December 21, 2008

Four Great Rieslings! - 90+ points Wine Spectator

4 GREAT Rieslings!

Rieslings are wines that you can age for years!

I just tasted these with Justin of Wicked Wines. These are incredibly good and great values!

All 4 are from Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler (you should see the photos of this place!). All 4 are from the Mosel.

The Mosel is dotted with wine villages - these wines come from Bernkastel (3) and Wehlen (1). Dr. Peter Pauly and his wife, Helga, own 2 estates - "Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler" and "Peter Nicolay." These vineyards are on steelp, difficult-to-farm hillsides along the river. Peter Pauly is the offspring of the famous Bergweiler and Prüm families, who are first mentioned in official records in 1156. Pauly made wine with Christian Labonte and Josef Staab at Schloss Johannisberg in the Rheingau. His grandfather, Zacharias Bergweiler, was for many decades one of the most respected wine-growers on the Mosel.

Dr. Pauly took over his grandfather's estate while still a student in 1959, subsequently completing his doctorate and writing a thesis on the economic opportunities offered by the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer wine-growing region. Helga Pauly married Peter Pauly in 1971. Her family, the Berres, owned the "Peter Nicolay" estate. Carl Hubert Berres was one of the greatest competitors and closes friends with Zacharias Bergweiler. Their son, Stefan, runs the winery today with his sister, Ulrike.

The vineyards are 12.5 hectares (about 32 acres) are kept to low yields to produce the best grapes. The winery makes about 12,000 cases of wine each year (140,000 bottles). It uses stainless steel tanks and makes wine from 15 vineyards.

Have you ever wanted to know how to read a German label?

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Kabinett Mosel Bernkasteler alte Badstube am Doctorberg 2007

  • Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler - the winery
  • Riesling - the grape
  • Kabinett - this tells you the quality of the grapes. Once these words are written on a label, generally we are in the category of really good wines. Kabinett is the first (lowest) of the six subcategories of qualitätswein mit prädikat (QmP)- the highest quality-wine category in Germany. Kabinett wines must contain minimum amounts of natural sugar. These are the lowest minimums for QmP wines, and these wines are therefore usually the driest and least expensive. The other 5 subcategories are Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese going from 2nd lowest to the highest.
  • Mosel - the region
  • Bernkasteler - the "er" at the end means "of" or "from" - so this is from the village of Bernkasteler.
  • alte Badstube am Doctorberg - the vineyard.

The 4 wines!

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Kabinett Mosel Bernkasteler alte Badstube am Doctorberg 2007 (Germany) $27.99 - This is a SINGLE VINEYARD wine from one of the greatest vineyards in the Mosel Valley, alte Badstube am Doctorberg. The vineyard is sout-facing. The vines are at least 40 years old. Wines from here can age for YEARS! A plush, pillowy version, with good acidity defining the smoky apricot, orange and mineral flavors. Delicate and balanced, with a touch of vanilla on the finish. Drink now through 2022. 500 cases made. Wine Spectator, 91 points

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Spätlese Mosel Bernkasteler Badstube 2007 (Germany) $32.99 - "Badstube" means "spa" (in the Middle Ages a hot spring created a "spa" here. Today, this area is synonymous with great wines. This vineyard is around the town of Bernkastel. The Badstube vineyard is not as steep as most of the Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler vineyards and it has a richer Devon slate stone soil. A distinctive mix of candied berry, floral and citrus aromas and flavors that pick up salty, mineral notes as it glides across the palate. Lovely texture and harmony, with a tangy, savory aftertaste. Drink now through 2030. 1,000 cases made. Wine Spectator, 93 points

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Kabinett Mosel Bernkasteler Badstube 2007 (Germany) $22.99 - Needs a little air to reveal the peach, nectarine and salty, minerally elements. This is very savory, with fine balance and a saline, orange aftertaste. Drink now through 2022. 2,000 cases made. Wine Spectator, 90 points

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Kabinett Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2007 (Germany) $28.99 - From the famous "Sundial" vineyard facing the town of wehlen across the Moselle. This vineyard produces full-bodied wines! The vineyard is 165 acres, but it is divided into a large number of individual parcels. This vineyard led to the citizens of Wehlen being well-off. In the early 20th century they built a suspension bridge across the river - that bridge and the sundial are historical landmarks. Plump, yet well-defined by its lively structure. Peach, lime and mineral notes are accented by strawberry and vanilla in this complex white. Fine length. Drink now through 2022. 700 cases made. Wine Spectator, 90 points

Freeport Cheese & Wine

December 17, 2008

December Wines We Love, #1

December Wines We Love - Great for the Holidays!
Featuring Italian Wines from Winebow
& Mariner Beverages



Juve Cava (Spain) $15.99 – delicious! Brand-new to Maine!


Valle Reale Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2007 (Italy) $13.99 - limited wine in Maine. Just a few cases came to the state and I have most of them! 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 & fresh! I bought the only cases in Maine! Food pairing - poultry, sushi, shellfish, lobster and olive oil pasta dishes.

Zenato Pinot Grigio 2007 (Italy) $12.99 - Fabulous Pinot Grigio from one of our favorite winemakers and wineries – & our favorite importer of Italian wines! Aromas of tropical fruit (pineapple, cantaloupe, apricots) and minerals. Flavors of pineapple, minerals & lime. Refreshing and smooth, with a crisp, silky, dry & long finish. Aged 4 months before bottling and a few months more in the bottle before releasing to the market. Food pairing – lighter foods, grilled or roasted poultry or pork, white meat fish, shellfish, lobster, risotto dishes, many soups….drinks well on its own!

Westerland Celebration 2006 (South Africa) $10.99 - Blend of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.


Valle Reale Vigne Nuove Cerasuolo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Rose 2006 (Italy) $14.99 - The 4th wine from Valle Reale! 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 poultry! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points


Falesco Vitiano Sangiovese/Merlot/Cabernet 2006 (Italy) $11.99 - This is, plainly put, a TASTY wine! An absolutely GREAT value!!! Deep ruby red color. Rich, fresh fruit aromas and flavors. Spicy, peppery finish. Well-balanced fruit and acidity. Medium-bodied. Just a classic Italian! Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend (equal parts). Aged 3 months in Nevers oak. Food pairing – grilled meats, mushroom dishes, lasagna, spaghetti, roasts & flavorful aged cheese. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points, “…it’s almost too good to believe at this price.”

Di Majo Norante Sangiovese 2006 (Italy) $10.99 – Each time we taste this, it impresses us! Excellent wine! Great value! Aromas and flavors of red and dark berries and mint. Smooth and refreshing in the mouth with tons of fresh fruit. Light, fresh finish. Food pairing - Great compliment to anitpasta and grilled meat. It can really handle any foods you throw at it. Great game wine. A pleasure to just drink by itself. Aged 6 months in oak. Terrific value – drinks like a Chianti costing 2-3 times. Wine Spectator, “Top Values for Under $15”

Valle Real Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2005 (Italy) $19.99 - 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. Bottle aged for 8-12 months. Food pairing – rich and hearty pasta dishes, roasted or grilled meats, lamb, beef, mushrooms, etc. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points

Argiolas Costera Isola dei Nuraghi IGT 2006 (Sardinia, Italy) $17.99 - We just love this – it’s awesome! Wonderful flavors and aromas! This is a Sardinian Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Intense berry, spice, bacon fat, licorice and earth aromas. Nose carries through in the flavors. Hint of black pepper in the mouth. Dry. Medium-bodied. Well-balanced. 100% Cannonau (Grenache). Aged 6-8 months in French oak barriques. Single vineyard. 2009-2014 maturity. Food pairing - Goes well with beef, lamb, grilled meats, tomato-based dishes and truffles or mushrooms. Decant this – needs to breathe. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre 2004 and 2005 (Italy) $22.99 – I have some of both…..both are awesome! What a rich, soft, elegant, great-tasting wine! A SPECIAL wine! For Amarone lovers, w/o the Amarone price tag! Velvet in a glass. Rich, complex nose – ripe fruit and spicy oak. Mouth-filling wine, but soft feel. Smooth tannins balance the dark berry and cherry flavors. Powerful. Long finish. Single vineyard blend of 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella & 5% Sangiovese. Food pairing - Great food wine! Rich meals – game, mushroom risotto, lamb & more. For a special treat – try with GOOD bittersweet chocolate! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points

Sacred Stone Master's Red Blend - $10.99 - California "field blend"

Westerland Celebration 2006 (South Africa) $10.99 - Blend of Pinotage and Cinsault.

La Dote Pinot Noir 2008 (Chile) $10.99 -

Thunder Stone Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - $14.99 - Great value and great tasting California Cabernet!


Trentadue Chocolate Amore Port (California) $26.99 - Merlot-based Port with real dark chocolate blended in it!

Portuguese Wine and Port Tasting

We are doing this tasting regardless of whether or not it snows!

Wine & Port Tasting
Featuring importer Augusto Gabriel of Signature Imports
Wednesday, Dec. 17th
$10/person to taste a flight of these 15 wonderful wines
*Purchase a case of wine (and you may mix wines in that case) and use the $10 fee towards that case (limit, 1 $10 fee/case)
Please e-mail back or call the store (865-3993) to register and reserve a place!

What makes these wines so interesting is that we are looking at 4 distinctly different wine making areas in Portugal AND we are going to taste some higher end Portuguese wine!
  • Duoro River Valley (this is where Port is made and some IMPRESSIVE "still" wines made from the Port grapes). The designated "Duoro" wine area is the eastern part of the valley. The hillsides are extremely steep here and only in the last 20 years has Portugal had enough money to create ready access to this area - this has opened up the area for better winemaking b/c the growers can now get their grapes quickly to the winery.
  • Dao - just south of Vinho Verde and Duoro. Still in northern Portugal. Dead center in terms of east-to-west.
  • Vinho Verde - northwestern Portugal. The western part of the Duoro River passes through Vinho Verde.
  • Alentejo - this is the explansive plain in Southern Portugal that pushes up against the Spanish border and the hill towns along the border. This area is due east of Lisbon and a touch south of it along the Spanish border.
Portugal is an area that US winedrinkers are still discovering - although Portugal is an ANCIENT winemaking area! In the 1600's the British began importing Portuguese wines - eventually adding brandy to the casks to improve flavor and stability of the wine during transport - creating Port (it's fortified with brandy).

As a result, much of the world associated Portugal with fortified wines for centuries and never really thought about its "still" wine (the Portuguese call red and white wine "still" wine). Also, Portugal for much of the 20th century was dirt poor after decades of economic and political isolation (they suffered under a comparable dictatorship to the Franco one in Spain). This resulted in little attention or investment in winemaking - since the 1980's and integration into the European Union, that has changed and Portuguese wineries are roaring into the world's forefront!

The grapes are unknown to us in many ways - Touriga Nacional, Arinto, Aragones, Tinto Roriz (what the Spanish call Tempranillo), Trincadeira, Alfrochiero Pretoand Castelao.

Remember, this is not a seminar. You may come at any time between 5:30 and 7:00pm.

The Wines:


Casa da Vila Verde Vinho Verde 2007 (Vinho Verde) $9.99 - lusher and richer than most Vinho Verdes. Bottled without any CO2, so this doesn't have the slight effervescent spritziness of many Vinho Verdes. 11.5% alcohol versus 9.5% for many. Estate grown and bottled (most Vinho Verdes are not). Blend of Trajadura and Loureiro. We are going to taste another Vinho Verde, not one of Augusto's, side-by-side with this as a comparison.

Casa da Vila Verde Alvarinho 2006 (Vinho Verde) $12.99 - This is a wonderful white wine! From the same grape the Spanish call Albarino! At a much lower price! Aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, grapefruit, peaches and green apples. Stainless steel fermentation. Food pairing - great with seafood.

Casa de Santar White 2007 (Dao) $16.99 - Floral and stone-fruit (apricots and peaches) aromas. Soft texture. Blend of Encruzado, Cerceal-branco and Bical. Estate-grown grapes. Hand-harvested. Stainless steel fermentation. "Battonage" done (they stir up the "lies" or residue in the vat - this softens the wine). 50% goes through malolactic fermentation (this is what makes some Chardonnay "buttery and creamy" - this wine is not "buttery and creamy" - the malolactic fermentation adds more of a velvety texture to the wine. Food pairing - seafood, shellfish, great with appetizers.


The following winery, Quinta de Ventozelo (3 wines and 3 ports), is the oldest property in Duoro and the Wine & Spirits "Winery of the Year" in 2005.

Quinta de Ventozelo "Vinzelo" Duoro 2006 (Duoro) $10.99 - Fresh and easy wine. Not complicated! Just good! Red blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Touriga Nacional. Stainless steel - sees no oak. Filtered. Food pairing - pizza, pasta, roast chicken, mushroom dishes, etc.

Quinta de Ventozelo Touriga Nacional 2003 (Duoro) $26.99 - Dark red color. Aromas of blackberries, red berries, baking spices and coffee. Flavors of fresh dark fruit, stony minerals and more - this is not "just a fruit bomb." Coming into its own - this will easily last another 2-3 years and maybe longer. 100% Touriga Franca. 8 months in American oak. 6 months minimum bottle aging before release. Lightly filtered. Wine Enthusiast, 90 points.

Quinta de Ventozelo Touriga Franca 2003 (Duoro) $25.99 - This might not be for everyone. I think it's kinda cool and interesting. More of a food wine. Just beginning to come into its own. 100% Touriga Franca. 8 months in American oak. 6 months minimum bottle aging before release. Lightly filtered. Food pairing - lamb, aged cheese, roasted poultry, etc.

Casa de Santar Tinto 2003 (Dao)$13.99 - Bright ruby color. Long silky finish. Blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alfrochiero. Estate-grown grapes. Hand-harvested. Aged in American oak casks for 4-6 months (barrels have been used at least 1 time). Bottled and aged for another 6-12 months before release.

Casa de Santar Reserva 2003 (Dao) $24.99 - Deep color. Velvety texture. Aromas of mocha, chocolate, coffee, smoke, raisins and dark fruits. Flavors of dark fruits, dark chocolate, spices, rich earth.....long finish! This is the crown jewel of the Casa de Santar line-up! Aged 1 year in 100% new Seguin Moreau French oak barrels. Wine is fined, but not filtered. Blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alfrochiero Preto.

Marques de Borba Tinto 2006 (Alentejo) $16.99 - Joao Portugal Ramos might be Portugal's leading winemaker (these other wines are so good, it's hard to say!). Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate has called Portugal Ramos one of the "emerging superstars of winemaking in Portugal." He's worked with the Rothschild-owned Quinta do Carmo. Now, he works for himself! New moder-winery that is also traditional (new stainless steel fermenters, traditional stone lagars for crushing the grapes by foot, naturally cooled cellar). Located near the gleaming white buildings of Estremoz, a hill town in the district of Borba. Rich, medium-bodied red. Aromas of strawberries, spices and flowers. Blend of Aragonez and Trincadeira. Hand-picked grapes. De-stemmed and then crushed. Aged 5 months in oak barrels.

Pontual Touriga Nacional/Trincadeira 2004 (Alentejo) $25.99 - One of the better wines I've tasted in ages! Big red! deep tannins that are tamed and softened with some age. Aromas and flavors of black plums and flowers and notes of spices and vanilla. 65% Touriga Nacional & 35% Trincadeira. 12 months in French and American oak.


Quinta de Ventozelo used to sell their Port grapes - then they started making Port.....I'm glad they did! This "quinta" dates back centuries - it's one of the oldest on record and its grapes have made award-winning Ports for other names for decades. Now, it is making its own award-winning wines!

Quinta de Ventozelo Late Bottle Vintage 2000 $29.99 - Deep ruby Port! Aromas and flavors of black cherries, dark chocolate, vanilla and hints of aged wood. Great length on the flavors. Aged 4 years in casks and then bottled and aged some more! Blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cao. Grapes are crushed by foot without destemming. Fortified by adding 100% natural grape brandy. Unfiltered. Food pairing - serve with Aged Gouda, Manchego, blue cheeses, nuts, chocolate, spicy apple pie. Wine Enthusiast, 89 points.

Quinta de Ventozelo 10-year Tawny Port $39.99 - Aromas and flavors of raisins, caramel, toffee, dried fruits....Blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cao. Grapes are crushed by foot without destemming. Fortified by adding 100% natural grape brandy. Unfiltered. Average of 10 years in "pipas" (550-litre casks of native oak and chestnut). Food pairing - blue cheese, softer cheeses, quiche, coffee, dried fruits, pate & foie gras. In warmer weather, chill and serve as a cocktail. In cooler weather, cuddle up in front of a fire! Wine Spectator, 90 points.

Quinta de Ventozelo 20-year Tawny Port $64.99 - Clear, rich amber color. Softer and more blended aromas than the 10-year - raisins, cocoa, melted brown suger and butter and dried fruits. Flavors of figs. Long and smooth. Blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cao. Grapes are crushed by foot without destemming. Fortified by adding 100% natural grape brandy. Unfiltered. Average of 20 years in "pipas" (550-litre casks of native oak and chestnut). Food pairing - blue cheese, mature aged cheeses, dried figs, dates and apricots. In warmer weather, chill and serve as a cocktail. In cooler weather, cuddle up in front of a fire! Wine Spectator, 89 points.

X Port - I'm missing my notes on this one and the name! It's a ruby and it's about $26-30.

We hope to see you there!


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