September 8, 2011

Foris Vineyards from Oregon Wine Tasting

Foris Winery and Vineyards

“Showcase the purity of fruit, underscore the rich textures and vibrant flavors that are derived from well farmed fruit, and don’t mess it up in the winery.”

That’s their motto and goal.


On Tuesday, we will be fortunate enough to have Steven Canter here from Foris.

Steven is the cellarmaster at Foris. He and his wife and children actually live on Maple Ranch. Foris truly is a family endeavour!

Steven has been the winemaker at Quivira, Torbreck and Davis Bynum, among other places. Before joining the wine world, Steven made his living in music.

We’re thrilled to have him visit our store!

Foris Winery and Vineyards is family-owned and family-managed. Ted and Meri Gerber first bought land in the remote Illinois Valley in 1971 with the intention of growing grapes. In 1974, they planted their first vines. For a number of years they supplied fruit to various vintners throughout southern Oregon. In 1986, they began making wines under their own Foris label.

Meri massed away in 2000 after a lengthy illness, and in 2003, Ted married his present wife, Terri. Terri runs the administrative side of the business.

Alicia Gerber, Ted’s daughter grew up in and around the winery. She studied childhood development in college and went out into the “real” world for a while. During her mother’s illness, she returned to the winery to help out and has never looked back. She loves gardening, so she’s right alongside her father in the vineyards. She lives on Maple Ranch in the foothills of the Siskiyous Mountains with her son and daughter.

Terri’s daughter, Heidi and her husband, Brian and their daughter are also part of the family, living at Cedar Ranch Vineyards.

The entire family is involved in the day-to-day operation of the vineyards and winery.

The Vineyards

Over 35 years ago, the Gerber family began planting their first vineyard in the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains. Only 7 miles from the California border, Foris is the southernmost vineyard in the Pacific Northwest. They are one of Oregon’s pioneering winemaking/grape-growing families. Today, they have over 178 acres of estate vineyards located just 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean in Oregon’s Rogue Valley Appellation.

All of the estate vineyards are within 3 miles of each other and the winery.

Gerber “Home” Vineyard – the original vineyard for the family. Eighty acres with 25 acres planted to grapes. This is their best Gewürztraminer vineyard.

Maple Ranch Vineyard – 112 acres, 43 planted to grapes. This is their best vineyard, especially for Pinot Noir. Great drainage that never puddles water.

Cedar Ranch Vineyard – 74 acres, 47 planted to grapes. Planted to Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. This is their newest vineyard. They originally farmed it 20 years ago for the US Marshall service after it was seized as part of a drug bust.

Holland Vineyard – this small vineyard is adjacent to the Gerber Vineyard, but has distinctly different soil. Riesling is thriving here. 12 acres, 8 planted to grapes.

Three Creeks Vineyard – adjacent to Maple Ranch. 250 acres with 55 planted to grapes. Planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. A young planting of Riesling is promising.

The Wines

The White Wines

Foris Rogue Valley Pinot Gris 2009 (Oregon) $13.99 - A fabulous Alsatian-style Pinot Gris from this small winery. Aromas of pears, apples and stone fruits. Medium-to-full-bodied with a rich texture. Crisp acidity with fresh fruit flavors of minerals, spices, Asian pears, quince, lime and honey. The flavors hint at sweetness (that’s the fruit talking), but the wine is definitely dry. Zippy acidity. Long, pleasing, spicy finish. Stainless steel fermentation. Aged sur lie. Food pairing - seafood, shellfish, poultry…drinks well on its own.

Foris Rogue Valley Pinot Blanc 2009 (Oregon) $14.99 - Wonderful Alsatian-style Pinot Blanc from this small winery. Elegant & excellent wine from this lesser known variety. Full feel in the mouth. Medium-to-full-bodied. Well-balanced acidity. Rich aromas of stone fruits (peaches), minerals and honeysuckle. Spicy flavors with notes of minerals, peaches, pears. Long, lingering tasty finish. Pinot Blanc loves cool climates & poor, thin soil - Foris has both in this tiny corner of the Rogue Valley in Oregon. Food pairing - seafood, shellfish, smoked fish, ham, turkey. 764 cases made. Aged sur lees for 5 months.

Foris Rogue Valley Gewürztraminer 2008 (Oregon) $13.99 - We love this Alsatian-style Gewürz from this small winery in Oregon’s southwestern corner. Wonderful aromas of pears, apples and stone fruits. Flavors of bright, fresh, crisp citrus fruits (lemons, limes), plus tropical fruit, Asian pears, minerals and that quintessential Gewürz peppery spice. Dry. Crisp acidity. Long, clean, crisp finish. Whole cluster pressed and cold-fermented. 1,229 cases made. Food pairing – ham, Thanksgiving-style meal, smoked fish, spicy Asian fare. Drinks well on its own!

Foris Fly-Over White 2008 (Oregon) $11.99 - This is a delicious, easy-drinking wine that will pair well with Thanksgiving Dinner and many other foods. Aromas and flavors of pears, apples, figs and baking spices. Medium-bodied with a nice softness from aging on lees. Crisp, clean finish. Blend of 61% Pinot Blanc, 22% Pinot Gris and 17% Chardonnay. Fermented and aged on their lees in stainless steel for 3 months. The lees are stirred bi-weekly to add richness and enhance the fruit flavors. 832 cases made. Food pairing – Thanksgiving Dinner, smoked salmon, shellfish, roasted chicken or duck. Drinks nicely without food.

The Red Wines

Foris Rogue Valley Pinot Noir 2008 (Oregon) $19.99 - This still earns a “WOO-HOO, 4 STAR!” Excellent Pinot from a great vintage! Aromas of perfectly ripe cherries, strawberries & raspberries. Subtle red & dark berry flavors. “Woodiness” that resembles a rosemary bush. Spicy notes on the mid-palate. Crisp acidity. Silky, soft & smooth in the mouth. Long, lingering finish. Aged in new and once-used French oak. Bottled unfiltered. 566 cases made. Food pairing – Drinks well on its own! Pair with grilled or roasted meats and veggies! Excellent with salmon! Wall Street Journal, “Best Buy”

Foris Maple Ranch Pinot Noir 2008 (Oregon) $28.99 - This is a classic expression of Maple Ranch Pinot Noir and the Foris “house style” from a landmark vintage! Aromas and flavors of red berries, black cherries and distinctive spices, including anise, cinnamon and clove. Excellent acidity. Smooth finish. 501 cases made. 100% Maple Ranch fruit. 12 different clones of Pinot Noir used. Balanced use of French oak. Food pairing – beef tenderloin, Cornish game hens, ripened cheese, salmon, etc.

Foris Fly-Over Red 2008 (Oregon) $12.99 - This is a delicious red at a great price! The fruit is from Washington (60%) and Oregon (40%). The idea is to get great grapes at a lower price from Washington and make a wonderful wine from them! Aromas and flavors of dark berries, cherries, mocha and cocoa. This has chewy tannins and some weight to it. Blend of 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. 4,583 cases made. Food pairing – hearty meals, stews, roasts, etc.

The Dessert Wines

Foris Rogue Valley Late Harvest Muscat 2007 (Oregon) $14.99 - This is a delicious, sweet wine that is still light and lithe on its feet. Aromas and flavors of pears, honey, orange zest, jasmine and citrus. Nice acidity to balance the fruit and sweetness – this helps keep the wine lighter. Mouthwatering finish. 100% Muscat. The hungry bears sometimes determine when these grapes must be picked. Whole cluster pressed and cold-fermented. The fermentation is stopped by dropping the temperature to keep the wine sweet. 327 cases made. Food pairing – Drinks well on its own! Any fruit dessert, from sorbet to tarts to apple pie!

Foris Rogue Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Port 2006 (Oregon) $13.99 - We really love this dessert wine! Aromas of sweet currants and raisins. Flavors of currants, raisins, brown sugar, black cherries….nice acidity on the long, lingering finish. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Del Rio Vineyard in eastern part of the Rogue Valley AVA. Barrel aged in neutral oak barrels for 19 months. This is a “ruby” port that will age well. Food pairing – chocolate desserts, pumpkin pie. Drinks well on its own.

September Wine Tasting with Tabitha from Crush

Wine & Donut Tasting

Friday, September 16th


Wines from around the world!

Tabitha Blake of Crush Wines will be here with a selection of whites and reds that are great for this time of year with cooler evenings and still warm days. Wines great for some heartier meals and for those casual cook-outs since we are still taking advantage of the beautiful days we frequently have this time of year.

The Holy Donut

We’re going to have donuts to sample and buy. Leigh Kellis, founder and owner and donutmaker of The Holy Donut, will be here with her delicious “Classic Maine Potato Donut.” Leigh has been making her donuts and selling them with great success in Portland stores. We are thrilled to have her at Freeport Cheese & Wine. She’ll have 5 dozen donuts to sell – they’ll go fast.

The Wines

The Whites:

Cave la Comtadine Passion Blanc Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc 2010 (France) $14.99 – A wine with a big smiley face in our tasting books! This is a classic Rhône blend. It has vibrant aromas of white pears and lemony citrus. The flavors are much like mineral water in which you put a lot of lemons and let them sit on ice. Refreshing. This has nervy acidity that gives it a juicy, thirst-quenching finish. Blend of 90% Grenache Blanc, 5% Roussanne and 5% Viognier. Grenache Blanc originated in Spain, where it is used today to make wines in Rioja and Navarre. It spread to France, where it is vitally important to the making of Côtes-du-Rhône and Châteaunneuf-du-Pape. It is the 4th most commonly planted varietal in France. In Roussillon alone 37,000 acres are planted. The crisp acidity of Grenache Blanc balances the honeyed richness of Roussanne. For instance, Chateau Beaucastel’s Châteaunneuf-du-Pape Blanc is 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache Blanc. Food pairing – fish, seafood, white meats, cheeses and salads.

Anne Amie Vineyards Amrita 2010 (Oregon) $16.99 – Each vintage, the blend changes – making it an irresistible, refreshing, fruit-driven wine. This has great tropical fruit. It’s zesty and tangy in a refreshing way. The name “Amrita” comes from the Buddhist equivalent of ambrosia, or wine of the gods. Blend of 38% Viognier, 32% Chardonnay, 29% Pinot Blanc and 1% Riesling. Located in the Yamhill=Carlton part of the Chahalem Mountains in the Willamette Valley. Salmon-safe and LIVE certified – this means they farm sustainably. Food pairing – great as a cocktail wine and with Pan-Asian and other “fusion” style foods. Oregon Wine Press, “Sensational Summer Sippers 2011”

Chateau Larmevaille Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc 2009 (Bordeaux, France) $14.99 – This is crisp, balanced and it has nice minerality and a richer, weightier style than just Sauvignon Blanc would have. Aromas and flavors of citrus, minerals and white flowers. Very reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Blend of 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon and 30% Muscadelle. Stainless steel fermentation and aging. Food pairing – Shellfish, fish and poultry. The wine is also a perfect match for pan-seared fish dishes.

The Reds:

Chateau Fleur de Rigaud Bordeaux Supérieur 2008 (France) $14.99 – This is definitely earned a big smiley face when we first tasted it! It’s ready-to-drink, easy to grasp and understand, well-integrated and soft and open. This has nice red and dark fruit and that dusty character that Cab Franc often adds, plus the softness that is so characteristic of Merlot. 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. Stainless steel fermentation and aging. The vines are 25 years old. The winery is across the Dordogne River from St. Émilion. Food pairing – roasted and grilled meats, stews, and casseroles. Brand new to Maine.

Big Vine Wines

The story is that the founders have been involved in making really high-end California wines for a long time. Well, the economy isn’t exactly setting records and high-end wines are not selling fast. So, they are using contacts and contracts to procure and buy excellent grapes. They then make outstanding wine at a price that is a fraction of what it would cost if sold by a famous winery. These wines offer great value and “bang for the buck.” We carried the 2007 Cabernet for a good long while. We are now on the 2009 Cab and have added the 2009 Pinot Noir.

Big Vine Pinot Noir 2009 (Central Coast, California) $16.99 – From the Arroyo Grande Valley in the Central Coast. 2009 is a rock star vintage for much of California Pinot Noir, especially the Central Coast. This blends nicely the fruit that is typical from Arroyo Grande and the finesse and elegance of Santa Rita Hills. Aromas and flavors of red fruits, cola and damp, dark earth. This has great acidity and nice fruit throughout. 2,300 cases made. Food pairing – roasted pork tenderloin, lamb chops, salmon. .

Big Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Napa Valley, California) $19.99 – This is a SPECTACULAR wine and a GREAT value! All the components of a $40 Napa Cabernet. This is a big, rich, full-bodied Cabernet. This has all of those characteristics people love in a Napa Cab – aromas and flavors of black cherries, black currants, cedar, cassis, vanilla, baking spices, a wet forest floor, tobacco, blueberries and blackberries, plus that classic Rutherford “dust.” Excellent acidity and well-integrated, soft tannins. It’s nicely ripe, but not jammy. Aged 18 months in 30% new French oak. Napa Valley grapes from Rutherford (50%), Atlas Peak (30%) and Coombsville (20%). 2,000 cases made. Food pairing - a nice roast, coq au vin, pork tenderloin, steak, lamb, stews, ripe, harder cheeses such as Piave Vecchio.

Woodward Graff Wine Foundation Grenache 2007 (California) $25.99 – This is soft, fruit and easy-to-drink.The grapes are from the Chalone Appellation in Monterey County. The Chalone Appellation was first planted in 1919 and resurrected in 1965 when Dick Graff and his mother purchased the estate and nursed the vines back to health. They first made wine in 1966. Together with Phil Woodward, Dick created a winery dedicating to showcasing the attributes of Monterey’s oldest and first appellation. Today, 10 wineries make Chalone Appellation wines. A portion of the sales from this wine benefit the Richard H. Graff Scholarship Fund. Food pairing – turkey, ham and most all pork dishes.

Le Preare Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2008 (Veneto, Italy) $24.99 – It’s a Baby Amarone! In the late 20th century, a new style of wine known as ripasso resurrected an ancient winemaking style. Ripasso means “repassed.” The pomace of leftover grapeskins and seeds from the fermentation of recioto and Amarone are added to the Valpolicella wine for a period of extended maceration. This extracts a lot of richness and flavors from the skins, especially since Amarone is made from grapes that have been dried like raisins, concentrating the flavors. This has aromas and flavors of raisins, cinnamon, cloves, herbs and berries. Dark chocolaty. It’s intense and ripe. Soft and round. Dusty tannins.

The Sparkling Finale:

Neirano “Pitula” Moscato d’Asti 2010 (Italy) $13.99The perfect holiday dessert wine - see why below. At the end of a long, filling Thanksgiving meal, steer clear of high alcohol, heavy dessert wines. Instead, pick up an always-affordable, slightly fizzy Moscato d’Asti. The light effervescence will balance the fried crust while significant fruit and floral flavors enhance the delicious filling. This wine is all about the honeysuckle and peach nectar. YUM. Think donuts, apple pie and other Fall desserts

New Cheeses & Iberico Ham

Iberico Ham

We’ve always wanted to carry more meats such as Prosciutto, Serrano and Iberico hams. We’ve struggled selling through these meats quickly enough.

We just found a source for delicious, fabulous Iberico ham that is pre-sliced and packaged. The meat is incredibly good! Rich, delicious with a melt-in-your-mouth feel!

Fermin Jamon Iberico – Prior to 2005, it was impossible to import Iberico ham to the United States. Popularly known as Pata Negra or black hoof pig, Fermin Iberico ham is made from the Iberico pig, a special breed native to Spain. This breed is considered the best for producing high quality, dry-cured hams with unsurpassed taste and aroma.

Immediately after weaning, the piglets are fattened on barley and maize for several weeks and then allowed to roam in pastures and oak groves to feed naturally on grass, herbs, acorns and roots. The hams are first salted and left to begin drying for 2 weeks. After that they are rinsed and left to dry for another 4-6 weeks. Fermin Iberico hams are air-cured for a minimum of 28 months using artisanal methods in the mountains near Salamanca, Spain in western Spain near the Portuguese border.

Fermin is the first Spanish Iberico ham producer to be able to import Iberico to the United States. Enjoy! $12.99 each.

New Cheeses

We just brought in three new cheeses from Italy and a new one from Spain.

The cheeses made in Tuscany are produced at Caseificio Bertagni by a father-and-son team, Bruno and Verano Bertagni in the town of Pieve Fosciana. This small town is about 50 miles northwest of Florence.

Mention Tuscany and even the most jaded among us envision romantic village, gorgeous vistas, ancient buildings and sipping wine at a table in the local village. Tuscany is home to some of Italy’s best food and wine, including the local cheese. Ideally, you would be in Tuscany nibbling at a plate of cheese and sipping the local wine. With that being difficult for most of us, we are bringing a bit of Tuscany to you with these 3 cheeses!

Rogers Collection, a superb Portland-based importer of the best cheese, meats and more from Italy, Spain, France, Greece and South Africa, brings these rich, delicious cheeses to America. They ONLY work with small, family-owned and operated producers. These are hand-crafted works of deliciousness.

Formaggio al Tartufo Caciotta (Tuscany) – This is a true Caciotta, or cheese with black truffles. It is studded with shavings of real black truffles in it. Most truffle cheeses are made with truffle aroma and not with real truffles. You can see real truffles throughout this cheese! The richness of the sheep’s milk enhances the flavors of the truffles. This is a small wheel (a little more than a pound). The rind that is edible. Aromas of earth, hay and truffle. It ages for only 30 days. Cow’s and sheep’s milk cheese. Pasteurized. The sheep are from the rare breeds of Massese and Garfagnina and they live on 17 small farms in the mountains between northern Tuscany and Emilia Romagna. Food and wine ideas - This would be GREAT shaved or grated over pasta or polenta. $22.99/pound. Pair this up with Perazzeta Sangiovese Toscana “Sara” ($12.99) or Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva “Rancia” ($42.99).

Marzolino al Pomodor (Tuscany) – This is made in a traditional Tuscan method that involves rubbing the rind repeatedly with olive oil and a dried Pomodoro tomato paste. It has a delicious, sweet earthy taste and a crumbly texture. It’s not “aggressive” in its flavor, but it is rich! Great with quince paste or fig cake or spread. It ages for only 30 days. Cow’s and sheep’s milk cheese. Pasteurized. $22.99/pound. Food and wine ideas – I love just eating this. Putting slices of it on a simple pizza with slices of tomato and green olives would be great! Pair this with Le Gallozolle Chianti ($11.99).

Tuada Pecorino Sheep’s Milk Cheese (Tuscany) – 100% Sheep’s Milk Cheese. Hand-made in Tuscany. Aged 5 months in cellars with a coating of ash and olive oil. The cheese is kept on beech wood boards while it ages. The cheese is hand-turned regularly so that it develops a consistent texture and density throughout. Tuada means cellar in Tuscany. The milk comes from Garfanina sheep. The taste is wonderfully sweet with an earthy flavor. The texture is much like Parmigiano-Reggiano. When the milk arrives at the creamery, it is pasteurized and the starter cultures are added. After the curds form, they are cut with a special tool called a chitarra and then are further broken down into smaller pieces with the same tool that is used in the making of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It looks like a giant balloon whisk on a pole. $24.99/pound. Food and wine ideas – substitute this for Parmigiano or Piave Vecchio. Grate or shave it over many foods, including salads. This eats beautifully by itself. Pair this with Tre Donne Joan d’Arc ($21.99) or Elio Perrone Barbera d’Asti ($18.99). Winner, Gold Medal at the European Mountain Cheese Olympics, Sheep Cheese Category

Veigadarte Goat Cheese (Spain) – This is a semi-aged goat cheese that is in a 2-3 pound log. If you are familiar with Bucheron, you have a good idea how this cheese looks. It’s aged 1 month. The cheese is made by an artisanal cheesemaker, Mr. Joaquim Villanueva Casado, using milk from 2 breeds of goats, Verata and Avila. This is high in butterfat and has that characteristic “tangy” citrus flavors of goat cheese. It has a pleasant “funky” sweetness around the riper outer edge. A cheese such as this ripens from the outside in. This cheese has an ash rind that develops a bloomy white mold. The black ash actually attracts the white mold and the color contrast is beautiful! It’s snowy white in the center and a creamier beige around the outer part. Pronounced “vayj-uh-dart-ay.” $22.99/pound. Food and wine ideas – spread on crackers or fresh bread. Pair with a vibrant white such as Avinyo Vi d’Agullo ($14.99) or a Verdejo.

September Wines of the Month

September Wines of the Month

Tier One


The focus this month is on wines for the end of summer and the early part of fall!

The White

Jelu Torrontés San Juan 2011 (Argentina) $12.99 - Year-after-year we love this wine! The 2011 is AWESOME! Torrontés is the grape and it is the dominant white grape in Argentina! This is really floral, kind of Muscat or Viognier like aroma. Lots of orange, apricot and some pineapple. That fruit is the first thing you taste, but then you get a hint of spice midway à la Gewürztraminer and then the finish is very clean and dry. Totally not what you expect from that first smell. Really cool wine! Food pairing – shellfish, seafood, lighter pasta dishes, grilled chicken or pork. Drinks well with or without food!

The Red

Hippodrome Côtes du Ventoux Rouge 2009 (France) $14.99 – One of the importers that Ned Swain of Devenish uses the most brought this delicious red in from Southern France. 2009 is an incredibly good, GREAT vintage from the South of France. This has aromas and flavors that are spicy, with rosemary and thyme. Ripe cherries, cooked cherries, roses, flowers and more! Bright fruit. It’s a pretty wine. It’s smooth, bright and almost lush. Slight pepperiness. Soft, slightly dry tannins on the finish. This wine is a “one-off” made by Marc Pichon for the importer in Manhattan. Marc bought a vineyard in the Ventoux region and has been reinvigorating it. The importer asked him to make a wine for them. So, they bought 1,000 cases of wine…..then they realized they were carrying it as inventory and they decided to make a move on it and mark it down. So, Ned made a deal for a bunch of it and we picked some up! I don’t know for sure, but I’d bet it is mostly Grenache with some Syrah blended in it. It’s only 12% alcohol, so it is not too heavy. This is a PERFECT fall wine! Organic & Sustainable Farming. Food pairing - poultry, grilled meats, duck.

Tier Two


The White

This last winter/spring, Ned Swain of Devenish Wines, went to Galicia (Guh-lee-thia) in Spain courtesy of the local wine promotional board. At first, he wasn’t sure whether or not to go…..he made the trip and came back fired up about Galician wines. The wines are just beginning to come into Maine.

One of the many cool things about Galician wines is that they are made using grapes that are only grown in that part of Spain. The phylloxera pest hasn’t crossed the mountains into this part of Spain, so the “international” grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are not grown in this area. Instead the grapes are Mencia and Godello and Albarinho and others.

The part of Galicia that is home to these particular wines is Monterrei. This is an area in Galicia that borders Portugal. It’s a bit of a no man’s land because of its remoteness and recent lack of sophistication surrounding wine. During the 20th century, much of the winemaking in the area disappeared. .

The winery is Amizade. It’s a new project created by the region’s leading light, Gerardo Mendez of Do Ferreiro in the Rias Baixas. Mendez is one of the best Albarinho producers, if not the best. He farms organically and is borderline fanatical about using indigenous yeasts to really showcase the terroir (terruño) of his wines. His grapes are all hand-harvested.

Amizade is a collaborative effort of Mendez and the importer, De Maison Selection of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The word, amizade, means “friendship” in Galician. Mendez and a few others have helped restore outstanding winemaking to the area.

These wines come from a single vineyard called Quinturus. The soil is sandy with a lot of slate. It’s in a valley where the cool nights extend the growing season. The vineyard is planted to the white grape, Godello, and the red grape, Mencia, with a little Caiño and Arauxa (a clone of Tempranillo). Almost all of the wine produced in this area is white, so the Mencia is even more unusual than the Godello.

Godello is the dominant white grape in the area.

Mencia (Men-thia) is the dominant red grape. It is quite similar to good Cabernet Franc.

The White

Amizade Godello 2010 (Spain) $21.99 - This is a rich, ripe, lush, creamy wine froma grape you likely don’t know….but, will! This has ripe oranges, pineapple and a bit of yeasty fresh bread in the aromas. Really bright acidity with a zesty citrus peel kind of thing right up front. It’s almost chewy and meaty in its texture at times. Slight green apple notes to the flavors. Hint of pine in a nice way. Full, long round finish. 100% Godello. Stainless steel fermentation and aging. Aged on the lees for 6 months – thus the creaminess. Food pairing – rich seafood, duck, heftier chicken dishes.

The Red

Amizade Mencia 2010 (Spain) $21.99 – This smells like Mencia – which means it smells a lot like Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley. It’s also similar in many ways to a Morgon or Moulin-a-Vent Cru Beaujolais, but more intense (if you are unfamiliar with Cru Beaujolais, don’t even compare this to Beaujolais Nouveau or Villages – think a fuller, more complex wine). This is a very complex wine that wants your attention! It lingers and engages. At the same time, it’s playful and fun! Bright, vibrant cherry and raspberry aromas. Hint of pepper and freshly mown grass. Subtle smoke and fresh anise. Very smooth in the mouth. Bright, fresh black raspberry and black cherry fruit. Really nice. Very fresh. Finish has a flavor that is reminiscent of a blueberry finish. Almost all Mencia, with a little Caiño and Arauxa (a clone of Tempranillo). Stainless steel fermentation and aging. Aged on the lees for 6 months. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Food pairing – grilled and roasted meats, mushrooms, truffle dishes.

Tier Three


The White

Baudouin Brut Prestige Champagne NV (France) $43.99 – Over the last few years, we’ve been seeing and tasting more and more “grower” Champagnes. What is “grower” Champagne? The person making the wine grows the grapes. Veuve Cliquot and Moet et Chandon, etc. all make good Champagne. Bear this thought in mind, though, much of what you are buying is marketing. They are well-advertised and promoted brands. With a “grower” Champagne, you are buying a wine made from grapes grown in a specific place. One unfortunate aspect of “grower” Champagnes is that they tend to be expensive, even for Champagne. Well, we’ve found a delicious one that isn’t expensive! This has wonderful lemon citrus, a hint of fresh bread and coconuts and pineapples in the aromas. It shows rich, creamy, powerful fruit that leans a bit to strawberry-like. 100% Pinot Noir.

The Red

Dominio do Bibei “Lalama” Ribeira Sacra (Spain) $39.99 – This wine is a RARITY. One, not much of it is made; two, little of it is exported; three, almost none of it makes its way to Maine; FOUR, and MOST rare, it is incredibly rich, ripe, full and bold and ONLY 12.5% alcohol. The wine is from Ribeira Sacra (Sacred Riverbank) in Galicia. This is the river that forms the east-west border between Portugal and Spain. This is a TINY winemaking area (2,500 acres and only 10% of its wine is exported). Aromas of cedar, toast, mocha, graphite, black cherry and black raspberry. The flavors are powerful, structured and balanced.

It’s 85% Mencia with the rest being 7% Garnacha, and Brancellao and Mouraton, local varietals that we rarely ever see. The wine is fermented in 500-liter barrels and it is aged on the lees for 21 months. The vines produce barely 1-2 pounds of grapes per vine and are 15-to-100 years-old. The old-vine Mencia and the slate in the soil combine to influence the aromas and flavors Bottle-aged for 18 months before release. Drink now through 2020. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 94 points