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
3:30-7:30pm

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!

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