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!