February 17, 2010

February 2010 Wine & Cheese Tasting

Wine & Cheese Tasting!

Featuring Greek Wines, Cheese & Olive Oil (and more Greek foods from Lakonia!)

Friday, Feb. 19th

We'll also be featuring more wines from Spain, South America, New Zealand and France!

All wine tastings in the store are FREE!

10% savings on all the tasting wines during the tasting! Or the week after!

The descriptions of the wines are below!

Dueling distributors - I like this theme! Also, having 2 tables seems to get people moving around the room so that each table is less crowded!

The distributors - South Portland Wine Company (SOPO) and Pine State, featuring Tony Couture from MS Walker Imports. SOPO will be featuring a line-up of exclusively Greek wines from Athenee Imports. Chris Badini from Athenee will be here to talk about the wines!

Lakonia is a family-owned business in Saco. You may have seen them at farmers' markets in Maine over the last few years. We tasted their olive oil, olives (kalamatas and cracked green), Greek dressings and more. These are delicious products! One thing that makes their olives and oils so good is they are bottled here in the States as needed - this protects the olives and oil from both light and oxygen longers, so they are fresher. Also, the olives are in a less salty brine. They will be here sampling out these great foods!

We'll also taste out Kasseria, a Greek cheese that is sheep and goat's milk. We'll likely have another Greek cheese.

We hope to see you on Friday!

The Wines:

SOPO's Wines (Doug & Cat):

These are all of the Greek wines. 10, 15, 20 years ago, Greek wines in the US were mass-produced, and, frankly, really bad wines as a rule. Athenee Imports knew that small producers in Greece made good wines - so, they've sought them out, found them and are bringing them into the US. Here is a small part of their portfolio.

White Wines:

GAI'A Ritinitis Retsina NV (Peloponnese, Greece) $14.99 - This is rare! It's a high quality Retsina. This is unlike any Retsina you've ever had. Aromas and flavors of fir trees, mint and eucalyptus. This is made from the Roditis grape variety from Aegialia region in northeastern Peloponnese. Destemmed grapes. Only the free-run juice is kept for fermentation. The "piney" taste comes from a small amount of resin from the Pinus Halepensis pine tree. The wine is filtered and fined. In 1994, Leon Karatsalos and John Paraskevopoulos founded GAI'A. Food pairing - salty foods and spicy Indian or Thai food.

Domaine Mercouri Foloi White 2008 (Peloponnese, Greece) $15.99 - This is the Mercouri's flagship white wine. Another family-owned winery dating to the late 1800's. This is in the western Peloponnese. This is a blend of Roditis and Viognier. Aromas of tropical fruits and stone fruits and flowers. Medium-bodied with vibrant, crisp acidity. Flavors of tropical fruit. Between 1955-1989, the majority of this winery's grapes were sold to larger wineries in the area. In 1990, the 3rd and 4th generations of the Mercouri family decided to rebuild the winery. They renovated and modernized the winemaking facility and replanted the vineyards, improving quality and yields. This wine is named after Mount Foloi.

Domaine Spiropoulos 2008 (Mantinia, Greece) $16.99 - Spiropoulos is a family-owned winery dating to the 1800's in the Moschofilero is the classic Pelopponese grape. Aromas of rose petals. Flavors of apples, peaches and pears...with crisp acidity. 100% Moschofilero. Stainless steel fermentation. Food pairing - fish, shellfish, lobster, crabs, lighter dishes.

Rosé Wine:

GAI'A 14-18 h Rosé 2009 (Nemea, Greece) $15.99 - Unique and delicious rosé! Aromas and flavors of cherries and gooseberries, which are quintessential characteristics of Agiorgitika grapes grown on these Greek highlands. This is refreshing and really pleasing to drink. In 1994, Leon Karatsalos and John Paraskevopoulos founded GAI'A. 100% Agiorgitika, a red-sknned grape that is also known as St. George. Stainless steel fermentation. 14-18 hours of skin contact - hence the name. The grapes are grown on Mts. Koutsi and Klimenti. Food pairing - pasta, meats, pizza and spicy dishes, especially Chinese and Far Eastern.

Red Wines:

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. Nemea is in northeastern Peloponnese. 100% Agiorgitiko. Food pairing - lamb chops, chicken, dishes with rosemary.

GAI'A "Notios" Red 2008 (Nemea, Greece) $15.99 - Delicious red from Southern Greece! Aromas and flavors of raspberries, strawberries, cherries, gooseberries, butter caramel and toasty oak. Not tannic. This is velvety. 100% Agiorgitiko; also known as St. George. Aged 45 days in new, medium-plus toasted French oak barriques. Notios means "of the South" or "the Southerner." You may age this for another 3-4 years. Food pairing - lamb chops, lamb kebabs, heartier foods.

Argyros Atlantis Red 2007 (Santorini, Greece) $19.99 - This is a great-tasting, full-bodied red. Complex aromas of red berries, stewed dark fruit and leather. Velvety feel. Long finish. Aging potential of 5-10 years. 90% Mantilaria and 10% Mavrotragano. Aged 6 months in new French oak barrels ad another 6 months of bottle aging. Santorini is a volcanic island with incredibly minerally soil and it is very dry. Food pairing - lamb, beef, bigger dishes. Wine & Spirits, World's Top 100 Wineries, 2005 & 2006

Dessert Wines:

Enoteca Emery Efreni (Rhodes, Greece) $22.99 - This is delicious! It has a soft, golden color. Aromas of wild flowers. The sweet flavors are balanced with nice, crisp acidity and just a vibrant freshness. This winery was established in 1923. From 1912-1945, Rhodes was inhabited by Italians, who reinvigorated the vineyards on the island. Emery was named for Emeric D'Amboise, the Great Magistrate of Rhodes, 1503-1512.

M.S. Walker's Wines (Tony):

The Sparkling:

Brut D'Argent Rosé NV (France) $11.99 - Blend of mostly Pinot Noir with some Cinsault and Grenache. Definite flavors and aromas of strawberries and raspberries. This has nice weight and great bubbles! Great value in a sparkling wine!

White Wines:

Vega Sindoa Viura Chardonnay (Spain) $9.99 - Year-in, year-out, this is a tasty, tasty white! Aromas and flavors of flowers, pears and white peaches. This is nicely balanced and full in the mouth. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points

Harbor Town Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) $12.99 - This is a great value and just a tasty wine! M.S. Walker is using its skill, knowledge and market savvy to create and bottle a Sauvignon Blanc that is a private label (it's their wine). This brings that big, bodacious New Zealand Sauv. Blanc style into your glass for less money - and that is really good! Pink grapefruit, gooseberry, grassiness, crisp acidity - the hallmarks of Kiwi Sauv. Blanc. FOR LESS!

Red Wines:

Campos Reales La Mancha Tempranillo 2007 (Spain) Reg. $9.99, Sale $8.99 - Excellent inexpensive wine from Spain! Loads of ripe dark and red berry aromas - blackberries & blueberries, crushed violets. Flavors of crunchy blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. Fruit-forward. Not tannic. Nice length on the finish. 100% Tempranillo. Stainless steel fermentation. Food pairing - roasted or grilled meats. Mushroom dishes. Pasta and pizza. Drinks well with or without food. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 87 points

Tilia Malbec 2008 (Argentina) $10.99 - Aromas of ripe, rich black fruit, violets and toast. Flavors of black currants, dark chocolate and baking spices. The Tilia wines are made at Bodegas Esmeralda, a Catena family winery in Mendoza. Catena is one of the great winemakers in South America. Aged 9 months in French and American oak (25% new). Tilia is the Latin name for Linden, a tree that grows throughout Mendoza.

Juan Gil Monastrell 2007 (Spain) Reg. $21.99, Sale $19.99 - This is a big, juicy, tasty Spanish red from Jumilla! Dark purple. Aromas of blueberries, blackberries, smokiness, Asian spices and flowers. Juicy with rich dark berry flavors. The tannins are velvety. Crisp, vibrant minerality. Finishes with dark berry notes. Drinking well right now! 100% Monastrell. Aged 12 months in French and American oak. Food pairing - steak, lamb, big pasta dishes. Grilled meats. Portabello mushrooms. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 90 points

Emilio Moro Resalso Ribero del Duero 2007 (Spain) $16.99 - Dark, ruby-colored wine. Aromas of minerals, blackberries, black cherries, toasty vanilla and blackberries. Flavors of dark berries, ripe black cherries and vanilla. This has a mouthwatering finish and gains a more velvety finish the longer it is open. Aged in French oak for 4 months. 100% Tempranillo from the "Resalso" vineyard, which was originally planted in 1932, the year of Emilio Moro's birth. These vines are younger than that. This will age well for 3-4 more years. Put down a few bottles and watch this really soar in a few years! Food pairing - grilled meats, pasta dishes and more! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

That's the line-up.

We hope to see you Friday!

Valentine's Wines

Valentine's Day Wine!

If you are home for Valentine's Day, we have some wines for you!

The Wines!

Sparkling Wines

Scagliola "Primo Bacio" Moscato D'Asti 2006 (Italy) $16.99 - I loved tasting this wine with Mario Scagliola, the winemaker and owner. This is just so nice! It's soft, rich and lush with nice bubbles....it just feels elegant! The aromas just leap from the bottle! It tastes great! The label on this pictures the Mario's brother's first girlfriend....and Primo Bacio means "First Kiss." This winery farms organically & biodynamically. Food Pairing - Pair this with desserts (fruit desserts, not chocolate), lighter pasta dishes or aged cheeses....this is a wonderful wine for a romantic evening!

Il Colle Prosecco Brut (Italy) $17.99 - Made from grapes of the Conegliano hills, this excellent Prosecco offers a straw-yellow color with a tantalizing perlage (bubbles), a characteristic nose backed by a pleasant fruitiness. Dry and elegant on the mouth, it is a perfect aperitif but also pairs excellently with food.

White Wines

Il Cuore "The Heart" Chardonnay Mendocino County 2008 (California) $13.99 - Wonderful California Chardonnay that's a little different! Aromas of green apples, pears, minerals and flowers. Flavors of both fruit (green apples and pears) and minerals along with nice floral notes. 91% Chardonnay & 9% Viognier (Viognier adds floral notes). Fermented in stainless steel & just a little oak (all neutral barrels, so it isn't oaky at all). Food pairing - fish, shellfish, crab cakes, poultry, lighter pasta dishes, spicy Asian food & many vegetarian dishes. Drinks nicely on its own. Heart on the label! The original art for IL CUORE was created by Dan Rizzie, whose bold cubistic paintings are in the permanent collections of both The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Shinas Estates "The Innocent" Viognier 2008 (Australia) $22.99 - WOW! What'd I say? Oh, yes, "WOW!" It's marvelous! It's relatively unknown. This and its red sibling, "The Guilty," make a great gift. Aromas that just go & go! Peaches, apricots, then dried versions of the same, roses, pepper, & baking spices. Big & soft in the mouth. Stone fruit & citrus flavors, especially subtle lemon & grapefruit. Single vineyard, hand-harvested grapes. Unoaked, concentrating the aromas & flavors. The result - one big, tasty, masterful wine! With layers of flavors & aromas! Food pairing - drink on its own or with shellfish and seafood!

Red Wines

Il Cuore Rosso Classico Mendocino County 2007 (California) $13.99 - Wonderful wine from Northern CA!! We love this! Medium-bodied, loaded with aromas and flavors of berries, plums and ripe cherries. Nice combination of spice and fruit! Well balanced tannins and acidity. Nice finish. Modest use of oak. 2,704 cases made. 67% Zinfandel, 14% Merlot, 8% Petite Sirah, 6% Syrah and 5% Carignane. Food pairing - spicy foods, lamb, grilled or roasted chicken, lasagna, garlicky foods or grilled or roasted salmon. Drinks well on its own! Heart on the label! The original art for IL CUORE was created by Dan Rizzie, whose bold cubistic paintings are in the permanent collections of both The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Shinas Estates "The Guilty" Shiraz 2006 (Australia) $22.99 - This is an EXCELLENT Shiraz! A great companion to "The Innocent" Viognier! Aromas of flowers, dark berries and plums and peppery spice. Loads of flavors - ripe dark fruit, cherries, strawberries, blackberries and more. Full-bodied. Well-balanced tannins. Long finish with lots of black cherries. Single vineyard old-vine grapes. Hand-harvested grapes. Aged 20 months in old French oak, concentrating the aromas & flavors. 2,500 cases made. Food pairing - steaks, grilled meats, lamb....drinks well on its own - I like big wines!

Passion Has Red Lips By Some Young Punks Cabernet Sauvignon - Shiraz 2007 (Australia) $19.99 - Fabulous wine made by 3 young winemakers! The young woman in the team was in our store on May 31st Aussie blends are GREAT VALUES! Aromas of raspberries, strawberries, flowers, and blueberries. Flavors of blueberries, red cherries, mint, anise & tropical spices, . Full-flavored. Juicy. Soft tannins at the finish. Soft, lingering finish. 51% Cabernet Sauvignon & 49% Shiraz. 400 cases made. The label is an old "pulp fiction" book cover (one of the winemakers collect them). Food pairing - Excellent choice for grilled meats, roasts and just drinking!

Robert Sinskey Cabernet Sauvignon "Vandal Vineyard" 2005 (California) Reg. $52.99, Sale $34.99 - DELICIOUS! Seamless wine. Impressive. Runaway hit at a December tasting! 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. This wine just unfolds in the mouth. The longer and longer you linger over this, the more flavors open up in the wine! Currants, black cherries,mocha, dark chocolate, vanilla, baking spices and more! Ripe, polished tannins. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 20 months in oak barrels (1/3 new). Food pairing - lamb, beef and more. Not an overblown Cab, so this is food friendly.

Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Ynez 2005 (CA) $54.99, Sale $39.99 - Aromas of blackberry laced with brambly notes of sage brush and chaparral that have become the hallmark of this vineyard precede tiers of currant, wild blackberry and savory herbs. The wine shows a sophistication of structure that emphasizes both lushness and grip that will reward both the hedonist and the collector alike. Enjoy!


Quady Elysium 2007 (California) $15.99 - One of the California's great dessert wines! Aromas of strawberries, roses and lychee..... Heart on the label! Flavors of cherries, rose petals, red cherries and lychee. This is smooth and viscous. This is made from Muscat Hamburg, one of the few black-skinned muscats. Elysium means heaven in Greek - the name comes from the rose garden aroma - which is heavenly! Food pairing - a great companion with dessert or as dessert! Pair this with blue cheeses, dark chocolate, strawberries, raspberries, vanilla-based desserts, ice cream and/or candlelight! Make cocktails - 50/50 tonic water and Elysium with ice and a slice of lemon! California State Fair, Double Gold Medal

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 wine....it'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)!

Chocovine $13.99 - MONSTROUS hit at our last wine tasting! Dutch Chocolate with Cabernet Sauvignon! If you like Bailey's Irish Cream, give this a shot! Tastes like rich chocolate with a kick! Rich, dark chocolate from Holland blended with good Cabernet Sauvignon from France. Rich and chocolaty with subtle red wine flavors. Drink over ice or use it to make a chocolate martini! Or, come up with your own drink!

Tobin James Liquid Love Late Harvest Zinfandel 2007 (California) $21.99 - Dark chocolate, orange and dark berry fruit in a glass! This is smooth and rich and delicious! A different side of Zinfandel than you usually see! Food pairing - dark chocolate truffles, a rich chocolate torte.

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.

February 8, 2010

Merry Edwards Wines

Merry Edwards Wines
In Maine, at last!

These wines are in available in extremely small quantities. I'll have the case amounts next to the wines. Please call or e-mail if you want any.

"Edwards is one of California's finest interpreters of the fickle Pinot Noir grape..."
Food & Wine
Merry Edwards is named one of "The Magnificent Thirty Wineries Best Capturing the Essence of Pinot Noir,"
James Laube, The Wine Spectator
#1 Most Popular Pinot Noir, Merry Edwards tops the list for the 4th time in the past 5 years!
Wine & Spirits Magazine - 20th Annual Restaurant Poll, April 2009

Merry Edwards is one of the first women to become a California winemaker. Her philosophy is to let the vineyard show its best fruit, rather than putting a heavy stamp on the wine in the winery. Consequently, she has rigorously chosen vineyard locations and worked with the best growers.

In 1997, she met entrepreneur Bill Bourke, a founding investor in Chalone and Ravenswood wineries. They formed a partnership to develop Meredith Estate vineyard and launch a new winery, Merry Edwards.

Merry has secure, long-term contracts with some of the best growers in the Russian River Valley - Ted Klopp farms his Pinot Noir to Merry's specifications; Bob Pellegrini, whose Olivet Lane Vineyard is well known among wine collectors, provides Merry with prized grapes. These two vineyards formed the early base for Merry's focused vineyard designate program.

These are among the best California Pinot Noirs made!

Please forward this to anyone you know who collects comparable wines! You might get to drink some with the friend(s)!

The Wines:

Merry Edwards's wines are a great lesson that all Pinot Noir grapes are NOT the same (this holds true for other varietals). (1) The grapes are grown in different places; (2) the growers use different techniques; (3) - this is key - many different "clones" of Pinot Noir exist.

The White:

Unfortunately, the '07 Sauvignon Blanc isn't here (#9, Wine Spectator Top 100, 2009) - best case scenario is that it arrives in late Spring.

The Reds:

There are 2 wines - one of the wines comes in 2 sizes. Who knows? Some of the single vineyard wines may come available.

Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley '07 (California) half-bottle - 2 cases available - $32.99


Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, Russian River '07 (California) 750ml - 3 cases available - $58.99 - This wine comes from twenty small, different production lots of wine from 7 different vineyards in the Russian River Valley. This is a classic Russian River Pinot - black cherries, currants, red raspberries, dark chocolate and baking spices. This is bold in flavors and smooth. The finish is soft and deep. Food pairing - Grilled pork loin, a bunch of mushrooms sauteed together, duck, etc. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, 90 points

Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast '07 (California) 750ml - 3 cases - $49.99 - This wine showcases a lot of Pinot fruit - raspberries and plums with added blueberries. It picks up spices in the aromas and flavors. Vanilla bean, earth and cola come out as the wine opens. This is elegant and rich. Blend of Pommard and Dijon 777 clones from Petaluma Gap in Sonoma. This wine comes from 11 different lots of Pinot Noir. Food pairing - appetizers of fresh cheese, prosciutto and figs; duck, spicy chicken. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, 91 points

If you want any wines, please let me know via phone or e-mail!

February 5, 2010

More Deals!


Most of the wines from last week are gone.....I did find a few more deals!

Quantities are limited. We have all the wines in stock. Please call or e-mail if you want any of these!

The Wines!

Bonterra Viognier 2006 (California) Reg. $19.99, Sale $9.99 - This has Viognier's classic peach and apricot aromas and flavors with just a touch of vanilla from the barrel aging. The Marsanne adds weight and texture. The Roussanne adds to the floral aromas. Blend of mostly Viognier (about 80%) with Marsanne, Roussanne and Muscat, so this is a California take on Cotes-du-Rhone or Chateauneuf-du-Pape! Aged 4 months or so in small French oak barrels (about 1/3 are new). 100% biodynamic farming. Wine Spectator, 89 points

Cristom Eola-Amity Hills Syrah 2005 (Oregon) Reg. $29.99, Sale $19.99 - Delicious wine from one of my favorite Oregon wineries! Aromas of red raspberries, currant and blueberries. Bright, fresh flavors with a hint of baking spices and smoky meat. The tannins are moderate. This is just coming into its own in terms of aging. Syrah with less than 1% Viognier added to the blend. 100% estate-grown fruit. 90% of the grapes were destemmed and the remainder were whole-cluster fermented. Aged 22 months in 31% new French oak. 613 cases made. Wine Spectator, 91 points

D'Arenberg "The Ironstone Pressings" 2006 (Australia) Reg. $65.99, Sale $39.99 - Big, complex, blockbuster of a wine! Aromas of baking spices, leather, coffee, black cherries, blueberries and more. Flavors are intense and huge! Dark fruit, stewed dark fruit, peppery spices and baking spices. Long finish. Blend of Grenache (70%), Shiraz (25%) and Mourvedre (5%). This will drink well through 2026. Family-owned winery since 1912. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 93+ points

Viña Doña Paula Chardonnay 2006 (Argentina) Reg. $15.99, Sale $9.99 - This is wonderful! Big hit at recent tasting! Great value Chardonnay! Aromas and flavors of pears, apples, citrus, figs and toast. Baking spices. Crisp acidity. Great balance of fruit and acidity! Nice minerality to the wine! 70% aged in new French (70%) and American (30%) oak barriques. 10% goes through malolactic fermentation (so, this is somewhat creamy and buttery). Food pairing - roasts, steaks, grilled meats, stews, mushroom dishes, etc. Aged cheeses. Drinks well on its own! Wine Spectator, 89 points

Gunderloch "Messidor" Rheinhessen Beerenauslese 2005 (Germany) Reg. $36.99, Sale $15.99 - A wonderful dessert wine from this legendary producer and from an outstanding vintage! Deliciously sweet with the acidity needed to balance the sweetness - so this is not cloying, it's not syrupy. Tropical fruit, oranges, hazelnuts and more!

Hope Estate Hunter Valley Chardonnay (Australia) Reg. $12.99, Sale $9.99 - Ripe nectarine, melon,peach and pineapple fruit characters with nutty, creamy butterscotch characters. The buttery, oaky complexity is balanced by the flinty, citrus finish. Rich depth of stonefruit flavours are balanced by the fresh citrus and melon. The fruit integrates with the creamy oak to achieve a complex and full mouthfeel with persistent flavours and a very long, crisp, refreshing finish.

Thierry & Pascale Matrot "Les Chevalieres" Meursault 2007 (France) Reg. $44.99, Sale $29.99 - Delicious, "weighty" Chardonnay! Lush wine with aromas of vanilla beans and pears. To me, this is "oakier" than most Burgundies, but it's "oakier" in a really nice way! This is soft and juicy and just mouth-filling with racy acidity and hints of minerals and licorice on the finish.

Patz & Hall Durrell Vineyard Chardonnay 2006 (California) Reg. $44.99, Sale $24.99 - I bought more of this! Good medium yellow. Lemon drop, orange, clove and minerals on the nose, complicated by a musky flinty, smoky character. Glyceral in the mouth, with fruit-driven flavors of pineapple, lemon custard and stone fruits. More complex and deep than the Napa Valley bottling.

Torres Viña Esmeralda 2004 (Spain) Reg. $12.99, Sale $6.99 - We just tasted this last week. It's delicious and has great fruit and vibrant acidity. Touch of sweetness. Aromas of flowers, roses, lillies. Flavors of oranges, lemons and tropical fruit. A little of that classic Gewurz pepper and lychee. 85% Muscat and 15% Gewurztraminer. Food pairing - Excellent with shellfish (a sublime match for an avocado and shellfish salad, for instance), as well as with fish, fresh melon with cured Spanish ham, pâtés, poultry or pork in a sweet and sour sauce.

Trefethen Chardonnay 2006 (California) Reg. $17.99, Sale $9.99 - "Liquid sunlight" in the glass, this Chardonnay has aromas of poached pear, lemon cream, toasted brioche, and bright white honeysuckle. A full, viscous mouth is balanced by classic Trefethen fruit - bright and crisp pear and lemon. A little vanilla, butterscotch, and cooking herbs linger in the background and tickle the tongue during a nice, long finish. In 1979, Trefethen 1976 Chardonnay was named "Best Chardonnay in the World" at the Gault Millau World Wine Olympics in France. This is a half-bottle!

Vinum Cellars "VIO" Viognier 2007 (California) Reg. $29.99, Sale $22.99 - Big, rich white that is delcious! Aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, lychees, coconut, honey and vanilla. Long, juicy finish. Aged "sur lies" for 9 months to add richness and depth to the wine's texture. Partial malolactic fermentation to add buttery notes. 45% aged in 2-year-old French oak and 55% aged in 3-year-old French oak, so this is NOT oaky. 925 cases made. Food pairing - sushi, sashimi, Thai food, poultry dishes, seafood.

Pfeffingen Scheurebe Spätlese Ungsteiner Herrenberg 2006 (Germany) Reg. $29.99, Sale $15.99 - The coolest wine I've had in AGES! Deep yellow color. Rich texture. At the same time, it has this zesty, spritzy feel on the tongue......it kinda pops and zigs and zags!

Plus, just try pronouncing this! That's a riot!

How do you read this bottle?

Pfeffingen - the winery

Scheurebe - the grape

Spatlese - quality of the grape (really high)

Ungsteiner - name of the village (Ungstein; the "er" means of Ungstein)

Herrenberg - the vineyar

The color and richness come from, I think, the botrytis on the grapes. What is botrytis? Well....it's a fungus....that sounds gross.....but, it is what makes so many wines in the world GREAT, rather than merely good! The fungi stick a root into the grape and pull out water, concentrating the flavors in the wine!

This is rich and smooth and just wraps itself around your mouth and tongue. The aromas are intense and I just loved sitting and smelling this for a couple of hours. Mint, sage, black currants, white stone fruits (nectarines and peaches), grapefruit, tropical fruits such as green bananas. Scheurebe often has pink grapefruit and currant aromas and flavors and this does. It has a little bitter tartness in a good way - and this helps balance the wine's sweeter characteristics! This is lush and rich.

It'll age for at least another 10-12 years! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 91 points

Again, if you want any of these wines, please call or e-mail ASAP!

Shafer Wines - in Maine at last!

Shafer Wines
Finally in Maine!

Doug and Cat from SOPO brought just brought Shafer into the state. We tasted the Chardonnay and the Syrah with Doug on Thursday. Delicious wines!

Shafer is family-owned and family-run. For over 20 years they've been committed to making great wines and to sustainable agriculture. The name for their Chardonnay honors raptors that help control the moles and gophers in the vineyard. They've erected hawk perches and owl nesting boxes to attract magnificent birds of prey.

These wines are in available in extremely small quantities. Please call or e-mail if you want any.

Please forward this to anyone you know who collects comparable wines! You might get to drink some with the friend(s)!

The White:

Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Carneros Napa Valley Chardonnay 2007 (California) $47.99 - Delicious Chardonnay! This is full-bodied, clean, crisp and just gets more complex each minute it is open! Aromas and flavors of green apples, minerals, limes, baking spices and hazelnuts. Long, long pleasing finish! Barrel-fermented. Aged 14 months in 75% new oak barrels (85% French - Allier and Vosage; 15% American - Missouri). 25% aged in stainless steel. This wine sees no malolactic fermentation, so this is NOT buttery and creamy. It has bright, vibrant acidity. This drinks GREAT today and will age well for another 2-4 years easily. Wine Spectator, 93 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90-92 points, "An argument could be made that Shafer is turning out the finest non-malolactic Chardonnay in California."

The Reds:

Shafer Relentless Syrah 2006 (California) $69.99 - Excellent, beautiful, big, smooth Syrah! This is big and chewy! Aromas and flavors of minerals, graphite, plums, smoked meat, black pepper and dark berries. Long, long finish and a lot of depth and structure! 84% Syrah and 16% Petite Sirah. Aged 30 months in 100% new French oak. This will age well through 2016. Food pairing - dishes such as Syrah-braised short ribs, smoked lamb with Relentless reduction, roast duck, as well as beef and game. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 92-94 points; Wine Spectator, 90 points

Shafer "1.5" Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California) $69.99 - One Point Five takes its name from the term "a generation-and-a-half," coined by John and Doug Shafer to describe their long father-and-son partnership. For 27 years this family team has worked side by side to manage a winery that they've made world-class. The wine: 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot. Stags Leap District vineyards. Aged 20 months in 75% new oak barrels (70% French and 30% American). 25% of the barrels are barrels that have been used once. Aromas of dried herbs, chocolate, black fruit and cedar. Flavors of dark chocolate, blackberries, black cherries and red currants. Tannins are soft and smooth.

Shafer Stags Leap District Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (California) $214.99 - One of California's legendary Cabernets! This is velvety and voluptuous! Full-bodied with a long, long, complex finish. This has so many flavors and aromas - anise, cedar, minerals, plums, black cherries, currants, the woods on a cool fall day after a rain, graphite, pencil shavings and more! This is drinking well today and will continue to evolve for another 20-25 years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 32 months in 100% new French oak (Allier & Tronçais). 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Food pairing - Grilled or roasted lamb, duck, beef and game; dishes featuring roasted red peppers or carmelized onions; seasonings of basil, mint or rosemary. Aged, full-flavor cheeses are also complementary. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 97 points; Wine Spectator, 92 points

Shafer Merlot 2007 (California) $47.99 - At times Merlot has gotten a bad rap (well, much of it should....over-planted, yields per acre too high to make good wine, etc.). The Shafer Merlot is incredibly GREAT! Parker writes, "The 2007 Merlot may be the finest Merlot I have ever tasted from Shafer." This is both elegant and powerful! Deep, dark color. Aromas and flavors of baking spices, oak, smoke, mocha, red and dark berries. Soft, well-integrated tannins. This will age well for at least 12 more years. Aged 20 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels (75% new: Vosage, Allier and Tronçais). Blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

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