July 31, 2008

July 31st Wine Tasting

July 31st Wine Tasting
Freeport Cheese & Wine
27 Bow Street
Freeport, ME 04032

Where: Hilton Garden Inn
What: Wines from South America
When: 5:30-7:30pm
How: $10/person to taste this flight of wines!

The focus is on wines from the South America - Chile and Argentina!

The Wineries

Maipe (Argentina) - Maipe is a family-owned winery in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The vineyards are at 3,000 feet elevation. The vineyards are in Agrelo and Lujan de Cuyo, the 2 best growing areas in Mendoza. They farm organically. The warm days and cool nights in the high deserts help the grapes fully ripen over a long growing season. Maipe was the "Lord of the Winds" for the ancient Andean people. Argentines still invoke his name to clear the skies after a heavy rain or to ease the summer heat.

De Martino Winery (Chile) - De Martino and its winemaker, Marcelo Retimal, have been voted "Winery and Winemaker of the Year" in Chile for 5 years in a row by the Chilean wine guide, "Guia Vinoes de Chile." The family has produced wine in Chile for over 70 years and today they are considered one of the driving forces behind the rising quality of Chilean wines in the world market.

Fabre Montmayou (Argentina) - Owned by Domaine Vistalba, Fabre Montmayou is in the Lujan de Cuyo region of Mendoza. Its vineyards are well above 3,000 feet elevation. They make their wines in a more restrained and less "modern" style (not "fruit-forward"). Herve Fabre was in the first wave of French winemakers to arrive in Mendoza. His estates have been producing wine in Mendoza since the early 1990's.

Ricardo Santos (Argentina) - Ricardo Santos was the first Argentine winemaker to export Malbec to the USA over 30 years ago. He's the former owner of the Norton Winery. He left a career in architecture, convinced that Argentina could produce wines equal to anywhere in the world.

The Wines


Maipe* Torrontes 2007 (Argentina) $11.99 - We LOVE this! It’s AWESOME! Aromas of oranges, fresh white peaches, pears, green apples, melons and roses! Flavors of peaches, green apples, pears and minerals. Nice weight to this. Fresh and refreshing. Nice acidity. Long, dry finish with a bit of spiciness to it. 100% Torrontes. Torrontes is a cross of Muscat and Mission (Paies in Chile & Criolla in Argentina). Hand-harvested. Maipe farms organically. Stainless steel fermentation. Food pairing – seafood, spicy foods, smoked meats, mild-to-medium strong cheeses. Drinks well without food.

De Martino* Organically-Grown Grapes Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Chile) $15.99 - This is a tasty Sauvignon Blanc! Rocking good and distinctive! It's bright, fresh & young & you should drink it that way! Lots of fresh lemon in the aromas and flavors, but it isn't tart...nice combination of minerals and fruits in the flavors & minerality. Long finish that is crisp and clean...the finish is driven more by minerals than fruit. Well-balanced acidity. 100% stainless steel fermentation. Organically grown grapes. Natural yeasts. Food pairing - shellfish, lobster, chicken roasted with lemons, pasta primavera (veggies with a cream sauce). Gold Medal Winner, 1st "International Green Wine Competition"

De Martino Legado Reserva Chardonnay 2006 (Chile) $15.99 - WONDERFUL! A "Baby Kistler!" Big aromas & flavors. Pears, green apples, minerals, vanilla, spice, oak, subtle buttery, creamy feel...all of these components are well-balanced. Crisp & bright in terms of fruit & minerality. From the Limari Valley - a cooler area than Maipu & it is BONE dry...the soil is clay, limestone & large riverbed stones. 100% French oak barrels; 50% new oak. 1 year in the barrel, sur lies, before bottling. 4,270 cases made. Food pairing – roasted chicken, salmon, creamy pasta dishes, etc. Wine Spectator, 89 points


Fabre Montmayou Rosé of Malbec 2006 (Argentina) $13.99 - Delicious rosé from South America! Aromas and flavors of violets, raspberries, strawberries and red cherries! Nice acidity to balance the fruit in the wine. Dry finish that lasts! Stainless steel fermentation. 100% Malbec. Food pairing - drinks well on its own. Great with tuna, grilled chicken, green salads, pasta and spicy Asian dishes.


De Martino Legado Reserva Carménère 2005 (Chile) $15.99 - Wonderful! A bang-up, fabulous wine! It's soft & rich in the mouth! Aromas of black cherries, black plum, red berries, hints of vanilla & cocoa. Soft, supple texture. The flavors are similar to the aromas. This just drinks so nicely! It's a treat. Aged 12 months in French oak barriques. 37% of the barrels are new. 100% Maipo Valley fruit. Food pairing - roasted and grilled meats. Mushroom dishes. Lasagna. Drinks well on its own! Wine Spectator, 88 points, "100 Great Value Wines!"

Maipe* Mendoza Malbec 2007 (Argentina) $11.99 - Excellent wine & a great value! Aromas and flavors of flowers, ripe figs, dark berry fruit and more! Wonderful floral aromas at the start. Soft, integrated tannins. Nice length on the finish! I’ve tasted this immediately after opening it & a day or two later – it’s been good both ways; decanting will open up the flavors & aromas! 10% aged in oak for 3 months. Organic farming. Food pairing - drinks well on its own. Great with roasted & grilled meats, rich pasta dishes, etc.

Ricardo Santos La Madras Vineyard, Mendoza Malbec 2006 (Argentina) $18.99 - We loved this wine when we tasted it recently – big, rich, tasty, interesting! Aromas of dark fruit, dark semisweet chocolate & figs…a little “funky” aromas at the start. Soft, rich fruit at the start. Peppery spice mid-palate. Nice “legs” in the glass. Well-balanced acidity & tannins. Long, long finish. Aged 6 months in French & American oak. Hand-harvested. Gently pressed. High altitude vineyard; single vineyard. Food pairing - Drinks well with roasted or grilled meats, aged cheeses such as Parm or Piave Vecchio…drinks well on its own if you like bigger wines. Wine Enthusiast, 90 Points, "Editors' Choice"

De Martino Legado Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2005 (Chile) $15.99 - Brand new to Maine and to me....looking forward to trying it....I've like everything this winery has made!


Rashi Moscato d'Asti 2005 (Italy) $15.99 - This is a delightful sparkler of 100% Moscato showing similar aromatic characteristics of Torrentes - white peaches and honeysuckle. Because of its low alcohol, only 5.5%, it's the perfect wine on a hot summer day!

July 18, 2008

Limited - Rex Hill "Dundee Hills" Pinot Noir 2003

First, the July wine tasting is today, Friday, July 18th....from 3:30-7:30...the wines are listed here....on my blog.

Second, on Wednesday, I was able to taste a Pinot Noir from Rex Hill that is a 2003......look around....you won't find many Pinot Noirs that are any older than 2005....and many are 2006 and even 2007 (blame the Sideways effect!).

Rex Hill practices organic, SUSTAINABLE agriculture and is working towards being certified biodynamic within the next 2-3 years (biodynamic is organic on steroids!).

This wonderful Pinot Noir is the Rex Hill "Dundee Hills" Cuvee Pinot Noir (Oregon) 2003. It's $33.99.

It's delicious.

We will never see the "Dundee Hills" Pinot Noir in Maine again in all likelihood. We are too small of a state.....Florida is getting 14 cases....that's it.....the 2006 vintage is up to $40 a bottle.

Here's why it is still around. The distributor lost track of the 7 cases (yes, 7 whole cases - I know I'm getting 2 1/2 cases - that's 30 bottles - I may be able to get more) in its warehouse.....so, it aged in a climate-controlled warehouse.....all because it was misplaced! That's to your benefit!

If you want some, let me know ASAP!

Dundee Hills comes from 3 vineyards, including the Maresh Vineyard - the 5th oldest in Oregon. At this point, yields are so low that it produces only 3/4 ton from an acre - that's really low!

One of the things I like about Rex Hill is that they are NOT trying to produce a masculine, "Syrah-like" Pinot Noir. Their wines are more elegant, nuanced, restrained if you will. This may be because their longtime winemaker was a woman and her style was elegant. That style still holds forth today!

Aromas and flavors of baking spices (that's the Dundee Hills talking from the dirt!), earth, dusty berry fruits, cooked cherries, roses, more baking spices.....subtle, subtle oak. Excellent acidity which is helping this wine develop. The tannins are there, but they aren't harsh. It has a wonderfully smooth texture.

Food pairing - salmon, roasted chicken.....looking ahead.....a few bottles of this on your Thanksgiving table will rock!

I also tasted two wonderful whites from Rex Hill....

Rex Hill Pinot Gris 2006 (Oregon) $19.99 - This is much more of an Alsatian-style Pinot Gris than a big, tropical fruit bomb.....it has a crisp feel throughout....with this softness in the middle......that's because it was fermented "sur lees" (that means on the residue that precipitates out of the wine and falls to the bottom during fermentation). This really shows the crisp, refreshing mineral notes and delicacy that a good Pinot Gris should! Fermented in stainless steel vats. Zero malolactic fermentation. Food pairing - lobster, smoked fish, sausages, mussels, shellfish, etc.

Rex Hill Chardonnay "Unwooded" 2005 (Oregon) $19.99 - this rocked! Given the amount of "world-class" Pinot Noir coming out of Oregon, it's a bit odd that we haven't seen a lot of outstanding Chardonnay.....until RECENTLY. Well.....here's why.....20-30 years ago, the winemaking pioneers in Oregon followed the California model regarding Chardonnay and planted the "California" clones and went for the entire "big" oak and big malolactic fermentation....well......the soil and weather were all wrong and the acidic Oregon soil just made for pretty bad Chardonnay from the "California" clones, which are ideally suited for Napa and Russian River. So, the wineries just ripped the Chardonnay vines out of the ground and expanded Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris production.....and Oregon Chardonnay just about disappeared. Today, 2008, we hear a lot of American wineries describe their Chardonnays as "Burgundian." This is winegeek speak for wine marketing executives to say, "our wine is not too oaky even if it is oaky." No Chardonnay in the USA from the "California" clones will ever be Burgundian. Today, we are also seeing Oregon wineries replant Chardonnay - in this evolution, though, they are planting true clones from Burgundy....and really focusing on Chablis. It shows! This wine was crisp, vibrant, steely....with ripe green apple flavors and bracing acidity. It has a soft texture because it is aged "sur lees" for a few months. It sees NO oak and does not go through malolactic fermentation (that's what makes Chardonnay creamy and buttery). We are seeing "Burgundian" Chardonnay from Oregon with this new generation! It makes sense - Burgundy sets the standards for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir......so, if Oregon has been growing world-class Pinot Noir for years, it should have world-class Chardonnay.....it does, now! Food pairing - smoked fish, poultry, Dover sole, etc.

I want to reiterate - I have a LIMITED amount of the Pinot Noir available and some of it is coming next week. I may or may not be able to get more of this. You MUST let me know ASAP if you want any of the Pinot Noir....and how much you want. I have a tiny amount of the Pinot Gris and Chardonnay RIGHT NOW, but, I can get more by Tuesday or Friday or next week....so, again, I need to know how much you want....

An e-mail reply with quantities and your phone number.....I'll reserve the wines and call you to confirm.


Eric Fullagar

Freeport Cheese & Wine

July 17, 2008

July Wines We Love!

July Wines We Love!!!
The focus is on wines from the Pacific Northwest - Oregon and Washington!

The wineries:

A to Z Wineworks (Oregon) - "Aristocratic wines at democratic prices." That's A to Z's motto and they deliver on it. The founders and principals come from a "Who's Who" of Oregon wineries - Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Archery Summit, Chehalem and more. For you NBA fans, Gregg Popavich, coach of the San Antonio Spurs, is a partner. A to Z is what the French call a "negociant." They purchase grapes from growers. The wine world has good negociants and bad.....the good ones are building a brand and care about grape quality. A to Z is one of the best negociants in the business! A to Z has done well enough that in the last year it bought Rex Hill Vineyards, one of Oregon's oldest and most prestigious wineries. Food & Wine Magazine named A to Z's inaugural Pinot Noir the "best American Pinot Noir under $20."

Foris Vineyards Winery (Oregon) - Foris is a small, family-owned winery in the Illinois River in the extreme southwestern corner of Oregon (we're almost in northern California and the Pacific Ocean). The Illinois River cuts through the Siskiyou Mountains, which surround Foris and its vineyards. They practice sustainable agriculture (the best fertilizer is your feet in the vineyard). The winemaker is Bryan Wilson (no, not the Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys)......he worked for Mike Benziger as the winemaker at Benziger's for 9 years. Benziger is probably the leading biodynamic, organic winemaker in the US. He was also the assistant winemaker for Warren Winiarski at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.

K Vintners (Washington) - the inimitable, irrepressible, egotistical, manic and extremely talented Charles Smith. We can't do a Northwest tasting without showing some of Charles' wines......fortunately, a slew of K Vintners wines just came back into Maine - the new vintages! I first encountered Charles (I don't think you just "meet" Charles; it's an encounter) in April 2005. Here's an account of that night! We love K Vintners! Jancis Robinson, Wine Enthusiast and Wine and Spirits have ranked K Vintners as one of America's "Top 10" Syrah makers. Jay Miller, who writes for Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, says of K Vintners and Charles Smith, "In a region where blending is the rule of thumb, he is the ultimate terroirist. Each wine reflects the vineyard from which it was produced but there is also a house style which lets you know immediately who made the wine. While it's way too soon to put K Vintners on the same level as a Domaine Leroy or Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, the experience you get tasting in the cellar is much the same as in those legendary wineries...."

Murphy's Law (aka; Local Wine Company) - this winery is located in Oregon. That said, they source grapes from Oregon and Washington. The winemaker is the legendary David O'Reilly, who wins huge praise for his wines at Owen Roe, one of Oregon's legendary wineries, named after a 17th century Irish patriot. The Local Wine Company makes 12-15 different wines, under several different labels. All of these are tiny production wines. Murphy's Law (yes, that Murphy's Law - if anything can go wrong, it will) has 3 wines. We are tasting 2 of them.

The Wines


Murphy's Law White Wine 2006 (Washington) $13.99 - Brand-new to Maine! Delicious wine from an odd blend! This wine shows a lot of minerality along with a really soft, round, lush texture. Nicely aromatic with a lot of floral notes. This has nice fruit – I just can’t peg it – the minerals keep dancing around and impacting how I’m tasting this – this is a nice thing! It’s vibrant and fresh! Blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling from Washington’s Columbia Valley. The Sauv. Blanc is from Outlook Vineyard in Yakima. The Riesling is from Rattlesnake Hills in Yakima and Red Willow Vineyard in West Yakima. Stainless steel fermentation, except for 5-10% in neutral oak barrels. Hand-harvested grapes. 300 cases made. Food pairing – richer fish such as halibut, salmon, tuna. Great with scallops. Duck or other poultry.

Foris Pinot Gris 2006 (Oregon) Reg. $14.99 Sale $13.99 - New vintage of one of our favorite white wines! A fabulous Alsatian-style Pinot Gris from this small winery. Citrus aromas with a touch of green banana. Medium-to-full-bodied with a rich texture. Crisp acidity with fresh fruit flavors, grapefruit & tangerines. The flavors hint at sweetness (that’s the fruit talking), but the wine is definitely dry. Zippy acidity. Long, pleasing, spicy finish. Stainless steel fermentation. 4,993 cases. Aged sur lie for 2 months. Food pairing - seafood, shellfish, poultry…drinks well on its own.

K Vintners Viognier 2007 (Washington) $22.99 - New vintage and this is a BLOCKBUSTER! This is a big, bold and beautiful wine! The only thing bigger than this winemaker’s ego are the flavors and aromas in his wines! Beautiful aromas of minerals, peaches, pears, flowers and apples. Rich and velvety in the mouth. Excellent acidity and minerality in the flavors. Huge, long finish of pears and minerals. Fermented with native yeasts. Aged on lees. Aged in neutral oak barrels (this is not at all oaky - neutral barrels have been used so many times they are no longer "oaky"). Food pairing - This will absolutely be smokin’ with roasted chicken or pork tenderloin with root vegetables. Great with salmon. Awesome shellfish wine! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 91 points

A to Z Wineworks Sangiovese Rosé (Oregon) $14.99 - We loved the 2006 vintage and we love the 2007 even more! New vintage! Who would have thunk – a rosé from Tuscany’s greatest grape grown in Oregon! Wonderful aromas of ripe strawberries, raspberries, peaches and herbs. Beautiful reddish-pink color. Lush and round texture with a crisp, clean finish. finish. Flavors of strawberries, watermelon, herbs and spice. Long, bright finish. 100% Sangiovese – the Chianti grape! Food pairing - Great on its own. Try it with lobster, grilled chicken & pork, chicken salad, smoked salmon, grilled shrimp, sushi, gazpacho and more!


Murphy's Law Red Wine 2005 (Washington) $13.99 - Brand-new to Maine! Delicious “old style” Claret from Washington State! Aromas of black and red currants, mint and dark berries! Flavors of wild berries. This also packs that Washington State zippy acidity. Nice length on the finish. Blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon (Rosa Mystica Block, Yakima Valley’s Elderding Vineyard, Alderdale), 12% Merlot (Elderding Vineyard, Alderdale), 3% Petit Verdot (Elderding Vineyard, Alderdale) and 10% Syrah (Slide Mountain Vineyard, Yakima Valley. Hand-harvested. 2,900 cases made. Food pairing – drinks well with our without food. Steak, pizza, lamb, stews, chili….you make the call!

A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir 2006 (Oregon) $19.99 - Wonderful Pinot! Clear and vibrant with a beautiful dark color. Aromas of mixed berries, earth, smoke, violets, Asian spices and minerals. Flavors that mirror the aromas with a lush texture and good acidity. Long finish that shows this wine’s beautifully balance between richness and power, the wine possesses amazing depth and purity. Food pairing - Great on its own. Try it with lobster, grilled chicken & pork, chicken salad, smoked salmon, grilled shrimp, sushi, gazpacho and more! Wine & Spirits, 90 points; Wine Spectator, 88 points

Foris Rogue Valley Pinot Noir 2005 (CA) $19.99 - We called the 2004, “THE BEST Pinot Noir under $20 we’ve ever tasted!” The 2005 was a different blend (single vineyard; much earthier). The 2006 is back to the same blend as the 2004. This still earns a “WOO-HOO, 4 STAR!” Aromas of perfectly ripe strawberries & raspberries and dark chocolate. Subtle red & dark berry flavors, along with note of dark chocolate. “Woodiness” that resembles a rosemary bush. Spicy notes on the mid-palate. Crisp acidity. Silky, soft & smooth in the mouth. Long, lingering finish. Blend of grapes from 7 different vineyards in the Rogue River Valley - Maple Ranch, Gerber, Three Creeks, Stonefield, Deer Creek, Villa Novia and Windridge. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. Aged in new and old oak barrels. 100% Pinot Noir. Food pairing – Drinks well on its own! Pair with grilled or roasted meats and veggies! Excellent with salmon!!

K Vintners Milbrandt Syrah 2006 (WA) $34.99 - This is a WOW wine! This is an elegant Syrah & a POWERHOUSE! Big, huge flavors & aromas, yet smooth & soft. Aromas and flavors of smoke, dark berries, black olives, roasted meats, white pepper, stony minerals, flowers and rich dark earth. Well-integrated tannins. Decant this – just pour it into a pitcher or large measuring cup and pour it back into the bottle…if you don’t…you’ll wish, while you’re drinking that last glass, that you had! Food pairing - Big meals - steak, portabella mushrooms, lamb, etc. This wine will make you sing! WOW!


Foris Rogue Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Port 2006 (Oregon) $12.99 - We really love this dessert wine! Aromas of sweet currants and raisins. Flavors of currants, raisins, brown sugar, black cherries….nice acidity on the long, lingering finish. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Del Rio Vineyard in eastern part of the Rogue Valley AVA. Barrel aged in neutral oak barrels for 19 months. This is a “ruby” port that will age well. Food pairing – chocolate desserts, drinks well on its own

July 11, 2008

"Wines of the Month" Program

Wines of the Month!

A Great way to try different wines! A perfect gift for someone!

Here are the basics of our "Wines of the Month" club. You should join, if you are not a member!

Why should you join?

1 - Try new wines you wouldn't otherwise taste.
2 - Learn about different winemaking regions and wineries.
3 - Have fun (after all, it's grape juice - the best way to learn and enjoy wine is to try new things!).
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! I can bring in almost anything if I buy it by the case (12 bottles).
6 - Earn a discount on ALL purchases! (10% off on all purchases - non-members still get a 10% case discount; members get 10% off on any purchase - even when they drop in and just buy a bottle or a little cheese or a little whatever!; 15% off on all full case purchases (12 bottles of the same wine); 15% off on all of our 12-pack mixed case e-mail offers!).

We have Three Tiers or price levels 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!!!)....we want you to try new wines and we want to make this easy for you. So, you tell us what you want to do!

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 or 2 or 3 (maybe a dessert wine or a sparkling wine or a dry rose). You don't need to buy the optional bottle(s).

At each Tier (price level), we'll pick 2 wines for you - 1 white & 1 red.

  • Tier 1 - $9-15/bottle
  • Tier 2 - $16-24/bottle
  • Tier 3 - $25-50/bottle
Again, you can select from this list and choose what you want each month....or choose to take nothing in that month.If you are from "away," we will hold these wines for when you return to Maine.

Maine has a quirky law - we must pay for wine the moment it arrives in the store - so, we ask that you give us a credit card number to bill for your "Wines of the Month." We don't bill your credit card until Sunday evening after I send the e-mail announcing the "Wines of the Month" - and we never bill it until you have told us what Tier you want. And, if you decide you don't want something, we'll just refund the money immediately!

That's it. It's pretty simple. I guarantee you'll taste some interesting wines!

E-mail me at efullagar@verizon.net is you are interested.


July Wines of the Month

We are going to try a different approach this month.....Wines from 2 classic French grapes (Bastille Day is Monday), yet all of the wines are from the New World!

All of the reds are from the Malbec grape (also called Auxerrois Noir, Auxerrois and Cot) and all are from Argentina......for the whites....all are from the Sauvignon Blanc grape.....from Argentina, New Zealand and California.....3 distinct styles of Sauvignon Blanc. We also have a Rosé of Malbec from Argentina!

What I am trying to do this month is expose you to distinctly different styles of wine - even though they are from the same grape (and in the case of the Malbecs, from the same country). If you want to do a simple at home tasting, pick up one of each of these.....invite some friends....and you'll see what we wine "geeks" mean by stainless steel fermentation vs. oak, oak aging, more bottle aging, etc.

Plus....these just taste GREAT!

Tier One


Maipe Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Argentina) $11.99 - Delicious!

Maipe is one of the best wineries in Argentina (we've been selling their Malbec for 2 years now - so, I didn't think I could use it for a "wine of the month - it's delicious!). Maipe was the "Lord of the Winds" for the ancient Andean people in this part of South America.

Fran Kysela (who is a GREAT American importer - you've heard me mention this before - using the best importers as a "screening" tool is a great way to buy wine - Kysela is one of the best!), has a wonderful website.....and it has beautiful photos of this winery and its vineyards!

100% Sauvignon Blanc. Grapes are harvested by hand. Maipe farms organically. Stainless steel fermentation in temperature-controlled steel vats to preserve the freshness of the grapes. From the high deserts of Mendoza - Lujan de Cuyo, to be exact...3,000 feet in elevation.....these high desert vineyards help these grapes ripen properly - the cool nights balance the hot days.

This is a HUGELY aromatic wine! Fresh, bright aromas of grapefruit, minerals, honey, tropical fruit and Sauvignon Blanc's classic "freshly mown grass" notes! The wine almost has green tones to its color. The flavors pop with bright, zippy acidity! This refreshes your mouth and makes you want to take another sip! Flavors of pink grapefruit, lemon/lime, minerals, tropical fruit.....Food pairing - great as a cocktail wine! Pair this up with almost any seafood! Especially shellfish (mussels, oysters, clams).


Tercos Malbec 2005 (Argentina) $12.99 - Juicy, soft, loaded with fruit and easy to drink! This is calling for a summer night when you are grilling or chillin'!

Aromas and flavors of blackberries, ripe black cherries, rich dark fruit (maybe figs).......soft, well-integrated tannins. This is just good, easy drinking! Long, smooth finish that lasts and keeps tasting soft and good!

Ricardo Santos was the first Argentine winemaker to export Malbec to the United States 30 years ago! The Tercos is the first release under this label for the Santos family (Ricardo is still there and going strong!). This wine is made by his sons, Pedro and Patricio. Dad's guiding hand is in this wine.....and Dad is one of the GREAT Argentine winemakers!

Tercos means "stubborn" in Spanish and the label has a burro (donkey to most of us).....a critter known to be stubborn! Well.....the wine's name pays homage to the family's steadfast dedication to helping move Argentine winemaking forward AND to making the best wine possible!

Food pairing - steal, beef (hey! This is Argentine wine!), lamb....mushroom dishes.....drinks well without food b/c the tannins are so soft.

Tier Two


Spencer Hill "Goose Bay" Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (New Zealand) $21.99 - Excellent, big, popping Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc!

It happens to be Kosher as well! This is New Zealand's only Kosher winery.

This has all of the quintessential New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc flavors and aromas - gooseberries, pink grapefruit, tropical fruit, herbaceous grassiness and big, big acidity that just makes your mouth water. Aromas of freshly mown hayfields on a damp morning that remind me of a country drive in my childhood.

The wine is cool-fermented for 4-6 weeks. Afterwards, it's "racked off" its lees - that means they drain the wine away from the lees at the bottom of the vat. That makes the wine crisper than wine left in contact with the lees. The wine sees a touch of French oak, but it's not oaky. This definitely makes it different than most Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand!

This wine is also different from many New Zealand wines because it doesn't have a Stelvin Closure (screwcap). This winery believes in the DIAM Cork - basically, it's the pulverized and reconstituted cork - by pulverizing and treating it, they get rid of "cork taint" (TCA). This winery believes the DIAM Cork breathes and helps the wine develop better in the bottle.

Food pairing - shellfish, lobster, calamari, seafood and lighter dishes, fried clams, calamari or fried fish.


Fabre Montmayou Gran Reserva Malbec 2005 (Argentina) $19.99 - This is simply SUPERB! BIG, RICH, LUSH and SMOOTH MALBEC!

Inky, dark color that is typical of Malbec. Aromas of wild berries, blackberries, black cherries, ripe plums, mocha, dark chocolate, and spices. Flavors of dark berries, peppery spice, baking spices and dark chocolate. I pick up a subtle licorice/anise flavor that I really like (and I really don’t like licorice candy, but I like this wine). Elegant and bold wine with silky tannins. Medium-to-full bodied. Long, lingering finish.

100% Malbec. Hand-harvested. Destemmed grapes. 100-year-old vines. Aged 14 months in French oak. Henri Fabre is a Bordeaux winemaker. 2,242 cases made. This will age another 5-7 years.

Food pairing – grilled meats, roasted meats, rich mushroom dishes, etc. Harder, aged cheeses. Drinks well on its own!

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points; Wine Spectator, 89 points

PS - 89 points is my favorite wine score from reviewers (and remember, these guys don't drink wines the way you do....they "power taste" through 200-500 wines a day; and, their preferences are not yours; so, while their opinions influence the market, trust yourself more than scores)! Why? Same score as 90 for all real purposes and it doesn't cause a feeding frenzy!

Tier Three


Source Napa (Davies & Gamble) "Gamble Vineyard" Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (California) $29.99 - Excellent Sauvignon Blanc that is just unique!

Bill Davies and Tom Gamble met in nursery school - or thereabouts! In 1965. They founded this winery in 2000. The name comes from their Napa roots. Tom Gamble's family has farmed and ranched in Napa Valley since 1916. Bill Davies' family owns the Schramsberg Vineyards.

The Gamble Vineyard is at the northern edge of Yountville.....right along the Napa River near the southern end of Napa Valley....sitting on an ancient floodplain. The vineyard is evenly split between the Preston Sauvignon and the Musque de Loire Sauvignon clones (ah.....what are clones....Sauvignon Blanc isn't just Sauvignon Blanc.....it has different types.....just as jazz music has different types and we have different types of tomatoes!). The Preston clone comes from the Graves region in Bordeaux and the Musque comes from the Loire River valley.

This location helps provide enough warmth to ripen the stone-fruit (peach and apricot) charcteristics of the grapes and give the wine a rich texture. It's also cool enough to help the grapes keep Sauvignon Blanc's inherent crispness at the finish. All-in-all, this is a great place to grow Sauvignon Blanc grapes!

Aromas of oranges, limes, grapefruit, honey and baking spices. This has a rich and full texture. Smooth. Lasts a long time in terms of flavors. Flavors of baking spices, peaches, honey, grapefruit. Clean, crisp and lush at the same time. Long, long finish which is typical of the Gamble Vineyard. .

2,200 cases made. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes were picked on 8 different days over 3 weeks. Each day's harvest was fermented separately. Hand-harvested. The early fruit helped bring about the wines crisp acidity. The grapes from later in the harvest added greater flavors and more complexity. 20% of the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks, fermenting cool....giving this juice lots of bright, tropical fruit flavors. 80% was fermented in oak barrels for 6 months. The wine spent this time on "lees" - adding texture and complexity to the wine. Only 18% of the barrels were new - so, this is NOT an oaky wine (the first time a barrel is used, the wine "leeches" out 80% of the barrel's oakiness). This 80% picks up a rounder, softer feel in the mouth (luscious!) and flavors of honey, nuts and baking spices. Organic, sustainable agriculture. Native, natural yeasts.

Food pairing - this is a "bigger" Sauvignon Blanc. Pair this with duck, darker poultry meat, cream sauces, etc. Will pair up well with lobster drenched in butter. Wine Spectator, 89 points


Weinert Malbec 2003 (Argentina) $26.99 - Excellent wine and a distinctly different style than the Fabre Montmayou in Tier 2.

Last month I had the opportunity to taste 12-15 wines with Bartholomew Broadbent, the importer of this wine. By-and-large, the wines he imports are more finesse-driven, more elegant and subtle than the big "grab-you-and-shake-you" wines that it seems Robert Parker and Wine Spectator love today!

Weinert dates to 1975.....the Dark Ages in terms of Argentine wine! The winery and vineyards actually go back to 1900 or so, but when wine consumption in Argentina plummeted in roughly 1920, the winery went belly-up. A Brazilian, Bernardo Carlos Weinert, bought, resurrected and still runs the winery with his family.

In 1977, Weinert produced a wine that shook the world - no one had seen a wine that good (nay, GREAT) from South America. It scored 94-95 points. Today, Weinert still makes it's wines in the same fashion....the "scorers" have changed (big, high-alcohol, fruit-driven wines win the big scores).

This is much more like a really good Bordeaux than it is like a big, dark, extracted New World wine. Great length on the flavors. The aromas just evolve and evolve from the glass - dried berries, leather, minerals, Flavors of dark fruit, pepper, licorice, smoke......this is definitely more of an Old World wine.....and that's one of the things I like about this! The tannins are well-integrated and smooth.

100% Malbec. 70+ year-old vines. 3 years in French oak casks. Weinert never uses stainless steel for fermentation....it's either massive oak casks or massive epoxy-lined concrete tanks. Weinert only uses "old" oak casks and NEVER uses "barriques" - the little oak barrels that influence many wines made today in the world. Weinert makes wines in an "Old World" fashion - no cold soaking, no extended maceration, no micro-oxygenation....natural yeasts, natural winemaking.....natural wines.

Food pairing - steak. You'll see this a lot when an Argentine red is in the mix! More of a food wine than the Tier 1 or Tier 2 Malbecs. By that, I mean this will drink a lot better with food than without food!

The "Other"

Maipe Rose of Malbec 2007 (Argentina) $11.99 - IF you've discovered Malbec....you need to try a Rosé of Malbec! This is the best under $20! Unique and delicious rosé that is different from your typical Provencal French rosés!

Maipe is one of the best wineries in Argentina (we've been selling their Malbec for 2 years now - so, I didn't think I could use it for a "wine of the month - it's delicious!). Maipe was the "Lord of the Winds" for the ancient Andean people in this part of South America.

100% Malbec. Grapes are harvested by hand. The juice spends little time in contact with the skins after crushing (the skins add the color, tannins and other flavors). Maipe farms organically. Stainless steel fermentation in temperature-controlled steel vats. 30 days of "batonage" (stirring of the "lees" - the residue created by fermentation at the bottom of the vat.....stirring the "lees" adds texture and richness to the wine). From the high deserts of Mendoza - Lujan de Cuyo, to be exact...3,000 feet in elevation.....these high desert vineyards help these grapes ripen properly - the cool nights balance the hot days. 35 year-old vines.

Fresh, bright aromas! Strawberries and cherries! Darker color than most French roses (remember, Malbec comes from Cahors....where it is called "the black wine of Cahors"). Darker, deep pink color with purple hues. This has bright, fresh, ripe strawberry flavors and crisp acidity. The finish is dry and LASTS! Food pairing - salmon, grilled chicken or pork, tuna, salads, spicy Asian dishes, spicy Tex-Mex dishes. Drinks well sitting with friends!

That's July!

June Wines of the Month

Tier One

The Ruins

This is a family-run winery......it has been so for 7 generations....and they do this RIGHT!

It is in the Bon Cap part of the Eilandia Valley in the Robertson Valley in the extreme Southwestern part of the Cape.

This family has run this winery/vineyard for 7 generations of the du Preez family. They have farmed organically for years and they applied for international certification in 1999. They received full organic status in 2002. Given the odd rules at the USDA regarding organic certification, all you will see on this wine is "made with organic grapes" and "Certified Organic by LACON GmbH." If you add sulfites to a wine, you can't be USDA "Organic." And, if you get a headache or sniffles or a stuffy head from wine, it is not the sulfites (ask me...I've researched this for hours and hours)...it's the histamines, tyramines and other amines......not too mention the "other" stuff" in wine - no truth in labeling on wine - ....it is DOUBTFUL it is the SULFITES - if you are allergic to sulfites, they will likely KILL you.....they won't give you a headache or a stuffy head!.

This family goes to great trouble and expense to obtain natural fertilizers, such as penguin guano (poop) - fertilizer from chicken farms is not permitted. They plant cover crops between the vines to not only be beautiful, these plants also benefit the soil and attract beneficial local wildlife as well! There's another aspect to "organic farming." One can't just run big tractors across the land - those big tractors compact the soil and cause a myriad of problems. This winery uses many methods to minimize any impact on the soil. Preventing soil compaction and using cover crops increases the aeration of the soil. This helps the soil retain moisture and increases the level of organic material in the soil.


The Ruins Chardonnay - Viognier 2007 (Robertson, South Africa) Reg. $11.99 Sale $10.99 - Wonderful summertime white wine! REALLY, REALLY great value, too!

The beauty of blends is that.....well....they make better wine in most cases than a single grape varietal! Blends ACCENTUATE the best of the grapes and that blending process minimizes the weaknesses of any grapes in a given vintage.

So, this has aromas and flavors of citrus (lemon and lime) and green apple from Chardonnay and the Viognier adds peach and apricot notes (what we wine geeks call, "white stone fruit"). Then, you get tropical fruit flavors all over your mouth!!!!......melons, pineapples, mangoes......don't think about it too much.....this is just fun to drink! This has a soft, lush texture. Crisp, vibrant acidity that helps this wine finish clean and crisp!

This wine is a blend of 74% Chardonnay and 26% Viognier. The grape varieties were fermented separately in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. The winemaker used two different yeast strains specially selected to bring out the best in each grape. This wine rocks at this price! Food pairing - Wonderful wine for a party with or without food. Scallops, lobster, shellfish, fish, lighter poultry dishes.


The Ruins Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2006 (Robertson, South Africa) Reg. $11.99 Sale $10.99 - Superb red for the Summer! Excellent price as well!

Like the white version of this.....well, blends makes better wines most of the time (most wines of Bordeaux are blends).....99% of California Cabernets are blends (do you know that to call a California/Washington/Oregon wine Cabernet Sauvignon, it has to be 75% Cabernet Sauvignon....and, the winemaker doesn't have to tell you what the rest of the wine is? Now....if it is good....do you care about the grapes?).......The beauty of blends is that.....well....they make better wines without needing to "manipulate" the grapes....year-after-year!

Like the white wine above, blending helps make a better wine!

Medium-bodied. Wonderful complexity.....Aromas of black and white pepper and red berry fruits and red cherries.....the Cabernet adds loads of structure and depth.....the Merlot adds rich dark fruit.....this is neither a "fruit-bomb" nor is it an overly earthy "Rhone-style" wine.....like many South African wines, this blends the best of the "New World" and the "Old World!" Nice balance of tannins, fruit and acidity. The finish has rich dark fruit and cleansing acidity. The finish is long and refreshing. GREAT summer wine! Food pairing - Grilled meats. Rip one of these open for your friend that loves red wine on a warm day!

Tier Two


Tim Adams Clare Valley Pinot Gris 2006 (Australia) $18.99 - Fabulous wine from the Clare Valley! The Clare Valley is the place in Australia to grow these Alsatian/German/Northern Italian grapes such as Pinot Gris and Riesling. Why? It's cooler because of the Southern Ocean breezes hitting this part of Australia. The East/West Valleys in this part of "Down Under" sit on a huge peninsula that sticks out into the Southern Ocean (the winds are coming across the Indian Ocean from Antarctica).

The Clare Valley is just the place to grow cool climate Pinot Gris! Clare Valley (this valley lines up west-to-east to receive cool winds from the Southern Sea) is one of Australia's cool-climate grape growing areas.....and Pinot Gris is at its best in cool areas.....we are not talking about thin, fruity, sweet Pinot Grigios from wherever....we are talking about top-notch "serious" wines from the Alto-Adige or Sudtirol in northernmost Italy....or Germany or Alsace or great winemakers in Oregon.....where the climate and soil help make a "serious" wine that has minerality and depth and complexity....plus rich, vibrant fruit. This is such a wine!

Great balance of acidity, fruit, sweetness and alcohol. Aromas of and flavors of peaches, tropical fruit, pears and lemons. Nice full, rich feel halfway. Crisp, vibrant acidity at the finish, which has a nice mineral part to it. Stainless steel fermentation. Bottled immediately after fermenting. Food pairing - Drinks well on its own - I'd also pair this with Asian cuisine, salads and fresh fish. Paul Ippolito, The Five Minute Wine Rush, 91 points


Barnhard Griffin Merlot 2005 (Washington) $16.99 - This is a rich and flavorful Merlot. Barnard Griffin has been making top-notch wines for 25 years.....these wines show why Washington State may just be the true home in the USA to Bordeaux grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet, etc. California just may be too hot.

Aromas and flavors of black cherries, red currants, a little bit of toasty oak and vanilla from the French oak barrels. Big, rich flavors of cherries, cherry pie, coffee, mocha and vanilla. This is well-structured and has nice balance. Moderate tannins and nice acidity. Tasting, smooth finish.

This is drinking well now....and it will benefit from 2-3 years aging.

Rob Griffin and Deborah Barnard founded Barnard Griffin in 1983. They've been winning acclaim ever since. It's located in South-Central Washington, near the confluence of the Yakima, Columbia and Snake rivers - right smack in the middle of Washington's winemaking region.

The Barnhard Griffin wines have only been in Maine for a brief time....we also carry their Fume Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc). Food pairing - red-sauce dishes, steak, beef, lamb, mushroom dishes. Definitely more of a food wine than a "cocktail" wine. "Best of Class, Gold Medal," Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition

Tier Three


Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Vineyard Reserva Chardonnay 2003 (Argentina) $29.99 - AWESOME Chardonnay!

We love this winery! They just make SUPERB wine!

Familia Arizu has been at the forefront of Argentine winemaking since its start! They helped create the first D.O.C. - Luján de Cuyo – in Argentina and in all of South America. Leoncio Arizu began the family winery in 1901. He married a Spanish woman, Juana Larrea…..together….they and their 5 children built this winery.

This is truly OUTSTANDING! Tropical fruit aromas and flavors. Notes of pineapples, mango & honey. Hints of vanilla. Nice minerality. This has a nice, round, soft feel to it & is a rich, robust Chardonnay! The Wicked Wines boys brought this by at a tasting last winter as an "extra." It was a huge hit...this is AWESOME! Aged in French oak for 12 months, but it is not oaky. They use “older” oak barrels which add subtle oak characteristics without dominating the wine. Unfiltered. Organic farming that borders on biodynamic. Definitely sustainable farming. Food pairing - Great with lobster, crab and seafood. Ditto for roast chicken!


Moillard Beaune-Epenottes 1er Cru 2005 (France) Reg. $39.99 Sale $31.99 - Excellent 1er Cru from a great vintage! Bright, fresh aromas of red berries and black plums. Hints of oak (vanilla and baking spices). Flavors of plums and cherries with notes of peppery spice. This combines the finesse and full taste of wines from Beaune and the intensity of wines from Pommard. Wines from Epenottes drink well young AND age very well. This tiny vineyard is only about 2 acres and produces no more than 200 cases per year! Moillard has converted all of its vineyards to organic farming and production. These are SUPERB wines and great values! Food pairing – white meats, poultry and beef. Roast beef with this wine is a perfect pairing!

The Other

Commanderie de Peyrassol Cotes de Provence Rose 2007 (France) $18.99 - I love this wine! It tastes great! It has a beautiful, pink salmon color. The aromas are bright and fresh! This is SUPERB French rose!

This has aromas of red fruits (strawberry, raspberry and watermelon), minerals, spices and herbs and honeysuckle. The flavors are bright, fresh, popping! Lots of minerals, strawberry and red fruit notes.....definitely dry, but not a dryness driven by tannins....this is lean, crisp and beautiful. Juicy, lingering finish!

Food pairings - garlicky dishes, salmon and other fattier fish, grilled chicken, grilled pork, pretty much....it'll stand up to and compliment a host of foods!

This estate is in the heart of Provence.....near routes traveled by the Crusaders in the Middle Ages. The Knights Templar founded this estate and the first recorded harvest was in 1256. Winemaking has continued uninterrupted ever since. When the King of France, worried about the Templars’ power, moved against them and crushed them in 1311, the Knights of Malta inherited the Commanderie. They maintained these vineyards well....until the French Revolution, when the State took control. The Rigord family purchased the estate in 1870 and it has been in the family since. Francoise Rigord has been making wines here since 1981; her son Francois joined her recently.

The Commanderie is in the backcountry north of St. Tropez and Hyeres near Le Luc. The estate is surrounded by Mediterranean forest. They have 65 hectares (2.58 acres to the hectare) on dry, rocky, clay and limestone soil. They farm sustainably. No pesticides, no fungicides, no herbicides, no synthetic fertilizers. They do use sheep manure!

This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault. The grapes undergo a cold maceration before being pressed. This gives the wine its beautiful color! They control the fermentation temperature (that means they keep it cool) - this makes the wine both fresh, vibrant and fuller-bodied.

June Wines We Love

June Wines We Love!!!


Pichon Viognier 2007 (France) $13.99 - Viognier has rocketed to popularity in recent years. This version from Southwest France manages to combine the aromatic apricot and honeysuckle qualities typical of the grape with a bright, fresh acidity and finish. Fermented in stainless steel with temperature control (keeping the temmps cooler) to preserve the fruit inherent to the grape. Food pairing - just drinking on a warm day! Poultry, seafood, grilled chicken, grilled pork, tuna, salmon, etc. Lighter pasta dishes. Veggie pasta dishes.

Star Lane Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez 2006 (CA) $22.99 - This is one of the wines we are "jacked" about! Brand-new to Maine! crisp, bold.....bigger Sauv Blanc....The Star Lane Ranch in eastern Santa Barbara is a great mountaintop vineyard with lots of exposure to sun light. The wine maker, Nick de Lucca worked at Highfield in New Zealand and has a lot of experience with Sauvignon Blanc. This is a very balanced version. He works hard to keep the wine from being too aggressive. And it results in a more complex food friendly wine. The winery is completely gravity fed - this means the grapes are handled more gently - resulting in brighter, better flavors. They use yeasts that bring forth aromas and flavors reminiscent of Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. A small portion of this wine sees time in neutral oak barrels (most ferments and ages in stainless steel vats). Aromas and flavors of flowers. gooseberries, citrus (orange, lemon and grapefruit). The barrel aging adds a richer, softer mouthfeel to the wine. Food pairing - seafood, lobster, poultry. Oysters, mussels.


La Ferme St. Pierre Rose 2007 (France) - $13.99 - Hooray! It's arrived! Again! For the last 4 summers, this has been our FAVORITE rose in this price range! We LOVE THIS! Ned received about 10-12 cases a month ago or so.....those are gone. He's received another 40 cases this year. 2 summers ago, he received 130-150 cases of this (so, we were able to get it all summer long). Last summer, Ned received about 50-60 cases. They were all gone by mid-July or so. He has less this year and demand for French roses keeps going up! This will be gone SOON! This rose from the Southern Rhone is made in very small quantities and is only available for a limited time in the summer. 50/50 Grenache and Syrah. Made from the exact same crush as they make their Cotes du Ventoux Rouge - this just sees a lot less skin contact (color for red wines is in the skin)! It's made from Grenache and Syrah in a very fresh grapefruit/watermelon kind of way. Dry, crisp and fruity (yes....a wine can be dry and fruity!). Food pairing - It's a great versatile wine that is a sublime match with roast chicken, chicken salad, and potato salad....anything poultry and/or grilled lighter meats - salmon, pork, chicken, tuna....stuffed mushrooms will work!


Erste & Neue Kalterer See Schiava Auslese D.O.C. "Leuchtenberg" 2006 (Italy) $19.99 - This is a UNIQUE lighter red wine from the Lake Kalterer (Kalterer See - think Zurich See) region up in the far north of Italy (the Sudtirol - we are in Southern Austria in terms of "Germanic" culture and influences). This is made from the Schiava grape and is kind of reminiscient of a Cabernet Franc. It has floral cherry fruit and a hint of black pepper and spice. The best Schiava grapes come from the Kalterer region. Food pairing - awesome with prosciutto and other cured meats. Smoked salmon. Drink this young. You're okay for the next 12-24 months, but they don't make this wine to age. Only three cases have ever, EVER entered Maine! What's left is here tonight! If Ned and I are good for only one thing.....together....we'll show you some unique wines!

Jelu Syrah 2005 (Argentina) $12.99 - GREAT VALUE and just awfully good at the price! Jelu is located in the dry, sun drenched Zonda valley of Argentina. The lack of rain, but abundance of meltwater from the mountains makes for a near perfect climate for growing wine grapes. This is a full bodied chewy wine packing a lot of dense berry fruit. Mouthfilling with a smooth easy drinking texture. A little pepper and spice in the nose.....lots of red and dark berry aromas. Excellent red and dark berry flavors.....plus a subtle hint of pepper, earth and minerals. Moderate, softer tannins in the middle and on the finish. Long, pleasing finish. Well-balanced. Aged 9 months in oak. Food pairing - Drinks well with rich grilled meats, aged cheeses such as Grana Padano, Parmesan or Piave Vecchio. Now, here's where Ned and I disagree.....he says, "This is great for Barbecued pork..." Well, I'm from North Carolina. It's barbecue.....now, you can abbreviate it to 'que or 'cue......regardless, it is ALWAYS pork. 'Cue is PORK. One doesn't barbecue.....one doesn't have friends over for a barbecue......'cue is the pork......you grill....you roast.....you fry.....you don't barbecue.....it's NOT a verb! Beef is not 'cue. Pork is 'cue! It's simple!

Domaine de L'Harmas Cotes du Rhone 2004 (France) $16.99 - Think of this as a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Domaine de L'Harmas is located in CNP and this is their second wine to their CNP. The wine is made in the same fashion as their CNP from old vine Grenache with a bit of Syrah and Mourvedre added to the blend. Aged in oak barrels for about a year....a little longer. It is a very concentrated dense red wine that is stuffed to bursting with dried cherry and raspberry fruit interwoven with white pepper. A little bit of smokiness to this wine. Give this a little more age and it will wow you even more! This benefits from decanting. Food pairing - Good with steak and other grilled meat, roast pork and lamb, other hearty meals.

Three Saints Syrah Santa Ynez 2005 (CA) $19.99 - big and bold....really good! Brand-new to Maine! This is one of the wines we are "jacked" about! Three Saints is the second label of the Star Lane Winery out in Santa Barbara. The grapes and wine receive all the same care and winemaking as their top of the line Syrah and the decision about which label to bottle it under isn't made until the wine is done. I am very impressed by the price of this wine. It has all the concentration and blueberry, pepper and refinement of much higher end Santa Barbara Syrah but for half the price. This is a steal. Only 3 cases into are in Maine and that is all we will see!

Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole 2005 (Italy) $36.99 - Super Tuscan. BAD, BAD wine.....we're talking "Bad, Bad LeRoy Brown" Bad! Wonderful wine! Andrea Franchetti tried all kinds of other professions before settling on winemaking, but when you're fabulously wealthy, you can afford a mistake or a dozen. He bought land in the middle of nowhere on the border with Umbria down in Southern Tuscany and started planting Bordeaux grapes. Not just any Bordeaux gapes....Cabernet Franc, mostly. That's going out on a limb right there! He patterned this wine on a St. Emilion Bordeaux and it really shows through that you are drinking a very well-made, polished Cab. Franc blended with Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon. But it still has a hot, rich earthiness that is undeniably Tuscany. Franchetti is rightly regarded as one of the top five producers of Bordeaux blends in Tuscany. This is GROUNDZERO for Super Tuscans.....while we're at it....ask Ned and I about what's up with Brunello (big rumors - well, not really rumors, that some winemakers have been playing fast-and-loose with the grapes that are allowed!)......Given the prices of Super Tuscans....we're not sure why they played so loose and free with such a great brand as Brunello, but they did....a Super Tuscan is basically a red made from non-traditional grapes or methods.


Samos Muscat "Vin Doux" 2004 (Greece) $21.99 - Samos is a tiny volcanic Isle off the coast of Greece in the Aegean Sea. The grapes are grown on mountain slopes that give the grapes more sunshine and better drainage. The influences of the ocean keep the vineyards from getting too warm (this is CRITICAL). A classic old world Muscat! This is a beautiful lighter dessert wine that is loaded with apricot and honeysuckle aromas and flavors.