September 19, 2008

September Wines We Love!

September Wines We Love!!!


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


The wines:

Whites:

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.

Reds:

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!

Whites:

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.

Reds:

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 inexpensive.....it'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

Dessert

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.

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