Monthly Archives: July 2019

Grapelive: Wine of the Day July 11, 2019

nv Cruse Wine Company, Tradition, Sparkling Wine, California -photo grapelive

nv Cruse Wine Company, Tradition, Sparkling Wine, California.
This bright and steely Cruse Tradition bubbly starts with a very Champagne like tension and a hint of reduction before opening up and gaining a lovely textural mouth feel and a refined mousse. Michael Cruse’s signature wine, his Ultramarine Brut is one of the most collectable and sought after sparkling wines in the new world and one that I fortunately got to try recently through a generous wine enthusiast, so I was excited to try his lesser known version, which is sort of an alternative edition from vineyard sites that Cruse found exceptional, but somehow didn’t fit the Ultramarine program. This Cruse Tradition is a zero dosage bubbly was crafted in the traditional method, this is not one of his Pet-Nats, using grapes, typical of Brut Champagne consisting of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir sourced from vines mostly from the Sierra Foothills, at 56%, but also with 29% Santa Barbara fruit along with about 14% from Mendocino County. The wonderfully textured and balanced Champenoise Method Cruse Tradition is lovely and decedent bubbly with loads of brioche/doughy richness and depth, while still being vivid, minerally and crisply focused, its non dosage, making it almost Extra Brut style, makes it feel sophisticated and elegant in the glass.

Michael Cruse has a serious following for his sparkling wines, but also does an exciting set of still wines as well, he originally started his winemaking career in the cellars of Sutter Home winery before to eventually moving on to Merryvale, in Carneros, where he quickly worked his way up to becoming the assistant winemaker there, before striking out on his own to create his unique personal label. As reviewed most recently, his fun series of Pet-Nats, including a Sparkling Valdiguie and a Sparkling St. Laurent have a feverish and fanatic following and offer reasonable thrills for the money, while his Ultramarine is uber exclusive and pricey, with this cuvee Tradition sitting perfectly in between. There is a lot to enjoy and admire in the Cruse Tradition Sparkling with its fresh, even sharp detailing and layers of apple, lemon and quince fruit along with brioche, creme brûlée, almond/hazelnut and toast making it a thrilling Garagista methode champenoise that has a real Grower Fizz style feel in the mode of likes of Cedric Bouchard or an American version of cult Champagne icon Selosse.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day July 10, 2019

2017 Cantine I Favati, Fiano di Avellino DOCG, Pietramara, Campania, Italy -photo grapelive

2017 Cantine I Favati, Fiano di Avellino DOCG, Pietramara, Campania, Italy.
The 2017 I Favati Fiano di Avellino starts with a masculine intensity with rustic elements that remind me of a combination of Roussanne and Gruner Veltliner with faint notes of lees/smoke, bacon and leather along with a essence nutty and bitter almond before opening to reveal a more graceful side including acacia and lime blossom, crushed stone along with peach, green melon, lemon/lime and earthy pear fruits. While not as well known as Mastroberardino and Feudi di San Gregorio, Cantine I Favati has gained a reputation for quality and is admired for the clarity and purity of their wines, especially their highly regarded Fiano wines, like this one. The I Favati winery is run by the Favati family, led by Giancarlo Favati, who is the Managing Director and his brother Piersabino Favati, who oversees the vines as Vineyard Manager, Rosanna Petrozziello, wife of Giancarlo, is the face of the winery, a professional sommelier and who is marketing director for the I Favati brand, while the highly respected Carmine Valentino is the winemaker at I Favati, making for a tight ship. I Favati’s winemaking facility, which located in the town of Cesinali, is according to their US importer Vinity Wines, the crown jewel of the winery. It was built in 1998 and the first wine produced was their Fiano di Avellino in the 2000 vintage. The cellar is equipped with the most advanced winemaking technology, and as the winery puts it, it complements the careful and hard work in the vineyards providing I Favati with a great base to craft their wines that includes a lineup of Fiano di Avellino D.O.C.G., Greco di Tufo D.O.C.G, and a Aglianico d’Irpinia I.G.T. which recently gained DOC status with one year of aging in small oak barrels, as well as a fourth wine that qualifies as a Taurasi D.O.C.G. that was bottled for the first time in 2003 and released in 2007.

This remarkable yellow/golden hued Fiano di Avellino evolves in the glass with richer mouth feel and gains dramatically with air adding layers with every sip, including some kumquat, dried pineapple, citrus rind and salty wet rocks. I Favati sourced this from their estate owned and farmed Pietramara Vineyard, set on clay and mineral rich soils, which is still very young with a vine age of just under 10 years. The Fiano is macerated, fermented and lees aged in 100% temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, which is reflected in the transparent flavors and brisk detailing in this 2017 Pietramara, it is a wine that really revels in food pairings, in particular it goes fantastic with squid dishes, as well as most fish and seafood like coastal Italian and California cuisines. Almost since its beginning, Favati’s Fiano has had stunning reviews, scoring many Tre Bicchieri awards going back to 2003 and it only gets better and more intriguing with each new vintage, and while this starts a bit rustic and chewy, it really comes around and performs with aplomb. I Favati is one of my go to wineries in Campania along with De Conciliis and the legendary Marisa Cuomo, who is located in Furore on the famed Amalfi Coast. Some of the most underrated white grapes in Italy are the sexy threesome of Greco di Tufo, Falanghina and Fiano, who’s best expression seems to be as a solo effort from Avellino, like here in I Favati’s Pietramara, and they all can aged well too, with this 2017 edition looking like it can age easily for another 5 to 7 years, though very good now.
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day July 9, 2019

2017 Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Rosé of Pinot Noir/Spatburgunder Trocken, Nahe Germany -photo grapelive

2017 Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Rosé of Pinot Noir/Spatburgunder Trocken, Nahe Germany.
One of my favorite Rosés this year, the Kruger-Rumpf’s wild strawberry flavored dry Rosé of Pinot Noir from the Nahe region of Germany shows brightness, mineral, snappy spice and a textured mouth feel to go with the expressive fruit. Georg Rumpf’s wines are very serious, but he also can do fun and playful like this Rosé, his Sauvignon Blanc, a lesser known Dornfelder based red wine and his Sparkling Brut, and I highly recommend the offering from this small winery based near Bingen at the Northern most point of the Nahe, where the river feeds in the mighty Rhein River across from the famous Rudesheimer Berg Vineyards and Rudesheim itself, almost at the point where the Rheinhessen, the Rheingau and the Nahe regions touch. Georg Rumpf is making some fine and elegant wines, in particular his Rieslings of course, which are are stunning from the upcoming 2018 vintage, both the off dry (fruity) Kabinett and Spatlese as well as his sublime Trockens, including his set of awesome GG’s.

The Kruger-Rumpf’s Rosé of Pinot from the 2017 vintage doesn’t lack for pop or fresh detail, though I can imagine the 2018 being more vivid and vibrant, but if you see this one it is drinking great and is well worth the price. This dry Rosé starts with flinty spices on the nose with rosewater and red peach and berry notes before filling out on the palate with that beautiful pure strawberry core along with tart cherry and a touch of citrus, crushed stones, sweet herbs and a wet shale and mineral tones. This stuff is super quaffable and gains some smooth creaminess with air, but without any sweetness or flabby parts, staying zesty and sleek in the glass throughout. Kruger-Rumpf’s coppery/pink hued Rosé is a pretty Summer wine and it should not be overlooked, especially for the price, and after tasting through their samples of 2017 and 2018 wines recently, this is a winery to stock up on!
($17 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day July 8, 2019

2017 Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez, Mencia, Ultreira Saint Jacques, Bierzo, Spain -photo grapelive

2017 Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez, Mencia, Ultreira Saint Jacques, Bierzo, Spain.
Raúl Pérez, one of the world’s great winemakers and one of the influential in his native Spain, is the godfather of Mencia and is known around the globe for his wines from the Bierzo region. Pérez, who is humble and down to earth in person, is thought of in the same regard as Salvo Foti, who has a similar cult following on Sicily and is known for his work with native grapes including Nerello Mascalese. Raúl started making wines in his childhood and even took over his family winery at 19 years old and he is a legendary figure for his beautiful and authentic wines that radiant with exceptional purity and balance, including his wonderful entry level Mencia, this Ultreira Saint Jacques. In 2005, as noted by Pérez’s importer Skurnik Wines, he left his family business to strike out on his own, creating Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez, which quickly became the point of reference for the Bierzo appellation, where a lot of young winemakers own their own success to his help, including the talented Veronica Ortega. In the intervening years, Skurnik adds, he has expanded his sphere of activity to include the appellations of Rías Baixas, Ribeira Sacra, where he has also been a mentor to Pedro Rodriquez of Guimaro, one of my favorite producers, and Tierra de León, but his heart and his home remain in Valtuille de Abajo, the village in Bierzo where his family has been tending vines for well over 300 years.
Over the last few years, I have been lucky to taste with Pérez on a couple of occasions and his wines are gorgeous examples of organic and a more natural old school style of winemaking, but they are as serious as serious can be with deep complexity and amazing length, especially his lesser talked about white wines, in particular his stunning Godello based wines along with his rare Prieto Picudo (grape) red wine.

The 2017 Ultreira Saint Jacques Mencia, which comes from Valtuille and old vines is the freshest of Pérez’s lineup and set of Mencias with loads of zesty blue and red fruits, mineral notes and vibrant acidity, it is a slightly tangy and savory lighter style red that takes the finesse and brightness you’d expect in Pinot Noir as well as having the spiciness and dark profile of Northern Rhone Syrah, like Crores-Hermitage, with a touch of Gamay. This vintage saw about 80% whole cluster and was fermented with native yeasts in big wood vats with macerations ranging from two to five months and aging being done in various sized casks, mostly well used and some cement. While mostly Mencia, this Saint Jacques does have small amounts of Bastardo (Trousseau) and Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) in the blend here all from vines that range from 80 to 120 plus years old set on the hardened clay based soils of the region. This 2017 is bright with a cherry fruit focus along with blueberry, cranberry, red apple skin, cedar, minty herb, earth and floral notes all intertwined on the medium bodied palate, this is a poised version of this wine, which is not as dense as the prior two years felt, but is wonderfully easy to quaff and feels dynamic in the mouth, it will thrill the Glou-Glou crowd and is great with a slight chill on it, drink now and often. This is absolutely a great place to start if you want to explore the wines of Raúl Pérez, it is an unreal bargain and a vividly transparent version of Mencia, a grape that begs for more attention and that is sublime with lighter Summer cuisine.
($20 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day July 7, 2019

2017 Drew Family Cellars, Pinot Noir, Wendling Vineyard, Anderson Valley -photo grapelive

2017 Drew Family Cellars, Pinot Noir, Wendling Vineyard, Anderson Valley.
Drew’s 2017 Wendling Vineyard Pinot is bright and youthful in the glass with a deep garnet and ruby red hue that is heavenly inviting and the fresh detailed and transparent fruit is easy to love, making for a stunning wine that is great now, but will certainly gain with a few more years in bottle. As I and many others have mentioned in recent years, Jason Drew is crafting some of the state’s best wines, especially his small lot, ultra cool climate Pinot Noir(s) as well as his Syrah offerings, and if you’ve not tried his wines you are way behind the curve. The Wendling shows incredible varietal purity and is remarkably like a Morey-Saint-Denis or maybe a Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru with a beautiful sense of delicacy and lightness, while still having complexity and depth, this is sensational Pinot. Layered and satiny with tangy raspberry, black cherry, plum and pomegranate fruits leading the way on the medium bodied palate along with a nice vibrant cut of acidity, mineral tones, some briar, dried herbs and cinnamon like spices. There is some much to admire here, the deft and light handed winemaking that allows the terroir and grapes to do the talking and with zero new wood, this Wendling is naked and revealing from start to finish, there’s no flamboyance or pretense, or is it needed, just a flowing inner beauty and loads of engird from the partial whole bunch used here. At only 13.2% natural alcohol this vintage is very well balanced and lacy, though look for it to fill out over time and drink well for many years. With air the seductive aromatics comes online with this beguiling Pinot adding rose petals and deep floral elements to it’s crisp stony start, it gets more and more expressive once it awakens and or with matching cuisine.

The Wendling Vineyard holds the distinction of being, according to Drew, the most Northwesterly site in the whole Anderson Valley appellation. This site is in the deepest end of the valley, at about 450ft up, on pretty steep slope with good drainage, making for small yields on super quality and concentrated grapes. There are three soil types here as Drew notes, namely Ornbaun, Wolfey and Bearwallow complexes which are mostly weathered soft sandstone, quartz and or shales. These Mendocino hillside soils along with the cooler coastal temperatures help givie a darker profile and color making for intensely structured Pinot Noir, which Jason thinks is pure class. Drew’s parcels include an alleged DRC suitcase clone and a La Tache, along with some Dijon 115 and 667 clone selections, which all play a part in making this Pinot complex and very special indeed, in fact Drew compares the Wendling Vineyard to a “Grand Cru” site. In the Anderson Valley, Drew adds, Wendling truly stands apart with its distinctive textural character and pure mineral driven nature, of which I agree completely and in particular this vintage, it is a brilliant wine that saw a 100% native yeast and a 30% Whole Cluster fermentation, with two gentle gravity rackings and was aged 11 months in used wood, 50% in 1 year old French barrique and the other 50% in well seasoned neutral barrels. The winery suggests this Wendling has potential of a long enjoyment window with a “Drink 2020-2030” recommendation, again I wouldn’t argue with that at all, and I also must add the whole lineup is stellar at Drew, not just this one, but be sure to look for their Morning Dew Ranch, the Estate versions, Valenti Ranch and the Fog-Eater Pinots too.
($55 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day July 6, 2019

2016 Tablas Creek, Counoise, Adelaida District, Paso Robles -photo grapelive

2016 Tablas Creek, Counoise, Adelaida District, Paso Robles.
One of Tablas Creek’s rarest wines, the Counoise Rouge was (and is) one of the favorites of mine when I last tasted at the winery and a wine that continues to fascinate for its life and delicacy of flavors with racy red fruits, spice, mineral and chalky details from the Westside limestone soils of Paso Robles. It’s well noted that the Haas and Perrin families have brought over most of the best plant material or clones from France’s Rhone Valley including all thirteen of the varietals allowed in Chateauneuf du Pape, of which Counoise is one, though only it only makes up about .05% of the total vineyard area within the region, as well as being quite unique here in the new world. Counoise, one of the grapes found in the Perrin’s Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge, is a dark-skinned wine grape grown primarily in the Southern Rhône region of France, but is also grown in California and even Washington State, where a few wineries are using in their Rhone blends, like Gramercy Cellars to good effect. It is thought that Counoise adds a peppery note and has good natural acidity, making it a good balancing factor when blended into denser red wines, as it does not have much depth of color or tannin, which makes it less likely to be made into a solo single varietal wine, though Tablas Creek’s version is wonderfully please and complete. There is so much to admire here at Tablas Creek and these wines have so much to offer wine lovers and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for in their efforts in vines and wines!

The 2016 vintage was a brilliant year for reds in the Paso region, with ripe fruit intensity and gripping structures making for wines that feel explosive on the palate and that should age wonderfully as well, and while distinctly lighter and fresher in style this Counoise should also develop nicely for many years to come, though is easy to love now and there isn’t much of an argument to make in waiting too long here. The plum and cherry fruited 2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Counoise is Tablas Creek’s seventh varietal bottling of this traditional blending grape from the Southern Rhone, of which only 500 cases were made, and it still feels vivid and almost tangy/crisp in the mouth, this another modern California red that can benefit from a slight chill when enjoying it. This 100% Counoise, coming in at 13.5% alcohol, shows Pinot Noir like silken tannin and about the same body with plum, pomegranate, the mentioned cherry, blueberry/cranberry and moro orange fruits along with dusty spices, cinnamony toned, a touch of herbal tea, fennel and framboise all presented in a very transparent way without any oak influences affecting this fun stuff. This ruby/garnet hued Counoise joins a spectacular Tablas lineup of mono-varietal wines which includes their fantastic Vermentino, Picpoul, Mourvedre and Roussanne, plus one of the non Rhone grapes, Tannat, as well as obscure offering like Picardin, Clairette (Blanche) and Terret Noir. Though it must be said, Tablas’ great stuff is their pedigreed blends with their flagship Esprit de Beaucastel white and red being some of the state’s most excellent examples of California Rhones.
($35 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day July 5, 2019

2018 Weingut Spreitzer, Riesling Trocken, Rosengarten, Grosses Gewächs, Rheingau Germany -photo grapelive

2018 Weingut Spreitzer, Riesling Trocken, Rosengarten, Grosses Gewächs, Rheingau Germany.
One of the wines of the vintage so far has to be the Spreitzer Rosengarten GG Riesling, this wonderfully aromatic and balanced dry white has incredible depth, complexity and tropical sex appeal. It was great to catch up with Andreas Spreitzer recently and taste through the stunning latest set of wines, as well as a magical 1934 Goldbeeren Auslese from the family’s well maintained private cellar, which was drinking wonderfully well. While the Spreitzer 2016, 2017 and 2018 wines, many cask samples, like this one, were were all gorgeous and the three vintages are all worthy, better than that in fact, each has its own charm and personality that makes them special, but that said, the 2018 vintage is an out of this world year and what I’ve tasted so far have been some of the best young wines I’ve ever had, and especially beautiful this Spreitzer Rosengarten Grosses Gewachs from their Oestrich Lenchen vineyard in the middle Rhein region. Spreitzer, founded in 1641, is one of the oldest family wineries in the Rheingau is not far from the Rhein villages of Hattenheim and Etville, where the Rhein river is at its widest point, it creates a lake effect and the terroir is unique here with less slate than just down the river in Rudesheim and the soils here vary with areas of loess, clay, shell limestone, gravel, a bit of slates, quartzite, iron-rich stones and sand, all of which forms the individual characteristics in Spreitzer’s offerings. Be sure to check out all of Spreitzer’s 2018 from their Estate Trocken bargain bottling to their Kabinett, Spatlese and special Alte Reben (old vine) Feinherb(s), which are outrageous values and of course their majestic Premier Cru and powerful Grand Crus.

The Rosengarten “GG” Grand Cru is set on mostly loess and loams with a touch of sand in a mix of soils that add to the exotic nature in this stand out dry Riesling and Spreitzer’s hard sustainable vineyard work shows in the exceptional purity and perfume here with layers of sweet pea, white violet, delicate mineral tones and a combination of orchard stone and citrus fruits including white peach, apricot, tangerine and lime in a medium full bodied wine with great extract and stony elements that adds Asian tea and spices, quince, Chablis like steeliness and saline notes. This is amazing stuff, with its pretty detailing and length, from Spreitzer, it should be released later this Summer or early Fall and will gain from extra bottle age and it has the potential to be a legendary wine, with air in the glass this transparent and pale Riesling shows its leesy opulence and brings out even more florals with the bouquet adding orange blossom and jasmine along with contrasting phenolic elements that show you there is a very serious underlying structure here. Terry Theise, Spreitzer’s importer and Riesling guru adds, Weingut Spreitzer strive to maintain fruit(freshness) and finesse by clearing the must (juice) by gravity for 24 hours after a whole-cluster pressing, they then allow the wines to rest on their gross lees and only filter the wine once. They employ a long cool fermentation, and extended lees ageing to protect the juice from oxidation, using mostly ambient (natural) yeasts for fermentation in both temperature controlled stainless steel and their old wood 1,200 liter casks, made of German oak, which are called stückfass, in which this Grosses Gewachs was aged. Drink this stellar wine over the next two decades, this stuff will reward the collector and the patient, though will impress in the shorter term as well, make note to search this one out!
($60 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day July 4, 2019-Happy 4th of July!

2018 Giornata, Barbera, Paso Robles -photo grapelive

2018 Giornata, Barbera, Paso Robles.
The wonderfully bright and vibrant Giornata Barbera is a magenta/purple and ruby hued wine that delivers a juicy fresh palate of dark red fruits and crunchy acidity making it a great companion to cuisine and like a Cru Beaujolais really turns on the charm with a slight chill on it, allowing it to go along with a variety of foods and Summer time. While I’ve enjoyed the more serious Giornata Nebbiolo a few times in the past this is my first experience with their fun and zesty Barbera, and I am now a huge fan and hooked on this stuff. Giornata, based in Paso Robles’ Tin City complex, produce a wonderful set of Italian-varietal wines from vineyards that the winery farms in Paso Robles region, mostly on the west side, using traditional, old-world winemaking techniques including wines made from their signature Luna Matta Vineyard using a mix of intriguing grapes from Fiano and Falanghina as well as Pinot Grigio in their white wines along with the Mentioned Nebbiolo and Barbera plus Sangiovese and Aglianico in their pure Italian style reds as well as a mix of international varietals for a Super Tuscan blend. Barbera, as the winery notes, satisfies much of northern Italy’s thirst for a delicious daily drinker, especially in Piedmonte where it is most famous, in particular in the wines by La Spinetta, Braida and Vajra, but it is also grown and makes for tasty wine in Emilia-Romagna and forms a base in La Stoppa’s all natural reds. Giornata’s vivid and refreshing Barbera sees a cool fermentation in large-format oak casks and stainless steel and ages for only a few brief months before early spring bottling to preserve its vitality, aromatics and zippy nature.

Giornata is the creation of the husband and wife team of Brian and Stephanie Terrizzi and are inspired by the great wines of Italy along with Cal-Ital stars like Steve Clifton, former partner in the famed Brewer-Clifton, who makes the Palmina wines in Santa Barbera County, who in fact convinced him to keep pursuing his dream in making Nebbiolo in California. Stephanie who has a diverse background in wine and service got a degree from Fresno in Enology and Plant Science is overseeing the vines for Giornata and has recently planted a new estate vineyard as well as making the wines and vineyards at her own Broadside label. Brian who got his start at Rosenblum has also traveled to Italy to work with the famous Paolo DeMarchi at Isole e Olena in Tuscany, where he was able gain valuable experience with Italian grapes with a top producer, he is now also experimenting with traditional and ancient winemaking methods and techniques including the use of Amphora in the maceration and fermenting of many of his wines, including his very cool skin contact “Ramato” Pinot Grigio. This 2018 Barbera shines in the glass and entices in the mouth with layers of vine picked berries, plum, strawberry and black cherry fruits along with hints of violets, sweet fennel, racy herbs, mineral tones and stony/dusty spices all wrapped up in a zesty package with a silky medium body making for a super fun wine. This entertaining and easy quaffing red is a quintessential new generation California wine that takes its inspiration from the old world, but shows the state’s warmth of fruit and local character, including the chalky limestone soils here, to become something unique into itself, be sure to check out these Giornata offerings, especially this one.
($25 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day July 3, 2019

2014 Remelluri, Rioja DO., Lindes de Remelluri, Vinedos de San Vicente de La SRRA. Spain -photo grapelive

2014 Remelluri, Rioja DO., Lindes de Remelluri, Vinedos de San Vicente de La SRRA. Spain.
Telmo Rodriguez, one of the most iconic and best winemakers of his generation, having made wine at Jean-Louis Chave in Hermitage and at a few Chateaux in Bordeaux, returned to his family’s Remelluri estate back in 2008 to great effect and success. He has accomplished himself as a champion of terroir over varietal and employs artisan craftsmanship in the cellar, with his wines hardly ever showing overt oak or aggressive alcohol, they always show distinctive purity and a sense of place, and these secondary wines known as Lindes de Remmelluri are magnificent expressions of Rioja, they are richly flavored and soulful wines crafted from old vine purchased fruit from vineyards that prior had got into the family’s main wine. These two vineyard select wines, Labastida and this San Vincente, coming from vineyards that used to go into the Remelluri Reserva are now separated into these two new single vineyard bottlings that are absolutely stunning values, especially in this 2014 vintage. The famous Remelluri estate’s origins date back to the fourteenth century when monks from the Toloño monastery founded a sanctuary and farm at the site with the modern winery dating back to 1967 and since then, according to importer De Maison Selections, Remelluri has been devoted to recovering the old lands of this historic estate and restoring the original vineyards. In fact Remelluri has a collection of hedges and orchards that are maintained and nurtured here and these trees are planted to complement the vineyard blocks, with some almond, peach, fig and above all olive trees, all of which helps facilitate pollination of the vines, as the flowers attract bees.

The beautiful and deep Lindes de Remelluri Viñedos de San Vicente 2014, a field blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Garnacha, was fermented using all native yeasts in cool stainless steel tanks and then raised in barrel, 100% French oak, for 12 months before bottling where it is rested a good amount of time as well. San Vincente in the Rioja Alta just to the east of Haro is at about 50 meters up, but hotter than the higher sites at Labastida and at the main Remelluri estate located in Rioja Alavesa which are much cooler, making this wine seem more lush, riper in satiny tannin and with a softer acidity. Grown on hardened clay and calcareous limestone over a firm core of bedrock from organic vines that average at least 40 years of age this wine shows warm dark fruits, blackberry, cherry and plum lead the way along with hints of earthy mulberry and cranberry along with lilacs, cedar/sandalwood, a touch of vanilla and a subtle array of spices. 2014 was a slightly cooler year and that really helps this wine feel alive on the opulent and full bodied palate and it lingers on and on with a echoing aftertaste that is highly impressive. Telmo’s wines are always polished and textural, but distinctly authentic with terruño character and delivering substance along with some flair, which this one shows, it should age well too, I can imagine at least another decade plus with this 2014 San Vincente. Be sure to check out the true estate bottlings, like the Reserva, the Granja Remelluri, a wine that rivals the elite stuff from Rioja be it from Lopez or La Rioja Alta, plus Telmo’s awesome Rioja Blanco, it’s totally unique and reminds me more of Hermitage Blanc, hence that Chave influence, than a white Rioja.
($32 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day July 2, 2019

2013 Réva, Barolo DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy -photo grapelive

2013 Réva, Barolo DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy.
Only a few vintages old, the Réva winery based in Monforte is a new Barolo-focused label headed up by winemaker Gianluca Colombo, and one to check out, I really enjoyed his 2012, but this latest 2013 is even better and a wine that is evolving well in the bottle with a big Nebbiolo personality that really impacts the palate, this is serious stuff. Though the estate has been producing wine since 1867, Colombo basically created a totally new winery after the property was purchased in 2010 and since then his star has been rising quickly with an impressive array of awards and accolades being bestowed upon him already. Réva is located in a small valley between Monforte and Dogliani, and also includes a luxury resort featuring 12 rooms, a swimming pool and even a golf course, and there is a focus on green environment friendly practices and a respect for nature. Colombo adds “Our goal is just to make the top quality possible wines (to make the best Barolo in a classical way) in an organic way. We are certified organic. Our goal is to make the wines that speak all about grape variety, vintage and terroir.”

The 2013 is step up and it shows the vintage’s fullness of fruit and while silken and ripe there’s a serious under current of tannic structure and balance to found showing great detail and finessed winemaking. Colombo uses long and cool fermentations using native yeasts and traditional aging in large casks, but everything is gorgeously transparent and the flavors are crisply clean with layers of black cherry, damson plum, wild raspberry and blood orange fruits along with hints of cedar, truffle, minty herb, salted black licorice, leather and dried flowers, all of which scream Nebbiolo and terroir. Air brings out an exciting play between strawberry jam and slightly youthfully aggressive savory tones that fade nicely into the background with food, but highlight the wines aging potential. The lingering fruit, earth, spice, mineral and sticky lavender is very intriguing as well, there is a lot to enjoy and admire here for Barolo fans, it looks set for a fine future, though it drinks perfectly well (now) with robust cuisine.
($60 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive