Category Archives: Wine Reviews

Grapelive Latest: June 7

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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vinolocity.jpg2005 Sheldon “Vinolocity” Rhone Style Red.
This is the signature wine of this “Micro-Winery” and it is a beautiful and lush Grenache based red that is drinking wonderfully and hitting its top form. I’ve had this wine quite a few times now and seen it go through many phases, but now it has really turned pretty and layered. The nose is fruity and has a sweet bouquet and the palate is ripe and flavorful with grenadine, raspberry, strawberry and has a plum fruit core. There are touches of subtle oak, lavender, light spicy pepper and the body is round and smooth. Dylan and Tobe Sheldon wanted to make this wine, which has a dollop of Syrah, in a Gigondas style and I think they came close, though this wine is much cleaner and less earthy than the Rhone versions, so it will appeal to a much wider range of palates. This wine drinks like a fine Pinot Noir, but is a bit more ripe and racy. ($40 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

www.sheldonwine.com

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Grapelive Latest: June 5 & 6

Grapelive Weekend Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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sheldonpnsc.jpg2005 Sheldon Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast.
This wine just gets better and better, and is really ready right now to drink, giving much pleasure and peak performance. Sourced from the famed Dutton Ranch, Sheldon made a tiny production of this tasty Pinot Noir that is unfined and unfiltered, a real natural wine that has perfume and silky texture. This ruby colored Pinot is pretty in the glass with a slight touch of clouds, but still clear, luring you in and seducing you with its charms. The palate is still lively and vivid with raspberry, rose petals, sweet cherry and plum layers. The bottle age has worked magic, and makes for a wine that is totally in balance with soft acidity and rounded flavors, there are flashes of tea spices, truffle and nice vanilla oak notes that all lift the fruit and add to the whole experience. This Pinot has won me over, again and I suggest getting some quick as it is almost sold out! ($30-38 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive

www.sheldonwine.com

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Grapelive Latest: June 3

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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valdezpn.jpg2007 Valdez Pinot Noir “Lancel Vineyard” Russian River Valley.
Ulises Valdez grows grapes for famous winemakers, Paul Hobbs, Jeff Cohn and the cult wonder Marc Aubert, and he also lets them make a little wine for him, for his Valdez label, and this Pinot is made under the direction of Marc Aubert, of Colgin and his own label Aubert. The 2006 was wonderful, but this vintage is just that much better and fuller in every way. The nose is more intense and the flavors are just than much more vivid and lively, making this a real sleeper and a wine you should search out. The palate is pure Russian River, with lots of black cherry and dark plum fruit, cola and smoky sweet wood notes. Drink anytime, but I think it will just get better and more textured over the next few years, allowing some secondary flavors to come forward.
($60 Est.) 93-94 Points, grapelive

*avail. at:

www.dickwarnerwines.com

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Grapelive Latest: June 1

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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schug.jpg2008 Schug Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast.
I must admit, I almost forgot about this classic Pinot Noir estate, but I am glad I got a sample of this wine to review, and I revived my taste bud admiration for Walter Schug’s Carneros Estate Winery. Even in what most people are finding a lighter vintage, I keep finding balanced and textured Pinot Noirs that make me happy and this is one that I like very much and think is a nice drinking wine that offers great value. The nose has bright fruit and earthy spices with a touch of flower petals and smoke before a silky palate and a crisp fresh finish. Everything is very correct for a Burgundy style Pinot, with more delicate flavors and balancing acidity, making it super with a wide range of foods and given a slight chill also makes it lovely on a warm afternoon, which I plan on this summer! The ruby color is vivid and pretty, the body clean and round, the flavors learn on fresh cherry, and the background has subtle oak, Asian spices, mushroom and cranberry, while the finish is tangy, fresh and crisp.
($21-26 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: May 28

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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thackreypn.jpg2007 Sean Thackrey Pinot Noir “Andromeda” Devil’s Gulch Ranch, Marin.
Wow, this is a wild wine, a true Thackrey creation and so hard to explain in words! To tell you what it tastes like almost takes away the surprise, I hate to give away too much, but it is sort of like a cross between Bandol and Burgundy, but with a real twist. If you have had Sean’s wines before you’ll understand and love this wine, but it will take a newcomer a little while to get it, though it will win anyone over, as long as you have an open mind. The nose is reduced and there is a balsamic note along with dried flowers and red fruits. The Palate is vivid and loaded with menthol, licorice and baked cherry with poached plum and lavender oil. After that first impression a more subtle side comes forward with mineral, truffle, spice and sweet herb notes. Sean Thackrey makes totally unique and wild wines and expresses his genius in every single one. ($45-60 Est.)
94 Points, grapelive

*available at www.dickwarnerwines.com $45

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Grapelive Latest: May 25

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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honigcab.jpg2007 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.
This wine would have to be one of the all time underrated Cabs in Napa, but great for the wine lover that has a budget! 2007 is a super vintage and Honig didn’t mess it up, as this Cabernet is lush and deeply flavored with chocolate like thickness and good complexity. I think it will only get better with a few years of age, but it still is a good find right now. The nose is full of nice mocha and toasty sweet oak notes, and the mouth is rich with red fruits and medium weight texture. The palate is refined and balanced with plum, currant and black cherry layers, hints of mineral, pencil lead and creamy vanilla all coming together nicely. If you want a good value from a great vintage, this would be a good choice.
($36 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: May 24

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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morgan.jpg2009 Morgan Pinot Gris “Ray Franscioni Vineyard” Monterey County.
This wine is a winner, and at the price even better still, Italy makes some great Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) and will always, but if you want a really good California white under $20, then you should try this one. The palate is full of green apple and citrus with hints of mineral spice and tropical fruits, with nice zesty acidity that keeps the fruit in check and make this wine a great summer quaffer! It may seem simple, but really you are not going to find a much better Pinot Gris out there, especially at this price. This wine is a favorite in Monterey bistro scene and it goes lovely with food and I hope to enjoy some this summer with picnics.
($16-18 Est.) 89-90 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: May 22

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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honig-sauvignon.jpg2009 Honig Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley.
Honig has long been making some of the nicest wines for the money in Napa, and this vintage of Sauvignon Blanc is even better than I can remember and I must say this vintage rocks for Sauvignon Blanc. There is everything you’d want, full vibrant flavors and crisp freshness all the way through, nothing out of place here and the finish is near perfect for sipping away an afternoon or enjoying seafood with. The nose is citrus infused goodness and the palate jumps with life and tangy fruits, grapefruit, lemon/lime and melon all adding to the whole. There is none of the usual herbal/grassy flavors that can show up in Napa Sauvignon Blancs, much to my joy, and that zingy acidity is great on the finish giving a clean burst that refreshes the palate.
($18 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: May 19

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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morgan07r.jpg2007 Morgan Pinot Noir “Rosella’s Vineyard” Santa Lucia Highlands.
Gary Franscioni’s personal vineyard continues to impress, and Morgan nailed it with this vintage, in fact this might be the best Morgan Pinot to date, and I found it better than the more hyped “Garys’ Vineyard” partner by a long ways, so when this wine shows up be sure to get a few, and like the other single vineyard Morgan Pinots there is a chance you’ll see it on sale for around $40 and again, don’t miss out if you can get it at that price! The nose is deep and rich with perfume and toasty oak, with a lush and full palate of black cherry, blueberry, plum and red berry fruits with a silky texture and intensity of layers. The finish is near perfect with creamy mocha, vanilla, smoke and lingering fruit. This wine will not disappoint, and I am thrilled to have tasted it and hope to see a few more bottles come my way!
($64 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: May 15

Grapelive Daily Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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starry05.gif2005 Starry Night Syrah Russian River Valley.
This wine has a Black/Purple with a garnet hue, this is a dark and opaque Syrah that looks deep and rich, is very intriguing. The bouquet is a great mix of everything you love about Syrah, flowers, spice, liqueur, chocolate, game and a sweet grapey essence that bursts from the glass when poured. The mouth is full and giving with rich fruit, and velvety tannins that have matured with the couple of years in bottle. Everything is in place and the palate is complete with thick fruit, lush body and textures. The flavors jump and coat the palate with blueberry, blackberry, plum and crème de cassis all exploding in a cascade of layers with hints of mocha, pepper, cherry pie and warm toasty oak vanilla.The finish here on this Syrah is all about length and complexity, every flavor comes back at different times on the finish, every detail comes alive and finally when the story ends the fruit stays along with a touch of dark chocolate. This is a modern and clean Syrah that delivers great depth and flavors a better because it has that extra time in bottle, making give everything now, this wine is ready and willing to please. Big bold yes, but with lots of delicate notes and focus, this is a yummy wine that your friends will go crazy for. ($28 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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