September 8, 2011

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

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