February Wines of the Month
It’s February and sure has been snowing a lot!
I spoke with Ned and said that I really needed some wines new to Maine…..and he helped me come up with some gems.
It’s Maine shrimp season, as well as scallops….plus, this is a great time of year for mussels and oysters, so we really focused the whites on wines that are great with shellfish.
For Tier One, we are in France and two of my favorite areas…..in the Loire Valley for a delicious white and then we head south to Provence for a great little red.
Château La Morinière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2009 (France) $12.99 – This old-vine Muscadet picks up a lot of minerality from the gravelly vineyards that are home to the grapes. This has an almost Sancerre-like focus to it and minerally mid-palate. It has a great combination of fruit and minerals and a refreshing taste! 100% Melon de Bourgogne – the name comes from the round shape of the leaves. Burgundian monks brought this grape to the area around Nantes in the 18th century. The vines survived a brutal winter in 1709 and found a great home in the gravelly vineyards in the area. Stainless steel fermentation and aging. Aged on the lees (the yeast and residue that collects in the bottom of vats and barrels during fermentation) for 8 months. This will age well for 2-6 years. This area is in the western Loire Valley near Nantes. The vines are 40-45 years old and the vineyard is one of the highest in terms of altitude in Muscadet Sèvre et Maine. It faces south-southeast. The Couillard Brothers are 6th generation winemakers. Organic, sustainable farming. Food pairing – shrimp scampi, mussels, oysters, shellfish, lobster.
Domaine Le Grand Rouvière Côtes de Provence Rouge 2009 (France) $13.99 – This is enjoyably earthy at the start and then it opens up into a very unpretentious table wine. The tannins aren’t aggressive, but it has a nice dry, earthy mid-palate and aromas of Provencal herbs behind its bright cherry fruit. Blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache. Organic, sustainable farming. Fifth generation winemaking family. Food pairing – grilled steak, grilled pork chops or pork tenderloin, baby back ribs.
For Tier 2, we are in Spain in a winemaking area that is recently emerging and is a “place to watch.” Terra Alta is a D.O. (Denominacio D’Origen – classified winemaking area) in the province of Tarragona in remote northeastern Spain. This area is near the famed Priorat region. Residents have made wine here since before the Roman Empire occupied the area. The Romans, monks and Knights Templar have all made wine in this area. Pablo Picasso was a frequent summer visitor. Terra Alta means “high land.” The winters are cold and the summers are long, hot and dry. The vineyards are on plateaus and in valley floors surrounded by jagged mountains. The winery, Edetaria, takes its name and that of some of its wines from the Via Edetana, the Roman trade route between Tortosa and Zaragosa. .
Edetaria Edetana Blanco 2009 (Terra Alta, Spain) $21.99 – You know this is going to be interesting as soon as you see the blend – 70% Grenache Blanc and 30% Viognier. The Viognier is aged on its lees for 4 months in stainless steel vats. The Grenache Blanc is aged on its lees as well, but it is aged for months in neutral French oak barrels.
This has aromas and flavors of roses, minerals, white stone fruit and lychee fruit. The finish is long and creamy with a long finish that has a nice minerality to it. Food pairing – scallops, shellfish, poultry, ham.
Edetaria Vinya D’irto Garnatza Negra (Terra Alta, Spain) $16.99 – The grapes for this vineyards right next to Priorat. It’s a blend of Grenache and Carignan. This has aromas and flavors of fresh, ripe cherries, dry, sun-baked earth, pepper and lingering extracted fruit. This is a crowd-pleasing, fruit-forward red. It has softer, “sweet” tannins (this has nothing to do with the wine being sweet or not – the tannins are not drying or heavy). It has a nice spicy finish. Blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. Food pairing – pork chops, grilled chicken, pork tenderloin, pasta with red sauce, lasagna.
Domaine Cherrier Et Fils Sancerre 2009 (France) $26.99 - Delicious Sancerre from a 3rd generation winemaker! This is tangy & zesty with aromas and flavors of lemons, pears, minerals (wet rocks and chalky - which are classic Sancerre notes), orange zest, smoky flint and more! This is juicy and spicy. The finish has good length and depth. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Fermented in enameled cement vats and bottled young to preserve the flavors and aromas. Food pairing - seafood, especially lobster, crab or shellfish. Chicken or duck. Creamy pasta dishes. Goat cheese. Wine Spectator, 89 points
The RedEdetaria Edetana Tinto 2007 (Terra Alta, Spain) $26.99 – This is a dark, brooding wine that you can sink your teeth into! This is dense and ripe and a wine that is great for sitting and sipping with friends in front of a fire. The grapes are from older vines. The wine spends 18 months in French oak barrels (300 liters). Blend of 40% Garnacha Peluda, 35% Syrah and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Food pairing - steak, beef, lamb, pasta dishes, lasagna, etc.