April 29, 2007

Wine Tasting with Kysela Imports

Wine Tasting!
Saturday, April 28th

We are featuring wines from one of America's top importers - Fran Kysela!

Robert Parker says of Fran Kysela, "one of the finest palates and selectors of top wine!"

Many of you have heard me tout the merits of different importers and advise you to look on the back of a bottle of wine to learn who the importer is. If you want to experiment and try something new, find a couple of top-notch importers whose wines you generally like. Then, look for wines imported by those importers. It's a safe way to try something new!

Fran Kysela should be one of those importers you seek!

The Wines

The theme - great wines for warmer weather! It's time to grill and relax!

The Sparkling:

Mont Marcal Cava Reserva Brut 2003 (Spain) $13.99 - This is a delicious sparkling wine! Aromas and flavors of limes, lemons, white cherries, nuts, minerals. Clean & dry finish! Estate-grown and estate-bottled. The "dosage" is added to this wine right before it is shipped - so it is extraordinarily "fresh" in the mouth. Blend of Xarello, Parellada and Macabeo. Aged 24 months on lees, adding richness. Food pairing - This pairs well with seafood and spicy foods. Drinks great on its own! Wine & Spirits, 90 points

The Whites:

Domaine Laurent Miguel Chardonnay Viognier 2005 (France) $11.99 - I love Chardonnay-Viognier blends....the Viognier adds such nice floral and tropical fruit characteristics to the wine! This is delicious! Aromas and flavors of apricots, lemons, minerals and almonds. 65% Chardonnay and 35% Viognier. 7% is aged in oak barrels. Sustainable agriculture. Food pairing - great as a cocktail wine on its own! Enjoy with seafood or poultry dishes.

Hugues Beaulieu Cave de Pomerols Picpoul-de-Pinet 2005 (France) $11.99 - Just a tremendous wine! Picpoul is often called "the Muscadet of the South" in France. Wonderful on warmer days as we hade for summer! Great with shellfish, lobster and seafood! Aromas of fresh bread, yeast, nuts, red berries and minerals. Flavors of tropical fruit, pear, apple and lime. Crisp acidity. Hints of spice on the finish. Food pairing - Drinks well on its own! Perfect with shellfish, lobster and seafood. Wine Spectator, 87 points, "Best Value"

Wolfberger Edelzwicker 2005 (France) $14.99 - This is a good tasting blend from Alsace and given that it is in a one Liter bottle (1/3 more wine), an even better value! Aromas of almonds, walnuts, minerals & citrus fruit. Flavors of fresh lemons, grass, minerals and a hint of spice. Blend of Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat, Sylvancer and Chasselas. Each of the grape varietals is picked individually (early-mid October). Food pairing - fresh salads, smoked fish, freshwater fish, shellfish, seafood, ham and more! Drinks well on its own!

The Reds:

Tres Ojos Calatayud Old Vines Garnacha 2005 (Spain) Reg. $9.99 Sale $8.99 - Tasty! Tasty! Tasty! And a great value to boot! Pretty brick red color. Aromas of red berries, cherries, leather, spice and pepper. Loads of juicy red berry fruit (cherries, raspberries, strawberries) in the flavors. Well-balanced acidity. Soft tannins at the finish that are almost, but not quite grainy (this is a pleasant feel). 100% old-vine (40-50-year-old vines) Grenache. Aged 12 months in stainless steel. Food pairing - Drinks well on its own. Great with grilled meats, sausages, harder cheeses.

Thorn-Clarke Milton Park Shiraz 2006 (Australia) $12.99 - The The 2005 vintage sold-out in Maine as soon as Robert Parker dropped 90 points on it! The 2006 vintage just arrived in Maine. The 2006 is every bit as good as the 2005! Loads of dark berry and black cherry fruit with hints of licorice and oak in the aromas and flavors...these are rich, lush, full-bodied wines that should be drunk now. It's a blend of 86.5% Shiraz, 6% Nebbiolo, 4.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot. Food pairing - great for a day grilling! Drinks well on its own!

Maipe Malbec 2005 (Argentina) Reg. $12.99 Sale $11.99 - This is an excellent wine and a great value! I had the opportunity to taste this on Wednesday and Thursday. The 1st time the wine showed lots of depth and complexity even though it had been open for hours! The 2nd time it had just been opened and was easy AND good drinking right off the bat! Aromas and flavors of flowers, ripe figs, dark berry fruit and more! Soft, integrated tannins. Nice length on the finish! Brand new to Maine! Food pairing - drinks well on its own. Great with roasted and grilled meats, dishes with Provencal herbs, rich pasta dishes, etc.

Thorne-Clarke Shotfire Ridge Shiraz 2005 (Australia) $22.99 - This is a big, beautiful Barossa Shiraz! Full-bodied with huge flavors & aromas & it is elegant! Aromas & flavors of plums, cinnamon, dark chocolate, spicy oak, berry fruit & more! Just a mouthful of wine! Velvety, creamy & rich feel. Long finish. Soft, smooth tannins. If you are looking for a special wine to set aside for a few years, this will age well for 7-10 years....and it drinks great right now! Aged in a combination of new and old oak barrels (40% new, both French and American). Brand new to Maine! Food pairing - steaks, lamb, big meals. Drinks GREAT on its own! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 92 Points; Wine Spectator, 92 points, "SMART BUY"

The Dessert:

Toro Albala La Noria* Pedro Ximenez 2003 (Spain) $22.99 - Superb dessert wine! Aromas and flavors of figs, caramel and toffee. Viscous, smooth, exotic texture! Nice acidity that keeps this sweet wine from being syrupy or cloying. Single vineyard. Organic winery. From the Montilla-Moriles region. Unfiltered. This will keep after opening for a month. Food pairing - great as a dessert wine...I'd pair it with a cheese course, but it will work well with a sweeter dessert. Serve COLD!
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

Wine Tasting with a Master Sommelier and Fran Kysela Wines!

An Evening with a Master Sommelier

The Tasting
Wednesday, April 25th
Azure Cafe
Main Street, Freeport
(if you can't be there right at 5:30, don't worry....show up when you can)

The Wines
We are thrilled about this event.

The tasting not only features wines from one of the best importers of wines in the United States, Fran Kysela Pere et Fils, the tasting features Robert Jones, Master Sommelier.

Robert is one of only 82 Master Sommeliers in the US. He's forgotten more about wine than I know. At the same time, he is down to earth, fun, friendly and informative. When I called Jonas at Azure to see if we could host the tasting at his restaurant, he leapt at the chance (he's spent time tasting wines with Robert before)!

If you really want to learn about wine, this tasting is the place to be!

The wines we will taste are relatively new to Maine. The distributor is one of the new "little" guys in Maine - David Joseph of DaVine Wines.

We will taste 9 wines.
The wines are:

The Sparkling:

Thorn-Clarke NV Sparkling Brut (Australia) $17.99 - This is a superb sparkling wine from Australia! As Stephen Tanzer of of International Wine Cellar puts it, this "smokes many Champagnes...at less than half the price!" Crisp and smooth. Aromas of fresh bread, yeast, nuts, red berries and minerals. Flavors of peaches, pears, minerals, tropical fruits such as kiwi and guava. Crisp acidity. Delicious! Blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Food pairing - excellent as a cocktail wine or for toasting! Serve with lobster, shellfish, fish, poultry, etc. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points; Stephen Tanzer, IWC, 88 points

The Whites:

Cave de Pomerols Picpoul-de-Pinet 2005 (France) $11.99 - Just a tremendous wine! Picpoul is often called "the Muscadet of the South" in France. Wonderful on warmer days as we hade for summer! Great with shellfish, lobster and seafood! Aromas of fresh bread, yeast, nuts, red berries and minerals. Flavors of tropical fruit, pear, apple and lime. Crisp acidity. Hints of spice on the finish. Food pairing - Drinks well on its own! Perfect with shellfish, lobster and seafood. Wine Spectator, 87 points, "Best Value"

Wolfberger Edelzwicker 2005 (France) $14.99 - With a Master Sommelier on hand, we had to head to Alsace! This is a good tasting blend from Alsace and given that it is in a one Liter bottle (1/3 more wine), an even better value! Aromas of almonds, walnuts, minerals & citrus fruit. Flavors of fresh lemons, grass, minerals and a hint of spice. Blend of Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat, Sylvancer and Chasselas. Each of the grape varietals is picked individually (early-mid October). Food pairing - fresh salads, smoked fish, freshwater fish, shellfish, seafood, ham and more! Drinks well on its own!

Guillemot-Michel* Macon-Villages Burgundy 2004 (France) $29.99 - Excellent Chardonnay from a great vintage! Wondeful aromas of minerals, honey, lemon & freshly mown grass. Flavors of lemon, honey and minerals! Crisp, clean and fresh finish that lasts! This estate is one of the best in Macon and it is one of the leaders in bringing about the emergence of Macon as a top-quality producing area (the cool thing about wines from Macon, though, is they are still from Macon and that area really doesn't have much cache to its name, so you are getting a lot of bang for your hard-earned buck!). Biodynamic and organic producer*. 100% malolactic fermentation so it is creamy and buttery, but it retains its crispness and vibrancy because it is fermented in stainless steel rather than oak. 100% Chardonnay. Food pairing - roasted poultry, lobster, baked trout, salmon, tuna, crab cakes, etc.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

The Reds:

Domaine de Regusse Pinot Noir VDP des Alpes de Haute Provence 2005 (France) $12.99 - A wonderful Pinot Noir and a great value! Rich, smooth and supple in the mouth. Dominated by blackberry, cherry and raspberry fruit with the hints of earthiness in good Pinot Noir that I love! This has a soft finish and nice length on the finish. 100% Pinot Noir aged in oak barrels. Food pairing - perfect match for grilled or roasted meats, fresh game, robust mushroom dishes and more.

Solarce Rioja Crianza 2001 (Spain) $15.99* - This is a wonderful Rioja with some nice age on it! Aromas of black cherries, plums, vanilla, oak and pepper. Soft texture. Flavors of dark fruit, a little earth and spice. Nice length on the finish. Medium-bodied. Dusty, soft tannins on the finish. This is one of the few totally organic* wineries in Rioja...it is run by the founder's daughter, Alicia Rojas. Blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. Aged 12 months in American oak barrels. Food pairing - roasted meats, meat-based tapas, mushroom dishes.

Thorn-Clarke Milton Park Shiraz 2006 (Australia) $12.99 - The 2005 vintage sold-out in Maine as soon as Robert Parker dropped 90 points on it! The 2006 vintage just arrived in Maine....it's a blend of 86.5% Shiraz, 6% Nebbiolo, 4.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot. This has loads of dark berry and black cherry fruit with hints of licorice and oak...this is rich, lush & full-bodied. This is a "drink now" wine that will last well for another 2-3 years. Food pairing - great for a day grilling! Drinks well on its own!

Alain Jaume "Clos de Sixte" Lirac Rouge 2004 (France) $23.99 - This is a beautifully elegant wine from Lirac from one of the best winemakers in Chateauneuf-du-Pape! Aromas & flavors of red & dark berry fruit, baking spices, peppery spice and more. Hints of licorice & vanilla on the finish. Well-balanced tannins. Blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah & 15% Mourvèdre. 2004 is an outstanding vintage from Southern France! Food pairing - meats, meat dishes, mushroom dishes, robust vegetarian dishes, etc.
Wine Enthusiast, 89 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88-90 points

The Dessert:
Kerisac Sparkling Cider NV (France) $11.99 - This is awesome! Northern France (Normandy and Brittany) are renowned producers of sparkling ciders. This cider is light and low in alcohol (only 2.5%). It's a blend of 5 apples - each is chosen for its flavor profile: Kermerien (bitter), Bedan (sweet), Douce-Moen (bittersweet), Petit Jaune and Avrolles (both for their acidity). Food pairing - Refreshing and fruity, this is ideal as a cocktail wine and excellent with fruit desserts, sorbets, etc. Sparkling ciders are great wines for warm days!

April 20, 2007

April 2007 Wine Tasting

April Wine Tasting!
Friday, April 20th

It is Spring! Suddenly, on Thursday....Spring sprang! Lo' and behold....we are tasting wines PERFECT for grilling and hanging out with friends...

We are headed to the "Old World" with some of these wines (me....I love "Old World" wines with grilled meats....and I am dying to break out my Weber CHARCOAL grill for good...I've had it out a few times this "Spring"....but, not for good)...."Old World" to me means some rusticity, earth, tannins and acidity....not just fruit-driven wines....a few of these wines are "New World" wines from the same winery for contrast....we love both...."Hey...warm day...cooking...but, the grilled meat isn't on the table,".....the "New World" wines are often better cocktail wines than "Old World" ones... Each has its place IF it is well-made! And, tastes good! All of these taste good!

And we'll have Ann-Marie here with her "Secret Sauce" - which is the perfect marinade for chicken, veggies, pork, salmon and more....and she loves cooking outside and it may be the PERFECT day to have her outside!!! WARNING...each time she has been here...we have had a thunderstorm! Of course, all of those were forecasted ACCURATELY and the forecast for Friday is GORGEOUS!

Wine Tasting!!!

Friday, April 20th

Freeport Cheese & Wine
27 Bow Street
Freeport, ME
(207) 865-3993

The Wicked Wines boys are back....with some wickedly good wines for Spring....we'll also have Nat, from RP Imports, the importer they get these wines from....and Nat can certainly wax poetic about these wines....plus, he has these Dickensian sideburns...so, he should be able to spin a yarn or 2!

As always, we are excited to host these characters in our store (the Wickeds and Ann-Marie) - we love their products, their joie de vivre and their oomph!

For several of these wines....we are using a "brand-new" to Maine importer....VinLazano...they are a small husband-and-wife team out of New Hampshire/Massachusetts....I'm actually thrilled with this because I originally connected this importer with the distributor last year! They specialize in "hands-on," all-natural winemakers in Spain - and they only do Spain. The Portuguese wine we are tasting is brought in by a tiny importer from Massachusetts that only does Portugeuese wines.

The Sparkling:
Villa Cornaro Prosecco 2005 (Italy) - $11.99 - This family-owned estate dates its wine-making days to at least 1919....the villa on the property dates to the 1550's....I look at the photos of the area and I am reminded of The Shire from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" - okay....I am a huge Tolkien geek AND I am reading "The Fellowship of the Ring" to our daughters right now....ANYWAY....this is a wonderful Prosecco and a GREAT value! Straw-colored....fresh and vibrant flavors and aromas....nice, light, persistant bubbles.....aromas and flavors of citrus and minerals....dry, but not overly dry...still has nice fruit flavors and a touch of sweetness balanced with acidity (Prosecco shouldn't be bone-dry). Food Pairing - Great cocktail wine or as the sparkling wine for a toast! Pair this with lighter desserts (fruit sorbets, fruit tarts), a cheese plate....this is a wonderful wine for a romantic evening! Great with smoked fish! Prosecco is possibly my favorite wine with smoked salmon!

The Whites:

Caves Messias Vinho Verde (Portugal) - $7.99 - Well...the weather seems to be smiling on us FINALLY...so we are pulling out a definite summer white....this is light, fresh, zippy and has a hint of bubbles in the mouth! The Portuguese call Vinho Verde "Mother's Milk." It's low in alcohol...it is refreshing....perfect for a warm day in the sun! Food Pairing - a cocktail wine....it goes well with light seafood or shellfish and lighter dishes.

Kuentz-Bas White Blend 2004 (Alsace, France) - $13.99 - This is a blend of Alsatian grapes (Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner and Auxerrois and maybe one or 2 others)...if you are looking for a traditional dry, minerally-driven Alsatian white...you will find this a little different....hopefully, you will like it as much as we do! Aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, citrus, honey, nuts, peppery spice, baking spices & white flowers. Nice acidity to balance the wine. I'd call this off-dry...certainly not sweet, but not completely dry either. Soft and soft finish with nice length. Food Pairing - Drinks great on its own! Smoked fish, ham, Asian dishes, sushi, cream sauces, etc.

Illuminati Costalupo 2004 (Italy) - $12.99 - Aromas of tropical fruits, apples, pears, white flowers and more. This is dry and refreshing. It's also a pretty big white wine! From Northern Abruzzo. This estate, Fattoria di Nico, was the pioneering wine-making force in this area in the late 1800's and early 1900's....led by Nico Illuminati...today, his grandson leads this family-owned winery, which is situated on the best, high, hilly terrain in the region. Dino Illuminati has won several Italian winemaker of the year awards, including ones for experimentation. Blend of mostly Trebbiano, with about 10-15% of each of Passerina, Riesling and Chardonnay. Costalupo means "land of the wolves" in Abruzzo. Food Pairing - All seafood dishes, anitpasti, cream sauces, soups and light meats.

The Reds:

SantoNegro Monastrell 2005 (Jumilla, Spain) - $10.99 - This is a rich, easy-to-drink wine that is sure to be a summer time hit! It's juicy, dark and has soft tannins....a perfect wine for grilling! Aromas and flavors of dark berries, black cherries, Mediterranean herbs, peppery spice with hints of blueberries & licorice. Monastrell is the French grape, Mourvedre. I just love wines from this area in Southwestern Spain! As usual, this is a great value! This is a sandy area....and the phylloxera pest (think aphid) doesn't like dry, sandy soil...so, the vines are old ones! Old vines make the best wine! Food Pairing - grilled meats, roasts, a burger, rich veggie dishes...drinks well on its own!

SantoNegro Monastrell Tempranillo Crianza "Barrel Selection" 2002 (Jumilla, Spain) - $14.99 - The first of two wines that appear to be similar on the surface (i.e.; the name, the winery, the region)....this is NOT the same wine as its younger sibling.....Aromas and flavors of stewed blackberries, cherries, minerals, licorice, vanilla, baking spices, leather and earth. Aly calls this, "beautifully complex and balanced!" Medium-to-full bodied. This is smooth and supple. Well-balanced acidity and tannins. Nice length on the finish. Blend of 60% Monastrell (Mourvedre) and 40% Tempranillo. Food Pairing - Drinks well on its own....pairs up well with meats, grilled and roasted, aged cheeses, mushroom dishes, etc.

Ruiz Villanueva Tinto Cencibel Joven* 2005 (Spain) $14.99 - Cencibel is more often called Tempranillo. Across Spain it goes by different names. This winery produces organic wines. Joven refers to a "young" wine. This wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel. It is made in the same manner as Beaujolais Nouveau (although it tastes nothing like a Beaujolais Nouveau). It is made using "carbonic maceration." The grapes are just thrown into the vat and left to ferment on their own - the weight of the grapes begins to crack the grapes on the bottom...the juice naturally ferments causing the entire vat to undergoe fermentation....and you get wine! This type of fermentation really preserves the bright color and fresh fruit characteristics of the grapes! In this case, you get a wine with lots of aromas and flavors of red berries, currants & licorice. It has mild tannins and nice acidity. It is bright and fresh to drink. Unoaked. Food Pairing - Drinks well on its own! Wonderful with barbecued meats, goat cheeses, paella, rice-and-beans, and more!

Ruiz Villanueva Tinto Cencibel Roble* 2003 (Spain) - $18.99 - While this wine "appears" similar to its sibling by name, these wines are not alike at all. This is 75% Cencibel (Tempranillo), 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah. Like its little sibling, it is estate-grown and produced and it is organic (by the way, this is a family-owned estate - a brother-and-sister team run the vineyards and winery). The wine spends 6 months in oak barrels (French and American barriques). This is a richer, more complex wine than the Joven. Aromas and flavors dark berries, black cherries, plums, spices, herbs and a hint of vanilla and toast. Nice depth and richness to this wine. Nicely developed tannins. The wine is also bottle aged at the winery to make sure it hits the market ready to drink rather than being too young. Food Pairing - lamb, beef, fresh game....rich stews, etc. This drinks well on its own also.

Vinha da Tapada Coelheiros 2002 (Portugal) - $14.99 - In my mind, this is the most "old world" wine we are tasting today. Aromas and flavors of red berries, green peppers, vanilla, earth, minerals and herbs. This has a nice back-end to it that is driven by an earthy, herbal soft fruit quality. Long finish. Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Castelao (also known as Periquita in Portugal). Aged 6 months in 2nd year French oak barrels. Bottle aged for 2 years before releasing. Food Pairing - grilled meats, roasted meats, "pork and clams" (a national meal in Portugal). Definitely more of a food wine than a cocktail wine...if you are using it as a cocktail wine, pull out some salami!

The Dessert:
Liberalia Uno Moscatel y Albillo* 2005 (Castilla y Leon, Toro, Spain) - $21.99
- The name of the winery pays tribute to the Greek God, Dionysus (Bacchus to Roman fans). It pays tribute to celebrating the passage of children into adulthood. The wine is a blend of Moscatel (65%) and Abillo (35%). From 70-year-old vines. Sustainable agriculture. This has a big, oily texture...it is mouth-filling. It is sweet and it has nice acidity to balance the sweetness. Aromas and flavors of tropical fruits dominate this wine...the texture is big and soft and lush and smooth. Long finish. Food Pairing - blue cheeses, foie gras and pates, fresh fruit, dessert courses other than chocolate.

That's the line-up....

We look forward to seeing today!

April 15, 2007

March 2007 Wine Tasting

March Wine Tasting
Freeport Cheese & Wine
(207) 865-3993

The Whites

Jakob Schneider Riesling Kabinett Nahe 2005 (Germany) - $16.99 - This is a tasty wine from the Nahe region (the Nahe is a tributary of the Rhine). Aromas of flowers, grapefruit, minerals and more. A touch of sweetness, but it is balanced with acidity. Crisp. Long, long finish. 10% alcohol. This wine is a blend of Riesling grapes from 3 wonderful vineyards in Kirschheck, Klamm and Kertz. It's a One Liter bottle - so this is 1/3 more wine than a standard 750ml bottle. Truly a family run winery that dates back to 1901 in this family. About 11 hectares of vineyards (25 acres). Food Pairing - German food, Thai food, smoked fish, seafood, shellfish, ham...etc....Drinks great on its own!

Pine & Post Chardonnay 2005 (Washington) - $7.99 - A great value in a Washington Chardonnay. Smooth, lighter than many Chards....aromas of pears, tangerines and spices. Flavors of tropical fruits (mangoes), fresh herbs and spice. Blended with some Semillon that adds some softness and lushness to the wine's texture. Nice, lingering, clean finish. Food Pairing - seafood, pasta dishes, and chicken....drinks well on its own.

R. Stuart & Co. Big Fire Pinot Gris 2005 (Oregon) - Reg. $14.99 Sale $13.99 - This is a fabulous Pinot Gris! Aromas of flowers, vanilla, apples and pears. Wonderful fruit and acidity in the flavors - apples, pears and vanilla. Crisp, vibrant finish! Food Pairing - seafood, spicy Asian food...shellfish....

The Reds

R. Stuart & Co. Big Fire Pinot Noir 2006 (Oregon) - Reg. $21.99 Sale $19.99 - This is a big, ripe plum! Juicy, lots of fruit.....smooth and easy-to-drink. Spicy pepper about half-way through...Nice length on the finish! Food Pairing - salmon, duck, grilled meats....etc. Drinks well on its own!

Pine & Post Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (Washington) - $7.99 - This is a screaming GREAT value and just a good wine! Deep, dark color. Wonderful cherry and dark fruit aromas, hints of pepper, roasted meats, cedar and vanilla. Red berry, cherry and plum flavors with a hint of smoke and cedar. Moderate, but firm tannins. Blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and 5% Syrah, making this similar to an old-style "Claret" blend, but it is definitely a "New World" wine! Food Pairing - Drinks well as a cocktail wine! Goes well with meats, lasagna, pizza, etc. Seattle Times, "Recommended"

Vinum Cellars "Pets" Petite Sirah 2005 (California) - Reg. $14.99 Sale $13.99 - Deep, dark wine that is just loaded with ripe fruit aromas and flavors....nice floral notes....flavors of plums, blueberries, dried herbs, smoky bacon and more. Well-balanced acidity and tannins....medium-bodied.....medium-to-long finish....A portion of the profits from this wine are donated to an animal shelter and the wine is dedicated to winemaker Ken Wilson's dog, Tanker. Winemakers call Petite Sirah "Pets." Aged in French oak barrels. 11,500 cases made. Food Pairing - Drinks well on its own....pairs up well with roasted and grilled meats, pizza, mushroom dishes, etc.

Fetish Wines "The Watcher" Shiraz 2004 (Australia) - $21.99 - This is a big, bold Syrah from Australia....huge flavors and aromas.....Cherries, spice, tar, licorice, some smoke and more. Moderate tannins. Well-balanced acidity. Long finish. 1,500 cases imported. Food Pairing - meat dishes, robust vegetarian dishes, etc.

The Sparkling and Dessert

Scagliola "Primo Bacio" Moscato D'asti 2005 (Italy) - $15.99 - This is just so nice! It's soft, rich and lush with nice bubbles....it just feels elegant! The aromas just leap from the bottle! It tastes great! The label on this pictures the Mario's first girlfriend (Mario is the winemaker)....and Primo Bacio means "First Kiss." This winery farms organically and biodynamically. Food Pairing - Pair this with desserts (fruit desserts, not chocolate), lighter pasta dishes or aged cheeses....this is a wonderful wine for a romantic evening!

March Wines of the Month

March's Wines!

Tier 1 - $9-15/bottle

For Tier I this month, we are headed to 2 somewhat obscure, yet rapidly emerging wine areas in Spain - Rueda in the north for the white and Jumilla in the southwest for the red. Both of these wines are BRAND NEW in the state of Maine....the importer is Aurelio Cabestrero...who has quickly built a powerhouse line-up of Spanish wines....Michael Franz...writer for the WineReviewOnline (and former wine writer for the Washington Post), says of Cabestrero....

"I'd like to propose another name for consideration in the ranks of America's
most significant importers: Aurelio Cabestrero, president and owner of Grapes of
Spain, Inc., based in Lorton, Virginia. Cabestrero started his company
quite recently, in 2002. Yet, in this brief span he has assembled a lineup
of wines that seems impossibly strong."

The White: Bodegas Pedro Escudero Valdelainos Rueda Verdejo 2005 (Spain) $9.99 - This is a fabulous wine from Central Spain! Aromas of apples, pears, nectarines, lime and freshly mown grass. Fresh, bright citrus flavors combined with hints of green apples, grass and straw and minerals. Juicy feel in the mouth. Crisp, spicy, long finish. Blend of 97% Verdejo and 3% Viura. Aged in stainless steel on its lees for 2 months. Hand-harvested grapes. Cold maceration and a cool temperature slow-fermentation. Rueda is northwest of Madrid and just southwest of the legendary Ribera del Duero red wine region. One might think this area is too hot to grow good white wine grapes, but the desert's cool night-time temperatures make it a perfect place the Verdejo grape. Food pairing - the perfect match for a slew of seafood meals. Great as a cocktail wine....think of this as similar to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc....with less pink grapefruit and no gooseberry elements. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points; Wine Review Online, "It may be the best wine of its type available for less than $12; International Wine Cellar, 88 points, "This offers the complexity of Rias Baixas Verdejos costing twice as much."

The Red: Bodegas Silvano Garcia Vinahonda 2005 (Spain) $12.99 - Aromas of red berries, minerals, cherries and rich, wet dark earth. Medium-bodied....with a nice, rich feel in the mouth. Flavors of red berries....Soft tannins and nice acidity. Blend of 85% Monastrell and 15% Tempranillo. The grapes are fermented separately and then blended. Average age of the vines is 35 years (Monastrell) and 20 years (Tempranillo). Unoaked. From Jumilla in the Southeast of Spain....between Valencia and Murcia. This family estate was founded in 1925....Today, Silvano Garcia is the winemaker. Food pairing - roasted or grilled meats, harder cheeses such as Manchego or Piave Vecchio, rich vegetarian dishes, etc. Drinks nicely on its own. You might want to toss this in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to enhance its freshness. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points.

Tier 2 - $16-24/bottle

The White: Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Riesling Spatlese 2005 (Germany) $21.99 - This wine just shows how good of a wine Riesling can make when it is in the hands of a skilled winemaker....Josef Leitz is such a skilled winemaker. This just has huge aromas - stony minerals, pears, baked apples, honey, vanilla, mint and pineapple. This shows that classic Rheingau minerality. 2005 is an outstanding Riesling vintage....this will age well for another 8-10 years. Flavors of peaches, pears, melon, ginger, apples and minerals. Bright, fresh, crisp acidity. This has great weight to it....coupled with power and finesse. Long, long, lingering finish. Only 8.5% alcohol. Brand new to Maine! (Arrived on Thursday). 681 cases imported. The importer is the highly respected Terry Theise. The Josef Leitz estate is widely regarded as one of the 3 rising stars in the new generation of Rheingau winemakers (along with Kunstler and Weil). This is a small estate of 5.8 hectares (about 2.5 acres to a hectare). This winemaker never racks his wines (separating the wine from the "lees")....he bottles his wines off the gross lees from the casks in which they are fermented.....this adds a lot of richness to the wine and unique characteristics to the aromas and flavors. Leitz spent his early career at the Johannishof estate of Hans Hermann Eser. Food pairing - Serve cold! Traditional German dishes, spicy foods, seafood dishes, smoked fish, ham and more! Great wine to sit and sip when enjoying a long conversation with good friends. Wine Spectator, 93 points, "Smart Buy."

The Red: Meinert Devon Crest 2003 (South Africa) Reg. $27.99 Sale $23.99 - Deep, dark red color. Aromas of red berries, leather & mint. Flavors of red berries, cherries & minerals....Well-balanced, fresh acidity. Hints of minerals, Provencal herbs and cedar on the finish. While it is still young, the 18 months in oak have given it a smooth and velvety feel. Long, lingering finish that blends red berries and minerals. Blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon & 31% Merlot. 450 cases imported. Devon Valley is a tiny part of Stellenbosch. No yeast added to the grapes....fermentation begins spontaneously in closed stainless steel tanks. Then the wine was aged separately in new French oak barrels for 12 months, and then the wine is blended and returned to the barrel for 6 more months. Bottled in May 2005. Should age well for another 3-5 years. Not quite brand new to Maine, it's been here since December or so! Food pairing - lamb, prime rib, steak, meat dishes, especially ones with rosemary and garlic, duck. If you like bigger wines without food, you'll love this....but, I prefer it with a steak or stew! Wine Spectator, 89 points

Tier 3 - $25-45/bottle

Vinum Cellars is a small producer in Napa Valley. They buy great grapes from the best vineyards and they make wine that tastes of a place and is great. They believe the best wines are made in the vineyard.....they used older French oak barrels so that the wood doesn't overpower the wines. We love their wines! The wines arrived in Maine last week....so they are new!


The White: Vinum Cellars VIO Viognier 2005 (California) $28.99 - This is both a big, bold wine and one with subtlety to it! Aromas of honeydew melon, white flowers & vanilla. Flavors of lemons, pears, peaches, tart apples and baking spices (nutmeg and cloves). Long, lingering finish of fresh, ripe pears and minerals. Grapes are hand-picked, whole-cluster pressed and cold-fermented. The grapes are from the Vista Verde Vineyard just north of the Pinnacles in San Benito County (San Benito is southwest of San Francisco and has rapidly emerged as a Central Coast appellation of note). This is a cool climate growing area. Same vineyards as some of the famed William Salem wines. Aged "sur lies" for 9 months in small French oak barrels (50% are 2-year old barrels and 50% are 3-year-old barrels). 10% of the wine undergoes "malo-lactic" fermentation. Only 501 cases made. Food pairing - lobster, shellfish, poultry, creamy or olive oil-based pasta dishes, spicy Asian food, some Tex-Mex dishes. Drinks well on its own. Wine Enthusiast, 90 points

The Red: Vinum Cellars Red Dirt Red 2004 (California) $34.99 - This is a wonderful Chateauneuf-de-Pape-style blend from California. Aromas of ripe dark cherries, licorice, vanilla and spice. Huge red berry, cherry, mocha, cocoa flavors.....notes of plums, figs, pepper and vanilla. Nice balance of tannins, fruit and acidity. Dry. Long finish with dusty tannins. Chateauneuf-du-Pape style wine - blend of 48% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 22% Grenache. Aged and fermented in small French oak barrels (90% are 2-3 years old and 10% are new). Bottled unfiltered. 589 cases made. It comes in a 6-bottle case....so if you love it, you can buy it at a case discount getting only 6 bottles. From El Dorado County - this is in the Sierra Foothills to the east of San Francisco and Sacramento. Food pairing - beef stew, steak, lamb, lamb stew, a big pot of good chili.

Wines of the Month Club

Wines of the Month!
A Great way to try different wines!
A perfect gift for someone!

You should join, if you are not a member.....to join, either call the store a (207) 865-3993 or e-mail me at efullagar@verizon.net.

Why should you join?
1. Try new wines you wouldn't otherwise taste.
2. Learn about different winemaking regions and wineries.
3. Have fun.
4. Makes a great gift (maybe for yourself)!
5. The more people we have at each level, the more likely we can bring wines into Maine that are not currently available (and, we are at that point for Tier 1 white and red and Tier 2 red).
We have Three Tiers for our Wines of the Month Club (you may sign up for one, two or all three tiers - OR, you may sign up for reds only, whites only or just one wine - whatever works for you!....and you may change your choice each month!!!)....These will be interesting, tasty, unusual wines that you won't find everywhere and they'll represent great values! Some months, we'll offer an optional bottle (maybe a dessert wine or a sparkling wine or a dry rose). At each Tier, we'll pick 2 wines for you - 1 white & 1 red.

Again, you can select from this list and choose what you want each month....or choose to take nothing in a month. If you are from "away," we will hold these wines for when you return to Maine....unfortunately, Maine is one of those states that doesn't permit retailers to ship wine or beer.