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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 12

Grapelive Wine of the Week

By Kerry Winslow

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whansel.jpg2008 Walter Hansel Pinot Noir “The South Slope” Russian River.
This is a rich and smoky Pinot that shows lots of fruit layers and complexity. The nose is sweet and earthy with violets, game and char before loads of plum and red berry fruit. The palate is silky with a huge black cherry core, plum, dried flowers, cola and truffle notes. Sort of Nuit-St.-Georges meets Rochioli, and very interesting, again this producer makes one of the best values in Russian River Pinot. ($36-45 Est.)

93 Points, grapelive

Available at San Francisco Wine Trading Company

www.sfwtc.com

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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: Roar

Grapelive Spotlight New Releases from Roar

By Kerry Winslow

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roarpn08.jpg2008 Roar Pinot Noir “Pisoni Vineyard” Santa Lucia Highlands.
A major success, and maybe the best wine made by Roar to date, almost enough said! This is pure Pisoni, no question and scary as it sounds, it should only get better over the next 3 years! Robert Parker’s 96 Points make it a classic, but in all honesty it is better than that! I have had every vintage of this wine and even have a few bottles in my cellar, so I know what I speak when it comes to Pisoni and Roar, so don’t wait or think about it, if you can get this wine grab it! There is not much, as the crop was tiny, and regardless of Parker or myself it will sell out within hours. The 2008 Roar Pisoni is vivid, rich and wild with stunning depth and intensity. The nose is smoky sweet with wild flowers, violets, blue fruits and bramble berry with a touch of truffle. The mouth is lively, full and powerful, flowing with lush black/red fruits, briar, lavender, fennel and pencil lead. The core of wild plum and black cherry fruit holds on throughout and lingers for almost a minute, while vibrant acidity and fine tannins hold everything together perfectly. This wine is of Grand Cru class and drinks as well as anything in double its price grade! Fantastic effort from the Roar gang, I only wish there was more available! ($65 Est.) 97 Points, grapelive

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Grapelive Latest: September 1

Grapelive Wine of the Day

By Kerry Winslow

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masdelperie.jpg2008 Mas del Perie “Les Escures” Cahors, Malbec, France.
This new talented producer, Fabien Jouves, is a man to watch and this Cahors is a wine to adore! The 2008 Mas del Perie is lush and rich in fruit while being true to its terroir and is a super value. This is a wine that takes the fight to the Argentines! This Malbec had dark color, racy perfume and brambly fruit with a palate full of plum, cherry, briar and currants, with touches of smoke, licorice and earth. This wine easily bridges the gap between a fine Bordeaux and a fresh grapey country wine so don’t miss it! ($18 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

*at San Francisco Wine Trading Company $16.95

www.sfwtc.com

LINK TO PRODUCT

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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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