Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2007 Clos Marie “L’Olivette” Pic Saint Loup, Coteaux du Languedoc, French Red.
Tasted recently, this wonderful blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache tastes fresh and lively with rich and intense flavors and spice. Clos Marie has long been making wines at upper echelon levels at terrific prices, in fact this wine compares well against wines three times its price, and especial this 2007, which tastes like a fine Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The nose s minerally and perfumed with wild flowers and crushed stones leading to a full palate of blackberry, boysenberry, cassis, plum and cherry fruits with pepper, fennel and lavender all adding to the glorious mix. This is a rich and smooth expression of the region and terroir with a long savory and sweet finish.
($25 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($14.95 Sale)

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Moris Farms Morellino di Scansano, Tuscan Red, Italy.
This small estate in the southwest coastal area of Tuscany makes some of the finest wines in the regions that are pure in essence and easy on the wallet, like this beautiful Morellino di Scansano that shines with terroir and vibrant flavors. Moris Farms makes this gem from 90% Sangiovese and the remaining 10% is from Merlot and Syrah and it is fermented and aged in cement which highlights the fruit and showcases the Sangiovese perfectly. The nose is floral and the color is very dark and lovely leading to a full palate of blackberry, strawberry, chalky minerals, tobacco leaf, licorice and truffle notes. This juicy and fresh wine deserves all the attention is gets and at under $25 is a great way to enjoy Sangiovese when you want something a bit different from the normal Chianti or Rosso di Montalcino. Enjoy with food or with cheeses, this is a really a super wine.
($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($21.95)

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Julien Labet “en billat” Poulsard, Jura Red, France.
This Poulsard is like a lovers soft kiss to your neck, silky and lingering with a hint of electricity. Julien Labet is making some exciting wines from the Jura and is following the natural wine movement, or maybe he is pushing it forward. Poulsard is delicate and thin skinned, making it less likely as a main component in the reds of the region, it usually gets blended with Pinot Noir and or Trousseau Noir, but it still remains the second most planted grape in the Jura, even if is used mainly in roses and even sparkling, as well in the blends. Poulsard has been a staple in the Jura since the 1500’s, and it is also found in Begay where it is blended with Gamay. There is now even a totally white skinned Poulsard that makes light aromatic wines. While that may be interesting, it is this 2009 Julien Labet Poulsard that steals the show, and elevates Poulsard to new heights with pretty color, texture and lovely perfume. I must say, I am becoming a big fan of Labet, and as mentioned in an earlier review, his 2010 Metis is an amazing wine, I just might be hooked on Jura! This 2009 “en billet” starts with dried flowers and rose petals with some earth, red spices and minerals on the nose before a palate of strawberry and plum fruits. I must say, if tasted blind I would guess this was a Cru Beaujolais, most like a Fleurie I think with fine Gamay like character with violets, a hint of blue fruits and walnut. Pretty Pinot like round and smooth texture and finesse all still vibrant and lively. I went back to this bottle 24 hours later and found it even better with bright flavors and a longer finish, without any hint of degradation at all, a very impressive wine and elegant winemaking to be sure. Imported by Charles Neal Selections.
($30 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($27.95)

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Cazar Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast (by Hunter Wines-Chasseur)

Cazar is the second label to the well known and prized Chasseur label and offers amazing quality for the money, especially this beautiful and textured Pinot Noir from great vineyard sources around the Russian River and Sonoma Coast regions. The 2010 vintage shows the lighter touch the year gave, but it is not far off the depth of 2009 and makes for a more balanced and vibrant wine with balance and focus, really this Pinot is a steal. The nose shows dark fruit, subtle oak toast, roses and violets leading to a core of cherry and raspberry fruit layers with some plum and baking spices. There is good grip and zesty acidity keeping things in check, but overall this wine is silky and refined with a long finish. While the Chasseur label continues to impress at the higher end, the Cazar gives great fun, enjoyment and value, I highly recommend grabbing some of this very good Pinot Noir while it lasts.
($20-22 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($18.95)

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Domaine Francine et Olivier Savary Chablis Vieilles Vignes, White Burgundy, France.
This brilliant and fresh old vine Chardonnay is pure and terroir driven, it could be nothing other than Chablis with lime flower, citrus and green apple with chalky minerals and river stones. I’m a huge fan of Savary and this V.V. bottling, sometimes it outshines the Premier Crus and I even gushed that I thought the 2007 was Raveneau like. This 2010 may not quite rival the 2007, but surely it gets close and I think with a bit of time in the bottle it will get better still. The nose is steely with liquid minerals and orange blossom leading to the brisk citrus laced palate that leans to the lime side of the spectrum with a touch of lemon and hazelnut before filling out with green apple notes. This very vibrant and tangy Chablis ends with lots of vigor and zing, and mouth coating minerallity. This is a wonderfully crisp Chardonnay that dazzles with acidity and charm, making for a dynamic wine of style and verve. Look for this wine to hit the shelves soon, but don’t wait long as like all Kermit Lynch Burgundy, they go fast!
($28 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Domaine Philipppe Pacalet Pommard, Red Burgundy.
This is one of the prettiest Pommard wines I’ve ever had if not the prettiest, with delicate detail and elegance not often seen in this area of Burgundy. Pacalet works with special plots and has his vines tended mostly, completely organic and he is very gentle in his winemaking and uses native and natural yeast, all of which shines through in his lovely village wines. I tasted through most of his 2009 bottlings, and found all of his wines interesting and soulful with clean vibrant flavors and smooth textures. The 2009 Pacalet Pommard is soft and beautiful with perfume, minerals and bright red fruits flowing across the palate, while the nose has rose petals, truffle and exotic spices. There is only a whisper of smoke and sweet oak shadings that is very subtle and frames the fruit perfectly.  I have learned that Pacalet stirs (or rolls) the wine on the lees to produce creamy round wines, even though he uses stem inclusion for structure, in fact he reportedly used 100% stems in all of his 2009 reds. These are wonderful wines and this Pommard is a fine effort that is intriguing and seductive from start to finish.
($85 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($84.95)

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Eva Fricke Riesling “Krone” Lorcher, QbA, Rheingau Trocken, Dry White, Germany.
Eva Fricke is, as mentioned by many critics, a star to watch and her own micro label one to buy anytime you see it and be sure to put a few away. After tasting a few of her 2008, 2009 and 2010 wines, there is no doubt she is making wines that will age beautifully and while the wines are stunning now, they will get much better over a 5 to 10 year period, and that includes this dramatic 2008 “Krone” Trocken QbA by Fricke. Having met her, she is consumed by soils and terroir, giving her a no nonsense air and a focus on allowing the soul of the earth show through on each of her wines. The Fricke wines are mostly really dry, and intense with lots of dry extract and tangy acidity, making for a tight and broody young wine, so be sure to give her wines some air the breathe so they open up, these are not your Grandma’s Rieslings! Eva has vineyards above the Rhein and the Wisper river mouth in the small village of Lorch, first inhabited by the Celts, then the Romans and is a Catholic area, Lorch is close to where the Rhein meets the Mainz, up river from Rudesheim where she works as the cellar master for the well known Weingut Leitz. She does usually 3 or 4 bottlings a vintage with the “Krone” her top dry Cru, and it is a fantastic wine which is now highly prized and sought after for it’s depth and unique terroir driven style. The 2008 vintage was one of high acid and can be ultra brisk, but Eva nursed power concentration out of Krone and the weighty mouth feel is something special, while that zingy acidity drives the dryness on the palate giving a near perfect balance. The nose is minerally, but not slatey or petrol fumey as of yet, more clean and bright with lime and citrus blossom that leads to a palate of green apple, white citrus, honeyed mango and pineapple, but this is a tight wine with verve and tension and needs to time to develop. I believe there is more to come here and plan to put down a few bottles for a few years and see what happens, in the meantime I plan to drink a bunch of her wines from 2009 and 2010 vintages, the basic QbA Trocken is a steal at $18 Est. That said, I was blown away by this wine and love the style, terroir and character it shows, bravo!
($34 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Domaine Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin “Les Combes” Premier Cru White Burgundy.
I will be honest with you, if I tasted this wine blind I could easily believe this was a top Puligny or Meursault, in fact I might even guess even better, that is how freaking good this wine is. I had heard all the buzz about this rising star, Pierre Yves Colin-Morey, so I had high, I mean sky high expectations of his wines, and I can tell you, yes he is the real deal, without question, this guy is fantastic and his wines sublime. This 2009 Saint-Aubin “Les Combes” Premier is sublime with citrus flowers, lemon curd, golden apples, pear and figs plus hazelnuts, sweet smoke, wet stones and clove spices. There is a tropical streak and I found a touch of Pineapple and brioche as well, making for a complex and beautiful wine that is round and lengthy. This wine is a wonderful expression of Chardonnay that reminds me of Luc Morlet’s (Peter Michael & Morlet Family) style of wines with the balance and richness, but remains a true terroir driven Burgundy. I am convinced this Domaine is one of the best for white Burgundy to come along in a long time, I suggest you find some now, and I hear the 2010 is even better, so we have a lot to look forward to. I’m totally blown away, this guy is fantastic and the wines are stunning.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Available at www.sfwtc.com ($37)

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The Rise of the Jura

Special Quick Tasting Report of New Jura Wines

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Domaine Labet Cotes du Jura “Fleur de Savagnin” French White.
The grape Savagnin looks to be either the great grandfather of Gewurtztraminer or more likely a mutation of Traminer, the less aromatic varietal, but regardless of it’s true history the Savagnin is the main grape of the Jura region of France and makes for a fine array of wines from dry to sweet, sherry like to sparkling. While I personal have not developed a taste for the more oxidized styles from the Jura, I am a big fan of the fresh whites from the region and this wine is a lovely and vibrant expression. Domaine Labet is rather old school, but the wines all show loads of terroir and character making them a great reference point for those just getting started with the Jura, and they are amazing food wines. This 2009 Labet Savagnin is brisk and dry with only a hint of straw going with vigorous citrus, melon, minerals and light pear notes. This crisp white has bright layers that make it perfect for seafood, though it really shines with soft creamy cheeses. Thanks to Charles Neal and his Charles Neal Selections for showing me this wine to me and importing them to the US.
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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2010 Julien Labet “Metis” Les Vins de Julien, Poulsard, Pinot Noir & Trousseau, Jura Red Blend, France.
Could the Jura be the next big thing? Well, maybe, and if so it just might be the younger generation vigerons like Julien Labet that are pushing the envelope and in his case going for “Natural Wines” with organic farming, small yields, and almost no sulfur while of course using native yeasts and wild fermentations. Like Arianna Occhipinti in Sicily and many other young winemakers, it looks like Julien has hit on something special with this approach and I look forward to see where it goes, especially after trying his 2010 Metis. This beautiful and layered red is a blend of Poulsard, Pinot Noir and Trousseau with delicate details and sublime balance, this wine shows a deft touch and while it is really cliche to say, it has a wonderful Burgundy like feel and focus. The nose has spring flowers and violets with a touch of game, truffle and spicy dried rose petals before a silky palate of cherry, raspberry, plum and wild strawberry plus a touch of blueberry. This is a seductive and very sexy wine, and without question a star to watch in the future too. The color is what you’d imagine of a wine of such elegance, with a soft ruby hue and the wine has pretty acidity and lift while still being lush and round with a nice lengthy finish that has just the right amount of fruit, spice and mineral tones that linger on. Charles Neal, again, deserve thanks and credit for finding such fun and interesting wines, though he said he was so far only able to persuade Julien Labet to let 30 cases make the trip to the US to date.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

A Special Thank You to Charles Neal of Charles Neal Selections for his time and for showing me these wines, and for his patience for explaining the details of them to me, I’m very grateful!

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Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day 2011

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2011 Domaine Jean Foillard Beaujolais Nouveau, Gamay, France.
Famous Morgon producer Jean Foillard makes some of the greatest wines of the region, if not beyond, and he makes this Nouveau, which tells a story of the latest vintage and has my mouthwatering for more! I was lucky enough to meet Jean this last summer, though my French skills were not up to any sort of meaningful conversation, then again neither was his English, and this just left me standing with an admiring smile on my face, much the same as when I have his wonderful wines. His Cote du Py Morgon is legendary and his special cuvees are sublime in a way that is hard to put into words, like a great Burgundy is as close as I can get. I was really excited about trying his Beaujolais Nouveau for the first time, and it was hard not the build expectations, but happily as it turns out the wine is great and is a perfect way to celebrate this years harvest and cheer the coming Holidays. The 2011 Foillard Nouveau shows delightful fresh blueberry, black cherry, grapey essence and zingy acidity with hints of spice, and lovely lingering strawberry. This wine is a joy and I will be having more than a few bottles myself over the next 3 to 6 months, drink now, but don’t be surprised to find this drinking well for more than a year! Very impressive, and a good indication that 2011 will be a good year for Beaujolais, and not too far off in quality to the 2009 vintage.
($20 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Available now at www.sfwtc.com ($18) and sold through Kermit Lynch

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