September 24, 2008

Wine Tasting, Lindsay Stanley of Stanley Lambert


I just had an opportunity fall into my lap!

An Australian winemaker!

Lindsay Stanley is a legend in Australian winemaking!

So, we're having a winetasting!

Wine Tasting
Featuring winemaker Lindsay Stanley of Stanley Lambert
& Rodrigo Alcalde from Chile's Vina Los Maquis

Friday, Sept. 26th

Hilton Garden Inn, 5 Park Street, Freeport
(the Hilton is just around the corner from my store - going away from LL Bean on Bow Street, cross the railroad tracks and turn left onto Park Street and there is the Hilton!)

$10/person to taste a flight of these wonderful wines
Please call the store (865-3993) to register and reserve a place!

Remember, this is not a seminar. You may come at any time between 5:00 and 7:00pm.

Also, we are doing this tasting outside of the store because Maine law limits retailers to 1 wine tasting in the store per month.

We have to charge a small fee (and $10 to taste 12 wines, especially these wines, is a pittance!) to cover the costs at the Hilton. Many thanks to Jeanne Carpentier and her awesome staff at the Hilton Garden Inn for making this happen at the last moment!

The Wines and the Background Story on both wineries

Vina Maquis

The Hurtado Family has owned the Vina Maquis vineyard for more than a century. 10 years ago, the family decided to make their own wine out of the terrific grapes in their own backyard. They built a gorgeous, modern, state-of-the-art gravity flow winery and set out to make a "Super Chilean" blend from the vineyard's best grapes. "Super Chilean" is just a play on "Super Tuscan" and really means "red wine made from the grapes we want to use" - that's what it means in Tuscany!

VIna Maquis is located in the Valle de Colchagua! The Tinguiririca River and the Chimbarongo Creek - two large streams - brought tons of alluvial sediments down from the Andes. Today, these streams act as pathways for cool coastal breezes that help moderate the hot summers in Colchagua. This helps produce better grapes.

Rodrigo Alcalde is hear from Chile representing Vina Los Maquis with 2 wines, Maquis Lien and Calcu. He's the marketing director at Vina Los Maquis.

Stanley Lambert

Lindsay Stanley has been making award-winning wines for over 30 years in the Barossa Valley. Early in his long career, he started working with the legendary father of Penfold's Grange Hermitage, Max Schubert. Penfold's Grange is Australia's most famous and esteemed wine! You can see Schubert's influence on Lindsay's winemaking today with wines such as the "Family Tree" Shiraz and "Silent Partner" Cabernet.

After leaving Penfolds in 1991, Lindsay started Stanley Brothers (now Stanley Lambert). Since 1991, he has produced award-winning wines that are widely distributed across Australia, Asia and Europe. Recently, the wines have come to the United States

Jim Lambert made a fortune in business in Denver and decided to "retire" to Australia and buy a winery. While in the Barossa Valley, he stopped in a local pub and asked the bartender who was the best winemaker in the area. The answer - Lindsay Stanley. Lambert asked where he could find Lindsay and the bartender pointed at a nearby table! Over several beers, Stanley Lambert was born.

In 2003 Jim Lambert purchased a premium 100-acre old-vine vineyard. Most of the fruit in that vineyard was sold to Turkey Flat Vineyards and Peter Lehmann Wines for their premium wines. Jim and Lindsay decided to create their own wines from that superb vineyard.

Barossa is unique in that it has never had an outbreak of phylloxera - so it is sitting on the proverbial motherlode of old vine vineyards - some of the oldest original rootstock vineyards in the world!

Jim Lambert is farming his vineyard sustainably and using environmentally-friendly practices. He is in the process of creating an ISO Certified "Green Vineyard (it'll be one of the first in Australia).

Winemaking at Stanley Lambert is pure - no centrifuge to spin the solids out, no "toys" to "help" the wine and the winemaker.

The Stanley Lambert wines


Pristine Chardonnay 2005 - $11.99 - called "pristine" because of the use of no oak or malolactic fermentation. Aromas and flavors of ripe melons and green apples. 1,500 cases made. Food pairing - Perfect wine as a cocktail wine for a party or with lighter dishes.

Thousand Word Chardonnay 2007 - $18.99 - Aromas and flavors of green apples, pears, nuts, cashews and maybe even anise. From the oldest vines on the Lambert Estate Vineyard. Slowly cold fermented over 6 weeks to retain the natural fruit characteristics of the grapes. Aged on lees for 8 weeks to add character and complexity. Gentle use of oak - only used wood from the heart of the tree from Limousin, France (you're going to have to ask Lindsay why). It's this oak that lends the nutty, cashewy flavors. 600 cases made. Food pairing - chicken, oysters, seafood creamy pasta dishes. Silver Medal, 2007 Barossa Wine Show


Mustang Sally Shiraz 2003 - $11.99 - a soft, spicy Shiraz with nice earth and dark fruit. Sweet, soft tannins (this doesn't mean the wine is sweet). This is a "drink now" Shiraz - it's made to drink young. 2,500 cases made. Food pairing - drink with grilled meats or just when sitting around with friends!

Dundee's Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2001 - $11.99 - The Cab adds rich black currant and dark berry notes. The Merlot adds violets and red berries and a silky texture. Medium-bodied wine. This is the wine I know the, it'll be an experiment for all of us!

Black Sheep Shiraz-Malbec-Merlot 2002 - $16.99 - easy drinking blend. The Shiraz adds ripe blackberry and raspberry flavors, the Malbec adds weight and depth and dark cherry flavors and the Merlot kicks in with violets and a silky texture to soften the wine! Blend of 60% Shiraz, 25% Malbec and 15% Merlot. Aged for 8 months in previously used oak barrels. Drink now or cellar for 2-3 years. Food pairing - great with lamb, quail, veal, duck and pasta dishes. Pizza.

Thoroughbred Cabernet 2002 - $21.99 - One of the wines Lindsay loves to make is Cabernet Sauvignon. Well-structured wine that is more about elegance rather than trying to overpower you! Aromas and flavors of blackcurrants and plums, vanilla. Fine-grained tannins and a rich finish. This will age well for a number of years. Aged in French and American oak casks for 30 months! This was the first wine Lindsay Stanley made under his own label in 1991 - that vintage walked away with the "Cuno Pacific Trophy" at the Barossa Wine Show. Food pairing - steak, lamb, grilled meats.....drinks well without food. Wine Enthusiast, 90 points, "Best Buy"

Three's Company GSM 2006 - $19.99 - GSM is shorthand for Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvedre. Handpicked grapes from the oldest vines on the Lambert Estate Vineyard which surround the Lambert's house. Grenache adds strawberry and red berry notes, the Shiraz adds dark berries, the Mourvedre adds plummy notes and leather and smoke. Medium-bodied wine. Each variety was harvested and vinified separately and then blended to make the final wine. After blending, the wine aged 6 months in barrels used for the "Family Tree" Shiraz. 1,000 cases made. Food pairing - any foods, barbecue, meat, appetizers, etc.

Family Tree Shiraz 2004 - Reg. $49.99 Sale $39.99 - Excellent Australian Shiraz! Silky and soft. Aromas and flavors of baking spices, black cherries and blackberries. Long finish. 60-year-old vines. 350 cases made. Single vineyard wine from the best blocks on the Lambert Estate Vineyards. This will easily age for another 7-8 years. This is the FIRST release of ultrapremium wines from Stanley Lambert. Lindsay hand-picked the best new American oak, where the wine aged for 15 months. Wine Spectator, 90 points

Silent Partner Cabernet 2005 - Reg. $49.99 Sale $39.99 - Delicious! The 2nd wine in a series of ultrapremium wines from Stanley Lambert. Rich and elegant wine. Smooth, lush finish. Hand-picked grapes. Single vineyard with low-yielding vines (they suffer growing on higher rocky soil - and vines that have to work hard produce the best grapes!). Aged in fine-grained American oak hogsheads for 18 months. Lindsay Stanley considers the Cabernet Sauvignon grape to be the best wine grape in the world. 1,000 cases made. Food pairing - rich foods. Bronze Medal, 2007 Barossa Wine Show

Choc-o-bloc Port $26.99 - Tawny Port infused with chocolate. Delicious! Rich dark chocolate flavors with a luscious mouthfeel. Food pairing - great sipping with friends or serve with strawberries or raspberries.....or pour it and the berries over vanilla ice cream!

Vina Los Maquis Wines

Both wines are reds.

Maquis Lien 2004 (Chile) $18.99 - "Super Chilean." Concentrated and rich wine! Aromas and flavors of mocha, toast, ripe plums, blackberries and blueberries. Fleshy, ripe and rich. Hints of loamy earth. Not tanninc. Low-yield vines. Only the ripest grapes are used - all of the grapes are hand-sorted at the winery. 50% Syrah, 23% Carmenere, 8% Petit Verdot and 12% Cabernet Franc and 7% Malbec. Barrel aged for 12 months in French oak. In the local "Mapuche" language, "lien" means "silver metal" - a reference to colonial Spanish coins that were once melted to make fine jewelry, like the lizard on the Maquis label. Food pairing - grilled meats, steak, etc. Pasta dishes. Drinks well without food. Wine & Spirits, 90 points; Michael Franz, Wine Review Online, 90 points; "Four Glasses," NYC WIne Report, "Savvy pleasure seekers should discover this super value now;" Wine Spectator, "...silky and almost sumptuously flavorful....You'd have to look long and hard to find a richer, more dimensional, better-quality red wine for the money."

Calcu 2005 (Chile) $13.99 - Tasty little blend! Nice minerals, ripe tannins, red fruit and subtle oak in the flavors and aromas. Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Carmenere blend. In the local "Mapuche" language, "Calcu" means "healing doctor" or "magician." And, indeed, the winemakers have created another magical "Super Chilean!" Food pairing - pasta, grilled meats, mushroom dishes, etc. Drinks well without food. Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences, "Bargain of the excellent Chilean red blend."

That's the line-up.

Please call....

Freeport Cheese & Wine

(207) 865-3993



September 19, 2008

September Wines We Love!

September Wines We Love!!!

Freeport Cheese & Wine
27 Bow Street
Freeport, ME
(207) 865-3993

The wines:


Domaine d'Esperance Cuvee D'or 2007 (France) $14.99 - blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc and 45% Gros Manseng; from Gascony (home of d'Artagnan!) in Southwestern France. Aromas and flavors of apricots and white flowers. Dry finish with really nice length! Jean-Louis and Claire de Montesquiou bought this porperty in 1990. Previously, it had been left to run wild. It had been one of the Grand Crus of Bas-Armagnac. This area has sandy clay soil, which helps produce dry whites with lots of nice fruit in them! The Montesquiou family traces its heritage in Gascony to the 10th century (evidently King Henry IV was quite friendly with the Montesquious and loved their wine and spirits! They also make Armagnac at this winery (France's oldest distilled spirit). Silver Medal, Concours des Vins de Bordeaux 2008

Chateau Fondarzac Entre Deux Mers 2007 (Bordeaux, France) Reg. $14.99 Sale $12.99 - blend of Sauvignon Blanc (30%), Semillon (50%) and Muscadelle 20%). Unoaked (Muscadelle really doesn't like oak!). From between the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers (so the area is really "between 2 rivers" and not "between 2 seas"), an area that produces particularly good white wines. This is really nice and soft in the middle - that's the Semillon. It has subtle citrus notes and nice minerals in the aromas and flavors.


El Corregidor Malbec Merlot 2004 (Argentina) $12.99 - Blend of Malbec and Merlot. This sees some time in oak, but I don't know how much. I got aromas and flavors of mint, red and dark fruits and a hint of vanilla and baking spices. Vinedos Los Maitenes is the work of 2 close friends with a background in winemaking. They founded this estate in 2001. One characteristic of this winery is that they hold wine at the winery until it is ready to drink - so you can pull the cork on this and be confident is has sufficient barrel/tank and bottle aging! Walter Bressia, one of Argentina's leading winemakers, makes this wine and the Maestre de Campo. Walter's personal wines, from his own Bodega Bressia, command prices ranging from $45-$120/bottle! Food pairing - pasta, grilled meats, grilled fish.

Maestre de Campo Malbec 2004 (Argentina) $14.99 - Well-balanced wine with real nice tannins (they've smoothed out) and dark fruit with notes of mocha and chocolate. 100% Malbec. Aged 12 months in French and American oak barrels. Vinedos Los Maitenes is the work of 2 close friends with a background in winemaking. They founded this estate in 2001. One characteristic of this winery is that they hold wine at the winery until it is ready to drink - so you can pull the cork on this and be confident is has sufficient barrel/tank and bottle aging! Food pairing - steak, beef, lamb, pasta dishes, lasagna, etc.

Chateau Le Calvaire Bordeaux Superieur 2003 (Bordeaux, France) $17.99 - Blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot. Nice "old world" Bordeaux with pleasing tannins and aromas. This is a more "subdued" wine - not at all like an overpowering "New World" Cabernet or Merlot. Aromas of dried flowers and wet leaves on a forest trail. This estate dates to the 16th century. Food pairing - cheese such as Emmentaler, Appenzeller, Muenster, Livarot, etc. Chicken and duck. Lamb. Veal.

Domaine de la Citadelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Cotes du Luberon, France) $17.99 - Cabernet is an unusual grape from this area; so this is not an AOC wine....can't be! The Cotes du Luberon is in Provence. The growing area is cool at night and hot during the day. Yves Rousset-Rouard and his family have resurrected this estate over the last 25 years and turned it into one of the best in the Cotes du Luberon! The wine sees no oak - so, it's bright and fresh! Deux Etoiles dans le Guide Hachette 2007 (2 Stars)

Chateau Treytins Montagne Saint-Emilion 2003 (Bordeaux, France) $31.99 - This is an elegant Bordeaux! This is not a "garagiste" wine! "Garagiste" is a new term that emerged to describe some of the "New World" style fruitier, less tannic reds coming out of Bordeaux in the '90's and early 21st Century. Well-balanced tannins. Aromas and flavors of raspberries and plums, subtle, subtle oak. Smooth and soft. Blend of Merlot (about 60-70%), 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. About 80% of this wine is aged 18 months in oak barrels before bottling; the rest in stainless steel tanks. Easily ageable another 2-3 years, and this can be drunk young!


Höpler Riesling 2006 (Austria) $17.99 - The Austrian wine journal "VINARIA" has named Höpler as the "shooting star" of 2008 in its atlas of Austrian wines! This is a "dry" Riesling (12.5% alcohol). As a rule (that isn't always correct), Austrian Rieslings tend to be dry. Dry doesn't mean this isn't fruity - it has loads of "stone" fruit aromas and flavors (peaches and nectarines). It also picks up the minerals in the granite-laden soils that comprise Höpler's vineyards. Food pairing - trout and salmon (smoked or otherwise!). Ham. Dry Rieslings are incredibly food friendly! Drinks well without food as well!

Paul Jaboulet Aîné “Parallele 45” Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2006 (France) $12.99 - Excellent white wine from a superb winery in the Rhône Valley! Aromas and flavors of flowers, lemons, pears, peaches, honeysuckle & grapefruit. Nice crisp acidity to balance the fruit. Clean, crisp lingering finish that is more finesse than power. 65% Grenache Blanc and 35% other white grapes. Stainless steel fermentation on lees. Brief time in neutral oak barrels. 1,000 cases imported. Food pairing – seafood, fish, shellfish, lobster, lighter poultry dishes, pork, eggs.

Zenato San Benedetto Lugana D.O.C. 2005 (Veneto, Italy) $13.99 - Wonderful, lesser known white from Northeastern Italy - from the winery, Zenato, that is certainly my favorite in the Veneto! From one of my 3 favorite Italian importers - Winebow! (the other 2 are Small Vineyards and Vias). Aromas and flavors of peaches, green bananas, Provencal herbs, minerals and hints of lemon/lime citrus. This has nice minerals balancing the fruit. Well-balanced acidity. The finish is dry and has a pleasant almost bitter hint to it (at least that's what I get!). 100% Trebbiano di Lugana from the San Benedetto parcel on the south shore of Lake Garda. Stainless steel fermentation in temperature-controlled vats. Aged in vats for 6 months before bottling. Food pairing - Delicious by itself....this drinks well with both fish and poultry.


Cerejeiras Vinho Regional Estremadura 2007 (Portugal) $7.99 or 2 for $14! - Portugal still keeps putting out great value wines! This is one of them. It's right in the alcohol range I like wine (11.5%-13%). It's a little earthy, a little spicy, nice fruit and has moderate acidity. Medium bodied. Nice feel and texture. Blend of Castelao, Aragonez and Tinta Miuda. It's's good! It's not complex, but it's good (oh, I already said that!). Food pairing - grilled fish, lots of meat dishes, pasta and cheese.

Taurino Salice Salentino Riserva 2003 (Italy) $13.99 - A tasty wine and great value! I’ve enjoyed this wine for the past 26 years (I stumbled on this at age 21 when it first came to the US) and it just keeps delivering. Consistently a best buy year after year! This is a rich, full-bodied wine, with herbal notes on the finish…which is long and pleasant. Cosimo "Mimmo" Taurino is the "patron saint" of winemakers from Puglia - he helped make this area famous in the USA and elsewhere. Prior to 1982, most of the wine from Puglia was used to help add to the more famous wines from elsewhere in Italy and Europe. "Mimmo" put wines from Puglia on the map! From Puglia – the “heel” of Italy. Grapes - Negroamaro (85%), Malvasia Nera (15%). 20% French oak barrels. From one of my 3 favorite Italian importers - Winebow! (the other 2 are Small Vineyards and Vias). Food pairing - pizza, lamb, beef, pork, tomato-based sauces, hard cheeses. Slate Magazine, ”THE WORLD’S GREATEST PIZZA WINE!” I'm not saying Slate is the "be all and end all" when it comes to wine - they did peg this one, though! It is the world's greatest pizza wine!

Castillo Labastida Rioja Crianza 2004 (Spain) $16.99 - Soft, rich, yet delicate…in that way it’s Pinot Noir-like. Great value! Ripe red berries & cherries in the flavors & aromas with rich leather - the classic notes of Tempranillo! Smooth! 100% old vine Tempranillo. Castillo Labastida is a beautiful old village in the Sierra Cantabria foothills. Aged for 15 months in American oak barriques – this is a departure from the traditional way of aging in huge oak barrels…the barriques help soften the wine, but they don’t dominate the fruit with oak. From one of my 3 importers - Winebow! (who has branched from Italy into Spain, Argentina and Chile). Food pairing - Excellent sipping wine and with grilled meats, chorizo, roasted duck, chicken or pork. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points


Coppo "Passione" Brachetto d'Acqui DOCG 2006 (Piedmont, Italy) $17.99 - Delicious sparkling dessert wine from one of the best wineries in the Piedmont! We've sold several of their wines over the years (their Moscato d'Asit is awesome!). The bubbles pop and tingle! Aromas of fresh raspberries and strawberries100% Brachetto grapes. Stainless steel fermentation after just a little skin contact - so this is darker than most roses, but not as dark as a red wine. And, it SPARKLES! It's BUBBLY! This is one of the few Italian sweet wines to earn DOCG status! From one of my 3 favorite Italian importers - Winebow! (the other 2 are Small Vineyards and Vias). Food pairing - great little wine to start off a party or dinner! Even better - make this a pairing with chocolate for the end of a romantic dinner for two! Serve slightly chilled.

September 2008 Wines of the Month

Freeport Cheese & Wine
Wines of the Month
September, 2008

If you want any wines, and are not yet a member of our "Wines of the Month" club, please e-mail or call and let me know what you want. With a credit card payment over the phone, I can hold the wines indefinitely! So, even if you are from "away," I can hold the wine!

You are going to notice a theme with this month - 4 of the wines are from Abruzzo and ALL of the wines are from Italy. Back in April or May, I tasted several wines with a young woman from Valle Reale (her family's winery) and with the importer, Mary Bridge of Winebow. Winebow is one of my favorite importers in the USA - spin a bottle around and if it says, "Imported by Winebow," you know it is a good version of what it is supposed to be.....worst case scenario is you may not like that case or normal case - you just found a new wine you like!

I bought 4 of the Valle Reale (there own website is excellent!) wines......the good news is they taste great! The bad news is the supply is limited.....I thought these wines would be here in late June for July....they arrived in September......the other good news is these are not "warm weather" wines.....these will excel with cooler weather dishes and just ROCK with Thanksgiving Dinner!

Given that Winebow imports the Valle Reale wines and I liked many of those and that I like the Winebow wines as a whole, I decided to poke around and see what we could add for September to round out the selections!

Tier One

Azienda Agricola Valle Reale is a family-owned winery and farm. The Pizzolo family owns the winery and the farm and makes the wine.

This winery and farm is located in the center of Abruzzo - smack in the middle of one of Italy's most beautiful national parks! This area was carved by glaciers. It has crystal clear springs. The flora and fauna are wild and diverse! Valle Reale sits in the midst of this Eden!

The vineyards have a soil unique to this part of Italy and the climate is dominated by the Gran Sasso mountain range - so the temperatures widely fluctuate from day to night. The cool breezes ensure good ventilation and reduce the humidity in the vineyards. The red grapes ripen late in the fall - when the first snows whiten Mount Morrone.

The result of this unique climate - fully mature grapes with rich aromas and complex flavors.

The hallmark area for this family is in the cru San Calisto - which is setting the standard for Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.


Azienda Agricola Valle Reale Vigne Nuove Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2007 (Italy) $13.99 - Trebbiano is produced all over Italy. Not all Trebbiano is alike. This certainly isn't!

This has rich, fragrant aromas. Aromas of citrus, white pepper and flowers. In the mouth this is zesty and crisp and pops! It's full-bodied and just fills your mouth! Well-balanced acidity.

100% Trebbiano. Stainless steel fermentation at cool temperatures to make sure the fruit is bright and fresh! I bought the only cases coming into Maine!

Food pairing - poultry, sushi, shellfish, lobster and olive oil pasta dishes.


Azienda Agricola Valle Reale Vigne Nuove Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2006 (Italy) $14.99 - Juicy, soft, loaded with fruit and easy to drink! This is calling for a summer night when you are grilling or chillin'!

This vineyard benefits from the cold currents of "Gorges of Popoli" - roaring down from Mount Morrone along the Pescara River - the winds help cool the vineyards in the summer and lower the humidity. This helps the grapes ripen slowly and helps the fruit fully develop its flavors and aromas.

The name of this wine, "Vigne Nuove," comes from the first fruits harvested in the Popoli.

This is pure 100% Montepulciano fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fresh fruit aromas and flavors. Hand-harvested grapes.

This wine sees no oak and just explodes with red berries, sour cherries, wild blackberries and ripe strawberries. The tannins are there and help balance the does the acidity. Medium-bodied. Loads of flavor. Easy-going wine - a pleasure to drink! Versatile, authentic Italian red!

Food pairing - eggplant parmigiana, chicken parmigiana, meat-based pasta dishes, etc.

Tier Two


Allegrini Soave 2006 (Veneto, Italy) $18.99 - If there is a more misunderstood and disparaged white wine from Italy than Soave, I don't know it!

Remember those Soave Bolla ads from the early '80's?

Well, that's what everyone remembers about Soave.

Well, real Soave, true Soave, isn't that nasty wine! It's one of Northeastern Italy's LANDMARK white wines! And, Allegrini is one of Italy's greatest wineries!

Blend of 80% Garganega - a grape local to the area - and 20% Chardonnay. Hand-harvested grapes. 25 year-old vines. Cold-temperature fermentation to preserve the fresh fruit. Stainless steel fermentation. Aged in bottle for a few months before release.

Aromas of herbs and flowers and citrus. Flavors of lemon/lime citrus with great acidity and minerals. Medium-to-full-bodied. Lush and rich wine! Delicious!

Food pairing - seafood, shellfish, poultry and risotto. Wine Spectator, 87 points (you know what's funny about this score - 87 points - WS and Robert Parker and the rest put this in the Very Good category, between 85-89 points.....lots of people think this is a mediocre score.


Azienda Agricola Valle Reale Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2005 (Italy) $19.99 - Excellent, excellent, smooth and lush wine from this family-owned winery!

Aromas and flavors of dark berries, spices, smoke, licorice and more. Silky smooth tannins. Full-bodied, and still it is soft and smooth. Long, long finish.

100% Montelpulciano from this estate's oldest vineyards planted back in 1975. Hand-harvested in latter October. Aged 12 months in used French oak barriques. Aged in bottle for 8-12 months before the winery sells it.

Food pairing – rich and hearty pasta dishes, roasted or grilled meats, lamb, beef, mushrooms, etc. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points

PS - 88-89 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)! Why? Same score as 90 for all real purposes and it doesn't cause a feeding frenzy!

Tier Three


Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo D.O.C.G. 2007 (Italy) $27.99 - Campania's most renowned winery and the winery that put this part of Italy on the modern map in terms of wines such as Aglianico, Fiano, Falanghina, Greco di Tufo, Piedirosso and Coda di Volpe. Pietri di Mastro Berardino is the founder of this esteemed family of winemakers back in the 1750's - he earned the "Mastro" part of the family name!

One of Campania's signature wines and just a great white wine! Aromas and flavors of apricots, peaches, pears and this mean streak of minerality that sets the wines of Campania apart from most others! The flavors also have zippy, zesty, refreshing acidity! The finish is long and rich!

Greco di Tufo is the grape; the grapes are from the Montefusco vineyard. Stainless steel fermentation.

This wine has rich aromas of stone fruits, pears, tropical fruit and it follows through with strong minerals (remember, this is near Pompeii and Vesuvius - so, lots of minerals were blown into the air not long ago in geologic terms!). Excellent acidity that makes this wine refreshing and crisp while it is quite full and rich feeling with each sip!

Food pairing - grilled fish, seafood, chicken salad, lobster, lobster roll, shellfish, etc.


Librandi Gravello Val di Neto 2003 (Italy) $34.99 - from the toe of the boot (in Calabria) comes one of Italy's truly great wineries and wines! Calabria!

This winery is located right on the Ionian coastline. The location - pinned between the sea and the mountains - is perfect in terms of temperature for these grapes. Since the 1950's, after growing grapes for 4 generations, the Librandis started making wines. All the wines and olive oils are estate-grown and produced. The vineyards are planted with local grapes (Gaglioppo, Magliocco and Manonico) and international varietals. Librandi is also experimenting with ancient local grape varietals.

This is a "Super Calabrian." Remember, "Super Tuscans" are wines made from non-traditional grapes or non-traditional blends.....well.....that is what a "Super Calabrian" is as well! It's 60% Gaglioppo and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is aged for 3 years; one of those years is in Allier oak barriques.

Aromas and flavors of coffee, cassis, cherries.....this is kinda jammy.....but, more "stewed fruit" jammy......velvety, rich wine with a smooth and long finish. The tannins are soft. Great wine!
Food pairing - Pastas with meat sauces, Piave Vecchio, Aged Provolone, veal, beef, lamb, meat stews, roasted or grilled meats! International Wine Review, 90 points

The "Other"

Azienda Agricola Valle Reale Vigne Nuove Cerasuolo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Rose 2006 (Italy) $14.99 - The 4th wine from Ville Real!

An AWESOME Italian Rosé! Unique and delicious rosé that is different from your typical Provencal French rosés! Spicy, peppery and light-to-medium bodied. Not a fruit bomb - this has bright, fresh strawberry aromas and flavors coupled with flowers, earth and minerals. Just a gorgeous wine that is a beautiful salmon pink color and a pleasure to drink!

100% Montepulciano. Aged in stainless steel. Bottled young and meant to be drunk young!

Food pairing - salmon, tuna, grilled chicken or pork, spicy Asian dishes, spicy Tex-Mex dishes. Drinks well sitting with friends! PERFECT, I mean PERFECT, with Thanksgiving Dinner! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points

That's September!

Eric Fullagar

Freeport Cheese & Wine

27 Bow StreetFreeport, ME 04032

(207) 865-3993

August 2008 Wines of the Month

Freeport Cheese & Wine
August 2008
Wines of the Month

Tier One


The White Knight "Clarksburg" Viognier 2006 (California) $11.99 - Viognier is such a wonderful grape and makes such a delicious wine! This is dry....zippy's lower in alcohol than many California Viogniers (13.5% versus many that are 14.5%-15%). One of the many things I like about this wine is that it is lower in alcohol than it's CA peers - when you hit 14.5% and up in a wine, especially a Viognier, you TASTE and FEEL the burns and feels rough and like a hot pepper. This has aromas and flavors of apricots, nectarines, mango, lemon curd and vanilla. This is just a delicious wine for drinking on a summer day! It's versatile - drinks well with or without food. Refreshing and fun to drink!

The Clarksburg appellation covers Sacramento, Solano and Yolo Counties. This is an inland growing area that is blessed with the late afternoon cool breezes from San Francisco Bay that roll into the Sacramento River Delta. These breezes keep the Clarksburg vineyards an average of 9 degrees cooler than Sacramento. This area is large - 64,640 acres of farmland. So why is it so little known? Grapes such as Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Petite Sirah thrive here. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are not widely planted here - those are California's best-known grapes. Historically, 90% of the grapes grown here are crushed elsewhere, but we are seeing some wineries producing wine under the Clarksburg AVA name - so that is changing as the area grows in prominence.

Over the next decade, you will come to know Clarksburg as a prime area for wonderful wines at great prices!

Food pairing - spicy chicken, most any spicy food....melon wrapped with Prosciutto. Make a Viognier Sorbet for dessert! Wine Enthusiast, 88 points


Tomero Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Argentina) $13.99 - The Tomero, also known as "water supplier," has been a key person in the Argentine vineyards since 1833. The Tomero is in charge of the water supply for each district of the province - he regulates the flow of the meltwater from the Andes through the canals and ditches - without these irrigation canals, growing wine (or anything) in Argentina's high deserts would be IMPOSSIBLE.

Why did I pick a Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina rather than a Malbec or a Bonarda?'s a Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina and NOT a Malbec! So, oddly, going with a better-known grape in America means we are going with a lesser-known grape in Argentina! Also, this wine is from Finca Carlos Pulenta - we have many of their wines and love them!

This is a great value in a Cabernet - it shows the slightly warmer climate in which the grapes are grown. Aromas and flavors of jammy dark berry fruit, red berries, baking spices, black cherries and more.....easy to drink. It's medium-to-full bodied with softer tannins that kind of have an Italian dustiness to them if you know what I mean (I don't mean dirty earth). Juicy and ripe fruit on the finish with some "wet leaves in the forest" earthiness to the aromas in the glass.

80% of the wine is aged in stainless steel tanks and 20% is aged in French oak barrels for 8 months. The wine is bottle aged at the winery for 6-12 months before the winery releases it to the market. The grapes are hand-harvested. Food pairing - grill up a steak. Roast a chicken. Saute a bunch of mushrooms. Call some friends. Have fun! Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 89 points

Tier Two


Edmunds St. John "Heart of Gold" Grenache Blanc-Vermentino 2007 (California) $19.99 - The earth speaks when Steve Edmunds makes wine!

This winery is named for the husband-and-wife team of Cornelia St. John and Steve Edmunds.

Wanna know what Robert Parker said about Steve Edmunds wines this last spring (2007) was something along the lines of, "If you want to make French wine, make it in France." According to Parker's publication, that was a criticism......this, on a day when Parker (or whoever is the person that tastes for Parker in a given area today) was tasting 300 some wines (let's do some math: 300 wines X 2 minutes per wine = 600 minutes or 10 hours - I'm just guessing Parker or the reviewer has a sidekick writing down comments. Still, that's 1 wine every 2 minutes for 10 hours. NON-STOP), in that environment, what stands out? BIG, BOLD, OVER-THE-TOP wines. Nothing with finesse, elegance, subtlety.....

Well......Steve Edmunds' wines are complex, layered, subtle and often elegant.....often like a Chateaneuf-du-Pape, rarely like a 15.5% alcohol CA Zin or Rhone-Ranger or an Aussie Shiraz......more French-like in the layers of flavors and aromas and subtle approach of the wine. Think Bjorn Borg on the tennis court rather than John McEnroe. Or, Tiger Woods rather than John Daly. Or, Beethoven rather than AC/DC.

What's changed? Parker or Edmunds? Well, Parker now has lots of people reviewing wines for him. Steve Edmunds still makes the wines at Edmunds St. John. I'm betting Parker has changed.....the Edmunds St. John wines have only changed in the sense that they are better than 15-20 years ago! This wine is 13.3% alcohol.....just not in that blockbuster "Parkerized" style that so many "Rhone-Clones" or "Rhone-Rangers" are.

If you want to guess, I'm a bit down on Parker, the Wine Spectator and many wine reviewers. They wield lots of clout. What they don't do is drink a bottle of wine the same way you do (from start to finish over a period of time). They taste.....sniff, smell, swirl, gargle, spit.....move on to the next, what does that wine taste like in 30 minutes? 45 minutes? 90 minutes? Tomorrow? I understand that that is how many of you drink your, I try to replicate those scenarios. Sure, I taste a wine and go, "Thumbs up!" Or, "Thumbs Down." If it's a "Thumbs up," I then taste the same wine over time....even into tomorrow and the next day. Does Parker do this? The Wine Spectator? So, is that 91 points averaged over time? Or from the first impression? Or the last? Or when? Enough whining!

Back to this wine!

This is an odd blend for Steve......why? It's 54% Grenache Blanc and 46% Vermentino. Okay, Grenache Blanc is a Cotes-du-Rhone grape....a Southern French grape.....just what is Vermentino??? Well, it's,, from, who knows! Today, it's famous as an awesome white wine from Sardinia (I carry a couple of these - yummy....nice, subtle saline quality to the wine!).

Steve fell in love with Vermentino back in the early 1990's on a trip to Liguria......and then Tablas Creek planted some in California. Then, he had a chance to plant some Vermentino and Grenache Blanc vines on the same property that produces Edmund St. John's fame Wylie-Fenaughty Syrah.

This is the first vintage.....a whole whopping 127 cases made.....The wine is fermented with native yeasts (Steve is big on that). Aged on lees in a stainless steel tank. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation began, but the wine had such a low pH that only about 15% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation. Wine was filtered prior to bottling because it was cloudy, real cloudy. Bottled on Feb. 12th, 2008.

Aromas and flavors of citrus, citrus flowers, lemon oil, flinty chalk, rounds out in the mouth and gets softer and fleshier....long, juicy finish that is refreshing and clean.

Food pairing - anything from the sea! Nothing better than Maine lobster or Damariscotta oysters!


Vines on the Marycrest "Heart of Glass" 2005 (California) $23.99 - Heart of Glass - think Blondie! And, if you can't click on this link to YouTube! Disco ball, drugged out lead singer, repititious lyrics and music,'s the late '70's, baby! The name of the song and the singer have NOTHING to do with this wine! Aside from name!

These wines are available in 4, that's FOUR, states! Without Doug and Cat at SOPO being on the forefront of the wine industry in the US, we'd never see these....

Vines on the Marycrest is a labor of love for a couple and their 2 young children. Victor and Jennifer Abascal are passionate about Paso Robles and its winemaking potential and actuality in terms of the great wines being made there today!

Victor Abascal has a successful career as a highly sought-after sound engineer or something in the music or movie business (hence the names of their wines - "My Generation," "Heart of Glass"). He also has a passion for wine - rumor has it that earlier in his an earlier home, he secretly planted grapes on the property of the Marycrest Convent.......the nuns freaked because they thought the plants were....well.....marijuana......The police told the nuns otherwise....and the insurance company told Victor he couldn't plant grapes on the nuns', off to Paso Robles for Victor! When he named his winery, he decided to have fun with this earlier mistake in his life!

The WINE - enough fluff!

Like most Grenache-based wines, this shows lots of strawberries and raspberries in the aromas and flavors.....although in the flavors the dark earth of the Syrah and the leather from the Mourvedre kick in......

Without a doubt, though, one think I like about these Marycrest wines are the vibrant aromas that key off of the dominant grape! So, since Grenache dominates the blend, we get red berry fruit in the nose!

Blend of 67% Grenache, 22% Syrah, 11% Mourvedre. The Grenache vines are at least 50+ years-old. Something like 400 cases made.

Food pairing – lamb, chicken, turkey, salmon, etc....

Tier Three:


Hirsch Gaisberg Zobing Kamptal Riesling 2006 (Austria) $39.99 - Hirsch roared from nowhere in the late 20th century to being one of Austria's GREAT wineries.

This single vineyard Riesling shows what this winery can do.....!!! Aromas and flavors of apricots, peaches, tropical fruit, flowers such as lilac and lavender, herbs, crushed minerals and more. This is ripe and juicy and the flavors linger. Gripping wine with lots of finesse and a long finish.

The 40 year-old vines grow on terraced slopes filled with eroded rock - these Riesling vines have to SUFFER before they produce great grapes! The rocky soil adds minerals to the wines. The grapes in the Gaisberg are harvested in mid-October, whole cluster pressed and then fermented only with native yeasts. ZERO temperature control (this is natural winemaking!). Aged in stainless steel tanks and large oak barrels - in both the wine rests on its lees through April and then is bottled in the July following the harvest. Food pairing - poultry, trout & salmon (smoked and otherwise), pork sausages, lots of vegetarian dishes, seafood, aged goat cheeses, etc. You can easily age this through 2011-15 (I'd lay down a few bottles and pull them out for a Thanksgiving BONANZA in 2012). Vinaria, 2 Stars; David Schildknecht, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 90-91 points


Vines on the Marycrest "My Generation" 2005 (California) $27.99 - One's The Who's "My Generation!" An iconic rock song from long ago! I think this is from the days when Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry actually liked one another!

These wines are available in 4, that's FOUR, states! Without Doug and Cat at SOPO being on the forefront of the wine industry in the US, we'd never see these....

Vines on the Marycrest is a labor of love for a couple and their 2 young children. Victor and Jennifer Abascal are passionate about Paso Robles and its winemaking potential and actuality in terms of the great wines being made there today!

Victor Abascal has a successful career as a highly sought-after sound engineer or something in the music or movie business (hence the names of their wines - "My Generation," "Heart of Glass"). He also has a passion for wine - rumor has it that earlier in his an earlier home, he secretly planted grapes on the property of the Marycrest Convent.......the nuns freaked because they thought the plants were....well.....marijuana......The police told the nuns otherwise....and the insurance company told Victor he couldn't plant grapes on the nuns', off to Paso Robles for Victor! When he named his winery, he decided to have fun with this earlier mistake in his life!

Big, big powerhouse wine! Did I say BIG WINE?! Aromas and flavors come bubbling up out of this wine when you pour it into the glass!

It's dark - and it has dark berries, dark fruit, leather, black peppery spice, vanilla - do you get the idea that it is loaded with dark flavors and aromas! Pour it into a glass - it will look like it is staining the inside of your glass! The wine has some nice wet leave earthiness (probably the Mourvedre). The tannins are there - but, they don't dominate. I'd decant this to open it up quicker! Then, as yoy linger over this - you start to get notes of strawberries, raspberries and minerals - those more subtle flavors that the DARK stuff clobbered earlier! So, LINGER!

Blend of 45% Zinfandel, 28% Syrah, 18% Mourvedre and 9% Petite Sirah (yes, the gentlest of California grapes!). Something like 200 cases made.

Food pairing – steak, lamb, grilled chicken with a spicy rub or marinade, mushrooms. Good friends (don't grill them!).

That's August!

Let me know if you want some - I have a little!

Eric Fullagar

Freeport Cheese & Wine
27 Bow Street
Freeport, ME 04032
(207) 865-3993