Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Reviews: New T-Vine Releases

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 T-Vine Grenache “Frediani Vineyard” Calistoga, Napa Valley.
This bold expression of Grenache has depth and beauty to go with the vintage’s ripe fruit and thick texture, making T-Vine’s 2009 Grenache one of the best Napa Grenache based wines I’ve ever tried. While Paso and Edna Valley get a lot of attention, not to mention the new hot spot Bennett Valley, for this grape, the old vines of Napa can once in a while produce a stunning Rhone like example, and this wine is one of them. Having just had a lovely Ridge Grenache and a couple of Gigondas and Chateauneuf’s recently, made this wine from the T-Vine team stick out, with out question it held it’s own and I can wholeheartedly recommend it. The nose is full of flowers, spice and a touch of creme de cassis before a rich palate of boysenberry, strawberry, black cherry and grenadine with hints of mocha, licorice and herbs de Provence. Given time to unwind and open up this lush red shows lavender oil and pepper with just the right amount of oak shadings to provide nice framing of the fruit, while a kiss of acidity keeps things fresh for a bigger style, think Chateauneuf, wine.
($36 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive


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2008 T-Vine Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Rosso Vineyard” Sonoma County.
T-Vine’s last ever Cabernet from the famed Monte Rosso Vineyard the 2008 vintage is a remarkable and fitting end to this string of Cabernets that T-Vine has made from this site. Sadly, the fruit has since been priced out of this small almost cult like followed winery’s budget, but they have found a few more exciting sources, so all is going strong, and like I mentioned this vintage is a stunner. This 2008 T-Vine Monte Rosso is pure class and while Sonoma doesn’t usually get headlines from Cabernet, this wine will turn a few heads and make believers out of even the most hardened of critics! I, myself, must confess to being one of them, am now telling you this is as good as Cab gets and easily competes with $100 Napa Cabernet, no question. This wine is big and dense with 14.9 % Alcohol, but it feels alive and vibrant with little heat and sublime balance. The nose is lively with red currants, lilacs, minty spice and bitter chocolate leading to a lavish palate of blackberry, cassis, red berries, tobacco leaf, cedar and vanilla scented oak shadings. This Cabernet Sauvignon finishes long and has fine tannins supporting the fruit in smooth fashion.
($50 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive



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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Meo-Camuzet Fixin, Red Burgundy, France.
Sometimes you can’t escape the charms of Burgundy, and I’m already I huge sucker for Meo-Camuzet, so I knew I was going to love this one, and I did, but, even in my influenced state this wine impressed me with lovely balance and silky texture. I was able to try two separate bottles, and as always with Burgundy they were different with each mental state, one bottle showed more earth and game up front, and the second was far lovelier and more elegant, though it was most likely my mood that allowed the second bottle to shine, plus it was with food and good company, which always brings out the best in fine Burgundy. Meo-Camuzet is one of the stars of Kermit Lynch’s fantastic portfolio of wines and has long been a favorite of mine, but this was my first chance to have the Fixin, and I can tell you right now it will not be the last, this lesser known part of Burgundy makes for one of the great secrets and values of the region. The nose is floral and earthy with loads of mineral and spice and as with most Meo-Camuzet Burgundy it has ripe fruit essence leading to a refined palate of cherry, plum, raspberry and cranberry with hints of smoke, truffle, game and rocky minerals. Everything is in beautiful smooth layers and subtle wood notes frame the fruit perfectly making for a remarkable Pinot experience. The vintage with not go down as a great one, but so far all the Meo-Camuzet wines are fantastic and pure, and I recommend you get some.
($50 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive


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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 SalBide Rioja, Spanish Red.
European Cellars is renown for finding great wines from southern France and Spain, and for those that like Rioja, this wine is a must have. The 2008 SalBide Rioja is 100% Tempranillo and is aged in French oak barriques, making for a stylish and classy wine with nice richness and depth of flavors. Considering the quality of fruit and cost of the barrels this wine seems like a great deal, and to be honest it would be successful at twice the price, so I recommend you search it out and give it a try. The nose is smoky with char and cedar notes with floral touches that lead to a silky palate of black plum, cherry and bramble berry with hints of blueberry, mineral and baking spices. This wine picks up depth and weight with air, making a creamy and long lasting finish. Best with food, but really is enjoyable to sip and have with a selection of Spanish cheeses.
($16 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2010 Monasterio de Corias (100% Albarin Negro) Spanish Red.
This has to be one of the coolest wine discoveries of the year! Monasterio de Corias comes from the Asturias region, in Northwest Spain and the wine is grown in de la Tierra de Congas, close to Galicia.This wine is stunning and flavorful with glorious Rhone-like qualities and a unique flair all its own. This rich and vibrant wine is medium weight and has silky texture, but has good fine tannins and plenty of lifting acidity to give sublime balance, this is a serious wine that is a joy to drink. I found some Syrah like character as well as Pinot Noir like class in this wine that shows perfume, mineral and spice complexities to go with layers of red and black fruits. The nose has violets, roses and white flowers as well as earthy game, mineral and briar leading to a palate of boysenberry, blueberry, cherry and plum fruits with a stony essence and dried flowers. There is a long fruit finish that also brings a pepper note, making for a very interesting wine that I hope to have many times!
($18 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Podere Le Cinciole Chianti Classico “Le Cinciole” Tuscany, Italy.
This is a wonderful Classico that delivers fresh Sangiovese flavors and character with loads of charm and life, not only is it fun and food friendly, but is a richly textured and deep Chianti that is a steal. The nose is full of herbs, dried flowers and red fruits with hints of mineral and licorice all of which are present on the palate as well along with blackberry, plum and strawberry fruits, while tobacco leaf, cedar and truffle play in the background. This is a super wine and shows the glories of the Tuscan terroir perfectly, I hope to enjoy a few bottles of this wine again soon, this is a pure and complex Chianti Classico that intrigues and seduces, don’t miss this one!
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Luis A. Rodriguez Vazquez Viña Martin “A Torna Dos Pasás” Tinto, Ribeira, Spain.
This natural and intriguing red is made from a blend of native grapes that include Mencia and others which can include Ferron, Souson, Brancellao (there is also Garnacha and Tempranillo planted in Ribeiro), and the result is near perfection in a way that gives the same joy as when you find a fantastic Burgundy. With out question this wine reminds me of a great Chambolle-Musigny, plus a touch of Santa Lucia Highlands, California as well, crazy as that seems being that this wine is not a famed Pinot Noir, but that is just how fantastic it is, and to be fair it is a creature and artisan wine of it’s own terroir. I’ve tried just a few vintages of this wine, and each time I’m completely blown away, and I think this must be the greatest wine and region yet to be really discovered! Even though, Parker and Spectator have given them outstanding reviews, it seems now it is the time for this wine to be elevated to it’s rightful place near the top of Spain’s great wines. The Ribeiro is believed to have been planted by the Romans and is near the rivers; Mino, Avia, Arnoia and the Barbatino in the Galicia provence, and was renown for sweet wines since the middle ages. This area in the Northwest of Spain is on my must visit list of wine regions, especially after tasting this amazing wine! The nose is alive with fresh flowers, mostly violets and it has blueberry and mineral spices before an elegant palate of raspberry, plum and a core of tangy cherry fruit. This wine is so pure and refined, it is hard to believe it is not a great Burgundy, but then again many a Burgundy would be paled by a blind taste comparison as this wine can hold it’s own and has remarkable depth and charms. There are sexy complexities that include red spices, lavender, stony mineral and subtle wood notes that play in sublime fashion with the vibrant fruit, making for an exciting and glorious wine that impresses beyond mere words.
($40 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.
91% from Boeschen Vineyard and 9% from Panek Vineyard the new 2009 Rudius is a focused and rich Cabernet Sauvignon that shows primary characteristics and supporting tannins at this early stage, but it looks like the best vintage yet from this hot new producer. With a small amount of Cabernet Franc this dense wine has a hint of Saint-Emilion that comes through with the thickly textured red fruits and subtle perfume, though more powerful dark fruits emerge with time in the glass lifted by sweet toasty oak from the combination of Taransaud, Darnajou and Sylvain French oak barrels, about 70% of which were new. Artisan winemaking with natural wild yeasts and limited racking show the love of terroir and commitment to purity of expression. Give this baby some time and reap the rewards of patience and faith, this is a stunning wine that should start showing dynamic force in 3 to 5 years and drink great for 10 to 20 years. Lavish even now with layers of blackberry, bing cherry, plum, currants, creme de cassis with tobacco, vanilla, graphite and licorice.
($65 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive


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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Dauvergne Ranvier Gigondas Vin Rare, Rhone Red, France.
I didn’t think it could get much better than Dauvergne-Ranvier 2007 Gigondas, but then came this fantastic new release, and I can say with out a doubt these guys are worth watching and worth every penny, this 2009 Gigondas is one of the best of the vintage that I’ve tried and it should just get better and better over the next 2 to 3 years. The 2009 is dark and thick with layers of fruit, mineral essence and vibrant peppery spices, plus sublime length and balance. The nose is fresh with grapey notes, crushed berries, sweet floral and herb notes and a vain of earthy spices before a lush and round palate of Grenache driven fruit with blackberry, plum, grenadine, cherry and strawberry along with hints of game, lavender, pepper and chalky minerals. This wine is on par with most Chateauneuf’s and should be sought after by Rhone fans, while not easy to find, this is a remarkable and beautiful Gigondas.
($42 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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2008 Ridge Monte Bello Proprietary Red Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains.
This amazing Cabernet Sauvignon based red is glorious and a profound wine of elegance and depth, with out question one of the best of the vintage and a classic Monte Bello. I very much enjoyed the subtle and delicate 2007 version, but this wine is really on another level and certainly belongs on the world’s best list. While many vintages of Monte Bello compare to first growths, this one might just go beyond them, even though it would help to describe it by saying it has elements that are similar to Haut-Brion and Chateau Margaux, though that said the 2008 Monte Bello has much more open richness and should be divine now, and through the next decade if not much longer indeed. The 2008 Monte Bello is alive with vigor and intensity starting with a nose that shows dark fruit and flowers with a touch of smoky wood and a bit of spice before a pure palate of blackberry, currant, plum and cassis layers with mineral, vanilla and tobacco notes. The mouthfeel is rich, but not coying or fat, and the length is amazing and the wine has sublime balance. I used to swear by the 1991 and 1994 Monte Bello’s, but I think the 2008 is now my all time favorite and I can’t wait to see how it develops.
($145 Est.) 97 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Extra

Grapelive Special Tasting Report

By Kerry Winslow

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2009 Lapierre Morgon “Cuvee Marcel Lapierre” MMIX, Cru Beajolais, France.
This beautiful and hedonistic Gamay just gets better and more seductive with every sip and tears will well up when the bottle is drained! Sadly Marcel passed last year, though this wine is a fitting tribute to the man and his passion, if you can find any of this wonderful wine, buy it and savor every drop. I’ve been lucky enough to have tried this Cuvee on more than a few occasions and it really is now hitting its stride and should age another 3 to 5 years, it was fantastic each time, but now it is utterly remarkable and pure. The nose is full of mixed flowers, walnut shells, blackberry jam and lavender leading to a vibrant palate of much the same, but with a burst of strawberries and black cherries with violets and hints of currants. This is all about pleasure and it is hard to find anything other than perfection in this treasure. A big thank you to my friend for sharing this one!
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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