December 16, 2009

Wine Tasting!
Friday, Dec. 18th

Dueling distributors - Doug and Cat from SOPO and Iain Cardus from Pine State.

We're tasting wines we feel are great for the holiday season - whether it's a gift or for a special meal or just unwinding at home!

We hope to see you on Friday!

The Wines:

Iain's Wines:

The Sparkling:

Carpene Prosecco (Italy) Reg. $17.99, Sale $14.99
- Aromas of pears and fresh bread. Flavors of pears, peaches, orange with nice acidity and crispness. Food pairing - great as a cocktail wine! Seafood.

The Whites:

1. Santa Rita Medalla Real Chardonnay 2007 (Chile) Reg. $18.99, Sale $16.99 - Aromas of fresh fruits, some citrus notes, dried fruits, and minerals. It is fresh yet weighty on the palate, with a creamy texture and a long, persistent finish. 20% of the wine is aged in new French oak barrels, with the rest in second, third or fourth use. Food pairing - Delicious with white meats and poultry, seafood, shellfish, and pastas prepared in seafood sauces.

2. Dry Creek Chenin Blanc 2008 (California) Reg. $14.99, Sale $11.99 - YUM! That’s what we have to say about this wine! Aromas of lemon, orange, pear & pineapple that carry through to the flavors. Clean, crisp, well-balanced and easy-to-drink. This is soft and smooth! Great wine for warm days and a picnic/party! Food pairing - Great choice for shellfish, seafood, pasta salad, chicken and drinking! Perfect with curry dishes. Awesome with oysters! Food & Wine, “Great Bargain – Terrific Wine Under $15;” Wine & Spirits, “Best Buy”

3. Milbrandt Riesling 2007 (Washington) $11.99 - This Riesling shows why Eastern Washington is becoming a hub for Riesling. It is ripe, fresh and highly aromatic. The nose combines peaches and apricots. The flavors are rich, lush and juicy. The finish is off dry and balanced. Food pairing - seafood, chicken, turkey and pork and a wide swath of cuisines from Cajun to Asian and Hispanic to German. Great as a cocktail wine!

The Reds:

1 - Robert Sinskey Cabernet Sauvignon "Vandal Vineyard" 2005 (California) Reg. $52.99, Sale $34.99 - DELICIOUS! Impressive. Organic. Biodynamic. Just off the rim, the color goes nearly opaque, almost black, but holds on to an intense, lustrous purple hue. Aromas recall black currant jam spiked with sweet herbs and vanilla. Flavors broaden and linger unhurriedly on a taut but supple canvas expertly knit by ripe, polished tannins. Food pairing - lamb, beef and more. Not an overblown Cab, so this is food friendly.

2 - Santa Rita Medalla Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Chile) Reg. $18.99, Sale $16.99 - Outstanding Cab that is a mouthful of wine! Flavors and aromas of dark and red berries, leather, baking spices, coffee, vanilla and toast. Tannins are soft and well-integrated. Long finish with lots going on, including mint and sage! 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 12-14 months in French oak (1/3 new, 1/3 1 year-old, 1/3 2 year-old). Food pairing – drinks great without food. Steak, lamb, beef, rich pasta dishes. Wine Spectator, 91 points, “Smart Buy”

3 - Kenwood Pinot Noir 2007 (California) Reg. $17.99, Sale $14.99 - This is a really nice Pinot and an excellent value! Wonderful red berry (strawberry, cherry, plum) aromas and flavors. A touch of peppery spice. Silky, soft…lots of fruit. Food pairing - Goes well with roast chicken, duck, turkey, pork and lamb.

4 - High Note Malbec 2007 (Argentina) Reg. $14.99, Sale $12.99 - Great tasting and a huge value! Well-balanced wine – fruit, tannins and acidity are all well-integrated. This has a smooth mouthfeel – the tannins are round and soft. Aromas and flavors of black currants, cherries, blackberries, plums and baking spices. A little peppery spice. Soft, smooth finish. 83% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Aged 6 month in 65% French and 35% American oak (only 24% is new oak), so this is not overly “oaky.” Food pairing – red meat, lamb, grilled chicken or vegetables, lasagna, pasta! Drinks well without food!

Doug and Cat's Wines

The Whites:

1 - Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (New Zealand) $11.99 - The wine is pale with green hues and has scents of lemon and honeysuckle. Peach and a touch of lime zest come through on the palate opening out to include hints of gooseberry. Lip-smacking, full, dry finish. Maori-owned. Sustainable agriculture. Food pairing - great with steamed mussels, fishcakes or a chicken stirfry.

2 - Charles Smith Wines Eve Chardonnay 2007 (Washington) $12.99 - a slightly oaky (20% sees oak barrels) Chardonnay from impresario Charles Smith of K Vintners fame. A lighter style Chardonnay that's clean and fresh! Bright, fresh aromas and flavors of ripe apples! Charles was just named Food & Wine's winemaker of the year! Wine Spectator, 88 points

3 - Darting Durkheimer Nonnengarten Kabinett Riesling 2007 (Germany) $19.99 - it's a full liter bottle, so it's 1/3 more fun! Just a touch of sweetness! Nice stone fruit aromas and flavors with good acidity and crispness. Food pairing - ham, smoked fish, Sushi, Thai food.

The Reds:

1 - Mas Lavail Terre d'Ardoise Carignan 2007 (Languedoc, France) $11.99 - This is a country wine — uncomplicated in its appeal, fragrant with dust and smoke, and just a little bitter. The wine is concentrated by leaf pulling and discarding a portion of the unripe harvest. The vines are very old and stand upright in sparse soil of black slate. Such hardship could produce a wine of formidable acid and structure. The cousins are clever in their wine-making, however, and the result is surprisingly soft and open. Food pairing - This wine welcomes food, especially pork and bread.

2 - Harlaftis Estate Athanassiadi 2006 (Nemea, Greece) $10.99 - drinks like a smooth, velvety Merlot. Soft tannins. This has nice dried cherry and berry flavors and aromas. Nice length on the finish. Food pairing - lamb chops, chicken, dishes with rosemary.

3 - Descendientes Palacios Petalos del Bierzo 2007 (Spain) $22.99 - That's a mouthful of a name and this is a mouthful of wine! We call this "Petalos" for easier talking. The entry-level wine (what an entry!) for this winery is the 2007 Petalos del Bierzo, 100% Mencia from vineyards ranging in age from 40 to 90 years. It spends its first few weeks in new French barriques before transfer to seasoned oak for 6 to 10 months. Saturated purple in color, it offers up a super-fragrant bouquet of smoke, violets, mineral, wild blueberry, and black raspberry. Fruity yet complex on the palate, it has superb depth, grip, and balance. This sexy effort can be enjoyed over the next six years but only hedonists need apply. 91 points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

4 - Kilikanoon "The Lackey" Shiraz 2006 (Australia) $14.99 - “The Lackey” which was aged for 15 months in seasoned American oak and bottled without fining or filtration. It offers a stylish bouquet for its humble price featuring aromas of cedar, bacon, plum, and blueberry. This leads to a medium-bodied wine with good grip, intensity, and length. 89 points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Best Buy

The Dessert:

1 - Niepoort Tawny Port (Portugal) $19.99 - Dirk Niepoort is THE MAN when it comes to Port these days!

I'm working on the wine descriptions and hope to have them up soon.

We hope to see you Friday!

December 10, 2009

December Wine Tasting #1

Wine Tasting!
Thursday, Dec. 10th

We are having 2 tastings in December - this Thursday (the 10th) and Friday, Dec. 18th. The descriptions of the wines are also here!

Dueling distributors again - Ned Swain from Devenish Wines (Ned always brings a delicious, esoteric mix of wines!) and Art Gonyea from National Distributors, along with Mary Bridge from Leonardo Locasio's Winebow Imports (one of my favorite people from one of my favorite importers).

We're tasting wines we feel are great for the holiday season - whether it's a gift or for a special meal or just unwinding at home! We hope to see you on Thursday!

The Wines:

Ned's Wines:

The Whites:

Castell Silvaner Trocken 2008 (Franconia, Germany) $16.99 - At first I looked at Ned and said, "Ned, a Sylvaner? Really?" And, he said, "YES!" Well, Ned is one guy I usually let have his way at the tastings and he's usually right! This family has been in the winemaking business since 1224 AD! Castell planted the first Sylvaner grapes in Germany in 1659! The vineyards here are loaded with minerals, gypsum and marl - which are ideal for growing Sylvaner. Consequently, this wine is loaded with minerals! It also has a little lime citrus to it! It's fresh and lively with well-balanced acidity. Medium-bodied with a rich texture. This is a lot like a dry Vouvray. This area is in the northern part of Bavaria at a higher elevation than the more temperate Rhineland. Sustainable agriculture. Food pairing - food-friendly wine! Really adaptable to a lot of different foods! Appetizers, quiche, onion tarts, grilled or smoked fish, creamy dishes, chicken, ham, sushi, scallops, shrimp (it's Maine shrimp season!).

Viñedo de los Vientos "Estival" 2007 (Uruguay) $16.99 - This is a fabulous blend - 60% Gewurztraminer, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Moscato Bianco. It's a unique combination - Uruguayan flair and style! And you can taste each grape variety working together! The Gewurz brings spice and rich body, the Chardonnay adds balancing acidity and the muscat adds an enticing tropical aroma. Viñedo de los Vientos is located in one of the most "bird dense" regions in South America and practices sustainable agriculture. Aromas of tropical fruit, pineapples, melons, lemons. This has soft, subtle "Gewurz" spice. It's real soft on the tongue at the start and then almost, but not quite, tingly on the tongue! Zingy minerals in the mid-palette really wake you up! White peaches in the flavors. Finishes clean and rich with hints of nuts, definitely almonds. Food pairing - Great wine with a tropical/Asian "fusion" dish, turkey, duck, pork tenderloin. The spice and hint of effervescence can cut through and compliment powerfully flavored foods. Drinks wonderfully well on its own!

The Reds:

Ala Nera Nero d'Avola 2008 (Sicily, Italy) Reg. $13.99, Sale $12.99 - Big, dark red wine loaded with dark fruit, minerals and oomph! Much more than a simple Sicilian table wine! This also has nice earthiness that is typical of Sicilian wines (volcanic soil and hot sun!), minerality and those dusty tannins I love in Italian reds! It finish with more bright fruit and isn't too drying. Named for the black-winged birds that fly over the vineyard in Sicily. Food pairing - pizza, pasta dishes with tomato sauces, mushrooms, grilled meats!

Château de Bonhoste Bordeaux Supérieur 2006 (France) $17.99 - Tasty, tasty, tasty! A great value in Bordeaux! Blackberry, dark berry, vanilla and baking spice aromas and flavors. Ripe, intense fruit in the nose. A quintessential Bordeaux "dustiness" in the nose - it's subtle, almost like dried Provencal herbs. Rich, ripe and juicy fruit flavors. Supple, long finish. Blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. Aged in neutral oak barrels. Château de Bonhoste is located in Saint Jean de Blaignac, 3 miles south of St. Emilion. Food pairing - This cries out for lamb, beef or any rich dish with rosemary.

Midslope Rasteau 2007 (France) $16.99 - Midslope is made by Maison Arnoux et Fils who have been making wine since 1717. The winery is located in Vacqueyras. The family owns 40 hectares, but has also been purchasing fruit from area growers since 1936 and has one of the best list of growers under long contract. Barrel aged for 6 months. Midslope is the sister project of the wildly successful Upslope Syrah from Thompson Vineyard in Santa Barbara. The wine is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache from vineyards planted in the Rasteau AOC. Once known only for its sweet and fortified wines, Rasteau is rapidly becoming recognized for its outstanding Grenache. Many believe that the best wines from Rasteau resemble a well made Chateauneuf du Pape. We believe that Midslope represents terroir in a bottle, a very good terroir.

Three Saints Syrah 2007 (Santa Ynez, California) $21.99 - Big, delicious, bold California Syrah! Aromas and flavors of chocolate, smoked meat, mocha, dark berries and more! The wine is developing soft, integrated tannins. Three Saints is part of the Dierberg Winery. As they convert to organic viticulture, they are harvesting their grapes at a lower Brix level (amount of sugar in the grapes). This is resulting in lower alcohol wines and better, more balanced wines! This is good! 55% aged 15 months on its lees in 2nd-8th use barrels to round out the flavors, 15% aged in new French oak to bring out the chocolate flavors in Syrah and 30% in stainless steel to add fresher, bright fruit flavors to the wine. Food pairing - grilled meats, summer grilling (yeah, it's a long way off, but I NEVER shut down grilling!), hearty winter stews and more!

Ned says, "I make no secret of the fact that I've got a big crush on Santa Barbara Syrah. This comes from the Starlane ranch all the way in the east of Santa Barbara where the grapes get riper and more powerful. It's inky and dark with serious brooding blackberry fruit, lush ripe cherry, black pepper, and sleek mouth watering tannins. This is balanced, no component is over the top, but it's about as sexy and hedonistic as wine comes. I plan on drinking this on some of the long cold nights that are coming."

The Dessert and/or The Sparkling!

Bricco del Sole Moscato D'Asti 2008 (Piedmont, Italy) $22.99 - ooooohhh! Aaaahhhh! This is GOOD! Rich & lush. Beautiful nose of nectarines, white peaches & tangerines. Well-balanced acidity. Fresh, clean & crisp finish. A moderately sweet finish. Sparkly! This farm has been in the Morando family since the early 1800's. Organic. Food pairing - Drinks great on its own as a lighter cocktail wine. Try it with fruit tarts, dense, rich cheesecake, do as the Italians do and pour it over fresh peaches or pears for brunch. Wonderful with hot and spicy foods!

Art and Mary's Wines

The Sparkling:

Juvé y Camps Brut Reserva de la Familia Cava 2005 (Penedes, Spain) $15.99 - Pale gold in color, this Cava has aromas of pears, apples, white stone fruits (nectarines and peaches) and toasted bread with hints of citrus in the background. The bubbles, aromas and flavors are longlasting and pleasing. Blended from the traditional Cava grapes - Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada grapes, which are harvested on the estate's properties at Espiells, Can Massana and La Cuscona. The Juvé Family founded this winery in 1796 and it has been family-owned and operated ever since. Food pairing - Pair with paté, seafood, rice, and all kinds of fish, white meat and smoked. Wine Enthusiast, "Top 100 Best Buys"

The Whites:

Terranoble Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Maule Valley, Chile) $8.99 - This Sauvignon Blanc, offers you a wine with an attractive yellow color with greenish tones. It has intense aromas of tropical fruits, especially pineapple. It is a very fresh wine, dry and equilibrated. It has a good structure and a nice natural acidity which has a long permanence in the mouth. Food pairing - perfect cocktail wine with or without food. Great with seafood and fish.

Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2008 (Sudtirol, Italy) $13.99 - One of the most delicious and elegant white wines in the Winebow portfolio! Dry and full-bodied with crisp, bracing acidity. Aromas and flavors of pears and citrus. 100% Pinot Grigio. Stainless steel fermented. Aged in tank 6 months before bottling. Cork-free closure to ensure long-lasting freshness. The Tiefenbrunner Castel Turmhof Winery owes its name to the castle on the property. The family founded the winery in 1848. Food pairing - lots of appetizers, vegetable dishes, salads, seafood, poultry, pork and veal. Wine Spectator, 500 Great Buys, "A global surplus of delicious wines means it's prime time to drink well for less"

Mastroberardino Sannio Falanghina 2007 (Campania, Italy) $21.99 - Light straw-yellow in color with greenish reflections, this Falanghina displays fresh aromas of citrus, pineapple and white flowers. On the palate it confirms the freshness of the bouquet offering a good structure and acidity. A very well-balanced and versatile wine with a complex character. Mastroberardino is Campania's landmark winery and has been in this family since the 1750's! The origin of the grape's name is the Latin word "phalange" that means "supported by stakes." Food pairing - excellent with appetizers or to pair with seafood and fish.

The Reds:

Allegrini Valpolicella Classico DOC (Veneto, Italy) Reg. $17.99, Sale $16.99 - Vibrant ruby red in color with fresh cherry, red berry and Provencal aromas and flavors. This is bright, fresh and delicious! Valpolicella is the area and this is a blend of 65% Corvina Veronese, 30% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. Aged in stainless steel for 5 months before bottling. Food pairing - This is the perfect accompaniment to Italian antipasti, pasta dishes and other typical Mediterranean cuisine. Also pairs well with roasted and grilled white meats. All-in-all, this is one FOOD-FRIENDLY wine! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, "One of Italy's Finest Values"

Falesco Sangiovese IGT (Umbria, Italy) Reg. $14.99, Sale $12.99 - The soft and silky tannins pleasantly frame the plush texture of fruit and spice. Excellent balance between fruit and acidity, and slightly spicy notes on the finish are the unmistakable hallmarks of this wine. Food pairing - Whether paired with your favorite Italian dishes or enjoyed alone by the glass, this Sangiovese is a pure pleasure to drink. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, "One of Italy's Finest Values"

Librandi Duca San Felice Cirò Rosso Riserva DOC 2005 (Italy) $19.99 - A GREAT wine of the South! Mature, full-bodied. Aromas of Mediterranean fruits (figs and dates), dark plums, with touches of chocolate, smoke, earth and tar. Flavors of cherries, herbs, vanilla, spice and citrus. Full, long finish. 100% Gaglioppo (a grape of ancient Greek origins), this is the most important red wine grape in Calabria. Aged 2 years before bottling. Food pairing - this will both age well and go well with rich meals, such as spicy Calabrian sausages, steak, duck and game. Gambero Rosso, "Tre Bicchieri" (Italy's highest award; it translates "3 Glasses")

Don Nicanor Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) $19.99 - A brilliant wine of deep red color with purple hues. The nose displays aromas of cherries, plums, cloves and vanilla, as well as a hint of smoke suggesting elegance and complexity. The mouth-feel is round and warm, balancing both fruit and spice. The finish is long and elegant. 100% Malbec. Aged in 2nd passage (the barrels have been used before and this "leeches" out about 80% of the "oakiness" of the barrel) French oak for 12 months. This helps the flavors soften and integrate while adding just a touch of oak. Food pairing - Pair with grilled or roasted beef or game meats, spicy sauces and mature cheeses.

The Dessert:

Coppo Passione Brachetto d' Acqui (Piedmont, Italy) $17.99 - Made from 100% Brachetto grapes from the area that surrounds the town of Acqui in Piedmont, this is one of the few Italian sweet wines to earn DOCG status. Bright red cherry in color, this Brachetto has a lively, zingy tease of bubbles, with fresh aromas of raspberries and strawberries. Food pairing - Brachetto d'Acqui can commence a great evening as an aperitif, or even better, it is one of the most romantic pairings with chocolate at the end of the meal. Serve lightly chilled.

December 3, 2009

Chocolate and Brownie Tasting

The Wines:


DeForville Moscato d'Asti (Italy) $19.99
- This family-run estate (the Brothers Anfosso, Paolo and Walter) has managed this property since 1860 (they are Belgian). Paolo Anfosso married a DeForville. Wonderfully bubbly! Very aromatic - nectarines & white peaches. Well-balanced acidity. Fresh, clean & crisp finish that is moderately sweet. Sparkly! This farm has been in the Morando family since the early 1800's. Food pairing - Drinks great on its own as a lighter cocktail wine. Try it with fruit tarts, dense, rich cheesecake. Do as the Italians do and pour it over fresh peaches or pears for brunch. Wonderful with hot and spicy foods!


Domaine de la Citadelle Le Chataignier “Blanc” Côtes du Lubéron 2008 (France) $15.99 - Wonderful white from Southern France! Light-to-medium bodied. This has a soft, lush texture that’s almost creamy. Flavors of pears and tropical fruit. Clean finish. 80% Clairette, 10% Grenache, 5% Ugni Blanc and 5% Rolle (Vermentino). Hand-harvested and sorted grapes. Stainless steel fermentation and aging. Aged “sur lee” with regular stirring – this adds weight and softens the texture. Sustainable Agriculture. Food pairing – Perfect with lighter meals or as a cocktail! Drinks well without food!

Gustav Schmitt Niersteiner Spatlese Riesling 2007 (Germany) $12.99 – This is rich and smooth with a nice long finish. A little sweetness! Aromas and flavors of pears and apples. Medium bodied. Food pairing - This versatile wine goes well with spicy cuisine, blue cheeses and sweet desserts. May be sipped in lieu of dessert. Serve well chilled.


Petraio Primitivo di Puglia 2007 (Italy) $9.99
– The Primitivo grape is grown in Puglia and is a close relative of Zinfandel. Both Primitivo and Zinfandel are related to the Croatian grape Crljenak. Zinfandel is identical to Crljenak, while Primitivo is a clone of Crljenak. Primitivos are generally lighter than Zinfandels and lower in alcohol, which, in my opinion is a good thing and helps the wine better pair with food! Aromas and flavors of raspberries, chalk, blackberries, a little spice and earth. This has soft tannins. Food pairing - pasta with red sauce or pizza.

Domaine de la Citadelle Le Chataignier “Rouge” Côtes du Lubéron 2007 (France) $15.99 - Great tasting and a huge value! Medium-to-full bodied. Crisp with lots of berry fruit! This has a little “drying” minerality midway. Finishes clean and crisp. 30% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 30% Carignan and 10% Cinsault. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. The Carignan undergoes carbonic maceration (the grapes are thrown into the vat in whole clusters and the fermentation starts inside each individual grape) – this adds more fruit flavor to the Carignan. Food pairing – spicy dishes, grilled chicken or vegetables, lasagna, pasta! Drinks well without food!

Wall Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California) $14.99 – If you’ve thought really good Napa Cabernet prices have gone crazy, you are mostly right! Try this – it’s a steal! This has all of the classic Napa Cab aromas and flavors! Black cherry, blackberries, vanilla, smoke, herbs and more! The tannins are smooth and the finish is peppery. This is more restrained and nuanced than many Napa Cabs – and that is a good thing! Food pairing – steak, lamb, grilled meats, etc. Drinks great without food as well!

Écluse Blind Dog Midnight Run Cuvee (Paso Rables, California) $18.99 – Steve and Pam Lock founded this winery in 1997. The name is French for lock, the locks that are in canals. An eclectic blend of some of the best Paso Robles reds, Blind Dog Midnight Run Cuvee is delicious, approachable and affordable! This is a big, robust wine. Not for the faint of heart. Barrel aged from 14 to 30 months, this complex wine is a perfect "companion" with meals. Blend of Merlot. Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A portion of the sales of this wine go to support “Dogs for the Deaf.”

Dessert Wine:

Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottle Vintage Port 2000 (Portugal) $28.99
– This small, family-owned Port house makes great wines! Tim Bergvist reopened this winery in 1988 when the regulations surrounding Port were changed to allow small producers to sell their wines directly rather than having to sell to the Vila Nova de Gaia near Oporto. Bregvist’s mother was given these vineyards in 1906 as a Christening present. Everything is grown, made and bottled on the estate, making Quinta de la Rosa one of the few true “single quintas.” The wine is a “ruby” Port, not a tawny, so this has aromas and flavors of wild berries. It has a long finish. Food pairing – Stilton and other blue cheese, dried fruit, figs, dishes with game, ham, dark chocolate.

November 20, 2009

November Wine Tasting

November Wine Tasting

10% discount on all tasting wines bought at the tasting! Or, within the week.

The Wines:

We have 2 distributors dueling it out! Geoff Sturgis of Nappi Distributors VS. Tabitha Blake of Crush Wines

Geoff’s Wines:

The Whites:

Sigura Vidas Brut Riserva Cava (Spain) $9.99 – one of the BEST value sparkling wines anywhere! Brut Reserva is a cuvée of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes grown in the renowned Penedès region of Spain. The wine is vinified according to méthode champenoise technique and is aged in the bottle for up to 2 years. This fine cuvée is fairly crisp with an interesting floral note and mouth-pleasing sensation of creaminess. Blend of 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada & 15% Xarello.

Cave de Turckheim Vin d’Alsace Pinot Blanc 2007 (France) Reg. $16.99 Sale $14.99 - I like this a lot! Pinot Blanc is a close relative of Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio), which in turn is a close relative of Pinot Noir! Pinot Blancs have subtle aromas - they are not boldly aromatic. Subtle aromas of apples, pears and minerals. The flavors in this wine tend more to the minerally side with subtle fruit notes (apples and pears) and a hint of nuts (maybe almonds). Lively acidity. Crisp, zippy finish! Food pairing - smoked fish, shellfish, ham, Thanksgiving Dinner, poultry, etc.

Casa Lisa Verdicchio “Tufo” 2008 (Italy) $13.99 - One of Italy’s greatest white wines, this magnificent Verdicchio has been created by the renowned Zaccagnini family in small quantities from their hillside vineyard above the medieval town of Staffolo. It is superb in its youth and grows more flavorful as it ages. Displaying intense straw-yellow colors with gleaming emerald hues, it has a stunning and elegant bouquet of apricots, acacia, and wild flowers. Food pairing – great as a cocktail wine, it accompanies seafood, shellfish, white meats, risottos and salads.

Montinore Estate Pinot Gris Williamette Valley 2008 (OR) $14.99 - Lovely wine at a great price! This is very refreshing and crisp! Aromas of pears, apples, lemons and floral/herbal notes. Flavors of tropical fruit and apples & pears. The finish is dry and crisp with hints of tart apples and minerals. 100% Pinot Gris. Stainless steel fermentation. 7,176 cases made. This winery began farming in a sustainable way in 2001, moved to organic farming and has recently been certified biodynamic. Food pairing – halibut, roasted chicken and sipping on its own.

The Reds:

Domaine des Remparts Côtes d’Auxerre Bourgogne Rouge 2005 (France) $19.99 - A GREAT, GREAT value and a bargain Burgundy that tastes like Burgundy! What an oddity! We love this! Aromas and flavors of red and black berries, cherries, red currants, leather and baking spices and a little earth. The tannins are soft. 100% Pinot Noir. Aged in large oak foudres for 9 months before bottling. This family has made wine for 19 generations! This will age well for at least another 5 years, and it is drinking great right now! Food pairing – poultry, beef, lamb, stews, many cheeses. Thanksgiving Dinner!

Montinore Pinot Noir 2007 (Oregon) $19.99 - Very aromatic with notes of raspberry, Bing cherry, cranberry and baking spices with hints of rhubarb and mocha. This is fresh and ripe with more cherry, raspberry and spice and subtle notes of earth and mocha in the flavors. Nice long finish. This is drinking well now and will age nicely for 3-4 years. This winery began farming in a sustainable way in 2001, moved to organic farming and has recently been certified biodynamic.

Cave de Bonnieux Les Safres Luberon 2007 (France) $11.99 - One of the best values in the store! When Geoff brought this by, we flipped over it! From a GREAT, GREAT vintage in Southern France. Classic Rhone flavors and aromas of wild berry fruits (raspberry, strawberry, blackberry), currants and Provencal herbs. This has a little of what the French call “garrigues” (that herbal scent that fills the air in Southern France). 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. Stainless steel fermentation and aging. Food pairing – lighter meats, cold cuts, charcuterie, salads. Thanksgiving Dinner. Grilled chicken. Tuna. Salmon. Mushrooms and rosemary.

Klinker Brick Winery Zinfandel 2006 (California) $19.99 – Geoff and I first tasted this Zin a couple of years ago at a trade tasting….I ran into Geoff when I arrived and said, “What should I try?” He pointed at this wine! Big and ripe, with great fruit and balance, this has berry pie aromas and soft, spicy cherry and blackberry flavors. 20,000 cases made.

Tabitha’s Wines:

The Whites:

Fattoria Il Gambero Mercuzio Chardonnay (Italy) $16.99 – this is 100% Chardonnay and it has a little frizzante to it – a little effervescence! That means it is a little sparkling! I know nothing about it! It’s new! Tabitha wanted to taste it!

Le Brujo Macabeo Calatayud 2008 (Spain) $12.99 - Bewitchingly good! If you have guests, buy 2 bottles….they’ll disappear like magic! Just a wonderful wine to drink! Medium-bodied, crisp, zesty, clean and fresh! Great aromas of citrus and tropical fruit and a little minerals. Unoaked…well-balanced fruit and acidity. Long, pleasing, juicy finish. 100% Macabeo – this is one of the grapes used to make Spanish Cava. The grapes are grown high in the mountains. Stainless steel fermentation and aging. Biodynamic farming. Food pairing - Great with grilled or broiled fish, chicken, cheese and as a party wine! Drinks great with or without food!

Napa Station Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (California) $14.99 - The Sauvignon Blanc is lively, crisp, clean and bursting with citrus notes along with honeydew and nectarines. Sustainable farming. 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon. 2,010 cases made. Stainless steel fermentation on the lees (not stirred). Food pairing - perfect as an aperitif, served with grilled seafood, Thanksgiving Dinner, chicken or light pasta, as well as spicy Asian and Latin dishes.

Skylark “Alondra” Chardonnay 2008 (California) $16.99 – This is Chardonnay the way I like it! Clean, fresh, refreshing. This sees no oak and no malolactic fermentation – so this is lighter, cleaner and more food-friendly than most California Chardonnay. Aromas and flavors of pears, tropical fruit (pineapple, mango and guava). This is silky smooth and has a nice long finish. Organic farming. Food pairing – Thanksgiving Dinner, seafood, lobster.

The Reds:

Le Brujo Garnacha Calatayud D.O. 2008 (Spain) $11.99 - Smooth, spicy and easy! This will cast a spell on you! Wonderful berry fruit flavors and aromas with a nice hit of peppery spice. Soft tannins. Nice fruit. Clean and smooth finish! 100% Grenache. Old vine grapes (50 years). Stainless steel fermentation and aging. 7,500 cases made. Biodynamic farming. Food pairing – Grilled chicken or pork. Pizza. Tomato sauce dishes! Drinks great with or without food! Organic Farming

Latitude 34 Malbec 2008 (Argentina) $12.99 - This is a great bargain! Aromas of wild dark berries, and flavors of blackberry, blueberry and spices. It's a perfect example of a South American wine that's powerful, rich, and bargain priced.

Slingshot Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California) $24.99 – Winemaker Stephen Test used to be the winemaker at Merryvale. Slingshot Winery Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Napa from three different esteemed vineyards. Primarily from the Julianna Vineyard in Pope Valley, this expressive Cab delivers the rich, upfront fruit of the northern Napa vineyard with the darker tones of the two more southerly mountain vineyards (yes, the vineyards make up a large component of another wine in our portfolio that is four times the cost – hint hint). Flavors and aromas of berries, black cherries, vanilla, coffee and dark chocolate and caramel. Aged for 22 months in French barrels, 30% new.

November 6, 2009

November Wines of the Month

Chocolate & Wine Tasting at Wilbur's & Simply Divine Brownies

Wine & Chocolate Tasting
Thursday, Nov. 5th

Simply Divine Brownies & Wilbur's Chocolate are hosting a tasting at their store on Lower Main Street.....this is across the parking lot from Freeport Cheese & Wine. It's free and it will feature wines from Mariner Beverages. Phil McCormack from Mariner Beverages will be there to talk about the wines!

Any of these wines that you purchase from Freeport Cheese & Wine will be 10% off!

The Wines:


Santome Prosecco (Italy) $14.99 - This is a dry Processo with nice minerality, fruit and a great price! Perfect for Thanksgiving Weekend, smoked fish, a fruit tart and more!

Trevisol Rosecco (Italy) $18.99 - Made by a Prosecco producer, this can't be called "Prosecco," because it has other grapes than just Prosecco in it. This has nice red berry fruit and great bubbles with it. Try it with dark chocolate!


Sun Garden Riesling 2007 (Germany) $11.99 - A fruity, off-dry crowd-pleaser! Aromas and flavors of nectarines, grapefruit, peaches, oranges and apples! Light-to-medium body with lots of juicy fruit. Subtle, delicate minerals. Clean finish. Food pairing - Goes well with salads or spicy foods such as Thai, Mexican, and Cajun. Try it with seafood, poultry or veal in a cream or spicy sauce. Wine Enthusiast, “Best Buy”

Marchetti Verdicchio Dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2006 (Marche, Italy) $13.99 - This is one of the best Mediterranean whites under $15 I've ever tasted! Wonderful citrus and mineral flavors and aromas. This also has notes of green apples and tropical fruits. Vibrant acidity and loads of minerality throughout the wine. Picks up a little nuttiness (almonds?) on the finish. Long, crisp finish! Maurizio Marchetti, the winemaker, only uses the best grapes (most years he gets no more than 1/2 a bottle from a single vine). 2,100 cases. Food pairing - seafood, shellfish, swordfish, etc. Great with poultry.


Pierre Ponnelle Pinot Noir 2007 (France) $12.99 – nice combination of “Old World” earth and a little funk and “New World” cherry fruit! Pinot Noir is great with Thanksgiving Dinner!

Marchetti Uve di Montepulciano Rosso Conero D.O.C. 2006 (Marche, Italy) Reg. $18.99 Sale $11.99 - A wonderful wine from the Marche! Aromas & flavors of vanilla, dried berries - raspberries, cranberries & blackberries, dark plums & spices (pepper & baking. Well-balanced acidity & tannins. Medium-bodied. Long, smooth finish. 90% Montepulciano & 10% Sangiovese. Aged 18 months in older Slavonian oak barrels & 2 months in the bottle. 2,500 cases. Organically farmed. Food pairing - roasted poultry, grilled meats, rich vegetarian dishes, etc.!

Klassen Calaveras County Merlot 2005 (California) Reg. $17.99 Sale $14.99 - We bought the last 5 cases and got a great price! Wonderful! This is a big, rich AND smooth Merlot! Aromas and flavors of black cherries, dark chocolate and more. This is wonderful! Grown at 2,100 feet and allowed to properly ripen, this wine shows what Merlot can do in the right hands! Mostly Merlot with a touch of Petite Sirah and Syrah. This will age well through 2010 and is drinking well right now! Food pairing - Dark Chocolate! Roast, fowl, rich pastas and stews.

Newsome-Harlow "El Portal" Petite Sirah 2006 (California) Reg. $24.99 Sale $12.99 - Why is this so cheap? It's the economy! Try being a small, unknown winery from an obscure area priced at $25 in this economy! So, they lowered the price! This is one BIG wine! Lots of weight and heft in this bottle! It's Petite Sirah with 15% Zin thrown in for fun! This has a lot of big, dark fruit without being sweet. Add in aromas and flavors of vanilla, chocolate and baking spices (Cinnamon? Nutmeg?) and you've got one weighty, complex wine! Up in Calaveras County, in the California Gold Country, this new winery is putting out some MAMMOTH wines. If you like your wines BIG & BOLD, you'll like this! Food pairing - Dark chocolate! Steak, lamb, a Wolf Neck Farm beef hamburger!

Dessert Wine:

Trentadue Alexander Valley Chocolate Amore Port (California) $26.99 - If you are looking for a wonderful dessert wine for Valentine's or any night, try this! This is like drinking a dark chocolate-covered cherry! This is a well-balanced's not syrupy (nice acidity balancing the sweetness). 100% Geyserville grapes. Merlot-based, Port-styled dessert wine with natural chocolate. Food pairing - drinks great on its own! Pour it over vanilla ice cream! Makes a killer martini (equal parts Chocolate Amore & Vodka, 1/2 a jigger of fresh orange juice & Cointreau)

October 9, 2009

More Deals!

Freeport Cheese & Wine

We keep looking for deals and we keep finding them!

Vinum Cellars "Pets" Petite Sirah 2006 (California) Reg. $13.99, Sale $9.99 - SOPO had 5 or so cases left of this and gave me a great deal, so we bought it up! Also, Vinum brought back the original label with Tanker, the dog, on it! We love this! Deep, dark wine that is loaded with ripe fruit aromas & flavors! Nice floral notes....flavors of plums, blueberries, dried herbs, smoky bacon & more. Well-balanced acidity & tannins....medium-bodied.....medium-to-long finish....A portion of the profits from this wine are donated to an animal shelter & the wine is dedicated to winemaker Ken Wilson's dog, Tanker. Winemakers call Petite Sirah "Pets." Aged in French oak barrels. 11,500 cases made. Food pairing - Drinks well on its own. Pairs up well with roasted & grilled meats, pizza, mushroom dishes, etc. Less than 4 cases left! Wine Spectator, 88 points; "Two labels stood out from the pack when the bags came off in our blind tasting, including the PETS bottling from Vinum."

Newsome-Harlowe “El Portal” Petite Sirah 2006 (California) Reg. $24.99, Sale $12.99 – This is one BIG wine! Lots of weight and heft in this bottle! It’s Petite Sirah with 15% Zin thrown in for fun! This has a lot of big, dark fruit without being sweet. Add in aromas and flavors of vanilla, chocolate and baking spices (Cinnamon? Nutmeg?) and you’ve got one weighty, complex wine!

Up in Calaveras County, in the California Gold Country, this new winery is putting out some MAMMOTH wines. If you like your wines BIG & BOLD, you’ll like this! Food pairing – steak, lamb, a Wolf Neck Farm beef hamburger!

Villa Pozzi Pinot Grigio 2008 (Venezie, Italy) Reg. $10.99, Sale $8.99 – Delicious little Pinot Grigio that has great lemon and tropical fruit without being sweet. It’s soft and round in terms of texture. Nice acidity that adds to the crisp, clean finish. Food pairing – fish and seafood dishes, lighter appetizers, salads.

Villa Pozzi Nero d’Avola 2008 (Sicily, Italy) Reg. $10.99, Sale $8.99 – This is soft and smooth and has really nice dark fruit to it! Tart blackberries, a floral note, vanilla and figs. Medium-bodied and easy drinking. Definitely worth having a few bottles! Hand-harvested grapes. Fermented and aged in stainless steel vats. Food pairing – hearty stews, lamb, beef, pizza.

Lionello Marchesi “ColdiSole” Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2003 (Italy) Reg. $$64.99, Sale $54.99 – I bought 12 bottles of this Brunello after tasting it one day in late September. This needs another year or so to really start showing its stuff, but the day I tasted it, the wine was magnificent. It had been open most of the day and was well decanted and aerated. This is a big, rich, almost “fat” Brunello – definitely made in a more “New World” style. The aromas and flavors are loaded with dark fruit, dark chocolate, vanilla, spices, rich earth and toasted oak. 100% Sangiovese Grosso. Aged 36 months in French oak barriques (33% are new, 33% 1-year and 33% are 2-year). This will aged well through 2018. Food pairing – roasted, grilled and braised meat. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 91 points

Gary Farrell Wines

The following 3 wines are all from Gary Farrell Winery in Sonoma County. Gary Farrell has been making Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and other wines in Sonoma County since 1982. In 2000, he built and opened his new winery in the Russian River Valley. Gary Farrell focuses on small production lots and has relationships dating back decades with some of the best growers in the area. Susan Reed is the winemaker at Gary Farrell. Before joining Gary Farrell she was the winemaker at Matanza Creek Winery before it was sold to Jess Jackson in 2001.

Gary Farrell’s wines tend to be more elegant and finesse-driven than “overblown” or overdone. I like them a lot. All of their grapes are hand-harvested during the cool mornings to preserve the fruit and reduce oxidation. The grapes are destemmed and then crushed.

Gary Farrell Redwood Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (California) Reg. $26.99, Sale $21.99 – This is an elegant and crisp Sauvignon Blanc with a nice rich texture! Aromas of grapefruit, lemon zest and gooseberries. Flavors that mirror the aromas with white peaches, apricots and honeydew melon. Nice acidity to balance the fruit. Crisp and refreshing finish. Drink now. 80% fermented in stainless steel and 20% in new French oak barrels, but the wine is transferred back to stainless steel before the wine can take on any oaky characteristics. This brief exposure to oak adds richness to wine. 3,008 cases made. Food pairing – shellfish, salads, spicy Thai foods.

Gary Farrell Chardonnay 2006 (California) Reg. $34.99, Sale $26.99 – This is a really good Chardonnay – it’s 100% Chardonnay, but it’s a blend of both California clones and Burgundian clones. So, while it has some of that Californian style of butter and creaminess, it’s also a leaner style of Chardonnay – more like most Burgundies are. Aromas and flavors of apples, pears, limes, pineapples, earth and a little oak. This is well-balanced and has nice length and staying power on the finish. Drink now through 2011. Barrel-fermented in 100% French oak barrels, 1/3 new, 1/3 one-year and 1/3 two-year so this is not “over-oaked.” 4,653 cases made. Food pairing – seafood, chicken, salads, shellfish, just drinkin’!

Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir 2006 (California) Reg. $42.99, Sale $34.99 - Medium-bodied Pinot with wonderful ripe cherry, blackberry, raspberry and strawberry aromas and flavors. The fruit is balanced with nice spicy earth and minerals. It has notes of spicy, toasty oak. The texture is rich and lush. If you are thinking about a Pinot Noir for Thanksgiving Dinner, this is a great choice! Drink now through 2011. 11,688 cases made. Aged in new, 1, 2 and 3-year-old French oak barrels for 8 months. Sourced from famed Russian River Valley vineyards, including Starr Ridge, Rochioli-Allen, Cresta Ridge, Stiling, McIntyre and Archer. Food pairing – grilled salmon, duck, tuna.

October 3, 2009

Stone Vertical Epic 2009

Stone Vertical Epic Ale

A Californian Belgian-style Porter! With chocolate and orange and more! Comes in a 22-oz bottle. $7.99/bottle.

This is a big, bold beer made with a Belgian yeast that adds the tropical fruitness and spiciness that is typical of so many Belgian ales to the chocolate malt. They added dark candi sugar, vanilla bean and tangerine peel to complement the flavors of the porter. Think dark Belgian chocolate with orange! It's aged in French oak, so it picks up a toasted vanilla characteristic.

The idea behind the Vertical Epic Ales is that over 11 years (02.02.02 through 12.12.12), you will have 11 bottle-conditioned beers to try as a "vertical" tasting.

Here's what beer blogger, Lew Bryson, has to say about this year's Vertical Epic!

Stone's own blog gives us some background on the beer!

Limited supply! We bought a few cases and have one case left!, A-, "Excellent", 94 points

October Wines of the Month

October Wines of the Month

We’re off to Italy!

For Tiers One and Two, we are on Sicily at a single winery, Fondo Antico.

The symbol of Sicily is the “trinicria,” which bears quite the resemblance to the triangular symbol of the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. Both appear to be based on Greek mythology. The Sicilian “trinicria” has a Gorgon’s head.

The winemaker, Augustino, was here on Sept. 23rd and we were able to taste these 4 wines with him and wrangle an invitation to Sicily!

The winery, Fondo Antico, is near Trapani, between the villages of Portelli and Fulgatore, called Frazione Rilievo. This is in the Marsala part of Sicily and is a the western end of the island. They have about 200 acres of vineyards, growing grapes local to Sicily such as Nero d’Avola, Grillo, Inzolia and Grecanico. They also cultivate Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay.

The Wines

Tier One

“I Versi” means “the verses.” Just as reading a poem reveals layers of complexity, so do these wines as you enjoy them!

The White:

I Versi Bianco IGT 2008 (Sicily) $12.99 - A pretty Sicilian white that’s clean, unoaked, delicate & dry, with a light, herbal touch. This wine has nice, crisp acidity that makes it a perfect pairing with most seafood and salads. Aromas of limes, pineapples and green apples. The flavors are similar with a little roasted almonds on the finish. 50% Inzolia and 50% Grecanico. Stainless steel fermentation. Food pairing – light hors d’oeuvres, seafood, fish soups, grilled veggies, salads and fresh cheeses.

The Red:

I Versi Rosso IGT 2007 (Sicily) $12.99 - A young wine, with a bright ruby red color with fun floral aromas. This is smooth, soft and drinks easily! It has nice berry fruit, a little spiciness and something akin to anise or licorice in the flavors (and remember, I really don’t like licorice candy, but I like it in wines when it’s just a subtle note as it is here). Food pairing – meat dishes, mushroom dishes, aged and fresh cheeses, game, pâté,

Blend of 50% Nero d’Avola and 50% Merlot. John Dietz, who works with Easterly Wines (the distributor for these wines) called Merlot, “The international grape of mystery.” Meaning = Merlot may take on many forms and styles depending on growing practices and winemaking. In the movie, “Sideways,” Miles definitely gives Merlot a bad rep! “No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any…..Merlot!” Some Merlot deserves such a reputation – the juice in this wine does not. It’s good! Fermented and briefly aged in stainless steel.

Tier 2

The White:

Fondo Antico Grillo Parlante IGT 2008 (Sicily) $16.99 - A “grillo parlante” means “talking cricket” in Italian, but of course Grillo is also the name of the native Sicilian grape found in this fresh white. In Italian, “Grillo Parlante” is actually Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio.

What I love about this wine is that aside being fantastic; you can drink it at least 2 ways. You can just sip it and not think about it and you’ll love it! Or, you can linger over it and think about the layers and complexity…’s great either way! This has a straw-yellow color with just slight greenish tints. The aromas are floral with pear, white peach and lemon. It’s refreshing as you drink it and the rich lemon, pear and nutty flavors come out. Manually harvested grapes. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Food pairing – ceviche, poached seafood, lemon chicken dishes, shellfish.

The Red:

Fondo Antico Nero D’Avola IGT 2006 (Sicily) $19.99 – This is a fresh, robust and full-bodied red with lots of red fruit (plums, berries, cherries) and a nice spiciness. This is velvety and smooth with fine-grained tannins. It has a nice spiciness to the finish that is more peppery than alcohol (it’s only 13.5% alcohol). Nice long finish. 100% Nero d’Avola. Aged 6 months in French oak barriques and 2 months in bottle. Food pairing – Risotto al Nero d’Avola with cloves (pretty much reduce the Nero d’Avola from a bottle to a pint and then stir it into the risotto), grilled meats, cheese such as Manchego or Piave Vecchio or Pecorino Toscano. Roasted tuna with onions and mint.

Tier 3

We are headed as far from Sicily in Italy as we can go – the northeastern corner! The area is the Alto Adige in the Südtirol in the province of Bolzano-Bozen. This province is an autonomous region in Italy and is the most German part of the country. Nearly 70% of the population is German.

This area is dominated by the Dolomite Mountains, which are a former seabed. So, the rocks are limestone and this adds tremendous minerality to the wines of the area. The Dolomites shield cold, bad weather from the north, leaving the valleys open to mild air from the Mediterranean. A warm summer wind comes from Lake Garda to ease the summer heat. At night, cool air from the high mountains floods the valleys. This alternation of warm, sunny days with cool nights enables the grapes to ripen slowly and increase the intense aromas, sugar levels and brisk acidity necessary to making great wine!

“Gambero Rosso,” the classic reference for Italian wine, says that this region, the Alto Adige, is one of the top 5 wine areas in Italy, asserting that this is also the home of the "best assortment of wine cooperatives in the world, exemplary for both their efficiency and the high general quality of even their run-of-the-mill products." Further kudos for Colterenzio from the same publication: "Their entire line has few competitors in any part of Italy, and their whites are among the very best of their area."

The White:

Schreckbichl Colterenzio Prædium Pinot Grigio “Puiten” DOC 2007 (Alto Adige) $25.99 – A $25 Pinot Grigio?! Just what is Eric thinking?

The Roman word “Prædium” means wine estate and is a symbol of a mature, deep-rooted wine culture. “Puiten” is the single vineyard where the grapes for this wine grow.

This is a great white wine. It’s lush and full and soft in its texture. Complex, subtle, aromatic, many, many layers and nuances! Aromas of orchard fruits, minerals and flowers pour out of the glass! Flavors of apples, pears, stone fruits, fresh cut hay and honey. Crisp and refreshing with great acidity. Fermented in stainless steel. Part of the wine is fermented in large Slovenian oak casks (5,000 liter barrels) where it undergoes malolactic fermentation to add richness and weight. Aged on the lees for 6 months to increase the richness and velvety texture of the wine. The “wines” – one is in stainless and the other in cask – are then blended, lightly filtered and bottled. They only use organic fertilizers and biological pest controls. Food pairing – pasta with chicken, fish and chips, seafood salad, chicken salad with apples and grapes. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

The Red:

H. Lentsch Lagrein "Morus" 2003 (Südtirol) $37.99 – The name “Morus” comes from Morus Nigra and signifies “mulberry tree”. Until the 1940s, its cultivation was very important, as it was grown in support of the raising of silkworms. Nowadays there are only a few examples of mulberry trees left. One is located at the lower end of a slope planted for many years with Lagrein. To keep alive the memory of this important agricultural heritage, this Lagrein from carries this name, “Morus.” Lentsch is a family-owned estate founded in 1882 in Bronzolo.

Lagrein is the grape from which this deep, red South Tyrolean wine is made in the lowlands around Bolanzo, where the sunshine and soil texture give it a unique character. This Lagrein is a full-bodied, garnet-hued wine with a wide range of aromas, including with blueberry, bilberry, and violet. On the palate it is warm and smooth, with soft tannins and a lingering finish. Food pairing - it pairs well with hearty fare and hard cheeses.

After careful sorting, the grapes are crushed and fermented in stainless steel tanks. As soon as fermentation is complete, the wine is pumped into concrete barrels to initiate malolactic fermentation – this softens the wine and adds a fuller, richer texture. The wine then ages in French oak barrels. After this, there follows a second year in large wooden casks, where the wine has time to develop and mature. After bottling, the wine is stored for a further ten to twelve months in cellar. Just under 1,000 cases made.

September 18, 2009

Rioja Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting
Monday, Sept. 21st
5:30-7:00 PM
Nacho Hererra
Rioja's Bodegas Bretón

Hilton Garden Inn
5 Park Street
Freeport, ME 04032
(207) 865-1433

Please e-mail ( or call (207) 869-4048 to reserve a space(s).

The Wines


Mont-Marcal Cava Brut Rosado 2005 (Penedès, Spain) $19.99 - This has great bubbles! The texture and fineness of them is AWESOME! It's a light ruby color. This has definite notes of strawberries, raspberries, minerals and oranges. 100% Trepat, a Catalan black varietal that makes spectacular rosés! This kicks the butt of many expensive Champagnes at a fraction of the cost! Stephen Tanzer, IWC, 91 points


Can Feixes Bianco Selecció (Penedès, Spain) $16.99 - Fresh and refreshing white made from Cava grapes. Light yellow color. Aromas and flavors of apples, pears and melons with a lot of minerals and lemon zest. This is stony and aromatic - reminiscent of Chablis or wines from Rheingau. Made from the same grapes as Cavas - Macabeo (35%), Parellada, (37%), Chardonnay (18%) and also a touch of Malvasía de Sitges (10%). Parallada grows best in high altitude, gravelly mountain soils and is known locally as "Montonec," grape of the mountain. This wine definitely shows that its grapes are grown in gravelly soils! Stainless steel fermentation. This estate is the northernmost in the Penedès D.O., near the Montserrat pinnacle, which forms Penedès northern border.

Loriñón Rioja Blanco 2006 (Spain) $18.99 - Bodegas Bretón was a pioneer in the production of barrel-fermented, dry whites from 100% Viura. This has a rich texture and it and is quite aromatic! Aromas of flowers, pear, anise and peach. Creamy and lush! Not oaky at all. 100% Viura. Half the wine aged on lees. The barrels were left outside in cold winter temperatures to naturally fine and stabilize the wine. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, "Best Buy Spanish White Wines $20 and Under"


Ribera del Duero

Ribera del Duero is in northwestern Spain near the Portugal border. The Duero River is the same river that is home to Port in Portugal. It is one of Spain's most esteemed winemaking area.

Dehesa La Granja 2003 (Spain) $26.99 - This is merely a GREAT wine! This has aromas that just WOW you! WOW! Surprisingly "fresh" wine from such a hot vintage ('03 was the heatwave year in Europe). Deep, complex, rich, ever-evolving. Black cherries, blackberries, mocha and chocolate are just the start! I sat around & smelled this for a couple of hours - it just kept coming & coming! Long & rich flavors! Decadent! Supple, integrated tannins. Medium-to-full bodied. Awesome! 100% Tempranillo grapes from the Pesquera clones. Aged 2 years in new American oak barrels & 2 years in the bottle before release. Unfiltered. This has sediment. Food pairing - Meats, a tapas meal, rich mushroom dishes, etc. Drinks well on its own. Stephen Tanzer, IWC, 91 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

Alejandro Fernández and his wife Esperanza Rivera, having created Tinto Pesquera and Condado de Haza in their native Ribera del Duero, looked farther afield in the Spring of 1998. Offered the opportunity to acquire one of Spain's grandest agricultural estates, they purchased the rundown estate bordering the Guareña River in the province of Zamora, in the heart of one of Spain's earliest recognized wine regions. Known during the entire 20th-century as "La GranjaValdeguareña de los Moleros" the 1800-acre ranch had been devoted to the breeding of highly regarded fighting bulls, still in operation at the time of purchase. From the 18th through 19th centuries the estate had been a regionally-dominant producer of wine, evidenced by 40,000 square feet of cellars hand-carved by 125 laborers over 17 years. During that time the local wine producing area was known throughout Spain and Europe as Tierra del Vino (Land of Wine). This is the first vintage of this highly acclaimed wine produced entirely from estate-grown fruit!


Jumilla is near the Mediterranean coast well south of Barcelona, between the coastal plain and La Mancha. It's hotter than Hades here and the soil is mostly sand. This is key - the phylloxera pest won't live in sandy soil. So this area is home to incredibly old vines! This is Spain's most arid wine region (less than 8 inches of rain per year).

Carchelo Monastrell 2008 (Jumilla, Spain) $15.99 - Monastrell is known in France as Mourvèdre and is the dominant grape in Bandol wines (which are produced near the Mediterranean in Provence). This is organically grown Monastrell with a little Syrah. Aromas of black cherries, herbs, smoke, curing tobacco. It's dark, deep and rich with a lot of dark fruit and a spicy finish. Drink now through 2012.


Winemaking in Rioja dates to at least 1063. The King of Navarra and Aragon gave the area official recognition in 1102. Rioja is located south of the Cantabrian Mountains along the Ebro River. The mountains help protect the vineyards from the fierce winds that are typical of northern Spain. Rioja is on a plateau, a little more than 1500 feet above sea level. The area is subdivided into three regions - Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja. La Rioja Alavesa and la Rioja Alta, located closer to the mountains, are at slightly higher elevations and have a cooler climate. La Rioja Baja to the southeast is drier and warmer.

This winery is in Rioja Alta.

Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva. What do these words mean?

Crianza - wine aged for at least two years, at least one of which was in oak.

Reserva is aged for at least three years, of which at least one year is in oak.

Gran Reserva - wines have been aged at least two years in oak and three years in bottle.

Bodegas Bretón

Bodegas Bretón was founded in 1983. Although of relatively recent origin, Bretón takes a decidedly traditional approach. The Bretón partnership includes a 100-acre estate called Viña Loriñón on the outskirts of Logroño along the south bank of the Ebro River. Also included is the fabulous Dominio de Conté, a textbook 55-acre vineyard on a protected bend of the Ebro near Briones, in the very heart of Rioja Alta. Average vineyard age approaches 40 years - the highest of any major Rioja producer. Crowning Bretón's arrival among Rioja's elite group of estate producers was the first release of Dominio de Conté, from the 1989 vintage, receiving a Gold Medal at Vinexpo 1995.

Loriñón Rioja Crianza 2005 (Spain) $18.99 - Deep, dark red. Aromas of cherries, plums and tobacco (this is a GOOD smell!). Flavors of cherries and plums, plum jam. Juicy texture. Finishes clean with good length. 2005 is an exceptional vintage that has been called, "unprecedented." A classic Rioja Alta blend: 85% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano and 5% Garnacha; aged 14 months in American oak.

Loriñón Rioja Reserva 2003 (Spain) $23.99 - This has that silkiness that comes with bottle age! Aromas of ripe red berries, toast, dark chocolate, and balsamic. Medium-bodied. Soft tannins. Almost juicy! Light and surprisingly crisp for the 2003 vintage (heatwave year in Europe). Aged 19 months in oak.

Loriñón Rioja Gran Reserva Rioja Gran Reserva 2001 (Spain) $39.99 - aromas of spicy cherries, smoke, baking spices, vanilla and balsamic. This is both soft and firm in terms of texture and has a long, long finish. Flavors of ripe berry and cherry fruit, spices, truffles and black pepper. Good acidity. Fine-grained tannins. 85% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo and 5% Garnacha. 225 cases made. Aged 28 months in 225 liter American oak casks and 40 months in the bottle before release. 2001 was an outstanding vintage in Rioja. This will drink well through 2015. Stephen Tanzer, IWC, 90 points

Dominio de Conté Reserva 2004 (Spain) $39.99 - Aromas of plums, cedar, vanilla and balsamic. The fruit is soft with notes of tea. Soft, dusty tannins and a long finish! From a single vineyard on a unique spot near Briones on a bend of the Ebro - this area is a perfect microclimate for ripening Tempranillo. 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano. Aged 18 months in new American oak barriques. This will age well for another 10-15 years. Stephen Tanzer, IWC, 90 points

September 11, 2009

Bourgeois Family Selections Tasting

Wine Tasting
Monday, Sept. 14th
South Portland Wine Company (SOPO)
Jean-Philippe Bourgeois
Owner and founder of

Where: Hilton Garden Inn, 5 Park Street, Freeport, (207) 865-1433.
The Hilton is located just off Bow Street on Park Street. Bow Street intersects Main Street (Rte. 1) right at L.L. Bean. Park Street will be your 2nd left turn as you are driving away from L.L. Bean. The event is in their dining room.

This is a tasting, not a seminar, so if you can't be there right at 5:30, no worries.

PLEASE CALL (207) 730-0886 for reservations.

Jean-Philippe Bourgeois

Jean-Philippe was the General Manager for 6 years for one of the top importers in the country and one of the most respected men in the industry, Eric Solomon of European Cellars.

French-born, he's fluent in English, French and Spanish. He has an MBA and 2 BA's. Combining his love for wine and his language and business skills, he is able to find small producers in France and Spain who make great wines and just need his help bringing them to the United States.

Bourgeois focuses on small producers who farm organically and/or biodynamically.

These are superb wines and great values!

Please join Jean-Philippe Monday at the Hilton!

The Wines:


1 - Le Drunk Rooster Chardonnay 2007 (France) $12.99 - Unoaked Chardonnay. The rooster is the "state bird" of France. The rooster is a national emblem of France and the Coq Gaulois (Gallic Rooster) decorated French flags during the Revolution. The rooster symbolizes vigilance. The wine is a custom project with Thierry Rodriguez of Mas Gabinele, which is in the Faugeres AOC in the Languedoc in Southwestern France. They farm organically. The grapes are from older Chardonnay vines and are completely destemmed before crushing. This is loaded with fruit, but still has a nice touch of minerals. It starts zippy and zingy with nice acidity. Flavors and aromas of melons, peaches, grapefruit and mango. Food & Wine: "While this earthy, flavorful white may have a silly name, it’s a serious Chardonnay for the money."

2 - In Fine Blanc 2007 (Rhone, France) $11.99 - I LOVE SOUTHERN French whites! Smooth wine! Lots of flavor! Bright and fresh aromas and flavors of peaches, white flowers and a little lemon/lime with some minerally hints. 80% Clairette and 20% Bourboulenc (who cares about the grapes – it tastes good!). Crisp finish! Aged 8 months in stainless steel before bottling. Sustainable agriculture. "In Fine" is a new project of Raphael Troullier, a rising star of the Cotes-du-Ventoux at Domaine de Cascavel, his biodynamic estate. Food pairing - shellfish, fish and lighter poultry dishes. Great for just drinking! Wine & Spirits, Critics' Pick, "Extreme Value"


1 - Le Drunk Rooster Grenache 2006 (France) $12.99 - This is a custom project with Nicolas Baptiste of Domaine de la Serre in Maury, another winery practicing sustainable agriculture. This domaine lies at the foot of the Corbieres Mountains (this is where the Cathars holed up when the Pope in the 13th century wiped them out). It is a very fruit forward wine with aromas of fresh red fruit, a jammy, lush mouth feel with a nice smooth finish. From vines that are at least 25 years old. Food pairing - white and red grilled meats.

2 - Le Drunk Rooster Pinot Noir 2008 (France) $14.99 - The Pinot Noir is a custom project with Thierry Rodriguez of Mas Gabinele, which is in the Faugeres AOC in the Languedoc in Southwestern France. They farm organically. This is a very aromatic wine with a beautiful nose of berries, and a touch of pepper. It is very crisp and has a jammy mouth feel with a nice smooth spicy finish. Food pairing - best served slightly chilled (in the fridge for 15-20 minutes) with grilled meats, Indian or Cajun foods.

3 - Clos Cristal Samur-Chapigny Cabernet Franc 2005 (Loire, France) $21.99 - Since 1928, the “Hospices de Saumur” has managed Clos Cristal, a property of 25 acres donated by Antoine Cristal, the first to plant Cabernet Franc there. This 100% Cabernet Franc is a fine wine with elegant fruit and a nice structure, which compliments many styles of cooking.
Since 1928, Saumur Hospital has owned the 10 hectares (25 acres) of vineyard growing Cabernet Franc grapes bequeathed by Antoine Cristal. The Clos Cristal is historically symbolic for Saumur wine growers, not only because its creator was the first to develop red wines in Saumur, but also because in about 1900, he conceived of an ingenious project. He built three kilometers (2 miles) of walls along which, and through which, the vines grow. Close to he walls, the vine takes advantage of the heat accumulated by the stone, which enables a greater level of ripeness in the fruit. Natural yeast, completely natural wine. 100% Cabernet Franc from 40 year-old vines. Biodynamic estate.

4 - Domaine de Chateaumar "Cuvée Bastien" Côtes du Rhône 2007 (France) $14.99 - Domaine de Chateaumar "Cuvée Bastien" Côtes du Rhône 2007 (France) $14.99 - 100% single vineyard old-vine Grenache. This wine is a deep, nearly opaque purple. Aromas of raspberry, strawberry, and blackberry to the nose, with eucalyptus, black pepper, licorice, and floral notes. Touches of cinnamon and spice follow onto the medium to full bodied juicy palate. The tannins are firm, ripe, and well integrated. It all makes for delicious fun. Sustainable farming. No chemicals. Aged 8 months in concrete tanks before bottling.

5 - Domaine de la Berthete "Cuvée Sensation" Côtes du Rhône 2007 (France) $13.99 - This wine is a custom cuvée made for Bourgeois Family; a blend of Grenache (50%), Syrah (25%), Carignan (20%), and Cinsault (5%) with 15% of the cuvée aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. Highly aromatic and fruity with a strong, tannic backbone. Drink within 3 to 5 years. Sustainable agriculture. Hand-harvested grapes. Food pairing - roasted duck, hand cut potato chips fried in duck fat, and wild mushrooms cooked in their own juices.

6 - Domaine des Florets Gigondas Tradition 2006 (France) $26.99 - This is an "in your face" red - it's not meant to be smooth or easy to drink. It's big and has soul! Aromas of red berries, flowers, spices, minerals (wine critic Stpehen Tanzer says it smells just like a Chambolle-Musigny for you Burgundy lovers!). 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre from old vines. Dark red. Extremely seductive nose offers a kaleidoscopic bouquet of fresh red berries, flowers, Asian spices, and minerals, smells like a topnotch Chambolle-Musigny! Sweet and impressively energetic with precise strawberry and raspberry flavors, medium body, and fine, silky tanninms. An utterly effortless, graceful example of Gigondas.
Gigondas is a tiny area, a tiny AOC, tucked away in the Southern Rhône Valley. The AOC takes its name from the village of Gigondas. Gigondas is situated right under the rugged, rocky range of the Dentelles de Montmirail and creates top quality reds rivaling its southwest neighbor, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Biodynamic farming. Jerome Boudier's philosophy is to respect his environment, his vines and his culture, to work them by hand as much as possible, vine by vine, and to make high quality wine with a great expression of its terroir. Grenache brings the strength, fat and softness, the Syrah brings elegance and fruit, the Mourvèdre brings the backbone and the Cinsault the sweetness. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 93 points

7 - In Fine Rouge 2007 (France) $11.99 - Runaway, huge hit at our May tasting! Aromas & flavors of cherries, plums, chocolate & baking spices. Lots of dark fruit & a little pepper spice! Rich, smooth texture. Soft & light tannins. Nice acidity. Pretty finish. 90% Grenache & 10% Syrah. 100% concrete vat fermentation. Aged in concrete tanks for 8 months before bottling. Sustainable agriculture. "In Fine" is a new project of Raphael Troullier, a rising star of the Côtes-du-Ventoux at Domaine de Cascavel, his biodynamic estate. Food pairing - Serve at 61-64°F or slightly cold (57°F) in the summer. Drink now with red meat, game, and fresh cheeses. Drinks well on its own!

8 - Domaine du Crampilh Cuvée L'Origine Madiran 2006 (France) $17.99 - Madirans can be big and rough when young, so this will be interesting to try! This blend is mostly Tannat, with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Madiran area Is southwest of Bordeaux in the heart of the Armagnac-producing region, an area that mostly produces white wines, except the Madiran is home to mostly reds, and the grape Tannat dominates the area.
According to Bourgeois Family Selections website, "Its beautiful purple red color is indicative of the intense and savory nose which expresses a great maturity. The concentrated, rich, palate has an appealing black ripe fruit character that results in delicious aromas and round tannins with evocative spicy notes, of an excellent intensity. Wines from the Southwest of France contain the highest levels of polyphenols in the WORLD and are known to help fight cancer and bad cholesterol.....The Crampilh sticks to tradition with wild aromas of herb, smoke, and a meaty, chewy quality on the palate. The fullness on the nose and the palate is not at the expense of the beauty, balance, and grace of the wine. It just goes to show that the French can give you power and elegance at the same time." Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points

9 - Tikalo Alba Liza 2006 (La Mancha, Spain) $9.99 - Enjoy it as part of a meal or with a few friends if you feel like sharing after a sip of this great Spanish red! Aromas of cherries, anise, herbs and dark chocolate. Flavors of black fruit, cherries and jam. Blend: 65% Tempranillo - 35% Garnacha. Hand-harvested grapes - which Is rare for a 990 acre winery! The grapes are then sorted through a rigorous "table triage" to only use the most ripe bunches. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 88 points, "Much more serious than one would expect at this price."

10 - Tikalo Rubens 2006 (La Mancha, Spain) $11.99 - Deep cherry-red colored wine. Very intense with red fruit aromas and licorice. The wine is fresh in the mouth with bright fruit and silky tannins. Aromas of licorice and wild berries. Jammy fruit in the flavors. 100% Tempranillo. Hand-harvested grapes - which Is rare for a 990 acre winery! The grapes are then sorted through a rigorous "table triage" to only use the most ripe bunches.

September 5, 2009

September Wine Tasting

September Wine Tasting

Freeport Cheese & Wine
Friday, Sept. 11th


178 Lower Main Street, Freeport, ME 04032
(207) 869-4048
10% discount on all tasting wines bought at the tasting! Or, within the week.

The Wines:

We have 2 distributors dueling it out!

Art Gonyea of National Distributors VS. David Joseph of Davine Wines

Art's Wines:

The Whites:

Vitano Falesco 2008 (Umbria, Italy) Reg. $12.99, Sale $11.99 - This is just a wonderful wine from Italy & a GREAT value! Well-balanced, fresh, medium-bodied wine. Aromas of peaches, honeysuckle, pears, melon & a pine forest. Loads of fruit flavors – pears and limes, plus a touch of fresh grassiness like a Sauvignon Blanc. Dry, crisp finish. Blend of Verdicchio and Vermentino. Stainless-steel fermentation and aging. Riccardo Cotarella is one of the true rock stars of Italian winemaking and his wines at Falesco continue to deliver incredible value! Food pairing - pasta with shellfish, risotto, white meat casseroles, salads, and vegetables.

Adelsheim Pinot Gris 2007 (Oregon) Reg. $16.99, Sale $14.99 - Adelsheim Vineyard is the 3rd oldest producer of Pinot Gris in the New World. This is their 24th vintage. It features grapes from 10 vineyards in the Willamette Valley (about 61% is from old vines in the Quarter Mile Lane Vineyard. The Adelsheims enhance the texture a little by allowing partial malolactic fermentation in a few of the lots, and by fermenting (not aging) a small portion of the wine in older neutral barrels. Wonderful floral aromas with bright fresh flavors of pears, peaches and apples. There is a little spiciness to the wine. The label features Giny Adelsheim's portrait of her older sister, Susanna Kuo. Sustainable farming practices. Food pairing - poached salmon, shellfish, bisques, oven-roasted chicken or poultry & spicy foods.

Manu Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (New Zealand) Reg. $13.99, Sale $11.99 - Lots of fresh, bright fruit in this easy drinking wine! Loads of flavor! 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Stainless steel fermentation. Sustainable Agriculture. Food pairing – almost any shellfish or seafood. Has sufficient acidity to serve with light cream sauces – you need that acidity to “cut” the cream.

The Reds:

Château de Campuget Costières de Nîmes 2005 (France) $11.99 - Like a beautiful woman, the juice in this wine doesn't need a lot of "make-up" (oak barrels), so this is fermented and aged in stainless steel, which is a little unusual for the area. Garnet color with a hint of blue. Aromas of black currants, spices and pepper. Smooth tannins that linger nicely. Blend of 65% Syrah, 30% Grenache Noir and 5% Mourvèdre. This drinks well young and will drink well over 5-6 years. Food pairing - Serve slightly chilled (about 64 degrees) Grilled or roasted meat. Leg of lamb.

Falesco Vitiano Rosso 2007 (Umbria, Italy) Reg. $12.99, Sale $11.99 - Year-after-year this is a red wine that just provides great bang for the buck! Blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich texture with lots of great red fruit, plums, raisins and chocolate. Nice acidity to balance the fruit. Blend of equal parts Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 3 months in French (Nevers) oak. This will age well through 2012. Food pairing - grilled meats, mushroom dishes, lasagna, spaghetti, roasts & flavorful aged cheese. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Celler, 91 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points

Montaria Reserva Vinho Tinto 2006 (Portugal) $10.99 - we just tasted this Thursday and decided to add it to the line-up! Trincadeira & Aragones (Tempranillo) Beautiful ruby color with hints of tobacco and black cherry. Ripe berry flavors abound balanced with round tannins and a velvety finish. Food pairing - A natural for grilled foods: chicken, dark fish and beef.

Ferrari-Carano Merlot 2005 (California) Reg. $23.99, Sale $19.99 - This is easy to drink! It's full-bodied and has ripe tannins and notes of dark chocolate. Dark in color, the nose is complex with very ripe cherries, blackberries and baking spices. Blend of 90% Merlot, 6% Malbec, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is blended and barrel aged for 18 months in 70% older French oak, 25% new French oak, 5% American oak. Food pairing - any red meat course, Italian entrée and roasted or grilled poultry dishes."

Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre 2005 (Verona, Italy) Reg. $23.99, Sale $21.99 - 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

Larry Cherubino "Middle of Everywhere" Shiraz 2007 (Australia) $16.99 - Larry Cherubino is one of the most acclaimed and skilled winemakers in the world, not just in Western Australia. He was the winemaker for New Zealand's Craggy Range Gimblett reds in 2005 (94 points from Parker) and California's Staglin Family Vineyards (93 points from Parker). This Shiraz is full of fruit and spice! Medium-bodied. Soft berry fruit with hints of baking spices and a little brambliness. Nice length on the finish. Grapes are from the Frankland River area in Western Australia. The grapes are destemmed. Aged 8 months in 30% new and 2-year old French oak barrels. Food pairing - grilled meats, lasagna, stews.

David's Wines

The Whites:

Domaine de Régusse Vin de Pays de Mediterranée Aligoté 2008 (France) $13.99 -This BLEW us away! Excellent wine from an obscure grape from Burgundy! This is refreshing and crisp! It has great acidity (typical for this grape). Flavors and aromas of green apples, lemons and minerals. Aged in stainless steel on its lees for 6 months. The lees are the residue in the vat or barrel – leaving the wine in contact with the lees adds richness to the wine. Organic farming. Food pairing – lobster! Shellfish. Grilled chicken. Salads. Kirs (add cassis).

Cave de Pomerol Picpoul de Pinet 2008 (Languedoc, France) $12.99 - Just a tremendous wine! Picpoul is often called "the Muscadet of the South" in France. Wonderful on warmer days as we hade for summer! Aromas of fresh bread, yeast, nuts, red berries and minerals. Flavors of tropical fruit, pear, apple and lime. Crisp acidity. Hints of spice on the clean, crisp finish. Food pairing - Drinks well on its own! Perfect with shellfish, lobster & seafood. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points, Wine Review Online, 89 points

The Rosé:

Maipe Rosé of Malbec 2008 (Mendoza, Argentina) $11.99 (buy a case of the Maipes, mixed or full, $9.99 a bottle; that's 17% off!) - 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! One day on the skins adds this rich dark color to the rosé! Stainless steel fermentation. 30 days “sur lees.” 100% Malbec. 35 year-old vines. Organic farming. Food pairing - drinks well on its own. Great with tuna, grilled chicken, green salads, pasta and spicy Asian dishes.

The Reds:

Hugl Zweigelt 2007 (Ketzelsdorf-Poysdorf, Austria) $15.99 - A 1 liter bottle! 33% more wine! Zweigelt is an Austrian grape, developed in 1922 when Dr. Fritz Zweigelt crossed two grapes - St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch. Today, Zweigelt is the most widely planted red variety in Austria, growing in nearly 9% of this country's vineyards. The wine boasts a concentrated color, fruity and spicy aromas, cherry flavors. Full-bodied, smooth and round, the wine is an ideal food companion. "A nice Zweigelt that makes a good match for casual grilled fare. Sneak this along on your next cookout." - Washington Post (July 09), VERY GOOD

Apaltagua Pinot Noir 2008 (Chile) $12.99 - Apaltagua’s Pinot Noir has a brilliant ruby color and emphasizes aromas of cherries, raspberries, and soft notes of oak. It boasts smooth and elegant tannins and a sophisticated finish. The grapes come from Apaltagua’s own vineyard in Tricao in the Curico Valley. Food pairing - roasted or grilled meats, mushroom risotto, earthy dishes. Wine writer Gil Lempert-Schwarz describes Apaltagua's Pinot Noir 2008 as a “ nice juicy wine that envelopes the palate with mixed red and black cherries. The tannins are ripe and harmonious ... It beats pricier California counterparts by leaps and bounds.”

Maipe Malbec 2008 (Mendoza, Argentina) $11.99 (buy a case of the Maipes, mixed or full, $9.99 a bottle; that's 17% off!) - Excellent wine & a great value! Aromas and flavors of flowers, ripe figs, dark berry fruit & more! Wonderful floral aromas at the start. Soft, integrated tannins. Finish has nice length! I’ve tasted this immediately after opening & a day later; it’s good both ways! Decant to enhance the flavors & aromas! 10% aged 3 months in oak. Organic farming. Food pairing - drinks well on its own. Great with roasted & grilled meats, rich pasta dishes, etc. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

Thorn Clarke Shotfire Ridge Shiraz 2008 (Australia) $21.99 - Each vintage, this is a big, rich and smooth Shiraz. Lots of dark chocolate, dark berries and spice in the aromas and flavors. This wine also has tons of complexity. It shows earth and spice and graphite as well as plums and blackberries.....and that great dark chocolate! The tannins are soft and integrated. Aged in a mix of French and American oak hogsheads for 14-16 months (40% new; the rest are 2nd and 3rd fill barrels). Food pairing - drinks GREAT without food. Steak, lamb, beef, Wolf Neck Farm burgers.

New Age (Mendoza, Argentina) $11.99 - blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Malvasia, this has a little effervescense to it! We'll serve this as a cocktail - over ice with a little slice of lime! It's a hugely popular drink in Argentina and is making a big splash in Maine this year! The drink is called "Tincho," after the cocktail's creator, who happens to be the 3rd generation of this family-owned winery in Mendoza. Bodega Valentin Bianchi is one of Argentina's oldest wineries, dating to 1928 and founded by Italian immigrant, Valentin Bianchi. It's delicious and refreshing!

September 3, 2009

September Beers - 6-pack/12-pack

September Beer Collection
This is a new one for us.
Each month, I'm going to put together a 6-pack and a 12-pack of different beers.
If you want either, just call or e-mail. If you want to cherry pick some of the beers, please do!
The 6-pack: Reg. $35.10, Sale $32.99

Brouwerij Bosteels Kwak (Belgium) $9.99 - This was a huge hit at a tasting about a year ago. This brewery dates to 1791. Pauwel Kwak first brewed beer in 1791. Family-owned. This is a Flanders style beer - producing a dry, assertively tart beer. Kwak has a slighlty sweet flavour, a fruity aftertaste, and a hint of bitterness. Top-fermented, it has a rich, copper colour with a creamy head. Traditionally served in a distinctive glass originated from coachmen needing a way to enjoy beer since Napoleonic Code forbade them sharing a drink with the passengers. Kwak developed this glass so the coachmen could remain seated yet hang the glass on the coach and enjoy the rich beer too. 750ml bottle. 8.4% alcohol.

Heavy Seas "the Big DIPA" Double India Pale Ale (Baltimore, MD) $5.99 - Big DIPA is a hoppy, big beer! Hopped 3 times in the brewing process. Copper-orange color with a great head. Earthy hoppy aromas. Aromas of caramel, fresh bread and citrus. Flavors of citrus, hops and malt. Sit and sip and savor this! 22 oz bottle. 10.6% alcohol.

Aecht Schlenkeria Rauchbier Urbock (Germany) $4.49 - Wonderfully rich. Deep mahogany color. Aromas of summer grilling, smoked meats and peat. Fuller and richer bodied than the Märzen because it uses more malt. Well-balanced flavors - starts sweetly malty...finishes with a nice hoppy, clean note. Brewed once per year for the Urbock celebration at the Schlenkeria tavern in early October. Food pairings - German food, grilled meats, salmon, smoked meat, Cheddar, Comte, Stilton. Unfiltered, unpasteurized and bottle-conditioned. 16.9 ounce bottle. 6.6% alcohol. "...not only among beers but among all alcoholic drinks a classic....the world's most famous smoked beer.," Michael Jackson, Pocket Guide to Beer. RateBeer, 98 points

Ceylon Brewery Lion Stout (Sri Lanka) $2.39 - This is an outstanding beer from one of Asia's best breweries! Deep, dark, almost black color. Beautiful tan colored head that lasts. A traditional, hearty, tasty stout. Aromatic - roasted malt, a pleasing Guinness-like sourness in the nose. Lots of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and caramel flavors. Subtle smokiness in the aromas and flavors. Hints of dark fruit and coffee on the finish. Feels rich and soft and lush in the mouth. Almost chewy, yet smooth. Bottle-conditioned. Awards - not exactly an award, but internationally-known beer critic Michael Jackson went to Sri Lanka to hunt down this beer; his effort helped bring it the international fame and repute it deserves! Food Pairings - Smoked or Grilled meats, chocolate or with a rich creamy dessert, especially one with coconut. 330 ml bottle. 8% alcohol.

Maine Beer Company Spring Peeper Ale (Maine) $4.25 - MBC was started by two brothers originally from Michigan who are keeping their days jobs for now while moonlighting as brewers. The brewery is brewing 2-barrel (or is it 1-barrel) batches and are not focusing on any styles in particular. Spring Peeper Ale, a nice floral American Pale Ale, is their first (and only) release thus far. It is a clean, dry, bottle-conditioned ale. Very fragrant - it's dry hopped (that means they add hops in the fermenter when the wort has cooled - heat kills the aromas in hops). It has excellent head retention and a nice fruity hop aroma. 500ml bottle. 5.5% alcohol. Beer Advocate, B+

Weyerbacher Simcoe Double IPA (Pennsylvania) $7.99 - INTENSE hop flavors! It is brewed untilizing only the Simcoe hop variety, which is a hybrid hop, developed and trademarked by Select Botanicals Group, LLC in the year 2000. It was created for its high alpha acid content, maximum aromatic oils, and low cohumulone (harshness) levels so that brewers can really put a lot of 'em in a beer and not create an overly harsh taste. Double Simcoe IPA is a full-flavored ale with hints of pineapple and citrus upfront, a good malt backbone in the middle, and a clean finish that doesn't linger too long. Check it out, and you'll soon see why everyone's talking about it. 22 ounce bottle. 9.0% alcohol. Named 2006 "PA Beer of the Year" by Beer Author Lew Bryson. Rate Beer, 99 points, Beer Advocate, A-

The 12-pack (the 6-pack plus these 6 beers): Reg. $75.04, Sale $66.99

Arcadia Ales Cocoa Loco (Michigan) $7.99 - A truly one-of-a-kind brew, a Triple Chocolate Milk Stout. A combination of three different chocolate malts, cocoa nibs and 63% cacao bittersweet chocolate make this a sinfully delicious brew. The addition of lactose lends the beer a creamy quality- not unlike a milkshake- while the Blackstrap Molasses adds rich, burnt, syrupy flavors. Flavors of baker’s chocolate and espresso dominate, while rich malty flavors and a subtle kiss of hops add nice balance. This is a BIG beer. Delicious on its own, Cocoa Loco is also brilliant with many foods, or as a digestif. Recommended Foods: Brie, Cherry Cheesecake, Seared Ahi Tuna, Vanilla Ice Cream, Berry Pies. 22 ounce bottle. 7.0% alcohol. 2008 Winner, Best in Show, World Expo of Beer

Penobscot Bay Brewery Whig Street Blonde Ale (Maine) $6.99 - It's name is derived from the street the brewery is on in Winterport. The label is artwork done by a member of the brewing family. The taste is uncomplicated and clean, It is made from pale malt, a handful of malted wheat and finished with Perle hops for bittering and Cascade for aroma. It's an easy drinking, comfortable ale for those lazy days and laid-back nights. Bright, Golden, Easy to Enjoy! 22 ounce bottle. 4.2% alcohol. Beer Advocate, A-

Bar Harbor Brewing Thunder Hole Ale (Maine) $5.99 - Delicious. Full-bodied. Complex. Sure, you can say all those things. Wouldn't it be a lot more fun to take a sip of this handcrafted brown ale and come up with your own superlatives? This is the brown ale that beat Newcastle, Sam Adams and more, at the World Beer Championships in Chicago. Deep amber hue. Rich roasted, toffee-like aromas follow through on medium-bodied palate with spicy hops upfront and toasted caramel malt flavors that finish in a mildly fruity manner. An elegant and complex Brown Ale. "An American classic brewed perfectly." – Charlie Papazian

Uerige Sticke Dusseldorf Altstadt Altbier (Germany) $4.99 - A GREAT Beer! Just a beautiful dark copper/amber color. Aromas of malt, nuts, caramel,, floral and grassy hops. Big flavors - caramel, nuts, slightly dry and malty. Clean and crisp. Reminiscent of a lager. Only brewed twice per year - the 3rd Thursday in January and November. Food pairings - German food, smoked meats, fresh game, grilled meats, earthy cheese such as Chimay, Munster, Camembert, etc. Brewed from Pilsner, caramel and roasted malts and Spalt Spalter, Hallertauer and Spalt Hallertauer hops. 11.2 ounce bottle. 6% alcohol. "...the finest example of the style , and one of Germany's truly great beers," Michael Jackson, Pocket Guide to Beer

Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted Ale (Scotland) $5.99 - The Harviestoun Brewery helped launch the reemergence of high-quality microbreweries in Scotland - which in the 1980's had little in the way of well-crafted, well-made, tasty beers produced locally (a declining economy & competition from big breweries in Britain and from abroad had combined to sink Scotland's domestic breweries). The brewery is in the oddly named Scottish village of "Dollar," coming from the Latin dolor, meaning sadness. Nothing at all sad that this beermaker made a career change at age 40 and started producing world-class beers!

This is just a wonderful beer. On the pale side of a bitter....Golden in color. Sharp, beautiful blond beer with great, distinctive hop flavors -honey & grapefruit tang (from the Hersbrucker), a "twist" of lemon (Challenger hops), and subtle spiciness (Styrian). Crisp with a good head. 16.9 ounce bottle. 4.2% alcohol. Awards - Supreme Champion Beer of Britain 2003; Supreme Beer Champion of Scotland 2002; Champion Beer of Scotland (Bitter) 2001, 2003; Gold Medal & Champion, 2004 Brewing Industry International Awards, Champion Beer of Britain 2001.

J.K's Scrumpy Farmhouse Hard Cider (Michigan) $6.99 - you're right...this is not a beer! Hard ciders are delicious! This is light and fresh and refreshing! Before Prohibition, cider was probably the biggest selling adult beverage in the USA! Johnny Appleseed wasn't planting apple seeds for eating - he was planting them for cider!

"Scrumpy" is an English-style of farmhouse cider that has always been popular on the farms of southern England. This, though, is not an English style of cider, it is definitely a Farmhouse Cider. It's a cross between an English Scrumpy and a Normandy Cidre.

This is crisp, dry with a ripe apple flavors, baking spices, honey and a touch of pepper. This is the real deal - one of the best, if not the best, American cider! This is rich and full. The carbonation is mild.

Organic farming. Sulfite free. Two ingredients - apples and yeast!