June 30, 2011

Spanish (Mostly) Wine Tasting

Last Day in June Wine Tasting

Thursday, June 30th

4:00 – 7:00pm

10% off on all wine tasting wines!

Mariner Beverages has a bunch of new wines from Spain and Italy….plus a couple of perfect summer wines from Southern France….so, we thought you might like to try them!

Most of the red wines will showcase areas in Spain such as Priorat, Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Montsant. Priorat is a relatively new area, and at the same time it is one of the two most high-regarded Spanish winemaking areas, along with Rioja. Priorat is in SW Catalonia. Rioja is the king of Spanish wines and the area most of us know best. Ribera del Duero is in western Spain along the banks of the Duero River. Montsant is an area that almost wraps itself around Priorat. It is one of the newest DO’s in Spain.

The Whites:

Perazzeta Sara White DOC 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) Reg. $15.99, Sale $13.99 - This is a delicious, crisp white from Central Italy. It’s relatively full and rich. It has aromas of freshly mown grass, Tuscan herbs and lemons. Clean flavors of lemons and limes with a little spice. Blend of 40% Trebbiano, 40% Chardonnay, 10% Malvasia and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Stainless steel fermentation. This winery is in Maremma in southwestern Tuscany. Alessandro Bocci is the winemaker. Most of the year, he is a one-man operation, with family and friends pitching in at harvest. Recently, his daughter joined him in working at the winery. Food pairing - poultry, soups, lighter pastas, creamy pasta dishes. Organic, sustainable farming.

Domaine Delsol Picpoul de Pinet 2009 (France) $9.99 - Refreshing! Floral & fruity nose…It’s dry and fruity. Melon, lemon, & grapefruit flavors. This has nice minerality on the finish.

The label has elephants on it – this is to pay tribute to Hannibal’s passing through what has become this winery during the Second Punic War with his 37 elephants (1 of which survived the expedition and battles). This is an estate-bottled Picpoul. The grape, Picpoul Blanc, is one of the grapes that has been grown the longest in the Languedoc in SW France. The vineyards are immediately adjacent to the Thau Lagoon, an enclosed part of the Mediterranean that is home to lots of oyster farming.

Food pairing - Terrific drinking on its own! All shellfish & seafood – from simple steamed mussels to a tomato-infused fish stew, plus flavorful white-meat dishes, cheeses & cured meats. One of the best values in the store! The grape name is poetic – “Picpoul de Pinet.”

The Rosé:

Commanderie de Peyrassol Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010 (France) $19.99 - I love this wine! It tastes great! Bright, pink salmon color. SUPERB French rosé! Aromas of red fruits (strawberry, watermelon), minerals, spices, herbs & honeysuckle. Flavors are fresh & pop! Lots of minerals, strawberry & red fruit notes. Definitely dry, but not a dryness driven by tannins....this is lean, crisp and beautiful. Juicy, lingering finish! 50% Cinsault, 30% Grenache and 20% Syrah.

Located in the heart of Provence, near routes traveled by Crusaders in the early Middle Ages, the Commanderie de Peyrassol was founded by the Knights of Templar, who were dedicated to protecting the Crusaders en route to, and in, the Holy Land. The first recorded harvest took place in 1256 and winemaking has continued uninterrupted throughout the centuries. When the Templars were brought down in 1311 by the King of France, who was nervous of their power and jealous of their wealth, the Knights of Malta became the fortunate owners of the Commanderie. They remained in control, flawlessly maintaining the vineyards until the French Revolution, when it was taken over by the State. The Rigord family purchased the estate in 1870. The current proprietor, Francoise Rigord, has been making the wines at Peyrassol since 1981 and has now been joined by her son, Francois.

Food pairings - garlicky dishes, salmon and other fattier fish, grilled chicken, grilled pork…It'll stand up to & compliment a host of foods!

The Reds:

Perazzeta Sangiovese Sara DOC 2009 (Tuscany, Italy) Reg. $15.99, Sale $12.99 – This just pops with aromas and flavors of macerated strawberries. It’s delicious! Blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Ciliegiolo. Ciliegiolo is a close relative of Sangiovese, but it’s not known whether it is a parent or a child. It means “cherry.” Stainless steel fermentation. This winery is in Maremma in southwestern Tuscany. Alessandro Bocci is the winemaker. Most of the year, he is a one-man operation, with family and friends pitching in at harvest. Recently, his daughter joined him in working at the winery. Food pairing - poultry, grilled meats, duck. Organic, sustainable farming.

Sancho Barón Rioja 2008 (Spain) $12.99 – This is quite aromtic and fragrant. Aromas of blackberries, black cherries, curing tobacco (this is a pleasing aroma and is nothing like cigarette smoke) and violets. This is ripe with soft tannins and a full texture. 100% Tempranillo. Aged 11 months in new French (Allier) oak. This is drinking well now and should last another 7-8 years. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points

Bodegas la Milagrosa Milcampos Ribera del Duero Tempranillo Viñas Viejas 2008 (Spain) $14.99 – This is an inky, dark purple wine that just coats your glass. It’s full-bodied and has firm tannins. It’s loaded with flavors and complexity. Aromas and flavors of baking spices, minerals, violets and ripe, dark berries and cherries. This has aromas and flavors of ripe dark fruits, Milcampos is Spanish for “1,000 fields.” This winery dates to 1962 and its vineyards were planted in the 1940’s. Aged 10 months in new Hungarian and American oak. This will age well at least 2018 or so. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 91 points

Cellar Molondro Besllum Montsant 2008 (Spain) $17.99 – This is a complex, robust wine with aromas and flavors of Asian spices, baking spices, lavender, black cherries and blueberries. Blend of 45% Garnacha, 45% Carinena and 10% Syrah. Aged for 16 months in new French oak. This is just starting to come into its prime and will drink well for another 8-10 years. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 93 points

Cellar Molondro Xabec Montsant 2008 (Spain) $17.99 – This has aromas and flavors of black cherries, grilled bread, dark plums and minerals. The wine has notes of black licorice in the aromas – I’m not a fan of licorice candy, but I like the smell; it’s more like anise, than a candy smell. This is ripe and concentrated. It’s drinking fine now, but it will open up well over the next 1-2 years. Blend of 50% Garnacha and 50% Carinena. Aged for 14 months in new French oak. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 92 points

Celler Jose M. Fuentes Coraje Priorat 2008 (Spain) $22.99 – This is a great price for a Priorat this good! Aromas and flavors of crushed rock, toast, vanilla, baking spices, blackberries and dark cherries and plums. This is ripe with full, but soft tannins and lots of ripe, dark fruit. Blend of Garnacha, Carinena, Syrah and Merlot. It’s aged for 12 months in new French oak. This will age well for another 5 years or so.

June 16, 2011

Italian Wine Tasting, June 17th

Wine Tasting

Friday, June 17th

3:30 – 7:30pm

10% off on all wine tasting wines!

We have a bunch of great new wines from Italy……wines with soul and heart and a place…….

These are wines from itty-bitty wineries from out-of-the-way places…….brought to us by a unique Frenchman who started importing wines to the US by buying a few bottles in France and Italy and bringing them to the States and showing them to people like me and Ned and others and asking, “What could you sell this for?” Then, he’d return to Italy and France and say, “I’m Laurent Michel and I want to sell your wines in the US and I can pay this based on what your wines will sell for in the US.” Do you know that many wines start at a price and then are imported? Without anyone tasting the wine?

We’ll have Ned Swain from Devenish wines here for the tasting! These are a bunch of great wines for this summer season!

The Whites:

Sydney Ann Pinot Grigio del Veneto 2010 (Veneto, Italy) $12.99 - Too often, Pinot Grigio is a thin, watery wine best drunk ice cold or it is too fruity and sweet….this one shows how Pinot Grigio should be! This is bright and refreshing. This has a great combination of fruit and minerality. It has this fresh, almost saline-like characteristic mixing in with the tropical fruit.

Erste & Neue Weissburgunder 2010 (Alte Adige, Italy) $14.99 – Okay.....just what is Weissburgunder? It’s Pinot Blanc. As you might guess, this is from the extreme northern part of Italy in the Südtirol/Alte Adige. This winery is in the Germanic part of Italy. The wine is a bright straw color. It has delicate aromas and a taste of crisp, rip apples. Stainless steel fermentation. Food pairing – great as a cocktail wine, with a variety of appetizers and fish.

Fratelli Pezzuto Roero Arneis 2009 (Piedmont, Italy) $16.99 – Arneis is a grape grown in northwestern Italy, in Piedmont. This has a yellow color that almost has an amber note to it. Aromas of white flowers, freshly mown grass, peaches and baking bread. The flavors have minerals, limes and white flowers to them. This is a really nice white and would go well with Maine seafood.

The Rosé:

Famille Laurent Saint Pourçain 2010 Gamay Rosé (France) $13.99 - This is a 100% Gamay rosé from the Auvergne region of France. Auvergne is nearish to Burgundy and is where the Loire River starts. It's up in what's called the Massif Central, a mountainous area of former volcanoes. As a result the winery is at higher elevation and the soil is rich in limestone and granite. Husband Jean-Pierre, wife Corinne and son Damien farm naturally and the family has owned this property since the early 20th century.

The wine is a wine is a very pretty salmon color and the aroma is pretty intense and definitely exciting. Aromas of raspberry, spring flowers, an aroma that's like wet rocks by a stream, and a ripe, vivid, perfectly ripe pink grapefruit.

This has extremely bright vivid fruit. It's not heavy at all, and not sweet; it's light on its feet, but so full of intensity! The granite and limestone in the soil really come through in the mid-palate and are a great engine to drive the wine. Up front is fresh raspberry/pink grapefruit, but it's the vibrant acidity and minerality behind the fruit that really make the wine special.

Food pairing - This is delicious and satisfying on it's own, but would be heavenly with fresh spring vegetables, quickly sautéed, or a nice delicate pork chop.

The Reds:

Mario Borghi Chianti 2009 (Tuscany, Italy) $11.99 – I remember tasting this at Ned’s trade show in the Spring and thinking, “Wow! This is really, really good! And, look, it’s cheap!” This has a rich, velvety feel to me. The tannins are there…..but, in a pleasing, nice to meet you way! This has those classic Tuscan Sangiovese aromas and flavors of red cherries and raspberries and a little earth. Just a rock solid wine! Food pairing – salami, cold cuts, aged cheese such as Pecorino Toscano.

Gattavecchi Rosso di Montepulciano 2009 (Tuscany, Italy) $14.99 – This has great fruit and is quite smooth……I don’t know much more about it. 95% Prugnolo Gentile (another name for a Sangiovese clone) and 5% Canaiolo. Aged 8-10 months in Slavonian oak casks. 4th generation wine-making family. Food pairing – red meats, salami, aged cheese such as Piave Vecchio.

Malot Nebbiolo Roero Valmaggiore 2007 (Piedmont, Italy) $19.99 – Great news for Barolo and Barbaresco drinkers! A new wine from Piedmont that is similar to those 2 great (and expensive) wines!

First to translate this label for all of you who aren't big Italian wine label experts. Malot is the name of the winery. It's the name of the current producers’ grandfather, who founded the winery in the aftermath of World War II. Roero is the region. It’s a hilly area bordering the Langhe in Piedmont in northwestern Italy. Nebbiolo is the grape. Valmaggiore is the name of the wine.

Now that that's out of the way here's what the wine actually is:

This is really exciting wine for me because this DOCG of Roero was just created with the 2007 vintage! So this is the first vintage of this wine ever made. The Malot winery is a small, 7 hectare operation run by Fabio and his son, Italo. This DOCG Nebbiolo is the top red they produce. Nebbiolo has a pretty prestigious reputation for producing powerful, complex, yet still pretty red wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco. Unfortunately they're generally extremely expensive, often $40 and up retail.

This isn't the same thing, obviously as it comes from a different place, but it is very similar, complex and very good.

Aroma: ripe cherries, wood shavings, black currant, some fresh rose floral notes. There's also this really enticing, delicious aroma of cooked steak; not burnt or seared but just the aroma of a freshly cooked steak when you first cut into it.

Taste: There's a brightness at first, maybe fresh cherry, but the mid-palate is full and mouth-filling. It's pretty lushly textured on the mid-palate, but has some very subtle spice and pepper and just a hint of vanilla that you have to work to pick up. The tannins aren't very aggressive at all and the finish is a bit refreshing. It's very nice and textbook Nebbiolo. This wine is very well-integrated and smooth, but there's a lot here and it's hard to tease out all the flavors; to me that's a good thing, it makes it easier to drink without having to devote your attention to it.

Here's an attempt to distill all the flavors in the wine into an experience: I think it tastes like sitting around a small camp fire with dried leaves in it because it's autumn. The air is crisp, you just ate some grilled beef short ribs, and now you're moving on to some dried cherries for dessert. Yeah, this wine is that good. It can actually make me think of a whole experience. You may not get the same things from it, wine is subjective and personal after all, but this really speaks to me.

AND THIS IS $19.99! HALF THE PRICE OF BAROLO OR BARBARESCO! It's finding wines like this that make me feel like I'm actually performing a valuable service for you

La Palazetta Rosso di Montalcino 2009 $26.99 - Wonderful wine from Tuscany! The intense cherry, fresh raspberry & violet aromas are your first impression of this very lively younger brother to the Brunello wines. With the fruit and floral aromas you get that beautiful dry lean earthy quality that identifies good Sangiovese. On the palate the wine is rich and ripe and very pretty all at the same time. The concentrated fruit is there the whole time but the mid-palate has more hints of dark earth and nice young tannins that draw out the finish of the wine and make this an excellent candidate for lamb. Food pairing - lamb, beef, roasted meats, mushroom dishes, etc.

We hope to see you Friday!