Grapelive Latest: Dec. 28

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

***

thomas.gif2007 Domaine Thomas & Files Sancerre La Crele, France (Sauvignon Blanc).
This white is pure class and a wonderful Sauvignon that reminds you why the Loire is the grape’s spiritual home. This wine is bright and crisp with subtle depth and has a savory long finish that lingers with tangy fruit and mineral essence. The nose is gooseberry and sharp, but the mouth is round and stony with lemon-lime, grapefruit, white peach and just a touch of grass. It is a terroir wine that has vibrant layers and brisk acid that never overpowers the flavors, just giving balance and keeping things fresh without taking away from the round texture. The only problem is that it is very limited and it is kind of pricy, though in real pleasure terms it is worth the cost. ($32 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Christmas Review

Grapelive Holiday Wine Pick

By Kerry Winslow

***

Bunan Bandol2003 Domaine Bunan Bandol Moulin des Costes, France (Mourvdre).
This rich and intriguing Mourvedre has depth and length that make it a true pleasure, and it is just darn good! The nose is chalky and ripe with fruit and flowers before earthy spices come to the fore. The mouth is full and intense with beautiful clear fruits, plum, cherry and blackberry, then touches of lavender, pepper and hints of game. Everything mixes perfectly and the whole is a heady joy that really delivers and sends you right to the south of France, which is never a bad thing! Even it such a hot vintage this wine has lots of vibrant flavors and super balance, which is very impressive. ($30-34 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: Dec. 23

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

***

haagtba.gif2005 Fritz Haag Brauneberg Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling TBA, Mosel, Germany.
It is a rare treat to taste Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) and this is one of the very best there is! The Haag wines never disappoint and in fact  with my high expectations they continue to amaze and surprise me, always leaving me in a hedonistic trance and with a sense of wonder. These are wines that are in themselves a special occasion, wines that bring joy and passion, wines that make you grateful and celebrate life! The 2005 Brauneberg Juffer-Sonnenuhr TBA opens with perfume and understated elegance with spicy jasmine, white citrus flowers and melt in your mouth ripe fig, before a still lively and tangy palate, and while this is a very sweet wine it has wonderful balance and vibrant grace. The mouth is rich with a light syrup over peach and pear feel with tangerine, tropical exotic fruits, honeyed apple and a solid core of apricot. There is a liquid mineral essence, a savory thickness and notes of slate, flinty spice, vanilla and candied orange rind. This is sublime and world class wine that delivers the goodness in fantastic fashion, with subtle botrytis, the “noble rot” that adds depth and character in the right conditions leaving a whiff of honeycomb. Bravo Oliver Haag and team for making such great wines, I only wish I could afford it! ($250-325 Est.) 96-97 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: Dec. 22

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

***

andrewrich06.gif2006 Andrew Rich Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon.
This wine delivers Burgundy like flavors and texture, while showing its own terroir and rich fruit with touches of barnyard and briar. The nose is deep with earthy and perfume notes that meld nicely before a full palate of plums, blackberry, currants and a solid cherry core. Oregon is reacting fast to the new economy and this wine is a wonderful value these days and blows away any Burgundy in this price class and takes on most of the Californians in this range too, I think two years ago this wine would have easily sold in the $40-45 region, and I bought this bottle for about $30, so apart from Melville and Alfaro Family from California, I’d be hard pressed to think of a better wine for the money. Years back I used to see their sweet wine, but I can’t remember having their Pinot before, and that is a shame, as it is very good. The palate is rich and lush with deep flavors and mineral notes with a long finish that makes you want more no question. This wine has a touch of Nuit-St.-George soul and pure Willamette Valley pleasure. ($30-33 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: Dec. 21

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

***

greystackgrenache.gif2007 Grey Stack Vineyards Grenache “Dry Stack Vineyard” Bennett Valley, Sonoma County (California).
The owners of Grey Stack, the Young’s have easily become the real deal and one of the great new wineries to be discovered this year, and I can say I am so grateful to have been able to taste their wines this year. My friend, a Sonoma crusader, Bradley Gray, turned me on to Grey Stack, in fact he called me moments after trying the Grey Stack Sauvignon Blanc and told me it was the best white wine he could ever remember trying almost! Bradley knows his wine and he was right on the money. I ran into the Young’s at the Family Winemakers tasting in San Francisco and was able to try their whole line up and they all were fantastic wines and left a big impression on me. Then I was able to taste this wine, the Grey Stack Dry Stack Vineyard Grenache, and I recently re-tasted it, and again it proved remarkable and intensely pleasurable. The Grenache is perfumed with lots of fruit, flowers and lavender before a deep palate of plum, cherry, grenadine and mixed berries with hints of cassis, pepper, sweet herbs, graphite and pretty oak notes leaving a lingering vanilla aftertaste. ($32 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: Dec. 19 & 20

Grapelive Weekend Wine

By Kerry Winslow

***

bjornstad07pn.gif2007 Bjornstad Pinot Noir Van Der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain.
Greg Bjornstad of Flowers and Tandem fame, is making some amazing wines under his own label and is also making some cult Pinots for clients as well. I sang and crowed about his 2006 Van Der Kamp Pinot, and recently screamed loudly about his fantastic new releases, including his 2007 Porter-Bass Vineyard Chardonnay which I regard as one of the top wines I’ve had in the last year. This vintage Bjornstad Van Der Kamp Pinot is a gem, a wonderful savory wine that reminds of a fine Gevrey-Chambertin with pure flavors and remarkable balance and lovely elegance. This intense Pinot Noir opens with rose pedal oil, and zesty raspberry and goes deep on the palate with fresh black cherry, plum and violets with mineral, asian spices, cassis and smoky sweet vanilla. This is a world class Pinot Noir that is so real and terroir driven that it is hard to imagine a better wine and I can’t even find words to explain it! It will only get better with some age, but it is sublime now. ($40-45 Est.) 94-95 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: Dec. 18

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

***

guigalcondrieu07.gif2007 Guigal Condrieu “La Doriane” Rhone White (Viognier).
This is an amazingly complex and sublime wine that is very close to perfect, in fact it is a wine that rivals the worlds best. This wine is 100% Viognier made with 100% new French oak and full Malolactic fermentation, make it full-bodied and super rich, and lovely in every way. With question or any doubt this is one of the greatest white wines in the world period! The nose is perfumed and intense with jasmine, honeysuckle, dried white flowers to start and a palate that has edgy apricot, bacon, sweet pear and peach pit with a stoney grit and clarified butter cream. This wine has the class of Corton-Charlemagne and the power of a Batrard-Montrachet with the exotic nature of the Rhone thrown in, and I can say that it is still very young and will only get better with some cellar age. This is a succulent and vibrant wine that is ripe and round that would be even better with the right menu, especially Lobster! I swear it would be very tough to not pick this wine as my favorite wine of the year. ($109-120 Est.) 97 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: Dec. 17

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

***

molnarpinot07.gif2007 Molnar Family Pinot Noir “Poseidon Vineyard” Carneros, Napa Valley (California).
This little known label has found some magic with this vintage of Carneros Pinot Noir and I hope lots of people get a chance to try it. The Molnar’s winemaker used to make the fabled Hanzell Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and takes that knowledge and craft to this wine and I think it has all come together perfectly, a great vintage, winemaker and committed owners. They do things a bit different and use only Hungarian oak barrels, giving respect to their family heritage I presume. That said, a lot of French winemakers from Burgundy and French coopers swear by the Hungarian wood and this wine is not affected in any bad way by its use. I was a sceptic, I admit that, but I was proven wrong and I confess this wine tastes as though it had high quality French oak, very impressive. In prior tastings this had not been the case, so I will look ahead with a much more open mind. This vintage of Molnar Pinot is rich and round with pure Pinot character and class, with lots of depth and style. The nose has roses and dried flowers with lots of fruit on the palate leading with cherry, raspberry, plum and tea spices along with a lush and silky body. This wine is subtle, but intriguing with a sexy lingering finish, and it should fill out with a bit of cellaring, though I wouldn’t wait too long to enjoy it as it is very lovely right now. ($35 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: Dec. 16

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

***

Domaine Sainte-Eugenie2006 Domaine Sainte-Eugenie Corbieres, Corbieres A.C. Red Wine, France.

With at least 800 years of recorded wine history, Corbieres looks set to continue for many more, especially if you can still get wines like this! Corbieres is close to the Pyrénées Mountains, in the foothills and Sainte-Eugenie is in the Fontfoide district there which might be considered a Cru site within the region. This mainly Grenache, Syrah and Carnigan based wine has tangy fruit, earthy spices and bouncy texture making for a very classic regional wine that is easy on the palate and even easier on the wallet. The Syrah seems to come to fore and you get cherry and blueberry fruit mostly but there is fresh plum and red berry as well. his wine is not going to change your life or blow your mind, no it won’t, but it is fun and a good example of why these wines are great values for “pizza night” or anytime you just want something easy. ($12 Est.) 87 Points, grapelive

***

Grapelive Latest: Dec. 15

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

***

Martino2006 Fincas Don Martino Malbec Old Vines, Mendoza, Argentina.

This high altitude terroir Malbec is about 3,850 feet above sea level and is from a vineyard on its original (French) rootstock and was (re) planted in 1926 on rocky and alluvial soils. This vintage shows ripe and vibrant fruit and has lush and full-bodied texture with loads of black and red fruit, making for a deep and richly flavored wine. I had not seen, heard of, or tried Martino wines before and was very impressed with the complexity and intensity I found, but also it was just plain good and a joy to discover. It seems they use new French oak only for this cuvee and it certainly gives an elegant and refined touch to this big wine as well as smoothing out the fine tannins, while giving subtle toast, vanilla and sweet smoky notes. The palate is bold and round with lots of black plum, cherry and mixed mountain berry fruits with flashes of chocolate, coffee and licorice. ($18 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

***

Wine Reviews, Articles & Travel