at this point, it’s much more integrated, showing more elegance and the wood has melded in and is much more subtle, this sublime Pinot really makes an impression, it is terroir in the glass, but it also transcends it, this wine’s inner core of Pinot fruit is amazing, it could be a Grand Cru Burgundy, it could be a great Spatburgunder from the Ahr in Germany, it is not trying to be either, but it has so much character it is hard to imagine limited it in your mind. The 2012 Beaux Freres Zena Crown starts with blackberry, bramble, rose petal, violet notes, a deep garnet hue and light spice, mineral and smoke leading to a detailed and layered palate of black cherry, plum, kirsch, red currant and dusty/flinty notes with faint vanilla, cedar, briar, anise and incense/tea. The textural feel is heavenly and the tannins are ripe and silky, the acidity is juicy and more creamy adding the vibrancy and lift, but feeling smooth and juicy, this wine is flowing and seamless, impressive in everyday, Mike Etzel and his team have crafted a gorgeous Pinot Noir from near perfect Zena Crown grapes, which has a mix of modern Dijon and Pommard clones on Volcanic and Nekia soils, and allowed them to shine through and come to live in a glorious way, this is special stuff, there might be more available from other top sites as well, Grand Moraine, Hyland and Savoya are listed as other vineyard designates on their website, and if this Zena Crown is anything to go by, you’ll want to get them as well, I hope I get my own hands on them! 2012 is a vintage to buy in Oregon, it looks like the best since 1994, and better than 1998 or 2008, if you are a Pinot lover, don’t miss these wines!
($75 Est.) 95+ Points, grapelive