It's New Year's - great time to drink an outstanding bottle with family and friends!
Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut Rosé (France) Reg. $49.99, Sale $44.99 - Outstanding champagne! Possibly OUR FAVORITE! It’s hard to pick which is a favorite Champagne – this is up there! This is a GREAT bottle of wine! WOW! Intense and big aromas & flavors – raspberry, strawberry & red currants along with fresh bread. Aromas of cinnamon and cloves. Dry. Intense flavors. Complex. Well-balanced. Silky texture. Long, tasty finish! Food pairing - Drink well-chilled as an aperitif. A GREAT FOOD WINE! Try it with smoked salmon or seared tuna! Perfect with fruit tarts to finish a great meal. Blend of Pinot Noir (60%), Pinot Meunier (30%) and Chardonnay (10%). Aged a minimum of 3 years. Wine Spectator, 92 points
Ferrari Brut (Italy) $21.99 – This is a “Metodo Classico” sparkling wine. That means it is made in the same way Champagne is made. The bubbles come from a secondary fermentation in the bottle. Hot dogs and “Champagne” are a great pairing! From Trentino in the far north, Ferrari was first made in 1902 when Giulio Ferrari started this winery. He had studied winemaking in France and was convinced that the northeastern part of Italy could produce world-class Champagne-method sparkling wines. The wine is produced following strict Champagne-like methods. The vines are about 30 years old. The Chardonnay grapes are hand-harvested. This winery has consistently won awards since 1906 and it is a perennial winner of “Tre Bicchieri” (Three Glasses) – the highest Italian wine award. The wine has great bubbles and aromas of lemons, fresh bread and herbs. Flavors of crisp apples, pears, toast and lemons.
Veuve de Vernay Brut Rosé (France) $10.99 – This really stands out against other moderately-priced sparkling wines! It is made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – 2 of the grapes, Chardonnay is the othter, that may be used to make Champagne. Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are both red-skinned grapes and often used to make rosé sparking wines. This has wonderful strawberry, raspberry and cranberry aromas and flavors. Plus a nice earthiness. It has great length for a moderately-priced sparkling wine. This is tart, clean and dry. Food pairing – excellent for a cocktail wine. This would go well with a fruit tart or a dark chocolate dessert.
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"
Avinyo Cava Brut NV (Spain) $19.99 - Extended aging on the lees makes this reserve cava crisper, fuller, and creamier. It also has hints of toasted nuts under the aromas of citrus and pear. This is a complex intriguing sparkler that could pass as Champagne if you closed your eyes. The flavors are perfect to pair with Turkey and the effervescence will remove the fat and grease of gravy from your mouth. Aromas of green apples, citrus, fresh bread and minerals. Fresh and dry flavors of apples, fresh bread, pears and peaches. It’s been aged on its “lees” for 18-22 months, adding a yeasty quality to the wine similar to many Champagnes. Minerally-driven dry finish. This shows as much complexity as many Champagnes at a fraction of the cost! Blend of Macabeo, Xarello, and Parellada. Aged on lees for 18-22 months. Non-vintage. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points; Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 88 points
Hess Su’skol Chardonnay 2008 (Chardonnay) $19.99 – This is a delicious, well-balanced California Chardonnay! This has wonderful aromas and flavors of figs, honeysuckle, flowers, minerals, clementines and baking spices. Sustainable agriculture. It’ll age well through 2018. Aged 9 months in 20% new French oak. This picks up some of the vanilla toastiness and baking spices that new oak adds to wine without being over-oaked. Food pairing – shrimp or scallops with a spicy sauce, broiled or grilled seafood. Lobster. Roasted chicken. Wine Spectator, 91 points, “Ten Great California Values”
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.
Herman Story “Nuts & Bolts” Syrah 2008 (California) $44.99 - This is one big, bold, in-your-face wine! Full-bodied is a bit of an understatement. This is super-concentrated, multi-layered….lots of complexity. Rich, rich wine. Aromas of dark berries, flowers, graphite, tar and more. Flavors of stewed plums, black currants, smoke and pepper. While this is a powerful wine, it is still elegant. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 95 points
PreVail “West Face” 2005 (California) Reg. $49.99, Sale $39.99 – This is one huge, mouthful of wine…..it’s a monster! It’s a deep, dark wine. Big flavors, big aromas and a long, long finish. Flavors and aromas of dark chocolate, licorice, dark cherries and more. This is a newer project for Dan Carano, who wanted to make special wines from mountain-grown grapes. The Cabernet and Syrah are grown on Look Out Mountain in Alexander Valley on a western-facing slope. Volcanic soils. The location and soil contribute to these grapes ripening slowly – this really intensifies the flavors and aromas! 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Syrah. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 91 points
Orin Swift "The Prisoner" 2008 (California) $35.99 - This is a BIG, bodacious, smooth, rich, powerful, BIG red wine! This is a MOUTHFUL of wine! From one of the best "cult"wineries, Orin Swift, in California! Black, red, blue fruits......lots of pepper and spice.....a little earth and herbs. Soft tannins. This is a heady wine and at 15.2% alcohol, it packs a punch, but you don't notice the alcohol heat. Blend of 46% Zinfandel, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest is Syrah, Petite Sirah, Charbono and Grenache. Food pairing - Big meals. Steak. Lamb. Wine Spectator, 92 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points
Hess Collection Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (California) Reg. $48.99, Sale $39.99 – This is a big, flavorful Cab! Aromas and flavors of mocha, dark chocolate, brown sugar and blackberries. Fine-grained, soft tannins. Great length on the finish. 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot and 2% Malbec. Aged 21 months in 55% new French oak. Food pairing – grilled and roasted meats. Robust meals such as stews. Decanter Magazine, 3 stars
A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris 2009 (Oregon) $13.99 - This is one tasty white wine! Rich, ripe fruit and lots of aromas! Aromas of pears, lychee, honeysuckle, citrus, flowers and stone fruits. Well-balanced acidity. This is juicy and ripe. Flavors that are rich and soft and mirror the aromas. Long, long finish. Stainless steel fermentation. A touch goes through malolactic fermentation. Food pairing – seafood, smoked salmon, poultry, pork tenderloin, etc. Also, try this with Thai food, spicy Mexican food, any spicy food! Drinks well without food! Wine Spectator, 88 points, “Smart Buy!”
Elk Cove Pinot Noir La Boheme Vineyard 2008 (Oregon) $49.99 – This is a fabulous Pinot from a great producer from Oregon’s greatest vintage ever! Aromas of blackberries, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, wood smoke and earth. Flavors of dark berries, baking spices and minerals. Soft, well-integrated tannins. Great finish with excellent length. Single-vineyard that was planted in 1985 with Pommard clone cuttings from Elk Cove’s original estate vineyard. This will age well through 2020. If you can, cellar this through about 2013. Food pairing – grilled salmon, veal and beef. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 91 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 91 points, Wine Spectator, 91 points
Renegade Wine Co. Red 2008 (Washington) $12.99 - This is a delicious, medium-bodied red blend. Long finish. Lots of black and red berries in the aromas and flavors. Notes of earth and licorice in the wine as well as Provencal herbs. Fine, dusty tannins and nice minerals at the finish. It's a blend of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Cabernet Franc, 13% Grenache and 9% Syrah. The grapes are from the Horse Heaven Hill AVA; specifically, they come from the Canoe Ridge Vineyard, one of Washington's best vineyards. The wine sees about a year in oak barrels (20% are new). This is a "second" label for Sleight of Hand (Tier 2 wines). Food pairing - grilled steak, grilled pork chops or pork tenderloin, baby back ribs.
Waterbrook Merlot Columbia Valley Reserve (Washington) $24.99 - I find that Washington Merlots are just great wines when done right…..and this one is DONE RIGHT! Aromas and flavors of blueberries, raspberries, plums, red pepper, baking spices and more. 100% Merlot. Drink now through 2017. Wine Spectator, 92 points, #46 on the Wine Spectator Top 100
Mitolo G.A.M. Shiraz 2005 (Australia) Reg. $49.99, Sale $32.99 - A full-flavored, rich, ripe & impressive wine. Gorgeous aromas of black & blue berries, licorice & toasted bread. Inky purple color. Full-bodied. Wonderful, mouth-filling texture. Flavors of blackberries, mocha, earthy spices. Long, rich finish. This is drinking well now & will age well for another 5-6 years. Aged 18 months in new French oak (705) & old American oak (30%). From Mitolo's McLaren Vale vineyard, which has morning & late afternoon shade moderating temperatures, so the grapes ripen more slowly. Harvested just as the fruit begins to dimple. The soil is well-drained, minerally loam & sandstone. Named for their children (Gemma, Alexander and Marco). Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 95 points
Charles Cimicky “The Autograph Shiraz” 2005 (Australia) Reg. $39.99, Sale $24.99 – Delicious! This is a big, bold Shiraz! Dark purple color that is glass-coating! Aromas of cherries, blueberries, cocoa, cola, mocha, smoked meat and more. Flavors of dark berries, blueberries, raspberries, black currants, dark chocolate and more. Long, lingering finish. Soft tannins! This sees 17 months in American oak (60% new). You can age this at least another 10 years. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 93 points; Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 92 points
La Chaume Prima Donna Chardonnay – Pinot Noir 2009 (Vendee Valley, France) Reg. $31.99, Sale $24.99 – Christian Chabriand planted this vineyard in 1997. It sits on a hill in the Vendee Valley that used to be an island in the sea. From this hill you can see Mont Saint Michel on the horizon in the Atlantic Ocean. This is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir grapes see skin contact, so this is a white wine….much like Blanc de Noir Champagne is a white wine made from red-skinned grapes. Grapes had never been grown on this site before Chabriand planted his vineyard.
Xavier Monnot Meursault Le Limozin Meursault 2007 (France) $49.99 – This has beautiful aromas of baked pears, pineapple, minerals, baking spices and a hint of smoke. Flavors of baked pears, baking spices, minerals and more. This has a great rich texture and weight in the mouth. “Le Limozin” comes from a single hectare (2.58 acres) vineyard that is adjacent to “Les Charmes” and “Les Poruzots.” Only 12 bottles came into Maine and I have them. Food pairing – roasted chicken, duck, fish.
Domaine Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Côte du Py Cru Beaujolais 2009 (France) $21.99 - Beautiful wine! Wonderful stone fruit, blackberry, dark cherry, kirsch and anise aromas and flavors. Intense. Good spice in the mouth. Medium-bodied. Well-integrated tannins. Wonderful, lengthy, rich finish. This shows you why good Cru Beaujolais are often compared to good Burgundy. Single vineyard wine from Burgaud’s best site. Will age well for 5-10 years. Barrel aged. Food pairing – poultry, steak, lamb, aged cheese, mushroom dishes. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 92-93 points
Georges DuBœuf Morgon Jean Descombes Cru Beaujolais 2009 (France) $15.99 - This is an EXCELLENT wine from the greatest vintage ever in Beaujolais! Great dark berry fruit aromas and flavors. Black currants & black raspberries in the flavors and aromas. Juicy. Rich. Long, smooth finish. This will age well over through at least 2013-14 and probably be just peaking in 2013. Food pairing - Great wine for turkey dinner! A special night. Drinks with friends….just a great wine! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 91 points
Terre Margaritelli Pietramala IGT 2009 (Umbria, Italy) Reg. $22.99, Sale $19.99 - This is a delicious, crisp white from Central Italy. It has aromas of freshy mown grass, Tuscan herbs and lemons. Clean flavors of lemons and limes with a little spice. Blend of 85% Trebbiano and 15% Grechetto. This winery is in Torgiano, a small hill town in the heart of Umbria, which is to the south of Tuscany. Food pairing - poultry, soups, lighter pastas, creamy pasta dishes.
Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco 2009 (Italy) Reg. $17.99, Sale $15.99 - Outstanding white from NE Italy! Aromas of honey, green apples & peaches. Flavors of tart green apples, white grapefruit, and crisp pears. Dry, crisp and great minerals in the flavors. Medium-bodied & mouth-filling. Refreshing. Nice length on the finish. Zippy, tangy acidity. Fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged on the lees (the residue in the vat from the fermentation) for 3 months – this adds richness & complexity to the wines. This is drinking beautifully right now and will aged well for 2-4 years. Biodynamic & Organic Farming. Food pairing – salads, asparagus, seafood of all kinds, pasta dishes.
De Tarczal Cabernet Franc DOC 2007 (Trentino, Italy) Reg. $22.99, Sale $19.99 - Robust, full-flavored wine with a deep, dark color. Lots of flavor and depth while still having some subtly and elegance. Aromas and flavors of freshly cut hay, red and dark berries, vanilla and pepper. Pepperiness is a classic aroma and flavor of Cabernet Franc. Aged over 2 years in huge, older oak casks before it is bottled. 40 acre farm near Vallagarina that the family has owned for over 100 years. The Pragiara and Carpene vineyards face south-east overlooking the Adige River. Food pairing - roasted meats, game.
Palamà "Arcangelo" Primitivo IGT 2009 (Puglia, Italy) Reg. $17.99, Sale $15.99 - Named for the winemaker's father, Arcangelo. The grape is Primitivo. In the USA, we know the grape as Zinfandel. Primitivo and Zinfandel are NOT the same grape. This estate is on a tiny speck of land in Puglia. The winery's goal is to make great everyday wines.....bright, fresh fruit.....power....fun....taste! They are succeeding! Food pairing - crostini with olive tepenade, steak, venison.
Perazzeta "Erio" IGT 2008 (Tuscany, Italy) Reg. $21.99, Sale $19.99 - This "Super Tuscan" packs a lot of flavor into the bottle! It's delicious! This is a bold, powerful red with flavors and aromas of ripe cherries, plums, cooked prunes and a heartier fruit (figs, maybe?). Long, long finish with lots going on! Blend of 50% Sangiovese, 20% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. Erio is named for the father of the winery's founder. Aged 8 months in oak barriques and 6 months in the bottle. 150 cases made. The winery is located in the Maremma part of Tuscany (SW, near the sea). This winery consists of Alessandro and Rita Bocci and their daughter, Sara. Alessandro says they discard twice as many grapes as they use each year. Food pairing - red meats, game, mushroom dishes.
Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre Verona IGT 2007 (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. 30% of the grapes are dried for 3-4 months before crushing. 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, 90 pointsLionello Marchesi “ColdiSole” Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2003 (Tuscany, Italy) Reg. $64.99, Sale $54.99 - The day I tasted this, 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). It will benefit from at least another year of aging. This will age well through 2018. Food pairing – roasted, grilled and braised meat. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 91 points