May 10, 2008

January Wines We Love!!!

January Wines We Love!!!

This month we feature wines from Jack Sculley of Easterly Wines. Jack is the "patron saint" of the independent, niche distributors in Maine. Jack pioneered the road that has seen SOPO, Wicked, Devenish, DaVine and Mariner join the field in the last 3 years.

Ask any wine sales rep (we're talking about reps from competing distributors) in Maine about Jack's portfolio of wines....each rep will say, "Jack's got some GOOD wines!"

Jack's wines definitively come from smaller, lesser-knownn producers. Jack has a superb palate - you can be assured that everything with the "Easterly" redemption sticker on it is a good version of what it is! Jack's wines are all over the wine lists at leading Maine restuarants such as Fore Street, Hugo's, Primo's, Street & Co. and more. Because Jack deals with such small producers, quite often these wines are not reviewed by publications such as Wine Spectator, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, etc. This helps keep a lid on the prices of many of these wines!

The Wines!!!

Sparking

DeFaveri Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut $24.99 - this is definitely the best Prosecco in Maine and the best I have ever had! It comes in a fabulous, distinctive black bottle!

Lucio De Faveri produces elegant wines from the highest quality grapes! Aromas and flavors of green apples, white peaches, pears, white flowers and hazelnuts. This has a mouth-filling texture. Piercing, vibrant acidity. Nice length on the finish.

White Wines

Domaine Saint-Peyre Picpoul de Pinet 2006 (France) $11.99 - This is one of our favorite white wines! Has HUGE wow factor for a $12 wine! Refreshing! Floral & fruity nose…if you didn’t know any better, you might think this is a sweet wine. My Mom won’t go near a sweet wine - she loved this one – it’s dry and fruity. Melon, lemon, & grapefruit flavors. Food pairing - Terrific drinking on its own! All shellfish & seafood – from simple steamed mussels to a tomato-infused fish stew, plus flavorful white-meat dishes, cheeses & cured meats. One of the best values in the store! The name is poetic – “Picpoul de Pinet.”

AIA dei Colombi Falanghina 2006 (Italy) $17.99 - We just love this wine! It has great pear, peach & pineapple aromas and flavors with a hint of green apple. Juicy & round in the mouth. Medium bodied. Well-balanced acidity. Wonderful mouth feel – crisp and soft.
Long, smooth & soft finish. Dry. 100% Falanghina. No oak. The winery is run by 2 brothers. From the Sannio region of Campania, north of Naples. Ancient winemaking region – it’s favorbably mention in the works of Pliny, Cato and Horace. Food pairing - seafood and lighter dishes, fried clams or fried fish.

Warwick Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (S. Africa) $18.99 - This is just a wonderful wine! Pale, light color. Aromas of pear, lime, gooseberry and herbs. Dense and rich in the mouth. Dry. Flavors of pink grapefruit, lime and spices. Done entirely in stainless steel, the wine is clean, crisp and fresh. Finishes crisply with nice mineral notes. Warwick is a fabulous winery - we've sold their "Three Cape Ladies" since we opened. Food pairing - Great with fresh goat cheeses, salads made with goat cheese, grilled fish, shellfish and lobster.

Reds

Bodegas Aragonesas Campo de Borja Coto de Hayas Tinto 2006 (Spain) $9.99 - This is a wonderful wine - a great choice if you are on "Wine Probation" following the holidays (Wine Probation is a spending restriction after the holidays). Aromas and flavors of cherries, plums, chocolate and baking spices. A little pepper spice as well! Soft, rich texture. Tannins are soft and light. Nice acidity. Pretty finish. Blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Tempranillo, 20% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Campo de Borja is just south of Rioja, in the Cordillero Iberico foothills (this area is near the Pyrenees Mountains). The altitude is about 1,500 feet. Wine Spectator, "Best Buy"

Easton Amador County Zinfandel 2006 (California) $17.99 - This is the perfect mouthful of Zinfandel - we love it! Aromas of stewed dark and red berries & spices. This has a big, rich feel in the mouth! It's juicy. Has a creamy texture due to 10 months aging in French oak barrels. Well-balanced. Easton is a tiny family owned winery - Hugh Johnson & the Wine Spectator's James Laube rate it the best winery in the Sierra Foothills! Sustainable agricultural practices. Solar-powered winery. This is drinking well now and you can also age it for a couple of years. It'll add complexity as it ages. Food pairing - grilled meats, foods with blue cheese, roasted meats, really good pizza. Drinks great on its own!

Cascina Ballarin Cino Langhe Rosso 2004 (Piedmont, Italy) $15.99 - This is a blend of Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera. This is medium-bodied and delicious. Brilliant ruby color. Aromas of ripe raspberries, cherries, plums, fresh herbs and flowers. This has rich flavors and smooth, lush texture. Flavors that are similar to the aromas. This has nice length on the finish. Ballarin is a specialty producer who works its vineyards by hand - from the pruning to the "green harvest" to the harvest. Stainless steel fermentation (6 months) and bottle aged for 6 months. The vineyards are mostly in the villages of La Morra and Monforte d'Alba. Food pairing - chicken, poultry, lamb, mushroom dishes. etc.

Domaine de la Terre Rouge Syrah "Les Cotes de L'Ouest" 2006 (California) $18.99 - This may be the best California Syrah under $20! This is a Northern Rhone style Syrah - St. Joseph-like. Deep, dark, inky color. Loaded with raspberry, pepper, gamey, baking spices, smoke and Provencal herbs in the aromas and flavors. The texture is soft and smooth. This drinks well young and will age for a few years. Easton is a tiny family owned winery - Hugh Johnson & the Wine Spectator's James Laube rate it the best winery in the Sierra Foothills! Sustainable agricultural practices. Solar-powered winery. Terre Rouge means "Red Earth" - the soil here in these Amador County foothills is quite red in color - lots of iron in this volcanic soil - this adds minerality and depth to the wine. Food pairing - Drinks great on its own without food! Pair this with hearty meals - pasta, steak, lamb, grilled meats, mushroom dishes, etc.

Dessert

Quinta do Crasto Late Bottle Vintage Port $26.99 - we'll also have this available in half-bottles for $14.99! This Port is a treasure! Beautiful wine! Great gift - even if for yourself! Aromas of ripe plums and dark fruit. Flavors of dark chocolate, hints of spice, pleasant herbs, hint of licorice (and, yes, I don't like licorice, but in this wine it's nice!). Long, elegant finish. Quinto do Crasto is probably the best winemaker in the Douro Valley. Made from hand-picked grapes from 45-65 year-old vines. This wine will improve with age, but it is drinking well now! Food pairing - great either on its own or paired with strong cheese, almonds & dried fruit.