Category Archives: Wine Articles

Grapelive Latest: Special Review

Grapelive International Grenache Day Review

By Kerry Winslow

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pallieresracines.jpg2007 Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas “Les Racines” Rhone Red, France.
Kermit Lynch and Brunier family own and run Les Pallieres and it is one of the finest estates in the Southern Rhone, making world class reds from Gigondas from old Grenache vines, plus some other interesting grapes that find their way into the wines. But, it is all about Grenache and the richly lush fruit and peppery spice flavors. 2007 was one of the greatest vintages on record for the south and nearly perfect for Grenache, which showed massive fruit and high alcohol levels, but still retained vibrant flavors and freshness through firm acidity. The nose is like wildflowers, sweet crushed red berries with a hint of earth and game, but it is more about sweet ripeness in this amazing vintage. The palate is full and flowing with strawberry jam, cracked pepper, boysenberry, grenadine and chalky minerals. This is a mega wine that will age well and be better still in a few years, but I loved it right away and doubt I could keep my hands off it for long. ($36-42 Est.) 94-95 Points, grapelive
Available at San Francisco Wine Trading Company. SFWTC.com $34.95 each

www.sfwtc.com

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Grapelive: International Grenache Day

Grapelive Special Report: Grenache Day Reviews

By Kerry Winslow

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sheldonvino.jpg2005 Sheldon “Vinolocity” Grenache, Vogelzang Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley.
Dylan and Tobe Sheldon were inspired to make this wine by the Grenache based wines of Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and the Vinolocity only done in great vintages and special barrel selections is their flagship wine. Sheldon Wines, a micro-winery, hand-crafts small production cuvees from special vineyard sites throughout the state and for Vinolocity the fruit comes from the much hailed Vogelzang Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. This vineyard has a tiny amount of top Grenache available and the Sheldon’s secured a few tons, enough to make 350 cases. There is a small amount of Syrah added, much like what is done in Gigondas, to give a bit more color and tannin. This vintage is now reaching the peak and I think it is a perfect time to pop the cork and enjoy all it has to offer. The nose is floral and fruity with dried flowers, raspberry and strawberry notes before a medium weight palate of cherry, grenadine, jolly rancher candy, lavender oil, boysenberry and peppery spices. This wine has very subtle French oak, but is has softened and rounded the wine nicely. ($35 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

*Last Tasting 09-24-10

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Grapelive Latest

Grapelive International Grenache Day Pick

By Kerry Winslow

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bucklin08g.jpg2008 Bucklin Grenache “Old Hill “ Sonoma Valley.
One of the rarest and historic wines produced, this Grenache is a field blend from the Old Hill Vineyard, most likely the oldest vines in the state, (California) and without much doubt the oldest Grenache vines. This old vine and exotic Grenache is rich in flavor with complex layers of red fruits and spicy pepper. There is black cherry, plum, grenadine, raspberry and brambleberry fruit with touches of game, gravel, lavender and briar. Everything unfolds in vibrant fashion and is fleshy and intense, this is serious wine for those seeking the holly grail of California Grenache, and right up there in must have with Alban or maybe even Sine Qua Non. Only a few barrels made, and hard to find! ($40-45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: September 18

Grapelive Wine Value of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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redshed.jpg2009 Red Shed Syrah-Grenache, Sonoma County.
This is a great American Cotes-du-Rhone, which compares well in price and character, a wine that could not be found here in the past! Even in the last few years it has been hard to find a good California Rhone style wine under $20, let alone around $15, but now this little red comes along and shows it can and has been done and done well. The Red Shed is made by some top Rhone style wine producers and comes from the new Rhone region in California, the Bennett Valley in Sonoma, home to some of the most interesting Syrah and Grenache plantings in the state. The 2009 Red Shed has ripe and savory fruit, with blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, plum and currant fruits on the palate with touches of grenadine, pepper and lavender. While not a full-blown Chateauneuf style red, it is juicy and fun, giving lots of pleasure, especially for the price.
($16 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: September 15

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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mica07.jpg2007 Mica Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (by Buccella)
This very serious and seductive Cabernet is from the team at Buccella, and is crafted by Celia Welch, who also does Scarecrow and many other top wines. The 2007 Mica is lush, thickly textured and smoothly tannined with layers of dark fruits and smoky sweet oak shadings. The plush palate has blackberry, currant, plum, cherry, cassis, graphite, tobacco leaf, cedar and vanilla all in waves of flavors. Celia is really putting out some amazing Cabernets and this is one to look for as the price is right for the quality and it is still under the radar!
($65 Est.) 94-95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: September 6

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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roarsyrah.jpg2008 Roar Syrah “Rosella’s Vineyard” Santa Lucia Highlands.
Most people only go for the Roar Pinot, but it is a shame that more people don’t get a chance to try their Syrah, because for the last two vintages the Syrah has impressed me almost as much as the Pinot, and the Pinot is great. This vintage of Rosella’s Syrah has more classic Northern Rhone notes with black olive, hints of game, truffle and acidity, all of which adds to the whole in this young wine. The nose has pretty violets, blueberry and raw earth essences, with a touch of herb and lavender. The palate has soft tannins and ripe flavors, with boysenberry, plum and black cherry all playing a part, while a round blueberry compote layer floats in the background along with some pepper spice. I think this wine needs some time to show all of its best qualities, but everything is there and the finish is very lengthy and dreamy all ready. Of all the Roar wines this one has the most subtle use of the high quality French oak, and though you get the pretty vanilla and creamy texture, it doesn’t come across as in your face and goes perfectly with the force of the wine, very well done. The rating most certainly will go up after I retry it with a bit more age, but don’t wait only tiny amounts were made! ($40 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Spotlight

Grapelive Spotlight on Oregon

By Kerry Winslow

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stinnocent08.jpg2008 St. Innocent Pinot Noir “ Freedom Hill Vineyard” Willamette Valley.
Here is an amazing new release from Oregon, I just tasted this Pinot and was blown away! I thought 2006 was the year to end all years for Oregon, but wow these 2008’s are knocking my socks off, they are stunning and this one is just sublime. The nose is pure, almost Grand Cru like in rich detail and smokiness with fruit, mineral and perfume. The palate is lush, full and sexy with near perfect structure and balance, starting with more flowers and fruit, violets, dried roses, wild flowers and lots of plum, black cherry and blueberry all playing parts in silky layers. The vivid and vibrant flavors hold on and linger a lifetime it seems, with great toasty oak shadings that leave vanilla, spice and creamy sweet smoke. This wine will only get better and should age well, as it has stuffing and acidity to hold it together. Getting a case just might not be enough with this wine! ($45 Est.) 94-95 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: August 30

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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redcarhne08.jpg2008 Red Car Pinot Noir “Heaven and Earth” La Boheme Vineyard, Sonoma Coast.
Last year this wine grabbed the headlines when it scored 97 Points in Wine Spectator and graced the cover of the year’s Pinot Noir edition, but those in the know have been fans longer than that and are grateful that the 2008 got a more modest score when it was tasted in barrel, and now that it has had time to develop in bottle it is showing much better! Without question this wine is the real deal and will only get better, and for those that don’t need the hype, can get it! At the Family Winemaker’s show in August 2010, I got to try it, and wow this is great Pinot Noir and thought it might just prove to be better than the 2007! This 2008 is rich and vibrant with perfume and texture that are classic and refined at this point, with depth and structure. I found lots of interesting layers and was intrigued by the heady nose; it was like liquid flowers, roses, violets and wildflowers with mineral essence, sweet smoke and vanilla. The palate is pure Pinot, cherry and wild plum fruits are in full force, and there is some earth and spice in the background. The finish is long and leaves a silky fruit and herbs sensation with a touch of cola bean and lavender. ($60 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: August 21

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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el08.jpg2008 Evening Land Pinot Noir “Occidental Coast” Sonoma Coast.
This intense and wild Pinot Noir is full of dark fruits and has a wonderful and sexy perfume of violets and wildflowers with hints of sweet smoke and cherry liqueur. The palate is lush with silky cherry fruit, plums and blueberry notes, this is very much like a Grand Cru!  This is a stunning wine that looks set to be one of the best 2008 Sonoma Pinots, not a wine to be missed. With great vineyards and talented winemakers Evening Land is a serious and interesting project that looks to be hugely successful, especial after tasting the current releases from both California and Oregon, where they have Lafon helping! While all the wines merit attention, this one stood out and really spoke to me. The fruit is very impressive and the structure is near perfect, quite a remarkable Pinot given the vintage on the North Coast, which was not quite as good as 2007, though this wine is by far the best from the Sonoma Coast and certainly as good as any 2007! ($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: August 15

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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sheldon07grenache.jpg2007 Sheldon Grenache “Voglzang Vineyard” Santa Ynez.
Inspired by the wines of Gigondas, and after a winemaking pilgrimage to the Rhone Valley, Dylan and Tobe Sheldon started their own winery and found a special place in their hearts for Grenache. They have produced many a Grenache based wine since and they have been successful in their efforts in making a hand crafted and artistic wine that takes their respect for Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-Pape reds and styled a true California wine around it. The 2007 is still slightly wild and tight, but really opens up and shows very round and pretty fruit. The ripe fruit shows some strawberry jam, grenadine and plum, along with some tangy red berry and cherry too. There is some tannins and acidity that need to calm down, but the wine unwinds nicely with air and time to reveal spice, mineral and just a hint of subtle oak. This is a very vibrant and edgy wine that needs a bit of time to round out and fill out, and I expect it to get much better and deeper over the next year, though I enjoy it now very much. ($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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