May 11, 2008

April Wines We Love!

April Wines We Love!!!

We're featuring wines from 2 importers that we really love!

Eric Solomon Selections - we've sold Eric's wines since we first opened - his wines are just superlative! We focused on wines from Spain with Eric's wines.

Jon-David Headrick Selections - JD worked for Eric Solomon for a number of years, heading up the French part of the Solomon portfolio and then branched on his own recently, Jon-David Headrick Selections (Solomon helped JD set up his company - they are still great friends and colleagues. Most of these wines are organic; some are also biodynamic. These wines are all BRAND NEW to Maine! All the wines are from France!

The Wines!!!

Sparkling

Jean-Francois Merieau Sparkling Traditionnelle "Bulles" Chenin Blanc Sauvignon Blanc (Touraine, Loire, France) $21.99 - BRAND-NEW to Maine! This is delicious! "Bulles" means bubbles. Aromas and flavors of white peaches & green apples. This is bright, fresh and clean. Nice acidity. Just a pleasure to drink on a warm day! Or....any day! This sparkling wine is produced in a way similar to Champagne - it is aged 18-20 months sure lie for 18-20 months. Jean-Francois Merieau returned to his family's farm in Touraine, just east of Tours. He'd wandered the world working at wineries in South Africa and elsewhere. Jean-Francois is one of the young, rising stars of this area - revolutionizing the winemaking and helping this area dramatically improve the quality of wine being produced! This area (Touraine) is often called the "Garden of France." This is the area of the Loire Valley that you think about when you think about gorgeous chateaus! They farm organically. Wine & Spirits, 88 points

White Wines

La Piece Sous le Bras Chardonnay/Viognier/Roussanne 2005 (France) $13.99 - This GREAT VALUE wine is the result of a joint venture between importer Eric Solomon, famed Southern Rhone winemaker Philippe Cambie and grower & negociant Michael Tardieu. Aromas and flavors of honeysuckle, apricots, pears, tropical fruits and more. This is crisp and medium-bodied. Perfect summertime white! The grapes for this wine come from the Southern Rhone valley and from farther south in L'Herault. 90% Chardonnay, 5% Roussanne, 5% Viognier. 60% tank fermented in stainless steel and 40% aged in neutral oak barrels. Food pairing – poultry, seafood, lighter pasta dishes. Drinks well with or without food. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points

Con Class Rueda 2006 (Spain) $12.99 - Fabulous white, great with seafood! Aromas and flavors of minerals, lime, lemon and grapefruit. Blend of 80% Verdejo, with 10% Viura and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Soft, supple texture with a minerally-driven finish. The vineyards are literally planted on chalk. Rueda is about 100 miles northwest of Madrid. Food pairing - seafood, pasta dishes with a lemon sauce, chicken. Drinks well on its own. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points

Domaine Claude Riffault "Les Boucauds" Sancerre (Loire, France) $29.99 - BRAND-NEW to Maine! Delicious! A fabulous Sancerre from a wonderful little producer! Great value! Aromas of grapefruit & citrus and herbs and freshly mown grass and a subtle smoky note. Flavors of minerals, lemony citrus, white stone fruits such as peaches and tropical fruits. Well-balanced & integrated acidity. Finishes crisp, clean & dry with a refreshing "cut" from the acidity. Sancerre is a region in the Loire Valley and it produces Sauvignon Blanc. The soil in Sancerre is limestone and flint (called "silex") - this soil produces Sauvignon Blanc that is distinctive! Family-owned and operated for 5 generations. Stephane, the family member now working the vineyards is moving the family to organic farming. 100% stainless steel to maintain the freshness of the wine. Food pairing – oysters, sharp goat cheeses, green olives, lighter poultry dishes, smoked fish, etc. Wine & Spirits, 90 points

Red Wines

Vinedos de El Seque 2006 (Alicante, Spain) $11.99 - This is a wine you should buy by the case and just load up on for an every day red! This has enough depth and structure to age well for a number of years - but, at this price, why bother! Aromas and flavors of figs, red raspberries, rich leather, smoke, dark berries and more. Nice length on the finish. El Seque is a project of Juan Carlos Lopez de la Calle, owner and winemaker at Artadi in Spain's famed Rioja. He had the idea that he could produce world-class wines in Alicante if more care was taken in the vineyard and in the winery. He began in 1999 and the wines keep getting better. Alicante benefits from a Mediterranean climate - warm days and nights in the summer make this a perfect home for Monastrell (Mourvedre in France). Blend of 80% Monastrell, with smaller amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Syrah. Aged 6-8 months in stainless steel before bottling. Food pairing - grill some meat or a Portabello mushroom!

Le Paradou Cotes du Libernon Rouge 2005 (France) $13.99 - BRAND-NEW to Maine! Blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. Frederic Chaudiere produces some of the best wines in the Cotes du Ventoux. This is the only wine outside of the Loire Valley in Jon-David Headrick's portfolio. All the grapes are from estate-grown fruit. The grapes see no wood - so these are bright and fresh wines. They are tank-aged for about 6 months before bottling. The Grenache gives this wine bright, fresh red berry aromas and flavors. The Syrah chimes in with peppery spices and some darker fruit flavor aromas and flavors and just adds layers to the wine! It also has nice aromas and flavors of baking spices and herbs. The acidity keeps the wine bright and fresh! This farm is certified for sustainable, organic farming! Food pairing - excellent summertime red for grilling and parties!

Castell del Remei Gotim Bru 2004 (Spain) $14.99 - Excellent wine and a great value. We love this wine with grilled foods - it will go well with most hearty foods (stews, rich dishes with root vegetables, roasts, etc.). Great fruit (black cherry, blackberry, cassis) in the nose and mouth, along with aromas of melted chocolate, roasted coffee beans, good spiciness and just the right touch of oak. Nice long & smooth finish. Blend of 60% Tempranillo, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. Aged 10 months in French and American oak. “One of the great values in the marketplace, even with the frighteningly weak dollar…” Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

Domaine de la Noblaie "Les Chiens-Chiens" Chinon 2004 (Loire, France) $19.99 - BRAND-NEW to Maine! Yes, the label has 2 dogs (chiens) on it! 100% Cabernet Franc from a single "block" of vines. This wine carefully balances power and elegance, "fat" and acidity, pepper spiciness and fruit! Aged 12 months in 2-5 year old barrels after partially fermenting in a chalk vat from completely destemmed grapes. The house at this winery dates to the 12th century. The chalk fermentation vat was dug in the 17th century. Today, though, nothing is old-fashioned about this winery! The grapes are hand-harvested. They use oak in a restrained fashion - often mixing in barrels of varying ages and toasting. The young and talented Jerome Billard (he should be - most of the Loire's best winemakers learned from his respected father, Francois, including the renowned Vincent Ogereau) spent 6 months learning at Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux and then at Dominus in California. Back on his home turf in the Loire Valley, he's started applying what he learned at these legendary wineries to his family's own wines! Food pairing – salmon, duck, roasted chicken, grilled pork, mushroom dishes, etc. Drinks well on its own!

Jimenez-Landi Mentrida 2004 (Mentrida, Spain) Reg. $21.99 Sale $19.99 - Mentrida is near Toledo, Spain! This is Bordeaux-based blend that is both old-world and new world and really shouldn't be here in Maine! A few cases came into the state for a high-end restaurant in Portland that will go nameless and I bought them for the tasting. This wine is both powerful and layered.....lots of flavors and aromas.

Sparkling

Louis de Grenelle Saumur Brut Rose (Saumur, Loire, France) $22.99 - BRAND-NEW to Maine! This is not a sparkling wine made from "leftover" juice as it is in the case of many Loire producers - this is hand-harvested from low-yielding vines. The grapes produce richly textured wines that are indicative of the varietal - 100% Cabernet Franc. This is crisp, bright and has nice red fruit aromas and flavors and a touch of pepperiness that is typical of Cabernet Franc. This ancient town in the Loire Valley actually has more miles of roads underground than it does above! Centuries ago, prison laborers dug miles and miles of caves in the chalk caves below the town (ordered to do so by the French king). Two-and-a-half kilometers of these caves belong to the Cave of Louis de Grenelle. This is the last remaining family-owned property of the major Saumur sparkling prodcers. They practice sustainable agriculture. All of their wine is aged for several years in these quiet caves. The chalky soil of this area helps produce distinctive, flavorful Cabernet Franc! Wine & Spirits, 88 points