2012 Melville Sta Rita Hills Estate Pinot | “Gorgeous, Radiant Wine” says Galloni

Thanks Nancy Pastor, The Wall Street Journal for the picture

Melville Estate – Tops in 2012 for Sta Rita Hills!

If Santa Barbara isn’t squarely on your radar, it should be.

Galloni opened his July 15 review with,

“A palpable energy and the thrill of discovery accompanied my tastings in Santa Barbara this year.”

Looks like big name Pinot producers from Napa and Sonoma have some competition on their hands. Melville in particular.

A long-time favorite, Greg Brewer and his team turned in a set of 2012s that flat out stunned Mr. Galloni. From fruit grown on their estate in the Santa Rita Hills AVA, Melville’s 2012 Pinot was the best of the bunch.

Galloni dubbed it

“One of the most polished, refined and aromatically expressive wines I have tasted from Melville…”

crowning it 94 points and saying

“What a gorgeous, radiant and totally sexy wine…”

Melville’s Lompoc estate, planted on various sub soils – predominantly Lompoc dune sand, clay loam and shale – performed brilliantly in 2012. The increased hang time allowed by the lazy, foggy mornings added up to picture perfect growing conditions. Brewer was able to harvest gorgeous fruit, with acidities to balance the striking fruit profiles and stunning aromatics.

Personally, these remind me of his ’07s – bursting with pleasure, balance like none other.

Gorgeous stuff, indeed!

Best price around is here for a short while:melville-2012-estate-pinot-noir-sta-rita-hills

http://bit.ly/1qicA7I

Silvia Imparato’s Montevetrano – “Explosive, Utterly Breathtaking”

montevetrano

Just outside the quiet town of Salerno – overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea – the Campanian vineyards of Silvia Imparato’s Montevetrano have become the stuff of legend.

Her grandparents purchased the property in the 1940s, producing various crops and wines for the family and their friends. But Montevetrano was only about sharing, says Silvia – no one ever thought it would become so famous.

After dabbling in fine wine on her own for awhile – attending various tastings throughout Europe – Silvia had a dream: to rebuild her grandparent’s property. She asked her dear friend Riccardo Cotarella (the “Wizard”; Falesco, Terra di Lavoro, Galardi) to join her on her journey. Together they replanted the vineyards, completing the task by 1985. Aglianico, Cabernet and Merlot were planted to the southwest facing hillsides that surround the estate, Cabernet and Merlot planted on the vineyard’s original Aglianico rootstocks.

By 1991 the first bottles of Montevetrano were bottled and shared – again, mostly among family and friends. They built a modern cellar for storage – keeping the beautiful, ancient family villa for private use.

As for this 2007, from a long, warm and unique vintage, it absolutely overflows with buckets of radiant fruit. I can’t get enough of this wine – it’s one of Silvia’s greatest achievements.

And I know it’s going to be a treasure in your collection.

 

Available for a short while – at a fraction of its original price – here:

 

http://bit.ly/V4kB7Kmontevetrano ii

 

Clos Marie Pic Saint Loup – “Detonative” Southern Secrets

clos-marie

 

I’m thrilled to say I finally located these treasures!

My first excursion to the zones of the Languedoc back in the early ’90s was to visit places few had begun to fully exploit; St Chinian, Roquebrun, Faugeres, La Clape… Backwater AOCs with promising futures.

I continued returning, trekking through the zones as the French AOC system began granting grand crus, touring the mountains and valleys, discovering monumental bottlings.

Today, one guy seems to know everyone on the front lines: importer extraordinaire Peter Weygandt – he’s deep in the game, ferreting out selections that blow my mind. Like these.

This is Clos Marie, run by the young and energetic Christophe Peyrus who honed his talents at Clos Rougeard and Dagueneau. When I first arrived to this region, it was simply AOC Languedoc. Today, these vineyards are rightly recognized, elevated to the grand cru of Pic Saint Loup.

Christophe’s vineyards, surrounding the hamlet of Lauret (outside of Montpelier), are terraced vines abutting Montagne de l’Hortus – a grand site, indeed. Everything is biodynamic, when the vines come alive in spring, the aromas are heavenly.

The wines? Staggering, in every way possible. Fruit, balance, and terroir unlike anything you’ve experienced. You’ll want to go there, to that magical Pic Saint Loup, I guarantee it…

 

Available here:

http://www.b-21.com/

(search producer: Clos Marie)

 

Clos Metarie VVClos Marie Glorieuses

Chateauneufs & More from the Incomparable Jaume Brothers – Tops in 2012!

Alain Jaume et Fils

The modern-day Jaume facilities

On one my early trips to the region back in the 1990s, I encountered the wines of Grand Veneur in Chateauneuf du Pape. M. Alain Jaume was still very much in charge, but his sons – Sebastien and Christophe – were eagerly in training. I’ll never forget that day, as it confirmed them as being among the elite of Chateauneuf and the Rhone.

By the early 2000s, I heard that the brothers had taken more control of things, adding their now-famous Lirac, “Clos de Sixte”. A wine which can easily out “Chateauneuf” many CDPs, the debut of that wine added an exclamation point to a history of superb wines.

Originally established in the early 1800s, Grand Veneur was singled out by Parker as

One of the most brilliant estates in Chateauneuf du Pape,”

for their killer track-record.

Along with such overachievers as Janasse, Marcoux, Clos Saint Jean and CGrand Veneur VVlos des Papes, Grand Veneur consistently tops the charts – vintage in, vintage out – with gorgeous and exciting wines.

For 2012, I bought the range. From their Lirac “Clos de Sixte”, to the “Les Origines” (a selection of the best barrels), to the VV, each wine is here for you to explore. And if there was ever a vintage worth exploring to the max, 2012 is the one…

Available here:Jaume Clos Sixte

http://www.b-21.com/searchwine.asp

(search producer: Grand Veneur)

Massolino Barolo | A Towering 2009 from the Family who Lit the Way

Serralunga d’Alba

Serralunga d’Alba

At the end of the 19th century, the tiny hamlet of Serralunga d’Alba needed a spark, quite literally. Electricity had yet to find this corner of Italy. It would be Great-grandfather Massolino, Giovanni Massolino, who would not only establish a family estate but light the village, as well.

Giovanni Massolino’s accomplishments in 1896 established his progeny as the founders of the village; torchbearers for Barolo. His son established the wine-grower’s consortium in the 1930’s, ensuring quality, control and an identity for Baroli. Serralunga d’Alba owes its very history to these pioneers – true vanguards – without the Massolino family, who knows what Barolo might be today.

The founder’s Great-grandson bought the family’s first single Cru, but today’s generation remains focused on the family’s true jewel, their “simple” or “straight” Barolo.

Specially blended from hand selected plots within each single Cru, this DOCG Barolo outshines even the most illustrious single Crus in top vintages.

Massolino Barolo

2009 Massolino Barolo

For 2009, it took my breath away! I simply adore it.

With Spectator’s 95 point endorsement, you can’t go wrong. An amazing wine; from the family who lit the way.

 

Available for a very special price for a short while here

Brittan Vineyards Pinot Noirs – Lovers of Great Burgundy, It Doesn’t Get Much Better!

Brittan Vineyards

I’ve been at the Burgundy game for 30 years; tasting my way through every village of the Cote, north to south and back again. I’ve personally visited with vignerons through thick and thin on more than 2 dozen occasions. It’s maddening some times, the elusive bottle of mind-bending Pinot.

Oregon ain’t no picnic either, might be even more frustrating. Pinot won’t be tamed, tricked, cajoled, manipulated, masked. Cabernet? Grow it anywhere; it’ll still show its stuff. Try that with Pinot and you might as well sell it off to the distillery.

Estimates put the top performers – those who garner the BIG points – at less than 1% of all growers.

So imagine the look on my face when reading the headlines in the Wine Advocate,

“Brittan’s wines with low pH and firm acidity (without sacrificing flavor) are sure to send bolts of rapture through lovers of great Burgundy” .

Visions of Mortet went dancing through my head. Let me conclude by saying, any bottles remaining after this pre-sale will find themselves quietly resting next to verticals of Aubert’s best in my cellar.

Don’t dilly dally…

Available for a short time…

Here

And here

2009 Pintia |Vega Sicilia’s “Very Cool” Toro | 94 Points Wine Advocate

Vega Sicilia

A lot has been made of the famous Vega Sicilia. The name itself is undoubtedly the most recognized in Spanish wine loving circles. It holds its own – in more ways than one – alongside the most revered in wine. Its history is legendary.

I wonder, though how many know that Vega Sicilia was once sold as Rioja. Or that the original owner – Senor Lecanda – returning from Bordeaux with 18,000 vines to be planted at what is now called Vega Sicilia, would have the harvest distilled for Brandy.

My, how the world has changed.

Turn the page and meet the real forward thinkers, the Alvarez family, in charge since 1982. What they have done here is nothing short of miraculous. Expanding while perfecting, they have added estates across Spain, including Pintia in Toro, acqPintia 2009uired in 1997.

I asked about the name.

“Short, sweet, cool and easy to remember…” says Pablo.

They’ve tamed the once wild and belligerent Tempranillo of Toro, too. In Pablo’s cellars, deftly controlled by wine-maker Xavier Ausas, this is Toro with no equal. Very cool, very hip, totally unmatched.

The Vega Sicilia of Toro? You nailed it!

Track it down here