2011 Weingut Donnhoff, Riesling “Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg” Spatlese “Felsenturmchen” Nahe, Germany.
This is a stunning example of modern Spatlese, a wine that transcends time and place with textural depth and elegance on par with the world’s greatest white wines. Donnhoff continues to craft masterpieces at a pace that would put Leonardo Di Vinci to shame, and this beautifully balanced and remarkable Riesling is one such work of art. The 2011 Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Felsenturmchen Spatlese starts with a nose of orange blossom, poached peach and tropical fruits with hints of smoky mineral, white tea and spice leading to a medium sweet palate of yellow peach, green apple, lime and a hint of mango with loads of crushed rock, river stones and slate mineral tones while hints of sea salt/brine, earth and tangerine bring a mouthwatering excitement as well. The acidity is always present and vibrant, lifting the fruit and the driving force, but there is a sublime underlying richness and creamy feel. I wish I had a few cases of this rare wine tucked away, and even though it is all ready a brilliant wine, it should prove very rewarding both short and long term and may last 15-20 years. This is truly an almost perfect Spatlese that is seductive, playful and serious that is a gift of nature and terroir.
($48 Est.) 94-96 Points, grapelive
Imported by Terry Theisse
2010 Black Kite, Pinot Noir “Kite’s Rest” Anderson Valley.
It is not hard to see why Black Kite has a rebid following, and the latest Kite’s Rest will certainly be a hit with it’s lush texture and lively flavors. Jeff Gaffner, winemaker, has crafted some nice wines of late and I have to admire his talents, giving pleasurable wines, especially these last few releases of Black Kite. The 2010 Kite’s Rest is more subtle than the 2009 with much more finesse and elegance with a nose that offers a floral and red fruit bouquet with hints of mineral and earth leading to a medium weight palate of plum, cherry and dried currants, plus a touch of cranberry and apple skin that highlight the freshness of the vintage. This wine should develop nicely for another few years and the balance is quite focused all ready. The added elements include cola bean, dried flowers, tea/pepper spice and a touch of truffle. The finish is still tangy bright with lingering cherry, though look for it to lengthen over the next 12-24 months in bottle.
($45 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive
2011 G.B. Burlotto, Verduno Pelaverga, DOC, Piedmonte, Italy.
Pelaverga is a native grape to Piedmonte and is super rare, I have only heard of a handful of producers and research has found that is most commonly used as a light semi fizzy red wine or as a table grape, but Burlotto’s Verduno Pelaverga is a complete and stylish red wine with exotic spices and a saline/savory that makes this wine very interesting. The nose is lightly perfumed with rose petals and pepper leading to a palate of strawberry, plum and dried red currants with cayenne pepper, lavender and minty black salted licorice notes. Touches of mineral elements, like chalk dust and marmalade fold into the background, and that saline/spice lingers on the crisp finish. Not going to be an easy wine to find, but very cool non the less, drink young.
($22 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive
2010 Agostina, Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Tuscany, Italy.
This is flat out delicious wine with plenty of character and charm to spare, best to keep an eye out for this one and the vintage, as they are looking pretty good. I have had Agostina in the past, but honestly as good as they have been, this 2010 really is a stunner with deep fruit and complexity worthy of being called a “Baby Brunello” and in fact there are many Brunello producers that could only dream of making such a tasty wine. This wine is surprisingly full bodied with smooth texture and refined tannins, plus well balanced acidity adding sparkle to this fruit forward Tuscan. The nose starts with dried flowers, sweet tobacco leaf, red currants and hints of mineral which leads to the explosive palate of blackberry, plum, wild strawberry and dark chocolate notes. There is touches of lavender oil, cedar and some nice savory/spicy elements that add to the whole and the finish lingers on with coco and cherry pie. This is pure joy in a bottle, drink young and often best from 2013-2016.
($28 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2009 Domaine Camus-Bruchon, Savigny-Les-Beaune AC Red Burgundy, France.
Camus-Bruchon makes some outstanding classically styled Burgundy wines and while on the old school traditional side, these wines are interesting and easy to admire. This 2009 Savigny-Les-Beaune shows the hedonistic side of the vintage with heady fruit, meaty fullness and lengthy finish and can be enjoyed now and for the next 5 to 10 years. The nose starts with hints of dried flowers, rose oil, game, truffle and a touch of mineral to go with raspberry/red berry fruit leading to a palate of cherry, plum and cranberry fruits, grilled meat, anise and loamy earth notes. The acidity is laid back and there are some tannins present in this well crafted Pinot Noir from Savigny-Les-Beaune in the Cote de Beaune area of Burgundy. Domaine Camus-Bruchon has made some stunners in both 2009 and 2010 and they are wines worth searching out, especially this superb 2009 Savigny-Les-Beaune that delivers big time for a fair price.
($35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
Avail at www.sfwtc.com
2011 Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Riesling “Pittersberg” Grosses Gewachs, Nahe, Germany.
Georg Rumpf is making some fine wines, and while slightly under the radar, these are wines to find and covet. The Kruger-Rumpf wines show class and intensity with pure focus and terroir shinning through, especially this remarkable and fascinating 2011 Pittersberg Grosses Gewachs which is truly a Grand Cru dry Riesling. This intriguing wine has depth, character and powerful force with gripping acidity to go with loads of extract making for a long lived wine and it has sublime balance. The nose starts with stoney minerals, salty spices, white flowers and lemony notes which lead to a palate of peach, lime, tropical essences, apple and apricot fruits with a umami edge and sea/brine earthy touch leaving a mouthwatering feel. The mineral and slate notes run from start to finish and the grapefruit citrus lingers on the lip smacking aftertaste. Look for a creamy richness to come over time and lots of rewards for patience with this stunning wine.
($42 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive
2010 Domaine Ostertag, Muscat “Fronholz” Alsace, France.
Ostertag’s serious and seriously good dry Muscat is perfumed, but overly so and it has plenty of mineral, spice and even a saline/savory element that balances it out well. Funny, this grape along with Riesling doesn’t get the mainstream wine drinkers attention, mainly because they have only had poor examples or heard about them (told to stay away), though these are wonderful grapes, and this Muscat is a beautiful white wine that should have many fans. Sadly, it will be a tough sell at this price point, where it ironically competes with top Riesling wines. Regardless, I highly recommend trying this intriguing wine, it should go with most seafood, some Asian fare and light pork/ham dishes. The nose starts with jasmine, honeysuckle, orange flowers and hints of sea breezes leading to a palate of green apple, lemon/lime and tangerine with chalk, wet stones, white tea and tangy stone fruit pit.
($36 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Papa’s All-Blacks, North Coast Red.
This old style field blend is a Zinfandel based red that is a throw back to classic California wines, much like the way Ridge has been doing since the late sixties with the addition of Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouchet giving color and added interest in the wine. Bedrock has really turned out some great wines in recent vintages and this All-Backs is a very nice wine. The 2011 Papa’s All-Blacks starts with briar spiciness, blackberry, currant and plum while raspberry, cedar and coco powers add complexity. Hints of earth, mint leaf and linger with touches of pepper as well, but it is the bramble-berry flavors that stick on your taste buds. Light tannins and soft acidity gives life and project the vintage, which was a bit difficult for Zinfandel, not that you’d ever guess with this tasty wine.
($22 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive
2010 Montepeloso, A Quo, IGT Tuscan Red, Italy.
This fantastic estate near Maremma on the Tuscan coast makes some amazing wines and some top end stuff that rivals Ornellaia and Sassicaia, but I love this entry level cuvee A Quo and think it is a great value. The A Quo is a unique blend of Sangiovese, Marselan, Montepulciano and Alicante Bouchet making for a lively, rich and dark red that delivers plum, cherry, strawberry and blueberry fruits with savory spice, mint, tobacco and cassis. This wine is pure and is all about the fruit, earth and sense of place, and the texture is silky and very refined and the finish is lengthy with hints of lavender, brine and licorice to go with the berry fruit. While the Sangiovese is the leader here, the Marselan (a hybrid grape cross of Cabernet Sauvignon & Grenache) adds hints of black olive, pepper and currant notes which make this lush wine that much more intriguing. Another great import from Rare Wine Co. in Sonoma.
($24 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
Avail at www.sfwtc.com ($22.95)
2011 G.B. Burlotto, Langhe Freisa DOC, Piedmonte, Italy.
Freisa is really becoming a serious red wine, with some big press taking notice as well, it now places between Barbera and Nebbiolo and the 2011 vintage looks set to raise it’s presence even further. Burlotto is making some fantastic wines and this 2011 Freisa is stunning with great depth and vibrant flavors that highlight the grape’s charms to near perfection. The nose is brightly perfumed with spice, herbs and dried flowers along with hints of kirsch and a nice dark fruit component before a rich and racy palate of wild strawberries, plum and brambleberry fruits with truffle, anise seed, christmas cake and morello cherry. This is a super example of this grape and region done in a pure and natural style that allows the fruit to shine, but has lively acidity, earthy elements and pretty details.
($25 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive