Monthly Archives: May 2015

Grapelive: Wine of the Day May 11, 2015

2012ManincorRubatschLagrein2012 Manincor, Rubatsch, Alto Adige Lagrein DOC, Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Italy.
This is a spellbinding purple/blue opaque Lagrein, beautiful in detail and glorious on the palate, Manincor Rubatsch Alto Adige Lagrein 2012 grown at elevation on sandy/granite ancient rock soils, is a stunning example of varietal and place! Fantastic and deep with almost Hermitage (northern Rhone Syrah) like complexity with blackberry, huckleberry, walnut oil, creme de cassis, raw pepper, iron ore, anise, game and chocolate covered bacon plus cherry pie notes, lavender salt and cedar. The Rubatsch was fermented using native/natural yeast in wood open top and was cool fermented on it’s skins for two weeks, giving lots of intense color and extraction, this is a robust and vigorous wine, but with well manged tannin and spot on balance, reaching about 13% alcohol, it was aged in small barrels of which 1 in 10 were new for just over a year. This is very impressive stuff from Manincor, in fact all their wines are stunning in current form and vintage, especially worth mentioning as well are their Pinot Bianco Eichhorn, the Pinot Nero Mason and both the Conte & Contessa cuvees, both the red and white blends which offer wonderful value. I rank Manincor right at the top for quality, style and value for this mountainous region of northern Italy, these are glorious wines. The latest Lagrein Rubatsch blends the area’s mineral and stony character with richly textured layers of black and red fruits with powerful results, this comes from Count Michael Goëss-Enzenberg’s pursuit of excellence and his devotion to his land, all certified biodynamic by Demeter, and his focus on making the finest wine he can, his family have been running this wine estate for about 400 years and he hopes in continues for another 400 years at least! His efforts in healthy and holistic food and wine are leading to ever improving quality on this estate and raising the game for the whole region of Alto Adige, if you want to sample the best from here, Foradori, Terlano and Manincor are the must try wines. 2011, 2012 and 2013 all are superb vintages for Manincor, these elegant and flavorful wines show vibrant energy, substance and poise, in particular this 2012 Manincor Rubatsch stands out and will entertain for many years to come, drink from 2015 to 2026, it really is something dynamic and special a truly world class Lagrein, don’t miss it!
($38 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day May 10, 2015

2012StormVrede2012 Storm, Pinot Noir, Vrede, Hemel-En-Aarde Valley, South Africa.
Hannes Storm spent 12 or so years at Hamilton-Russell making some of the finest South African Pinot and Chardonnay ever, and now we get a chance to try his own personal wines here in the States, his Storm label is now being brought in by Broadbent Selections, and it is a must have Pinot Noir for wine enthusiasts, I was completely blown away, and I had tried his wines before and had pretty high expectations, but still this 2012 Storm Vrede is as good as Pinot gets, from anywhere! Hemel-En-Aarde Valley is south of Cape Town and Stellenbosch, close to the cooling influence of Walker Bay and up the Onrus River set on Clay rich soils, not unlike the Cote de Beaune stylistically and I would say similar to Pommard for the Pinots, and Puligny for the Chards, though this Storm is not a Burgundy clone it has some elements that remind me of Comte Armand and even Henri Gouges, though it is truly it’s own wine with it’s own terroir markers. Hannes is certainly a talent, and his younger brother Ernst is making Storm Wines in California, for which I hear are exciting wines themselves, but this South African Pinot Noir is really something special and merits real attention and celebration, kudos to Hannes for crafting such an amazing and beautiful wine. The Southern Hemisphere can do Pinot, sites in areas like Central Otago N.Z., Mornington Peninsula, Aussie hot spot and Patagonia in Argentina all make superb Pinot Noir, but I think this part of South Africa still has the edge, especially after tasting this latest Storm Vrede, it has soul, detail, complexity and a glorious lingering finish, as well as firm tannins, vivid acidity and vigorous character. The 2012 Storm Vrede Hemel-En-Aarde Valley Pinot Noir, of which only 250 cases or so were made, starts with a perfumed mix of roses, violets and wild herbs, spice and mineral along with a slight reductive note, a touch of iron/game/flint before opening to a gorgeous palate of dusty plum, black cherry, mountain raspberry and balsamic dipped strawberry fruits, dried mushrooms, earthy loam, gravelly stones and a hint of bacon/wild boar, coffee bean, cedar and a play of cinnamon/herbal tea, licorice and tangy currant. The mouth feel is heavenly, with vibrant lift, but pleasing silky textures, this wine is a class act with a vast array of layers to cherish, it should drink well for another decade, though I would be hard pressed to wait as good as it is now, but I might consider another year or so in bottle, best from 2016 to 2023. This is as exciting as it gets for Pinot lovers, I highly recommend tracking some of this down, it would be easy, but so worth it!
($50 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day May 9, 2015

2013AltaRoses2013 Joan d’ Anguera, Garnatxa “Altaroses” Darmos, Montsant DO, Spain.
All organic, demeter certified biodynamic, pure Grenache from Darmos in Montsant by Joan d’ Anguera the Altaroses is a great expression of place and varietal with beautiful detail and lovely mouth feel. There isn’t many under $20 Garnacha’s that compare to this one, and 2013 is a superb vintage for this wine, it shows impressive character and is very charming with wonderful balance, it is not an over-ripe jammy style, it is very stylish and shows restraint, supple fruit, savory elements and finesse. The 2013 Altaroses by Joan d’ Anguera starts with floral and peppery spices on the nose with a burst of red berries leading to palate that surprises with vivid black raspberry, plum, strawberry and boysenberry fruits, chalky mineral, nice refined sweet tannin, a bit of lift in acidity and an array of lavender, dried flowers, cola bean, a hint of game/earth, anise and kirsch. The texture and vitality is really pleasing, the feeling on the palate is rich and pleasing, but not heavy or too dense, there is an elegance and grace not usually found in this class of Grenache, and it is very quaffable, great for sipping and perfect for outdoor gatherings and BBQ cuisine. It is really hard not to love this medium bodied gem from Joan d’ Anguera, they are making a fantastic set of hand-crafted wines, from this beauty to their ultra top end single vineyard Syrah, this is a winery to watch! Over the past few years they have converted to biodynamic, gone traditional and less oak in the cellar and their rocky terroir with tiny yields have really turned this label around, this is a good time to discover their quality, drink the Altaroses now through 2020.
($17 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day May 8, 2015

2012VoillotVolnay2012 Domaine Joseph Voillot, Volnay, Vieilles Vignes, Red Burgundy, France.
The 2012 Voillot Volnay is a generous and remarkable young Burgundy, I’ve tasted it twice now and each time it gets better and better and over the course of the last year in bottle it has gained depth, finesse and hedonistic charm and has entered a long phase of pure pleasure! This beautiful Pinot Noir bursts from the glass with floral tones, energy and fleshy fruits, this is a blockbuster from first smell and sip and never shies away, this wine has Grand Cru feel and detail and is a killer deal for the quality in the bottle, kudos to Voillot, this wine is a stunning example and is almost as fantastic as his old vine Pommard, which I highlighted last May and is also drinking out of this world today! Where the Pommard has a bit more stuffing and intensity, showing exotic perfume and meaty character, the Volnay is more delicate and unbelievably sexy and seductive with a lightness and focus that is impossible to resist, these 2012 Voillot’s are works of art and a passionate set of wines, especially these two, the Pommard and Volnay village offerings, if you can find them, they are well worth investing in, classy and gorgeous stuff. I was and am completely smitten with them, in particular this Volnay, this is one of the best village level Volnay’s I’ve had, and it is my favorite village version no question. I have the De Montille Premier Crus from Volnay, but for the money, I’d buy this one every time, the latest Voillot old vine Volnay is that good and special with dark floral tones on the nose with just enough exotic spice, red berries and tangy herb to draw you into it’s fine complexities and guide you to a refined palate of black cherry, plum and red currant fruits with fine dusty chalk, crushed stone, saline and tea leaf notes along with rose water, a touch of mint, fennel and cedar. The Volnay opens with grace and silky texture, gorgeous mouth feel, even this young and with a long future ahead, there is medium body, vivid acidity, subtle briar elements, savory essences and ripe/sweet tannins that have really melded into this Burgundy in fantastic manner since last May (2014) and it shows wonderful drive and balance, drink it over the next 5 to 7 years easy, and it should be a winner all the way, best from 2016 to 2024. Thanks to importer Vintage ’59 in California for allowing to sample this sublime set of wines, again! Wow, it would be a tough choice between the pair, the Pommard might be a tick better, but this Volnay is damn good!
($70 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day May 7, 2015

2012DivisionPN2012 Division Winemaking Co. Pinot Noir, Deux Vieilles Vignes, Eola Springs Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Division Winemaking Company is a Portland based urban craft winery that makes some amazing stuff, channeling the exciting vibe that is the city and the worldly experience that owners Thomas and Kate Monroe bring this is a winery to get on board with, and now! I was blown away with their offering at a recent trade tasting in San Francisco, I had heard from a Somm friend about them, but this my first time trying the wines and I’m so thrilled by what I sampled I am putting them on my list of bucket visits to exciting wineries to get to over the next year or so, especially good was their Gamay and this wonderful old vine Pinot Noir from Eola Springs Vineyard, not too far from Salem, from blocks originally planted in 1973. The 2012 is a beautiful and detailed wine, showing the fantastic vintage to near perfection with depth and gorgeous inner energy and ripe tannins, 20% whole cluster with about a third new oak, racked into neutral barrels after 9 months to preserve freshness and intensity. This is amazing stuff, with heady dark berry fruit, an almost Nebbiolo like tar and flowers start on the nose and nicely restrained alcohol at 13.3% a result of careful native fermentation, along with layers of silky cherry, raspberry, briar laced blackberry, strawberry and tangy smoky currants plus Asian spice, flinty minerals, crushed stone, sea salt and cedar notes. A hint of vanilla, cinnamon, roses and earthy loam float nicely in the background, adding to the whole joyous experience, Tom and Kate were going for excellence and achieved it here, a deft touch and a good year making for a sublime Pinot Noir, fitting perfectly with a house style that leans toward higher acidity and brightness, this Deux Old Vines is a stunner, drink from 2015 to 2022!
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day May 6, 2015

2006Tavares2006 Terras de Tavares, Quinta da Boavista, Dao DOC, Portugal.
Here’s a exciting discovery from Portugal, an estate crafted red from the Dao region made in an artisan style with pretty detail, mature character and real depth. Imported by a small importer, Bliss Wine Imports, the Terras de Tavares is a tiny production offering of barrel selected wine, and the 2006 is the current release, it is a cuvee of 50% Jaen and 50% Touriga Nacional vinified using native yeasts and aged in neutral oak, then rested for an extended period in bottle, everything done to highlight finesse and elegance, while still giving a sense of place. The Jaen grape is also known as Mencia, as found in the cooler Ribeira Sacra and Bierzo regions of northwestern Spain, but has been native here for generations, it adds lots of charm and life to the wine, and the Touriga Nacional gives richness and a dark core of fruit. The 2006 Terras de Tavares starts with a lush fruit and floral bouquet that evolves into a a heady mix and a certain spicy quality emerges with air leading to a smooth polished sweet tannin framed palate of black raspberry, plum and morello cherry with hints of brambly boysenberry, fig, creme de cassis and wild strawberry. There is surprising life, vitality and brightness to be found and the mouth feel is never flabby or heavy, while still almost full bodied and ripe in flavors, this is interesting and poised wine that is anything other than average and it picks up subtle wood cedar notes, lavender/red spice and dry stone/mineral notes that lift the complexity and carry on to the sweet and savory finish. There is plenty of vibrancy and focus to cheer about, this is very impressive and a well judged wine of quality and is very compelling, drink over the next 3 to 5 years, it looks to be at it’s best, no waiting required, fun and unique stuff no question, you should look for it.
($32 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day May 5, 2015

2013ClosCanarelliAmphora2013 Clos Canarelli, Amphora, Corse Figari, Red Wine, Corsica, France.
Yves Canarelli’s wines are a must try experience if you want to taste the real Corsica and his Figari wines are some of the most sought after on the island, and they don’t last long in Kermit Lynch’s warehouse either, these are special offerings and ultra luxurious examples of what can be achieved on this rugged French isle. Along with Leccia, Clos Canarelli produces some of the best white and rose wines from the region, their Vermentino, known as Vermentinu by the locals, and the rare native Biancu Gentile are spectacular and rival the whites from Bandol and Cassis, but Canarelli also does a fantastic set of reds, and these should not be overlooked. Clos Canarelli is now all organic and biodynamic and the vines sit on a windy granite outcropping near the bay of Figari with red alluvial soils that impart heightened mineral richness and vibrancy, the wines are fermented with native/natural yeasts and very low sulphur is used or if any, no finning or filtering is done and Yves is experimenting with cement and amphora in both his whites and reds, and it is his Red Amphora that is his newest offering, it is a masterpiece of beauty, grace and depth, wildly expensive and rare, it is not likely to be seen much, but it is certainly worth mentioning here. The 2013 Clos Canarelli Amphora Rouge is made up of five native varietals with 80% Niellucciu, which is island Sangiovese, and 10% Sciacarellu being the driving force, but with 10% unique grapes of which there are no names or classifications as of yet, they were from ancient vineyards of which there is not much known or written of, this adds to the allure and interest of this wonderful wine. The color is fairly deep, garnet/ruby in hue, the nose has lots of floral and red berry scents along with hints of warm clay and dried herbs leading to a dark fruited palate that reveals raspberry, black cherry, plum and tangy currant fruits with spicy/savory elements including sweet tobacco leaf, lavender oil, fig paste, mixed spices, elegant tannins, peachy fresh acidity and flinty/shale mineral tones. The Clos Canarelli Figari Amphora Rouge was made with de-stemmed grapes, vinified in amphora vessel, or cement egg shaped cuve for 4 to 7 weeks then transferred to stainless and or neutral oak barrel to rest, which in this case was between 7 to 9 months before bottling, there was no sulphur added, this is about as pure as pure gets and as natural as natural gets. The results are stunning and while I’m not thrilled about the price, this really is a glorious and gorgeous wine with real magic in the glass. This refined and poised red from Corsica is something to cherish and be swept away by, it’s smooth character and depth of flavor make it stand out, absolutely stellar like taking the best elements of Brunello, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and an ultra fine right bank Bordeaux, drink this over the next 3 to 5 years, best from 2016 to 2019.
($99 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day May 4, 2015

2009PaoloBeaVeo2009 Paolo Bea, Rosso de Veo, Umbria Rosso IGT, Sagrantino di Montefalco, Italy.
The pure and raw Sagrantino Rosso de Veo was fermented with native yeasts and raised in stainless for about a year then into used wood for about 2 years then rested a further year in bottle, and now it is here, one of the world’s most famous and iconic natural wines by Bea is a treasure to behold. The dark and opaque hue, the wild scents from the glass, hinting at the joy to be found on the palate of this intriguing wine where it reveals black cherry, blackberry, pomegranate, wild mint, crushed flowers, incense, chalky dust, porcini/earthiness, leather and salted black licorice along with blueberry skin, iron/blood, olive paste, cinnamon, dried lavender and cedar notes. The 2009 Paolo Bea Rosso de Veo is sublime and without question a continued exploration of the house style and of it’s terroir, it is a gift from nature and reflects the passion and believe of Bea and his family, it is certainly one of the most honest wines you’ll ever taste and maybe the truest form of Sagrantino available. This 2009 shows some ripe tannins, warm stony elements and enough juicy acidity to lift the fruit, there is lots of vigor, grip and extract throughout, you’ll need a good plate of rustic cuisine to bring out the best here, but there is much to celebrate and savor with it’s charm, power and layers of character. I absolutely love this wine for it’s flirty swagger, it is not afraid to be totally transparent, it is totally open, intense and like a confident woman at ease with everything she is, no need for make up or fancy clothes, utterly captivating without the need for adornments. For those that mock natural wines and go all glassy-eyed when the subject of biodynamics is brought up, this might be the wine to convert them, if not, fine, there will be a few bottles for the rest of us to enjoy. Regardless of where you stand, I for one, love all wine that is driven by the love of the land and has a sense of place, and while there are people miss using the term natural wine, and or using it as an excuse for seriously flawed wines that taste like crap, the Paolo Bea wines are very special, while not perfect and robust, these are soulful, full of energy and are as interesting and as deep as anything. These are wines that speak to the heart, beautiful, thoughtful and sensual wines that are still rooted in their humble Umbrian soils, glorious, mystical, earthy and enlightening. The drinking window will be generous for this 2009 Rosso de Veo, it will not require too much patience as pleasing as it is now, and it should drink nicely for 5 to 10 years, best from 2016 to 2022, don’t miss this rare and impressive offering from the master!
($60 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day May 3, 2015

2012MarchandMSDVergy2012 Marchand-Tawse, Morey-Saint-Denis, Rue de Vergy, Red Burgundy, France.
The new Pascal Marchand 2012’s are a lovely set of wines, youthful, expressive and very elegant with pure and vivid flavors, they highlight the vintage and do everything you expect in a well crafted Burgundy. The 2012 Morey-Saint-Denis Rue de Vergy especially delivers on it’s promise and has even more potential in the next few years to blossom further, as a little time in bottle should bare out, but it still entertains even now. The Marchand-Tawse 2012 reds all were 100% de-stemmed and rigorously hand sorted, only the best grapes in this already tiny crop were used, all the vines are farmed by growers, or directed by Marchand-Tawse, with biodynamic principles and this vibrancy and inner life shines through in the wines, they use up to 30% new oak in selected wines, though the wines all seem perfectly integrated and well judged. In particular the Morey-Saint-Denis Rue de Vergy feels luxurious and clear, Marchand’s wines are fruit driven, beautiful and delicately detailed and this one certainly shows his style with vivid black cherry, raspberry, spiced plum, mineral tones, hints of chalk, saline, tea spice, cedar and a hint of smoky/sweet toast from the wood along with nice core of refined tannin and acidity that lift and frame this Burgundy adding poise and vigor without aggressiveness. In fact with air this wine gains body, texture and length with hints of blueberry, earth, anise and lavender oil all lingering on in the glass of this rose and violet scented, darkly hued ruby red Pinot Noir. The mouth feel is rich, satiny and seamless, but again a year or two in bottle will be a huge benefit to this very fine and flowing young wine, there is more to come here and I would like to see it with the oak a touch more folded into the background, which I’m sure will happen, drink this impressive gem from 2017 to 2024, and of the other 2012 Marchand wines to look for you should jump at the Nuits-Saint-Georges Vaucrains, Pommard and Corton all which were much better, but way too young, these are a stunning set of wines from Pascal Marchand and his team and are great values for the quality.
($67 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day May 2, 2015

2011DianoSuber2011 Daino Bosco di Santo Pietro, Suber IGT Rosso, I Vigneri, Caltagirone, Sicily.
This tiny organic estate on Sicily’s far eastern side near Catania has it’s own unique terroir with it’s own soil and climate conditions that make it special and it part of Salvo Foti’s I Vigneri which oversees holistic vineyard sites. The Suber is a blend of Nero d’ Avola, Frappato and Alicante which goes through natural/native vinification/fermentation then raised in old large barrel and cask for about 12 months, then rested in bottle a further 6 months, these vines are bush trained and everything is done with respect for the land and ancient traditional winemaking techniques, without fining or filtration. Daino was looking to achieve pure and distinct character from their estate which is set in an old cork forest and nature preserve with red sandy soils and Mediterranean arenaceous rock, which differs from the wines of Etna (all volcanic) and Vittoria to the south which is more limestone/seabed based. The sexy dark color is what you notice first, the Alicante is a real pigment intense black grape, while the Nero d’ Avola and Frappato give depth and delicacy to this lovely and hedonistic Sicilian red, at 14.5%, this not a wimpy wine, but there is superb balance and silky tannins that don’t take away from it’s earthy old world charms. The nose has a mix of floral and spicy tones with loamy notes along with a hint of black fig leading to a warm palate of blackberry, plum, raspberry and dark liqueur along with dusty raisin, anise, a mix of spice, earth and mineral. There is some grip and cut here too and the finish is long with a nice play between sweet and savory elements, this is an interesting and intriguing wine, sort of a new layer in Sicilian wine, best to enjoy in it’s youth, with a pleasing window from 2015-2018. Diano’s Suber is a great addition to the I Vigneri collection, well worth a little search to find it, it mixes old school winemaking with a modern thought to varietals, very impressive stuff.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive