May 23, 2008

Memorial Day 6-pack/12-pack

The Wines

The 6-pack: Reg. $78.94 Sale $66.55

Whites:

Clara Benegas Chardonnay 2006 (Argentina) $12.99 - This is what a moderately priced Chardonnay that is fermented in French oak barrels should taste like! It's subtly oaky with the fruit and acidity still showing through! Aromas of tropical fruits such as pineapple and mango, vanilla and honey. The texture is soft and smooth. Because of the stony, alluvial soil in the vineyards, this wine has nice minerality in the aromas and flavors. The wine shows nice ripe tropical fruit flavors with green apples and pears. The "oakiness" is subtle and integrated with the wine. The Benegas Family pioneered winemaking in Argentina in the late 1800's. Today, Federico Benegas Lynch continues the family tradition. These wines are made with the help of world-famous winemaking consultant, Michel Rolland. Less than 1,200 cases made. Named for Federico's 1st child, Clara. Food pairing - poultry, salmon, tuna, lobster, scallops.

Barnard Griffin Fume Blanc 2006 (Washington) $14.99 - Robert Mondavi renamed Sauvignon Blanc in the USA as Fume Blanc. It's the same grape. One of the things I like about this wine is the alcohol level is 12.6% (much more in the realm of a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc than a big "New World" high-alcohol wine). This is dry with a nice mouthfeel to it. Aromas of honey, oranges, limes and apples. The flavors combine those and pick up baking spices. The finish is crisp. The wine has really vibrant acidity that will help it pair up with richer food such as lobster. Food pairing - excellent with seafood, especially lobster, shellfish and heartier fish such as tuna. Drinks nicely as a cocktail wine.

Reds:

Domaine André Brunel Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Grenache 2005 (France) Reg. $11.99 Sale $9.99 - This is an awesome wine from a winemaker whose Châteauneuf-de-Pape commands big dollars. André Brunel is one of the world’s truly great winemakers. His wines are legendary, award-winning, powerful wines. Aromas of herbs (rosemary, sage, Provence), peppery spice, black cherries, plums, blackberries. Deep, dark clear color. Juicy, big, spicy mid-palate. Soft, chewy tannins at finish. Unfiltered. Hand-picked & destemmed. 90% Grenache & 10% Carignane. Stainless steel fermentation and aging. Food pairing - Great wine with grilled or roasted meats, hearty stews, etc. Decant to open up more rapidly.

Castillo de Almansa Garnacha Tintorera 2005 (Spain) Reg. $10.99 Sale $7.99 - I bought the last 5+ cases of this in Maine and got a GREAT price! Garnacha Tintorera is better known as Alicante Bouchet (yes, I know, that's pretty obscure as well!). Medium-bodied with soft tannins. This has great dark berry fruit aromas and flavors. It almost has a little "bacony" flavor halfway through. Nice length on the finish. Good acidity. Stainless steel fermentation. Al Mansa means "the fortress." The Piqueras family has owned vineyards for almost 100 years at the 2,500 foot elevation outside the gorgeous hilltop fortress town of Almansa. This family was the driving for behind creating the D.O. of Almansa. Food pairing - wonderful wine for grilling or a party! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 87 points

Castell del Remei Gotim Bru 2005 (Spain) $15.99 - 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 Merlot and Grenache. 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

Chateau Le Lucat Grand Vin de Bordeaux 2005 (France) $11.99 - A wonderfully rich Merlot-based red from a tiny producer in Bordeaux. Smooth, round and rich! Excellent fruit (cherries, currants and dark berries) and dark chocolate aromas and flavors. Additional flavors of dried herbs. Long, well-integrated and balanced finish. Medium-bodied. 2/3’s Merlot, with the rest being Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This is one of those little-known gems that we just wouldn't find without Jack Scully at Easterly Wines! Food pairing - Great with roasts, steak, grilled meats or just sipping.

The 12-pack: Reg. $156.88 Sale $136.69

The 6-pack wines PLUS....

Whites:

Elderton Unwooded Chardonnay 2007 (Australia) $14.99 - This is a pretty, bright and fresh white! HUGE hit at our December tasting! Aromas of bright, ripe tropical fruits, orchard fruits, mint and stony minerals. Flavors of green apple, pears & melons. Juicy feel to the wine. Clean at the finish! Unoaked Chardonnay. Bottle fresh, young and crisp! 100% Chardonnay. Stainless steel fermentation. Food pairing – lighter poultry dishes, seafood, salads, etc. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 88 points

In Fine White 2007 (France) $11.99 - BRAND-NEW to Maine! We showed this at our May tasting and I like it so much (so must some of you, because I keep having to re-order it!), I want it in a 6-pack/12-pack. Wonderful SUMMERTIME white! Full-bodied white from the Cotes du Ventoux (Northern part of the Rhone Valley). Clairette, Ugni Blanc, Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc grapes. Yes....we all drink these grape varietals daily! Okay - we don't! However, these are outstanding grape varieties in Southern France. This has nice aromas of minerals, white stone fruits (peaches and nectarines) and flowers. The flavors combine the white stone fruits with lemon/lime citrus, minerals and a nice freshness and "zip." Nice acidity. Crisp and refreshing. Fermented in concrete tanks (they line the concrete - the mass of the tanks keeps the fermentation cool - which helps keep the wine's flavors fresher). Sustainable agriculture. Food pairing - goat cheese, fish, shellfish, Asian or Creole food. Wonderful wine for just sipping on a warm day!

Reds:

Luna Benegas Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Argentina) $12.99 - This has dark, dark fruit aromas and flavors. The aromas start with minerals and flowers and then move into the darker fruit scents. Black currants, figs, blackberries. The flavors are dark fruits and sweet tannins (that's the hint of oak in the wine). It has a peppery note part way through the wine. It also has a smoky finish to it that is medium-long. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Single vineyard grapes. 3,300 cases made. Aged in French oak barriques. The wine is named after Federico's 5th child. The Benegas Family pioneered winemaking in Argentina in the late 1800's. Today, Federico Benegas Lynch continues the family tradition. These wines are made with the help of world-famous winemaking consultant, Michel Rolland. Food pairing - grilled meats (remember, they eat a lot of beef in Argentina!). Aged cheeses such as Midnight Moon or Piave Vecchio.

Sacred Stone "Master's Blend" Red (California) $10.99 - This is a California "field-blend." That just means a lot of different grapes! Dating back to the early days of winemaking in California, when a lot of European immigrants planted "backyard" vineyards, field blends were a common way to produce tasty wine! The wine is "ripe and juicy." Flavors of cherries, red plums, spices and soft earth. The texture is soft and smooth. Nice finish. The winery is Pietra Santa. It's family-owned. They resurrected vineyards dating back to the 1800's. The vineyards are in the San Andreas Fault part of the Central Coast near Monterey. Due to the fault, the soil is littered with rock and gravel, adding a nice minerality to the wine. Blend of 26% Merlot, 24% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Syrah and little amounts of Zinfandel, Carignane and Grenache. Barrel aged for 24 months in French and American oak. Food pairing - excellent wine for a party or whenever you are grilling!

Wall Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (California) $14.99 - It's rare to find a Napa County Cabernet in this price range! This is real good! Why's it so inexpensive? I don't really know! Aromas of blackberries, plums, black currants, smoke and green pepper. Flavors of black cherries, herbs, black currants, vanilla and toast. This has a lush, soft mouthfeel. This has creamy notes of vanilla halfway and at the finish. The tannis are soft and short and "sweet" - that doesn't mean sugary, it means hints of oak - vanilla, spice and toast. Good length on the finish. Food pairing - Drinks well on its own! Wonderful with steak or lamb.

In Fine Rouge Cotes du Ventoux 2006 (France) $11.99 - BRAND-NEW to Maine! Another hit at our May tasting! Full-bodied red from the Cotes du Ventoux. The Grenache packs a lot of spicy, red fruit. The Syrah balances the Grenache fruit with a little dark earth and meatiness. This has nice length on the finish and soft tannins. 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. Fermented in concrete tanks (they line the concrete - the mass of the tanks keeps the fermentation cool - which helps keep the wine's flavors fresher). Sustainable agriculture. Food pairing - great with grilled meats, red sauce pasta dishes and just drinking at a party. On a warm day, I'd chill this for 15-20 minutes and knock the temperature down to the high 50's. Perfect summertime red!

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