May 17, 2012

Wine Tasting - May 18th

Wine Tasting
Friday, May 18th

Featuring Wines SOPO
(South Portland Wine Company)
That Are Great For This Time of Year!

10% off the price of all tasting wines!

The Wines:

The Whites:

Eola Hills Pinot Gris 2009 (Oregon) $13.99 - An American CLASSIC – perfect for picnics, parties and a host of meals!  This is a wonderful Oregon Pinot Gris!  Crisp.  Dry.  Lovely Granny Smith apple, pear, peach and pineapple fruit aromas and flavors.  A little white pepper and lemon/lime citrus on the finish!  100% estate grown fruit (unusual at this price).  Stainless steel fermentation.  Food pairing – Thanksgiving Dinner!  Great with salmon, Winterpoint Oysters, or grilled or roasted poultry.  Prosciutto.  Scallops.  Both together!

Fuente Elvira Verdejo 2010 (Rueda, Spain) $15.99 - Delicious!  This is a perfectly bright, fresh and crisp wine.  Great value!  Think of this as a Spanish Sauvignon Blanc!  Aromas of nectarines, limes and dried herbs.  Flavors of lemons, limes and green apples.  Subtle smokiness.  Well-balanced & integrated acidity.  Finishes crisp, clean & dry with nice mineral notes.  Rueda is best known for producing dry wines from the Verdejo grape.  This is a great example!  Single vineyard with vines that average 40 years.  Food pairing – AS FOOD FRIENDLY as PINOT BLANC!  Oysters, goat cheeses, poultry dishes, smoked fish, etc.  Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 91

The Rosé:

Domaine Sainte-Eugenie Rosé Corbières 2011 (France) $11.99 – this winery is located just west of the historic wall city of Carcassone in Corbières in the Pyrenées foothills near the Mediterranean coast.  It’s a blend of 80% Cinsault, 10% Grenache and 10% Syrah.  This is classic Southern French rosé – notes of red raspberries, herbs and minerals.  It’s soft, fresh, vibrant and tastes like summer!    Food pairing – lamb, beef, fish.  . 

The Reds:

Poggio Anima Samael Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2009 (Italy) $13.99 - Delicious red from Abruzzo in Italy!  Aromas of dark berries, leather, dark earth, baking spices and Provencal herbs.  Medium-bodied.  Smooth.  Flavors of dark cherries, a little smoke and coriander.  100% Montepulciano.  Hand-harvested and destemmed.  Aged in large, neutral Slavonian oak barrels.  Food pairing – Traditional Italian fare, especially anything with red sauce.  Sustainable Agriculture

Monte Volpe Primo Rosso 2007 (Mendocino County, California) $11.99 – This is a soft, smooth easy-drinking blend from Graziano, a fabulous Zinfandel producer.  Mendocino County winemaking started with Italian immigrants, who brought vines with them from the old country.  This wine pays homage to those immigrants.  It’s a blend of Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Negroamaro, Zinfandel and Carignane.  It’s aged 18 months in American, French and Eastern European oak barrels.  This has great aromas and flavors of ripe blackberries, raspberries and plums.   Very smooth and soft.
Alberti 154 Malbec 2010 (Argentina) $12.99 - This is a rock-solid, tasty Malbec at a great price!  Wonderful aromas and flavors of earth, figs, licorice, dark plums, dark berries and more.  Long, smooth finish and a lush texture.  The tannins are soft and well-integrated.  100% Malbec from a small vineyard.  Aged 6 months in oak.  Gravity-fed winery to more delicately handle the fruit.  Food pairing – steak, grilled meats, lamb.  Wine Spectator, “Top Value”

Prima Toro 2009 (Spain) $19.99 - Delicious, rich, full, smooth wine!  Aromas of black cherries, blackberries, graphite, smoke and baking spices.  Medium to full-bodied.  Lots of depth and length to this wine!  Flavors of dark, dark fruit, dark chocolate, smoke, minerals & more.  Soft tannins.  This is big and lush!  Toro is a wine region comparable to Rioja.  Blend of 90% Tempranillo (called Tinta de Toro in this area) and 10% Garnacha.  Aged 12 months in French and American oak.  You can cellar this through 2016.  Food pairing – steak, lamb, roasts, grilled meats, etc.  Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 90 points

Bodega Beronia Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 (Spain) $28.99 - Delicious wine!  Bright red. Attractive aromas of candied cherry, plum and cedar, with vanilla and clove notes coming up with air. Sweet, open-knit and nicely focused, offering palate-staining red and dark berry flavors and mounting vanilla and cocoa qualities. A musky herbal quality lingers on the long, sweet, sappy finish.  Blend: 88% Tempranillo, 8% Graciano and 4% Mazuelo.  French & American oak barriques.  Food pairing –  There's a decadent quality to this wine that calls for lamb or a piece of dry-aged steak.  Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 90 points

New Beers - Dogfish, Green Flash and Sixpoint

New Beers

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout (Delaware) $7.99/4-pack – Dogfish 1st brewed this in 1995.  It’s their seasonal stout.  It just landed in Maine about a month ago.  Definite aromas and flavors of dark stuff – chocolate, coffee, chicory and subtle licorice.  This is a really good stout!  It’s made from roasted malt, oatmeal, chicory, coffee, St. John’s Wort and licorice root.  5.2% alcohol.  Food pairing – grilled chicken, barbecue, shellfish, sushi, smoked fish and chocolate., 96 points

Dogfish Head Saison du Buff (Delaware) $9.59/4-pack, $3.49/bottle – This is a collaboration beer brewed at Dogfish by Dogfish, Stone and Victory.  The idea has been to brew it 3 times – once at each brewery – following the exact same recipe.  This was first done in 2010 and has been repeated in 2012.  The 3 breweries formed the BUFF alliance (Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor).  It’s an ale brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.  This has very herbal aromas.  In terms of flavors, the herbs are much more subtle, led mostly by the rosemary and parsley.  Some lemon in the aromas and flavors.  This pours with a nice white head atop a golden, clear ale.  6.8% alcohol., 95 points

Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA (Delaware) $8.29/bottle – This comes in a 750ml bottle – same size and heft as a sparkling wine bottle.  This is a blend of Dogfish’s two favorite beers – the 60 and 90 minute IPA’s……plus some maple syrup.  It naturally carbonates in the bottle.  This has a soft, velvety mouth feel.  It’s dry-hopped with whole-leaf Cascade hops – this gives the beer a pronounced hoppy aroma.  This has a nice richness to it.  It’s quite complex and unusual.  The bottle conditioning leaves it with great bubbles and it pours nice leaving a great head in the bottle.  Aromas of herbs, fresh bread, lemony citrus, hops, peppery spice……it’s dry…..with some notes of citrus, fresh bread, honey and good hoppiness without going over the top on the hops.  7.5% alcohol.  Food pairing – burgers, grilled meat, guacamole., 99 points

Hop-heads – you’ll love these next beers!

Green Flash Brewing West Coast IPA (San Diego) $10.99/4-pack – This is a HOPPY beer, but it’s still balanced and delicious.  Simcoe hops for fruitiness and grapefruit zest, Columbus for hoppy aromas, Centennial for pine and citrus character and cascade for floral aromas.  This is a big, full-of-flavor beer!  The maltiness is there, but it is more than balanced out by the big hop aromas and flavors.  As big as it is, it’s smooth.  Aromas of pine needles, lemon and grapefruit citrus, hops, freshly mown grass, 7.3% alcohol.  IBU’s: 95., 99 points

Green Flash Brewing Imperial IPA (San Diego) $6.49/bottle (22 oz bottle)   A quintessential San Diego-style IPA – high in alcohol and high in hops, but still quaffable…..goes down dangerously smooth for a 9.4% alcohol beer!  This has nice hoppy, pine needle, lemongrass and fresh bread aromas.  It has great malty, hoppy, grapefruit/lemon zest flavors throughout.  Blend of Summit and Nugget hops.   9.4% alcohol.  IBU’s: 101., 99 points

Sixpoint Brewery Bengali Tiger IPA (Brooklyn) $8.99/4-pack – This is definitely more of an old school English IPA.  It’s hoppy, but the big malt foundation is right their as well giving it a real full-bodied and rich flavor and feel.

This comes in a can.  Sixpoint only puts their beers in cans and kegs.  Why?

  1. Beer has 2 big enemies.  Air and light.  Cans eliminate both.  The modern can is a better way to package beer than a bottle,
  2. Cans are lighter. 
  3. More beer fits on a truck in cans than does in bottles.
  4. Less cardboard used in packaging.

They use three different hop strains.  They also use a massive amount of East Kent Goldings hops to dry hop the IPA in the conditioning tanks.  The result is you get some BOUNTIFUL hop aromas in the ol’ nose with each sip!  6.4% alcohol.  Aromas of pine needles, lemon citrus, grapefruit zest, fresh bread and earth.   Nice hoppy, malty flavors.  Not sweet malty, but toasted caramel malt.  IBU’s: 62., 94 points

April 28, 2012

Pacific Northwest Wine Tasting with Wayne Clark and Devenish's Ned Swain

Wayne & Ned’s 
Way Cool
 Wine Tasting II
Saturday, May 5th

Featuring Wines 
from Oregon & Washington
From SMALL family-owned wineries
Brought to Us By a Mainer, Wayne Clark,
Who moved to Oregon

10% off the price of all tasting wines!

A Wine tasting featuring small Pacific Northwest wineries you likely have never seen before – and some wines that have never been sold in Maine before.

Wayne Clark has been a customer and became a friend over the years.  He moved to Oregon a couple of years ago and on his return trips he’d bring these treasures from unknown wineries in Oregon.  I loved the wines.  He started asking me how to get them in Maine.  So, I put Wayne and Ned Swain of Devenish Wines together.

Let’s just say Wayne knows his way around a good bottle of wine AND he knows how to avoid a poor bottle as well.  Life is too short to drink bad wine is a motto that Wayne and I share along with Ned from Devenish Wines.

Wayne is a former full-time Maine resident.  He now lives in Oregon, but he still has a home here and he returns often……and he wanted some of his favorite unknown Oregon gems to be available in Maine.  His ORWA (Oregon and Washington abbreviated and merged) wine brokerage is bringing wines from small family wineries in Oregon and Washington to Maine, with distribution handled through Devenish Wines.  For more information, visit the ORWA website at

This is what Wayne does in his own words:

“First, what is this all about? When I moved to Oregon, I knew very little about Oregon wines. I remember sitting in a place called Oregon Wines on Broadway, which had about 16 wines on “tap.” I was blown away by the depth and breadth of them, and how very good they were. Then I discovered that I was only about 35 minutes from wine country. I spent many weekends exploring. Imagine Napa at a kinder, gentler time in its history. You’re on a country road, and then there are several blue signs at an intersection. Along with easel signs: “Tasting Today”. Heaven.

Pinot Noir is the signature grape in Oregon, and what it is NOT is California Pinot. The highest expression of Pinot Noir in Oregon is an elegant, silky wine with a balanced alcohol content. The wine may be bigger or smaller, lean to black fruits or red berries, be lighter or heavier, but the best ones are silky and elegant. Burgundian, if you will.

I came to have a real yen for the smaller, family-owned wineries. In fact for our business model, if we visit a tasting room a couple of times and haven’t met the owner or the winemaker, we’re not likely to include it in our portfolio.”

The Wines:

The Whites:

Illahe Vineyards is a small producer in Upper Willamette Valley.

Wayne and Kim found Illahe at the end of a long weekend of tasting over Thanksgiving 2010 (one of the two major tasting weekends in the Willamette Valley). It is at the far southern end of the upper Willamette Valley, and the approach is spectacular, through seeming miles of vineyards, then up a long, curvy road through the vines to arrive at the hilltop winery. Not usually open, a makeshift tasting room had been set up in the building. Our palates were fried, but we liked what we tasted. We were met in the driveway by Logan the black lab, and at the door of winery by Lowell Ford, the long-time farmer for the family property. He explained that “Illahe” is a Chinook word describing “place”. His son Brad is the winemaker, and the National Sales Manager is Bethany, Brad’s wife.

We wanted to taste the wines again with fresh palates before including them in our portfolio, so we called Bethany. She agreed to meet us on a Sunday afternoon and pour them all for us. At 8 months pregnant, no small feat!

Illahe Gruner Veltliner 2010 (Oregon) $15.99 –Why not an Oregon Gruner? A grape that is not commonly grown in Oregon, but that is well-suited to Oregon’s climate and Illahe’s soil.  This has nice minerality.  Wonderful fruit – pineapple, melon and just a hint of grapefruit.  Hints of black pepper.  Stainless steel fermentation. 0.3% residual sugar – so it is bone dry.  LIVE-certified Salmon Safe vineyard. 

Illahe Riesling 2009 (Oregon) $15.99 –This is a bone-dry Riesling (it’s only 0.5% residual sugar).  This might be Illahe’s driest white.  Aromas and flavors of honey and apples.  90 cases made.  Stainless steel fermentation and aging.  Made from 2 clones of Riesling, one of which entered Oregon in the ‘70’s.  LIVE-certified Salmon Safe vineyard.

ArborBrook Pinot Gris Croft Vineyard 2010 (Oregon) $15.99 – This is a beautiful example of a hand-crafted wine from a small producer in the coastal range of Oregon.  The grapes are from the Croft Vineyard.  This has bright, fresh aromas of pears, tropical fruit, subtle lemon, honeysuckle and minerals.  This has flavors of pears, white peaches and apricots, minerals and vibrant acidity.  100% Pinot Gris.  Stainless steel fermentation and aging.  450 cases made.  All organic farming, “Salmon Safe.”  20 year-old vines.  Food pairing – fish with a white wine sauce, mussels, albacore salad, ham, quiche.

The Reds:

Red Hawk “Grateful Red” Pinot Noir 2009 (Oregon) $17.99

Red Hawk Red 2009 (Oregon) $17.99 - Blend

Dewey Kelly Pinot Noir 2007 (Oregon) – These are Wayne’s notes about the winery and wine. 

“The Dewey Kelley label is actually Dewey’s second label. He makes Ribbon Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir that is premium priced and quite nice, but honestly I like the Dewey Kelly better at the price point.

I discovered this small (~1,100 cases) operation by accident. I was out solo on a Memorial Day weekend, which in the Willamette Valley is when many places are open for tasting that aren’t usually open. It wasn’t on my itinerary, but I was intrigued and turned in by the easel sign. I bumped half a mile up a wet dirt road, so rough that my GPS bounced off the dash and hit the floor and broke. My reward was a pole building with an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven and Dewey himself. The makeshift tasting room was pure Willamette Valley: unpretensious and fun. Dewey also makes a dessert wine that is killer, but we’re not going there yet.

This vineyard has been producing fruit for a long time. Dewey is both farmer and winemaker, and he still holds onto his day job as well. He holds his wine a bit longer than most. While many vineyards are sold out of their 2008s and are pouring 2009s, he won’t release his 2008 until Thanksgiving 2011. Given the stellar year that 2008 was, I can’t wait.

Ribbon Ridge is one of my favorite AVAs. It’s the smallest in Oregon, and it differs significantly from Chehalem Mountains, which it borders. The marine sedimentary soil is younger, and less disturbed by faults and floods. The Chehalem Mountains block severe weather from the Columbia Gorge, and the Eola Hills to the south block the cold winter marine winds of the Van Duzer Corridor – a pass through the Coast Range to the Pacific.

2007 Pinot Noir

This is a light, bright wine, with pleasant red fruit and an elegant finish. 2007 was to put it mildly a challenging year. Some have called it a winemaker’s year, because it separated the men from the boys, so to speak. Late season rain had people guessing when to harvest. Those who waited were rewarded with riper fruit. Even the best 2007s didn’t really come into their own until they’d been in bottle about 6 months. With much longer than that, Dewey’s are very nice.”

Angel Vine Zinfandel 2008 (Washington) $21.99 – These are Wayne’s notes. 

“I met Ed Fus and two of his angels at Carlton Wine Cellars, a winemaking co-op where he turns Washington grapes into Oregon wine. I had tried one of his Zinfandels at a restaurant some months earlier, so when I saw the name I had to check it out. A side note: Ed’s label was originally Three Angels (his wife and two daughters), but a trademark challenge from a much bigger California winery caused him to change it to Angel Vine. Ed is a director of LIVE (Low Input Viniculture & Enology), which certifies sustainable practices.

2008 Columbia Valley Zinfandel

Columbia Valley is the largest AVA in Washington. These grapes were from the sub-AVAs of Walla Walla Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, and Wahluke Slope. It was barrelled in a mixture of mostly second-use French and Hungarian oak for 18 months.

This is everything you want in a Zinfandel. The secret is a bit of Primitivo and Petit Syrah to balance it out and add some oomph. It’s fruit forward, and has noticeable but not overwhelming tannins, nice raspberry and blackberry notes, and spice. An approachable everyday wine.

Angel Vine “The Hellion” Primitivo – Petite Sirah 2008 (Washington) $24.99 – We tasted a wonderful Zinfandel from this winery in April when Wayne was here.  It was a HUGE hit at the tasting.  Ed Fus made a very limited amount of this blend (9 barrels).  Ed is devoted to making great Zinfandel and its cousin, Primitivo.  This is a delicious tribute to the Italian field blends that have been popular in California since immigrants brought vines with them.  It’s full, ripe and drinkable with spice and smoke under its dense fruit.  Everything is balanced.

The Dessert:

ArborBrook “Sydney” Semillon 2008 (Washington) $22.99 – This is golden and honeycomb in color.  This is a Sauternes-style wine with ripe honeysuckle and pineapple aromas.  This has flavors of pineapple, candied orange peel, starfruit and more tropical fruit flavors.  It has a silky, soft mouthfeel with a long finish.  The grapes are picked in late November.  From the Klipsun Vineyard in the Red Mountain AVA in Washington.  Fermented for 60 days in oak barrels.  Barrel-aged for 18 months in 50% new and 50% 2nd use French oak barrels.  All organic farming, “Salmon Safe.”  .  Food pairing – foie gras, blue cheese, nuts, dried fruit, pear or apple tart, grilled pineapple with white pepper caramel sauce, poaching Asian pears in and serving over vanilla ice cream.  94 points, Wine Enthusiast

April 25, 2012

April 2012 Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting
April 27th
4:30 – 7:30

10% off the price of all tasting wines!

The Sparkling:

Belle De Nuit Cremant de Loire 2009 (France) $16.99 – Without a doubt, the sparkling wines from the Loire Valley that are made in a similar way to Champagne are among the best sparkling wine values in the world!  This has nice aromas and flavors of white stone fruits and pears.  Plus some vanilla.  Blend of 15% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 35% Chenin Blanc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Hand-harvested grapes.  Aged 15 months sur lie in the bottle.  Undergoes a disgorgement as does Champagne and is then vinified dry in the bottle. 

The Whites:

Lanzos Blanco Castillo y Leon 2010 (Spain) $13.99 - This delicious wine is a great example of the incredible value coming from the Castilla y Leon region of Spain. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viura, it has crisp ripe fruit and a touch of floral aromas. On the palate, it is crisp and full of fruit with a hint of minerality. A very refreshing wine that pairs well with a wide variety of seafood, fowl, and full-flavorful cheeses.

Château Tuilerie Pagès Entre Deux Mers Blanc 2011 (France) $14.99 – This is a deliciously unoaked Bordeaux Blanc.  Aromas and flavors of citrus and tropical fruit.  Everything is nicely balanced.  Blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Sémillon.  Stainless steel fermentation and aging.  This comes in a beautiful blue bottle.    

The Rosé:

Vieux Clocher Rosé Cotes Du Rhone 2011 (France) $13.99 - This is a delicious rosé!  Aromas and flavors of strawberries and red berries.  This is light and refreshing!  Perfect for sitting and sipping on a warm day.  From the oldest continuously-owned family winery in France, 1717 - the Count François de Castellanne, de Lauris, de Vassadel, de Gérard, Chevalier Marquis d’Ampuis, de Lagnetoux, universal landlord of the place called Vacqueyras, donated a parcel of vines to an acestor of the Arnoux family. To this day, the Arnoux family farms this land and makes wonderful wines. Food pairing – sipping on a warm day. Grilled chicken or pork. Spicy dishes. Perfect for a picnic. Great with ham for Easter Dinner. Great with turkey and all the trimmings for Thanksgiving Dinner.

The Reds:

Cave Anne de Joyeause Camas Syrah 2009 (Languedoc, France) $12.99 – Cave Anne de Joyeuse is a high quality cooperative in Limoux, which was founded in 1929.  Today it has 650 members.  All the individual growers must adhere to rigorous procedures that are defined and monitored by the winery’s oenologists.  The cooperative is also committed to preserving the environment and to sustainable agriculture – the result of this commitment is best shown by the fact that over 80 varieties of orchid which are native to the region have spontaneously regenerated in their vineyards.  Since 1994 they have been recognized by the label “Protect The Planet” for work methods which are compatible with sustainable agriculture and the promotion of bio-diversity.  This Syrah is ripe and smooth, showing nice dark and red berry fruit.  Excellent wine at a great price!

Bliss Pinot Noir 2009 (Mendocino County, California) $17.99 – The cooling influences for growing wines in this area are ideal conditions for Pinot Noir and the result is a moderately-priced California Pinot that tastes like Pinot and is only 13.5% alcohol.  It is NOT Syrah-like, which Pinot never should be, but too often is.  Aromas and flavors of violets, raspberries and cherry cola.  Long, elegant finish with a little earthy spice on it.  Food pairing - Versatile enough to pair with everything from seasonal salads to your favorite poultry dish. Perfect with roasted veggies, chicken kebabs or partnering with your favorite fare.

Carol Shelton “Wild Things” Zinfandel 2008 (Mendocino County, California) $21.99 - From the award-winning winemaker Carol Shelton. Aromas of black cherry, plum and raspberry fruit combine with a beautiful hint of vanilla-oak loveliness, smoothly textured in mouth, very creamy and round, the finish is long and has lush jammy fruit — this wine is dangerously good! Remember – you are what you drink ….

Bank Note "The Vault" Red Blend 2009 (Napa Valley, California) $36.99 - Bill Knuttel consults with winemaker Pete Nixon to create the Banknote Wine Company, specializing in limited-production hand-crafted Napa Valley Wines. This Zinfandel based blend (45% Zinfandel, 30% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon) selected from only the finest Napa Valley Vineyards showcases ripe, concentrated dark fruit flavors that finish with a touch of spice and sweet tannins. The sheer boldness of this beauty makes it a great match with grilled steaks and chutney-accompanied dishes. Why so many labels? According to the winery, they couldn't decide on one banknote to represent the wine, so each case of Banknote wine has twelve different banknote labels.

The Cider:

Eden Ice Cider Caville Blanc Blend (Vermont) $29.99 – Think beyond dessert with this cider!  It goes well with sharp cheddars, game, patés and more.  Made from MacIntosh, Empire and Russet apples to provide sweetness and full body, Calville Blanc to add acidity and citrus notes and Ashmead’s Kernel that adds tannins for structure.  Ice Cider brings the essence of pure apple to a sophisticated wine. Vermont’s natural winter cold is used to concentrate cider to the optimum balance of sweetness and acidity. The unique blend of traditional and heirloom apples produces a complex, delicious flavor that complements food yet may be savored on its own.  Featured in Food and Wine Magazine!

March 16, 2012

April Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

Friday, March 16th

3:30 – 7:30

Featuring Wines from Small Vineyards, our beloved Italian importer……Small Vineyards…….small wineries……, sustainable farming…..more grown than grapes……they live there……they aren’t polluting .

10% savings on all wine tasting wines (yes….take 10% off the sale price).

The Whites:

Giocato Pinot Grigio 2010 (Primorska, Slovenia) Reg. $12.99, Sale $11.99 - We love this! We’ve brought in and sold about 3-4 vintages of this wine. Each year we love it. Each year, the complexity grows. Fresh, bright, lively and fun to drink! This is crisp and fresh with beautiful tropical fruit and a light kiss of lime/lemon. Great for seafood! Made by CULT Winemaker Aleks Simcic, perhaps Eastern Europe’s best! Italian – “Giocare” – to play; gamble; deceive; trick. Organic farming. Food pairing – lobster, seafood, lighter chicken dishes, salads.

Marchetti Verdicchio Dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2010 (Marche, Italy) Reg. $14.99, Sale $13.99 - This is one of the best Mediterranean whites under $15 I've ever tasted! We’ve sold 5 vintages of this. Each one gets better. Served at a wedding at an UP-SCALE Hudson River estate and loved! I recommended it….best value on the list! Wonderful citrus & mineral flavors & aromas. This also has notes of green apples & tropical fruits. Vibrant acidity and loads of minerality throughout the wine. Has a little nuttiness (almonds?) on the finish. Long, crisp finish! Maurizio Marchetti, the winemaker, only uses the best grapes (most years he gets no more than 1/2 a bottle from a single vine). 900 cases made. Organic farming. Food pairing - seafood, shellfish, swordfish, etc. Great with poultry.

The Reds:

Arcangelo Negroamaro Salento IGT 2010 (Puglia, Italy) Reg. $13.99, Sale $11.99 – We are in the heel of the boot......Old World, Old School World Apuglia.....these people are Apuglians first.....not Italians first.....This family is Greek….the Palamas….they settled here about 2,000 years ago. They’ve been making wine ever since. Recent immigrants. A few years ago, the only people drinking these wines were the Palamas and their neighbors……then Small Vineyards found them and their wines found an international market. These wines are of the soil and place! Fermented in concrete vats. This sees no oak. Fresh and vibrant. Aromas of Mediterranean herbs. Given this winery’s proximity to the sea, it’s a red that is good with much seafood. 3,500 cases made. Food pairing – grilled or seared tuna. Pasta with Puttanesca sauce. Grilled polenta with sun-dried tomatoes. Okay….I’m hungry now.

Sikelia Nero d’Avola (Sicily, Italy) Reg. $13.99, Sale $11.99 – This wine is smoking good at this price! It’s also smokin’ dangerous……Julius Caesar was leery of all things Sicilian his last days….Ides of March was Thursday… trusting are you? Sikelia is name ancient Greek sailors gave to this island. Nero D’avola is the classic grape of Sicily. It really is the backbone grape for most red wines from Sicily. Aromas and flavors of blackberries, mulberries and spices. Well-balanced with nice fruit and spices.

La Quercia Aglianico 2010 (Puglia, Italy) Reg. $17.99, Sale $15.99 – Aglianico is one of Italy’s noble grapes. Greek settlers brought it to southern Italy thousands of years ago. The name might be a corruption of Vitis Hellenica, Latin for Greek wine. Pliny the Elder wrote of this grape and made wine from it (he’s regarded as one of Rome’s outstanding winemakers). It thrives in warm, dry areas. This wine comes from a single a single vineyard in Puglia. It has those classic plum and white pepper notes that typify Aglianico. This is made in a style to drink young. Stainless steel fermentation. No barrel aging. Food pairing – grilled or seared tuna, a fish stew such as Cioppino, grilled polenta.

Tre Donne Barbari Nebbiolo Langhe DOC 2008 (Piedmont, Italy) Reg. $24.99, Sale $21.99 - Antonella, Rosanna and Daniela Lequio are 3 sisters who run this wonderful Piedmontese winery. They took over the running of the winery from their somewhat chauvinistic father who wasn't that sure about women as winemakers and he had no son! Turns out the 3 sisters are great at this! Barbera amd Barbaresco, 2 famed wines of the Piedmont, take their names from Barbarian. Hence the name and label of this wine. Nebbiolo is the grape used to make Barbaresco and Barolo. Nebbiolo Langhe s the grape from the Langhe region, which encompasses Barolo and Barbaresco. Organic & Sustainable Farming. This nicely blends power and elegance, which is a hallmark of this winery. Aged 12 months in 1st use French Allier oak barriques (300 bottle barrel). 1,250 cases made. Aromas and flavors of dark berries, cedar and smoke. Food pairing – pork tenderloin, pasta carbonara, porcini mushroom risotto.

Podere Ciona Le Diacce Merlot 2006 (Tuscany, Italy) Reg. $37.99, Sale $34.99 – This wine is made by our friend, Lorenzo Gatteschi, at his family’s estate in the Chianti Classico part of Tuscany. It’s a Super Tuscan. Grown at a high altitude in Chianti Classico (1,800 feet). This has that lushness accompanied with a firm feel that is a hallmark of outstanding Merlot. That smooth, velvety, coat and massage your mouth feel. This has bright red fruit with a nice smoky note to it. 92% Merlot and 8% Alicante Bouchet. Barrel aged for 18 months and bottle aged for at least a year before release. Food pairing – pork tenderloin, wild game, Fontina, bruschetta.