August 24, 2011

Wine Tasting, High-end Wines, August 25th - changes to some wines

Wine Tasting

Thursday, August 25th

6:00 – 8:00pm

We are asking that you RSVP if you want to attend this tasting. We will be limiting the number of attendees to make this a more intimate tasting – one in which you can truly enjoy the wines and learn about them. We will be closing the store during the tasting so that we are not interrupted.

10% discount on any of the tasting wines you purchase.

If we run out of any wines (we have a lot of wine for the tasting – don’t worry about that), we will have them in the store on Friday, August 26th. If we’ve run out of wines, and you want a case (mixed or full), I’ll deliver it to your home or office.

We’ve had to make some changes in the wines because of stock issues or vintage changes. I just learned of these changes late Tuesday and have been rewriting this ever since. I apologize for the changes at the last minute. Regardless, these are still GREAT wines that most of us rarely get to taste. The changes are noted below. The changes:

  1. Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay is now the 2009 vintage and not the 2008. You will likely be the first in Maine to try the new vintage as it arrives on Thursday the 25th.
  2. Bell Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2007 is replacing the Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon.
  3. Mollydooker Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz 2009 is replacing the Two Hands Lily’s Garden Shiraz. The Mollydooker wines have been in Maine for about a month.
  4. Montepeloso “Eneo” Super Tuscan 2008 is replacing the Tomasso Bussola Amarone Classico. On paper this appears to be the biggest change – a Super Tuscan for an Amarone. The reason we’d picked the Tomasso Bussola Amarone is that it is quite balanced and nuanced; the “Eneo” is as well.

Without further ado – the tasting wines in the order WE THINK we will be tasting them. We might make adjustments during the tasting as the wines open and develop.

The Wines

The Sparkling:

L. Aubry Fils Champagne Brut Rosé (France) $56.99 – This is a “grower Champagne” brought to the USA by the best Champagne importer going, Terry Theise. Terry is the man who introduced Americans to “grower Champagnes.” What is a “grower Champagne?” The grapes are grown by the people making the wine.

This is a serious wine with tremendous focus and power and structure and charm. This wine has minerality running throughout it. Aromas and flavors of wild strawberries, apples, limes and more. This is a wine well-suited to the dinner table. It’s a blend of roughly 60% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier and 25% Pinot Noir. The Aubry Rose Brut is always from a single vintage, although that is not shown on the label. The Aubry family has been growing grapes in this part of Champagne for over 200 years. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 91 points

The Whites:

VINTAGE CHANGE from previous e-mail!

Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay 2009 (California) $47.99 – We thought we were doing the 2008; from the time we made the list to now, the 2008 sold out. We are tasting the 2009. Aromas and flavors of pears, tropical fruit, melons, apricots, pineapple, minerals and honeysuckle. Medium-bodied. Still that rich, bright, fresh Shafer-style for Chardonnay! This vineyard in Carneros is named for the red-shouldered hawks that patrol the vineyard and contain the gopher population (gophers and other rodents damage the roots of the vines). 100% Chardonnay from this vineyard. 75% barrel-fermented & aged and 25% stainless steel fermented and aged. 14 months in new French oak barrels (Allier and Vosage). Aged on lees (with weekly stirring) for 14 months to add a creamy richness to the wine. Drink now through 2013. Sustainable agriculture. Shafer has been one of the Pioneers for sustainable agriculture in Napa Valley and California viticulture. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, “An argument could be made that Shafer is turning out the finest non-malolactic Chardonnay in California.”

Michel & Stéphane Ogier Condrieu 2009 (France) $93.99 – Condreiu is one of the smallest appellations in France and all the producers in Condreiu make just a few thousand cases of wine combined. The entire area is just about 350 acres of vineyard. It is exclusively Viognier. In fact, the Viognier grape may have originated from here. Viticulture in this part of the Rhone Valley dates to at least the Romans and maybe earlier. The Avignonese Papacy (1305-1377) brought fame to the wines of this area. Michel is the father and Stéphane is the son. They began as growers and became winemakers in the late 1980’s. Their entire estate is less than 15 acres of vineyards and 6 of those acres are in the Côte Rôtie. The wine is classic Condrieu – it has a grippy, full texture that is more robust than most white wines. It’s explosively rich and lush. Aromas and flavors of ripe tropical fruits, spicy herbs, minerals and more. It’s round and silky. Lively and fresh!

The Reds:

Cristom Jessie’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007 (Oregon) $47.99 – What makes Cristom so great is a combination of location and talent. The talent is consistent – the same winemaking team with Steve Doerner has been at the helm forever! Jessie’s Vineyard shows darker fruit than some of the Cristom Pinots. This has classic Oregon Pinot aromas and flavors of dark cherries, baking spices, black earth, minerals and black raspberries. This has the structure and ripe tannins to continue to evolve well through 2019. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

Felsina Chianti Classico Rancia Reserva 2006 (Italy) $42.99 - This is SUPERB Chianti that will just get better and better over the next decade and more! Not only that, but the price/value that the Felsina wines have is rare for wines these good! This is fresh, vibrant, assertive and great! Great length and balance. Aromas and flavors of dark fruit, minerals and flowers. Aged 16 months in French oak (60% new). Hand harvested. De-stemmed. Sustainable agriculture. Drink now through 2026. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 95 points

Shafer Merlot 2007 (California) $47.99 – Without a doubt, one of California’s best Merlots! And, before you say, “I don’t drink Merlot anymore,” you should try this one! This is lush, smooth, full and delicious. Aromas and flavors of rich, ripe berries and dark chocolate. 2007 is a GREAT vintage! 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 20 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels (75% new). The fruit is from the Stags Leap District and Yountville. Drink now through 2018. Sustainable agriculture. Shafer has been one of the Pioneers for sustainable agriculture in Napa Valley and California viticulture. Food pairing – poultry, pork and beef dishes with a fruit- or wine-reduction sauce go great with this. Also, a dish of carmelized onions, garlic and mushrooms. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

WINE CHANGE below from previous e-mail! This is a substitute for the Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon.

Bell Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2007 (California) $41.99 – A GREAT wine from a leading & MOST INNOVATIVE winemaker. Anthony Bell restored Cabernet Sauvignon Clone #6 - one of the world’s legendary grapes – to prominence in California. 2007 is a GREAT Napa Valley vintage and this wine is made by a GREAT winemaker! Bell is located near Yountville in the heart of Napa Valley. In many ways, Bell Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is like a good St. Julien.

The wine is a deep, ruby red color. This has ripe cherry, black currant, brambly dark berry, dusty earth (that Rutherford fruit), green olive and more to the flavors and aromas. The tannins are soft and there are notes of oak in the wine. Has pepper and spice in the wine. Full-bodied. Long finish. GREAT WINE!

This is a Bordeaux-blend style Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, 4% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Sauvignon is 28% Clone 4, 23% Clone 337, 21% Clone 6 and 10% Clone 7). The Cabernet Sauvignon comes from vineyards in Carneros (Truchard Vineyard), Atlas Peak, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford (Beckstoffer Georges II Vineyard) and Diamond Mountain.

Not all Cabernet Sauvignon is the same. Anthony Bell is one of the world’s leading experts on Cabernet Sauvignon Clones. He helped restore Clone 6 while he was at Beaulieu Vineyards (BV), working with Napa legend André Tchelistcheff. Anthony Bell is a native South African and has worked at vineyards in South Africa (Stellenbosch), Spain, France (Haut-Médoc) and California (15 years at BV).

In many ways, Anthony Bell helped DEFINE Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. Because of Bell, it’s a layered, complex wine with assertive tannins that don’t bite. Anthony Bell is obviously a winemaker who demonstrates that great wine is made in the vineyard moreso than in the winery.

Aged 22 months in 56% new oak barrels. The barrels are 84% French and 16% American. 1,715 cases made. Food pairing – steak, lamb, rich stews, venison, etc. Decanter Magazine, 4 Stars; Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wines, 90 points

WINE CHANGE below from previous e-mail! This is a substitute for the Two Hands Lily’s Garden Shiraz.

Mollydooker Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz 2009 (Australia) $49.99 – Mollydooker Wines are in Maine! Sparky and Sarah Marquis have a mission statement that says, “We make wines that make people go WOW!”

They were the founders of the famed Marquis Phillips wines from Australia. The importer did something rude, wrong and immoral and appropriated the name several years ago. Sparky and Sarah had the vineyards, the contracts for “sourced” grapes and the winemaking know-how and expertise. So, they started making wines under a new name – Mollydooker. These wines are superb!

People have been asking me for these for a long while and they are now in Maine!

This is a deep, dark purple. Glass-coating. Big, rich, ripe aromas of blueberries, black cherries with hints of dark chocolate, eucalyptus, mint and dark earth. Full-bodied. Ripe, RIPE fruit flavors. Firm tannins and good acidity. Long, lingering finish. Blend of 80% McLaren Vale and 20% Langhorne Creek. Aged in 71% new and 29% used American oak. Drink now through 2017+. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 92 points

WINE CHANGE below from previous e-mail! This is a substitute for the Amarone.

Montepeloso “Eneo” Super Tuscan 2008 (Italy) $44.99 – Montepeloso is one of the emerging stars of the Tuscan coast. This is one of Tuscany’s best wineries and it’s one of the gems that The Rare Wine Company ferrets out – one of the great things about this importer is they discover wineries before most of the world has – before the prices go nuts. This has deep, dark berry flavors and aromas. It’s quite concentrated and intense, but the vibrant acidity helps add elegance to the power and fullness. Bright, refreshing acidity. Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Marselan and Alicante Bouschet. Aged in 2nd and 3rd use oak barrels. Best from 2012-2020. 2,000 cases imported. Wine Spectator, 92 points

Descendientes de José Palacios Corullón 2007 (Spain) $43.99 – Alvaro Palacios is one of the famed Spanish winemakers who put Priorat on the map in terms of world-class, outstanding wines. He’s doing it as well with Bierzo and its indigenous grape, Mencia. This area, Bierzo, is relatively new to the United States. We’ve seen some wines from it over the last 3-4 years, but it is still gaining steam and public awareness. This has great aromas of minerals, smoke, black fruits and lavender. It’s full-bodied, lush, rich and complex. 100% Mencia. Vineyards are 60-100 years old. Aged in 80% new French oak. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. Drink now through 2019. Organic, biodynamic farming. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 92 points

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