January 30, 2011

Rearranging the Store

Re-doing the store - January 2011

We are moving all the fixtures in the store this winter and re-doing it all. We'll end up with more space and a better set-up, but it will take a couple of weeks. So, please bear with us!

That first photo is of empty racks waiting to move to another spot.

We are also painting the walls.....white is good.

January 28, 2011

Winter Wine Deals!

Wine Sale!

The Wines

White Wines


Philippe Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 2006 (Burgundy, France) Reg. 69.99, Sale $35.99 – This is such a classic Burgundy! Aromas of white peaches and white apricots and honey. Great acidity that levels out the fruit and the wines depth and richness. Great floral aromas as well. This is supple and lush. At the same time it has this verve and élan and a cut to the flavors that makes it pair well with rich seafood and dishes with cream sauces. 13% alcohol. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 90 points


Wolf Blass Riesling 2006 (Australia) Reg. $11.99, Sale $6.99 This is a big, bold style of Riesling. It’s dry with aromas and flavors of apples, beeswax, minerals and petrol. It’s pretty full-bodied. Great acidity and a long finish.


Flora Springs Chardonnay 2006 (California) Reg. $16.99, Sale $11.99 – I just opened one of these with Phil from Mariner Beverages and we loved it! Great intensity and elegance to this Chardonnay. All is well put together. Great combo of tropical fruit, weight and heft, buttery creaminess and elegance. This is not oaky. Balanced, balanced Chardonnay. Organically farmed. Solar-powered winery. 8,000 cases made. 50% aged in French oak that is 1/3 new barrels, 1/3 2nd usage and 1/3 3rd usage (what all that means is that the wine is not oaky – the 1st time you use an oak barrel, you leech out 80% of the oaky flavors and aromas). Food pairing – roasted chicken, lobster, scallops.

Hyde & De Villaine (HdV) Chardonnay 2005 (California) Reg. $59.99, Sale $29.99 – Just over 10 years ago, Aubert de Villaine, co-owner and director of Burgundy's famed Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC to its fans) and Larry Hyde, owner of famed Hyde Vineyards in California, joined forces to produce a Chardonnay and a Merlot-Cabernet blend from the Carneros district. This venture is HdV, named after the two families. De Villaine’s wife is Larry Hyde’s 1st cousin. Hyde Vineyards doesn’t make wine. They grow some of California’s greatest grapes – Patz & Hall, Staglin, Dave Ramey, Paul Hobbs, Kistler, Duckhorn and more buy grapes from Larry Hyde. Hyde Vineyards is the equivalent of a Grand Cru vineyard in France. The coat of arms on the label is that of the De la Guerra family, one of California’s oldest and one that won a winemaking gold medal at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Fair; so, their ancestors have a long history of making wine in California. This joint venture is making no more than 5,000 cases per year.

This is a BIG, rich Chardonnay. COMPLEX wine. Delicious. Aromas of lemons, apricots, pears, Provencal herbs, tropical fruit, flowers, melons and chalky minerals. Flavors of citrus, ginger, chalk, minerals, smoked meats. This is weighty and substantial without being flabby. Long finish. This has that Hyde Vineyard trademark acidity, so it has the ability to age for a long time. Aged 11 months on lees in French oak (45% new). 1,264 cases made. Organic and sustainable farming. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 92 points

Red Wines


Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California) Reg. $34.99, Sale $19.99 This is a rock-solid, excellent Cabernet from a top winery in Napa. This IS Napa Cabernet. Winemaking on this land dates back to the 19th century, but it was Jerry and Flora Komes who brought the property into the modern era and to GREAT winemaking over 30 years ago. Aromas and flavors of black currants, a wet forest, toasty oak and more. Mocha and dark chocolate. Soft tannins. Delicious! Organically farmed. Solar-powered winery.

DeLoach Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2007 (California) Reg. $21.99, Sale $12.99 – This is a delicious wine! Aromas of raspberries, cola, strawberry-rhubarb tart, anise and baking spices. Flavors of raspberries, strawberries and baking spices. Fine-grained tannins. Handcrafted in small French oak vats that are open-topped. This is a more tricky winemaking technique than fermenting in stainless steel tanks, but it is more true to how Burgundy is produced. Aged 12 months in French oak (12% new). Food pairing – leg of lamb, braised pork tenderloin, roast duck, salmon. Organic and biodynamic farming.

Hyde & De Villaine (HdV) Napa Valley Proprietary Red 2003 (Carneros, California) Reg. $63.99, Sale $29.99 Just over 10 years ago, Aubert de Villaine, co-owner and director of Burgundy's famed Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC to its fans) and Larry Hyde, owner of famed Hyde Vineyards in California, joined forces to produce a Chardonnay and a Merlot-Cabernet blend from the Carneros district. This venture is HdV, named after the two families. De Villaine’s wife is Larry Hyde’s 1st cousin. Hyde Vineyards doesn’t make wine. They grow some of California’s greatest grapes – Patz & Hall, Staglin, Dave Ramey, Paul Hobbs, Kistler, Duckhorn and more buy grapes from Larry Hyde. Hyde Vineyards is the equivalent of a Grand Cru vineyard in France. The coat of arms on the label is that of the De la Guerra family, one of California’s oldest and one that won a winemaking gold medal at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Fair; so, their ancestors have a long history of making wine in California. This joint venture is making no more than 5,000 cases per year.

Aromas of blackberries, black cherries, herbs, pepper and baking spices. Flavors of black fruit, cinnamon, leather, pepper and vanilla. It has that velvety feel that Merlot adds to wine. The tannins are fine-grained and soft. This has that characteristic Hyde Vineyard acidity so the wine ages well and has this vibrant refreshing finish. 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 18 months in French oak (35% new). Bottled unfiltered. 1,287 cases made. Organic and sustainable farming. Food pairing – steak, fillet mignon, venison, quail, duck. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 89 points

TAZ Pinot Noir 2007 (Santa Barbara, California) Reg. $24.99, Sale $12.99 – I first tasted this wine about 4-6 months ago. I liked it a lot. At the same time, in this economy, I was thinking, “What am I going to do with an unknown $25 Pinot?” Well, it’s no longer $25 and it is still unknown and it still tastes good! Aromas of strawberries, black tea, black cherries and baking spices. Flavors of vanilla, baking spices, red cherries, dark berries and a bit of earth. The founder, Bob Steinhauer, is nicknamed the “Tasmanian Devil.” 100% Pinot Noir from 2 distinctly different vineyard areas. One is in the Santa Maria Valley and these grapes add a silky, soft texture with red fruit and floral notes. The second is the Fiddlestix Vineyard and that is a weightier Pinot with more dark fruit. Each lot of grapes is vinified separately and aged in French oak (40% new) for 9 months. Food pairing – roasted or grilled poultry, salmon, leg of lamb, lamb chops..


Baron Philippe de Rothshild Almaviva 2002 (Chile) Reg. $99.99, Sale $59.99 – If you like California-style big reds, you’ll love this Franco-Chilean blend featuring 3 noble Bordeaux grapes! This is concentrated, robust with aromas of dark, dark fruits, baking spices and toasty vanilla and new oak. The flavors are loaded with blackberries, cassis, black cherries and vanilla. This is medium-to-full bodied. The tannins are ripe and well-integrated. This has a super long finish. While Almaviva has a Hispanic ring to the name, the wine is named after Count Almaviva, the hero of “The Marriage of Figaro.” This wine is the result of a joint venture between Mouton Rothschild and Concha y Toro. Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine (67% Cabernet, 29% Carménère and the rest is 4% Cabernet Franc). Aged 18 months in new French oak. Drink now through 2016. Food pairing – while this would pair up well with steak, lamb and other robust meals, I think this is a sit and sip wine after dinner. While you may buy a bottle of this, if you buy 6 of them, you get the nice wood box that comes with it. Wine Spectator, 93 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 93 points


Cru Beaujolais are among the greatest values in the wine world and great food wines. We have 2 of them from great producers from two distinctly different parts of Beaujolais, Brouilly and Moulin-a-Vent. Cru Beaujolais is more akin to good Pinot Noir than it is to Beaujolais Nouveau or Villages.

Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly 2006 (France) Reg. $26.99, Sale $15.99 – This is a fabulous wine from a great winery. Aromas of toasted nuts, smoke, cranberries, cherries, earth and more. Flavors of nuts, cranberries, saline, roasted tomatoes, black fruit and more. This is substantial and weighty. Really nice wine. Long finish that has bright, fresh fruit. Food pairing – roasted chicken, duck, salmon, cold cuts, paté.

Domaine Diochon Moulin-à-Vent 2006 (France) Reg. $26.99, Sale $12.99 – Delicious! This is an intense, vibrant wine. Cranberry aromas just pop out of the glass. Aromas of cherries, smoked meat and earth. Flavors of cranberries, tart raspberries, earth and more. Long finish that is mouth-watering. Bottled unfiltered. Aged in enormous oak casks. Food pairing – salmon, tuna, roasted chicken, duck. Wine Spectator, 90 points

Domaine A. et P. De Villaine Mercurey Les Montots 2008 (Burgundy, France) Reg. $41.99, Sale $19.99 This is an excellent Burgundy that will age well for at least 6-12 years. This wine will significantly improve with age and you’d be doing both it and yourself a disservice if you drink this right away. I’d buy this for Thanksgiving Dinner in 2015-2018. Aromas of raspberries, red currants, bing cherries and flowers. This has a silky texture and a pleasant tartness at the finish. De Villaine reduces yields/acre more than 20% from the already strict A.O.C. guidelines for Mercurey. This helps ensure that the grapes are of the highest quality. Fermented in traditional open-topped, small oak vats and then aged in oak barriques for a year. Bottled unfiltered. 158 cases imported. Organic Farming. Food pairing – red meat, game, mushroom dishes. Harder cheeses. Serve at about 64 degrees. Wine Spectator, 88 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points

Charles Joguet Chinon “Les Petites Roches” 2006 (Loire Valley, France) Reg. $29.99, Sale $19.99 – Chinon is a region in the Loire Valley in France. Red wines from Chinon are 100% Cabernet Franc. Chinon is one of my favorite red wines. It’s a great food wine! This has wonderful aromas and flavors of black cherries, strawberries, pepper, herbs and green olives. It definitely picks up the chalk that is so prevalent in much of the soil in this area. 2006 was a challenging year in Chinon with drought in the early summer, then a great August and early September, followed with rain in the last part of the month. This made the harvesting difficult. Consequently, the team at Charles Joguet drastically reduced the yields from their vineyards to increase the quality of the grapes. Bottled unfiltered. 1,200 cases imported. For years, this winery has practiced green, sustainable farming in its vineyards. Drink now through 2012-2013. Food pairing – poultry, roasted pork, potted meats and goat cheeses.


Tua Rita Perlato del Bosco Rosso Toscana 2006 (Tuscany, Italy) Reg. $45.99, Sale $19.99 - This is a great, GREAT winery from southwestern Tuscany. They make FANTASTIC wines. Aromas of blueberries, blackberries, baking spices, toasty oak, vanilla and more. Flavors of dark berries, cherries, vanilla, mint, licorice, spices and more. Long, lnog finish. Rich, bold wine that is a nice combo of Old World and New World. Full-bodied. Tannins are well-integrated and soft. Blend of 70% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah. Single vineyard from the Perlato del Bosco vineyard. Aged 20 months in oak barrels and aged 6 months in the bottle before release. 1,300 cases made. Drink now through 2026. Food pairing - steaks, grilled sausages, rich pasta dishes and aged cheeses, such as Piave Vecchio or Pecorino Toscano. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 93 points; "2006 is quite possibly the most consistent vintage yet from top to bottom for Tua Rita. Simply put, the wines are not to be missed."

Tua Rita Rosso dei Notri Toscana IGT 2007 (Tuscany, Italy) Reg. $23.99, Sale $12.99 - This is the "little brother" of the above wine. At the same time, this is an outstanding wine in its own right! This is their "drink now" wine. This is soft, smooth and juicy. Aromas of jammy blackberries, plums, cherries and dark chocolate and spices. Flavors of dark chocolate, blackberries, plums, cherries, licorice and spices. Blend of 60% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch Cabernet Franc and Syrah. The vineyard is on the southern coast of Tuscany. Fermented in stainless steel tanks. Aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months and then bottled. Food pairing - cured meats, hearty pasta dishes, rich risotto dishes, aged cheeses. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points; "This is an especially complex Rosso di Notri that overachieves in 2007 and delivers superb value for the money."

Antonio & Elio Monti Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC 2006 (Italy) Reg. $19.99, Sale $11.99 - This wine is a “KILLER WINE!” – tastes wonderful! This is a CLASSIC Italian red made in a traditional fashion…wonderful wine! Dark, deep purple color. Black pepper, dark berries, licorice and smoke aromas. Berry flavors, medium-bodied, big flavors, long finish. Unfiltered and unfined. 95% Montepulciano & 5% Sangiovese. Aged in Slovenian oak and then aged in the bottle by the winery. Food pairing - Drink with grilled meats, sausages & stews. Great choice for barbecue and with pasta dishes.

Giuseppe Cortese Trifolera Dolcetto D’Alba DOC 2007 (Italy) Reg. $16.99, Sale $9.99 – The Trifolera vineyard is named after the prized white truffles that can be found in the region. The vines are 25-35 years old. This is a small, family-run winery dating to 1971. The wine is a lighter style red, which is typical for Dolcetto. This is elegant and velvety with a pleasant bitter note at the finish. That might not sound right or good, but it is. This has really nice red berry fruit all the way through the wine. Food pairing – roasted poultry, vegetable pasta or risotto dishes, pork tenderloin with a cranberry sauce.


Maysara Pinot Noir Estate Cuvée 2004 (Oregon) Reg. $29.99, Sale $15.99 – This is an excellent Pinot Noir that is drinking great right now and will drink well for another 2 years or so! This has ripe dark fruit aromas with additional notes of baking spices, pepper and cardamom. The flavors are of dark fruit, earth, pepper, cherries and pomegranates. Smooth. Well-integrated tannins. 743 cases made. Aged in French oak barrels (about 30% are new). Owner Moe Momtazi immigrated from Iran in 1971 as a young man. He’d spent a lot of time with his grandfather watching him farm naturally. This winery began in 1997 with the planting of 13 acres of Pommard-clone Pinot Noir. Today, they have over 200 acres of vines and they’ve never used a pesticide, herbicide or fungicide in their vineyards. Organic and Biodynamic Sustainable farming. Food pairing - Wine Spectator, 89 points


Legaris Ribera del Duero Reserva 2004 (Spain) Reg. $36.99, Sale $16.99
– This is an excellent red! Big and rich. Aromas of plums, cherries, Provencal herbs and minerals. Flavors of ripe cherries, stewed plums, licorice and smoked meats. Soft tannins. 100% Tempranillo, which is known locally as Tinta Fina or Tinta del Pais. Aged 12-13 months in French and American oak. 14.3% alcohol.. Food pairing – rice dishes with meat and mushrooms, aged cheeses such as Manchego, venison, pork, rare red meats.

Dessert and Fortified Wines

Porta Pocas Late Bottle Vintage Port 1998 (Portugal) Reg. $26.99, Sale $9.99 – Late Bottle Vintage Ports or LBV’s are aged in oak barrels for longer than vintage ports. This helps make the wines more accessible and drinkable than vintage ports at a younger age. LBV’s are barrel-aged for 4-6 years. The Porta Pocas was aged for about 4 years. This has ruby port characteristics – red berry flavors and aromas. This is full-bodied and robust.

Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Ice Wine 2004 (Canada) Reg. $72.99, Sale $19.99 The grapes for this wine were harvested in mid-December 2004 and late-January 2005, often at night to ensure the grapes remain frozen. The temperatures at harvest are 15 degrees or colder. The grapes are crushed while frozen, this means that only 10-20% of the juice is yielded – making for more intense flavors and aromas. Only icewine juice is used to make the sparkling wine. The wine is aged on lees for almost 9 months in stainless steel tank. This has many of the traditional Vidal characteristics in the aromas and flavors of mango, lychee, apricot and honey and a hint of fresh bread and butter. This has great acidity in the mouth and flavors of apricots, lychee and baked apples. Aging – now through 2016. Food pairing – great as a cocktail wine or as dessert on its own. Pan-seared Foie gras, duck pate, spicy Asian cuisine, strong cheeses with dried fruit, lighter fruit-based desserts.

January 20, 2011

Ricardo Santos Tasting

Ricardo Santos

And its winemaker,

Patricio Santos Wine Tasting!

Tuesday, Jan. 25th

5:00 – 7:00 pm

On Tuesday, we will have Patricio Santos in our store. Patricio is the son of the winery’s found. Today, he has taken over the winemaking role from his father. We will taste 5 wines with Patricio.

We will also taste 5 more wines from Chile that are brought into the United States by the same importer, Global Vineyard Importers.

Ricardo Santos Winery

  • Family-owned winery in the Mendoza.
  • Ricardo and Estela Santos own and run the winery with their two sons, Patricio and Pedro.
  • Patricio is the winemaker and Pedro runs marketing.
  • Ricardo Santos owner and winemaker at Argentina’s famed Norton Winery
  • Ricardo Santos is the first to export Malbec to the United States over 30 years ago.
10% savings on all the tasting wines during the tasting! Or the week after!

The Wines

Patricio Santos’s wines:

Tercos is a relatively new winery founded by the Santos Brothers, Patricio and Pedro. Tercos means burro – the Santos Brothers have that burro-like stubbornness when it comes to making fine wine.


Tercos Torrontés (Argentina) $12.99 – Torrontés is the white wine grape most closely associated with Argentina. It is unique to that nation. Once, it was thought to be the same as Torrontés of Galicia. However, researchers have concluded that it was created in Argentina and is the product of two other varietals. The Torrontés from Salta Province is the best in Argentina. This is dry and refreshing with aromas and flavors of peaches, melons, tropical fruit, apples and grapefruit. Brisk acidity on the finish. Completely Unoaked. Brand new to Maine!

Ricardo Santos Old Vine Semillon 2009 (Argentina) $18.99 – Ricardo Santos built the winery’s reputation producing world-class Malbec. He’s always wanted to produce a classic white made from a Bordeaux grape and his friend and neighbor happens to have a 70-year old vineyard of Semillon. So, this wine was born! Semillon is one of the famed grapes of Bordeaux, where it is used to make both dry and sweet wines. This has an intensely yellow color. The aromas are grassy, fruity and rich. The flavors are figs, tropical fruit and apricots. Semillon has a nice weightliness to it and vibrant acidity.


Ricardo Santos Malbec 2008 (Argentina) $21.99 - We loved this wine when we tasted it recently – big, rich, tasty, interesting! Aromas of dark fruit, dark semisweet chocolate & figs…a little “funky” aromas at the start. Soft, rich fruit at the start. Peppery spice mid-palate. Nice “legs” in the glass. Well-balanced acidity & tannins. Long, long finish. Aged 6 months in used French & American oak. Hand-harvested. Gently pressed. High altitude vineyard; single vineyard. Organic Farming. Food pairing - Drinks well with roasted or grilled meats, aged cheeses such as Parm or Piave Vecchio…drinks well on its own if you like bigger wines.

Tercos Mendoza Malbec 2007 (Argentina) $12.99 - Juicy, soft, loaded with fruit and easy to drink! This is calling for a summer/early fall night when you are grilling or chillin'! Aromas and flavors of blackberries, ripe black cherries, rich dark fruit (maybe figs).......soft, well-integrated tannins. This is just good, easy drinking! Long, smooth finish that lasts and keeps tasting soft and good! Food pairing - steal, beef (hey! This is Argentine wine!), lamb....mushroom dishes.....drinks well without food b/c the tannins are so soft.

Tercos Sangiovese 2008 (Argentina) $12.99 – Italian immigrants brought the Sangiovese grape with them to Argentina. This is a straightforward wine – it tastes good with nice fruit and is light-medium bodied. Perfect for a party or dishes featuring tomato sauces. Aromas and flavors of fresh strawberries and black currents. Well-balanced fruit and acidity.

Global Vineyards Importers Wines
with David Joseph from Davine Wines


Peñalolén Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Chile) $12.99 - Big hit at a tasting this Spring! This is a crisp, clean delicious Sauv. Blanc. Aromas of oranges and lemons. This also has flavors of tropical fruit, ginger and citrus. Brisk, crisp acidity and a clean finish. Refreshing. 100% Sauvignon Blanc aged and fermented in stainless steel. The vineyards are in Casablanca Valley. Food pairing – seafood, lobster, Shrimp Scampi, Thai food. Sitting on a deck in the sun! Food & Wine Magazine, “Buy by the case!”

Apaltaqua Reserve Chardonnay 2008 (Chile) $12.99 - This is a wonderful Chardonnay that is neither Napa Valley nor is it Burgundy. This winery is probably Chile’s pioneer when it comes to biodynamic farming. Aromas and flavors of peaches, grapefruit and tropical fruit. This is crisp, juicy and refreshing. The finish is long and clean. From Casablanca Valley. Food pairing – salmon, lobster, grilled chicken, creamy pasta dishes.


Peñalolén Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Chile) $19.99 - Delicious wine! Big hit at our March tasting! This has a smooth, soft texture – velvety! Aromas of violets, mint, baking spices and berries. The flavors are full of berries, cinnamon, nutmeg and a little pepper. Blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Aged in French oak for 12 months. Will drink well through 2014. The vineyards are in the Maipo Valley. Food pairing - drinks well with or without food. Goes great with steak, lamb, ribs. Wine Spectator, 88 points

Viña Maquis Calcu 2007 (Chile) $13.99 - This is delicious! Big hit at a tasting! Tasty little blend! Nice minerals, ripe tannins, baking spices, red fruit, and subtle oak in the flavors and aromas. Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Cabernet Franc (15%), Carménère (30%) and Petit Verdot (5%) blend. In the local "Mapuche" language, "Calcu" means "healing doctor" or "magician." Indeed, the winemakers have created another magical "Super Chilean!" From Colchagua Valley. Food pairing - pasta, grilled meats, mushroom dishes, etc. Drinks well without food. Wine Enthusiast, “Best Buy;” Robert Parker, Wine Advocate,“Excellent Value”

Viña Maquis Lien 2006 (Chile) $17.99 - Delicious! Rich, lush wine! Aromas and flavors of mocha, toast, ripe plums, blackberries & blueberries. Fleshy, ripe and rich. Hints of loamy earth. Not too tannic. Low-yield vines. All of the grapes are hand-sorted at the winery. 42% Syrah, 30% Carmenère, 9% Petit Verdot, 12% Cabernet Franc & 7% Malbec. Barrel aged for 12 months in French oak. “Lien” means silver in Chile’s native Mapucha language. The lizard on the label is an example of fine silversmithing in old Chile. From Colchagua Valley. Food pairing - grilled meats, steak, etc. Pasta dishes. Drinks well without food. Michael Franz, Wine Review Online, 91 points, “Wine of the Year; Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 90 points

January Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

Friday, Jan. 21st

3:30 – 7:30pm

10% off on all wine tasting wines!

We’ll have Phil McCormack from Mariner Beverages here for the tasting! These are a bunch of great wines for this winter season!

The Whites:

Chateau de Villeneuve Saumur Chenin Blanc 2009 (Loire Valley, France) Reg. $19.99, Sale $15.99 – This is a fabulous Chenin Blanc from an excellent winery. I tasted this with Didier Boutet, the importer, last Fall. We got a great price on this because we pre-bought the wines before the shipment left France. This is dry and clean with nice minerality in the aromas and flavors. This is a nice wine in terms of having good weight and substance. White stone fruits in the flavors. Chateau de Villeneuve is one of the best producers in this wine-making area in the Loire Valley. This property certainly isn’t as well-known as Clos Rougeard, which is run by the esteemed Frères Foucault, but the wines aren’t as expensive, either! Food pairing – shellfish, poultry.

The Guardian Central Coast Chardonnay 2009 (California) $13.99 – This is “sort of” a naked style Chardonnay…..only a small amount of this is sees oak barrels (about 10%)….the winemaker, Kenny Likitprakpong, stops the malolactic fermentation early to reduce how “buttery/creamy” the wine is. This is crisp and clean. The wine is aged on its lees to add weight and texture. The grapes are from 4 vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands and northern Monterey County.

JUNO Arthouse White 2008 (South Africa) $13.99 - Loads of tropical fruit flavors and aromas in this unusual blend from South Africa. Nice length and crisp acidity on the finish. Aromas and flavors of limes (Sauvignon Blanc), tropical fruit (Chenin) and stone fruits (Viognier). Blend of 40% Viognier, 30% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Chenin Blanc. Grapes are destemmed. 40% of the Viognier is aged “sur lie” for 5 months. The rest of the wine is fermented and aged “sur lie” in stainless steel for 4 months. The aging on lees adds a lot of weight and depth to the wine. The oakiness is subtle.

The Reds:

Senda 66 Tempranillo 2008 (Spain) $9.99 - This wine just blew us away when we tasted it! Rich and smooth. Gobs of dark cherry and chocolate flavors and aromas. Notes of vanilla, blackberries, blueberries and baking spices. A “killer wine” at this price! 100% Tempranillo. 50 year-old vines. Bottled unfiltered. Drink now through 2016. Food pairing – a night grilling meats, veggies &/or mushrooms! Lasagna. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 Points

Fattoria Capannacce Rosso della Maremma Toscana Super Tuscan 2006 (Italy) Reg. $21.99, Sale $14.99 – New vintage of an old favorite! Fabulous, big & bold Super Tuscan! Aromas and flavors of cherries, blackberries, cedar, toasted baking spices, mocha and licorice. This is rich and lush. Long finish. This area of Tuscany is considered its "Wild West." It is rugged, arid, lightly populated and its people have an independent spirit. 80% Sangiovese, 10% Syrah, 5% Canaiolo & 5% Grenache. The entire estate only makes 4,000 cases. Food pairing - grilled meats of any kind, roasted lamb or beef, rich mushroom dishes. I like this by itself, but I like really big wines without food!

Domaine Jaume Vinsobres “Altitude 420” 2007 (France) $21.99 –I love Rhône blends and this one is excellent! Aromas of raspberries, cherries, cloves, cinnamon, smoky earthiness, black olives and game. Flavors of dark plums. graphite, leather, black pepper, baking spices and Provencal herbs. Full-bodied. Smooth texture. Ripe, full tannins. Blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. 4,165 cases made. Food pairing – roasted meats, grilled meats, hearty stews and casseroles. Wine Spectator, 90 Points; Wine Enthusiast, 91 points, “Top 100” in 2010

Guardia Vieja Campo Malbec 2008 (Argentina) $14.99 - This is a fabulous Malbec from one of our favorite importers, Didier Boutet. Well-balanced wine with real nice tannins (they've smoothed out) and dark fruit with notes of mocha and chocolate. This is smooth and rich with bold flavors while still be smooth! 100% Malbec. Aged 12 months in French and American oak barrels. One characteristic of this winery is that they hold wine at the winery until it is ready to drink - so you can pull the cork on this and be confident is has sufficient barrel/tank and bottle aging! Food pairing - steak, beef, lamb, pasta dishes, lasagna, etc. Brand new to Maine!

Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz 2008 (Barossa Valley, Australia) $21.99 - An incredibly AWESOME wine! This is a beautiful blend of old and medium-aged vines from Australia! Drink this relatively young – now through 2017. Spicy, rich aromas of dark berry fruits and cherries, plums, coffee, black pepper & hint of licorice. Flavors of black cherries, anise, roses & peppery spice. Medium-to-full-bodied. Long, smooth, velvety finish. Not tannic. Aged 12 months in old-wood oak “foudres”. Unfined & unfiltered. Food pairing – steak, lamb, pork, etc. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 91 points

The Dessert

Torbreck “The Bothie” Muscat (Barossa Valley, Australia) $21.99 - Unlike a lot of Australian “stickies,” this wine is not a tawny color. It’s a white wine. This has wonderful spicy aromas of honey, melons, limes and white flowers. 100% Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains. Single vineyard. A small amount of distilled spirits are added to the wine to stop fermentation – resulting in a sweeter wine that is perfect at the start of a meal or with dessert. Food pairing – fresh fruit, sorbets, ice cream. Brand new to Maine!

January Wines of the Month

January Wines of the Month

It’s January and it’s a New Year! Happy 2011!

Tier One


So many of the best value wines are coming from South America, so I thought we’d go to Argentina and look at 2 grapes that most of us don’t widely associate with Argentina, Pinot Gris and Bonarda.

The White

Bodegas Francois Lurton Pinot Gris 2010 (Argentina) $11.99 – This is the 1st winery to plant Pinot Gris in Argentina…..and, they planted it because of an accident in France. They’d ordered Chardonnay vines from the nursery, but were sent Pinot Gris (Clones 52 and 53 from Alsace). Rather than forego the planting season in 2002, they planted the Pinot Gris to see what would happen. It turns out that the site is well-suited to Pinot Gris. Today, it is the winery’s best-selling wine! This has aromas of peaches, melons, lemons, smoke, spices and flowers. It’s zippy and zesty in the mouth. Lots of minerals in the wine. Dry flavors of lemons, orange peel and stone fruits. Food pairing – salads, lighter appetizers, shellfish, light, creamy cheeses.

The Red

Colonia Las Liebras Bonarda 2009 (Argentina) $11.99 – Bonarda is an Italian grape from Piedmont. Until recently, Bonarda was the most widely planted grape in Argentina. Originally, it was brought to Argentina by Piedmontese immigrants. They also brought Barbera with them and over the decades the winemakers have learned that East Mendoza is ideal for Bonarda and not-so ideal for Barbera, so they been replacing Barbera vines with Bonarda. Bonarda needs a LONG growing-season and East Mendoza provides one for the grapes. This is a delicious red……it sees no oak aging in order to preserve and heighten the raspberry and strawberry flavors. The tannins are silky smooth. This is a wine that packs a wallop in terms of price/value! Food pairing – grilled steak, grilled pork chops or pork tenderloin, baby back ribs. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points

Tier Two


For Tier 2, we are off to Piedmont in Italy for a classic white wine, Gavi, made from the Cortese grape and a beautiful red made from Nebbiolo (the Barolo grape).

The White

Broglia Gavi di Gavi “La Meirana” D.O.C.G. 2009 (Piedmont, Italy) $23.99 – Too often, many Gavis are plain, uninspired wines. That’s not the case with this one. Broglia is one of the finest Gavi producers. Medium-bodied. Aromas and flavors of anise, flowers, tropical fruit, peaches, apricots and spices. Dry wine with a crisp finish.

The name of this farm, “La Meirana,” first appears in a document from 971 A.D. This document is kept in the state archives in Genova. This document states that the vineyards and chestnut trees at this spot is called Meirana. This dates winemaking to this farm to the founding of the town of Gavi. The Broglia farm was founded in 1972 by Bruno Broglia. They first produced wine in 1974. Gavi is made from the Cortese grape.

Food pairing – grilled fish, fish soup, shellfish, lobster.

The Red

Damilano Nebbiolo D’Alba D.O.C. 2008 (Italy) $18.99 – Nebbiolo is the great used to make Barolo and Barbaresco.

This has great aromas and flavors of red berries, black cherries, earth, minerals and violets. Medium-bodied. This is dry and has a nice spiciness to it. Firm tannins. Aged in oak barriques for 16 months. The Nebbiolo grapes come from Diano d’Alba and Montforte d’Alba. This winery dates to the end of the 1800’s, when the great-grandfather, Giuseppe Borgogno, planted vines and began making wines in the Langhe part of Piedmont. Food pairing – hearty stews, red meat dishes, mushroom dishes.

Tier Three


Bodegas Catena Zapata was founded in 1902 by Italian immigrant, Nicola Catena. It is still owned by the Catena family. Today, Nicola’s grandson, Nicolas, and great-granddaughter, Laura, run the winery. Decanter Magazine named Nicolás Catena its “Man of the Year” for 2009.

Nicolas Catena is one of the landmark, pioneering people in Argentina’s wine business. In the 1980’s, he sold off the family’s bulk wine business that made cheap wine…..his peers called him “completamente loco” (completely crazy). He had a vision and that was to produce great wine. He even developed Argentine Malbec clones to improve the wines.

The White

Catena Chardonnay 2009 (Argentina) $26.99 - This is a rich, smooth and soft Chardonnay! Aromas of tropical fruit, citrus, honey, flowers and steely minerals. Flavors of pears, figs, minerals, citrus and baking spices. This is a really full white wine! At the same time, the crisp acidity makes for a really clean finish. Dijon clones 76 & 95. Whole cluster pressed and 100% barrel fermented in French oak and aged for 9 months (30% new) with aggressive batonage (stirring of the wine in the barrels – this adds a lot of softness and lush texture to the wine). Food pairing – poultry, salmon, tuna. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

The Red

Catena Malbec 2007 (Argentina) $29.99 – This is a rich, lush, elegant and powerful Malbec. Aromas of baking spices, licorice, cherries, dark plums and dried herbs! Flavors of black raspberries, dark cherries, minerals, vanilla and toasts. Soft, dusty tannins. Long finish. Aged 12 months in 35% new French and American oak barrels (barriques – smaller barrels). 100% Malbec from 4 vineyards. Each vineyard is fermented separately and then blended after barrel aging. Food pairing - steak, beef, lamb, pasta dishes, lasagna, etc. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 90 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 91 points, Wine Spectator, 91 points, #69, Top 100 Wines 2009

December Wines of the Month

Details coming