Visiting the Celtic Paradise of Spain: Tasting at Bodegas Avanthia & Godeval

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Valdeorras “The Valley of Gold”
The inland parts of Galicia include the lush, green, hilly land of beautiful rivers and streams that remind you of Ireland or New Zealand. in Valdeorras wine production goes back to Roman times but their local varieties nearly died out until they were brought to the world’s attention around 1986 through the work of Horacio Fernandez . If you thought Albariño was obscure have you ever tried the red called Mencia or the white from the Godello grape?

We visited the 13th Century Monastery of Xagoaza where the wines under the Godeval and Avanthia label of Jorge Ordoñez are made and had are daily noonday feast in the banquet hall of the monastery. They  served pulpo Gallego, octopus first boiled, then grilled then served with garlic, olive oil, paprika and potatoes. We also had those big langostinos that they call bogavante. The hosts besides Jorge were the hardworking enologist/winemaker Alistair Gardner who oversees several white wine projects and Araceli Fernandez del Palacio, vineyard manager and daughter of Horacio Fernandez who began this revival of Valdeorras vines.
One thing that struck me throughout our visit to Spain was the lack of terracing on some really steep vineyards. They were pitched as steeply as some Mosel and Douro River sites but with out the steps. Didn’t see any terracing in either Valdeorras or Malaga. Strange
Here are some of our tasting notes:

2009 Godeval Godello

Nose: pineapple, citrus, lime, very ripe tropical fruits hint of chalk.
Taste: Minerality kicks in crisp acidity and zingy citrus flavors, excellent in crustacean situations

2001 Godeval guarded by a salamander


2009 vs 2010 vs 2001  Godeval Godello:  One great thing about this trip was comparing different vintages of the same wine. In this case we had the new release 2010, the current release 2009 and a library bottle 2001 that we found being guarded by a salamander in the cellar.
The 2010 had more mango and guava flavors
The 2009 had riper flavors of baked apple
The 2001 Color had turned gold, acidity was lower and the flavors were more like peach and apricot with hints of honey and gout de petrol.

Avanthia Godello 2010, Godeval 2009 & 2001

2010 Avanthia Godello current vintage is 2009
This one is barrel fermented compared to the Godeval Godello which is steel fermented. The Avanthia Godello is the premium wine produced
Nose: Baked apple and toffee flavors with citrus, an impressive wine, very much like a Grand Cru Pessac Leognan
Some special wines from the red Mencia grape

2010 Avanthia Mencia Rosé
I’ve never seen this wine before the nose has lots of strawberry and cherry drop notes with a fleshy roundness it would be perfect with some blue fin toro and roasted ramps

2010 Avanthia Mencia Cuveé Mosteiro current vintage is 2009
Nose: Cherry, very rip, spice, herb,slate, tobacco, cocoa and toasted bread.
Taste: Very supple and smooth ripeness with spice and rhubarb, some herb and spice kicks in at the end.

What to do with 2kg of octopus

Speaking to chef he suggested either thaw out a frozen octopus or if it is fresh, freeze and thaw it to tenderize the meat. Then for a 2kg octopus simmer it in barely boiling water for about an hour. Let it sit in the cooking water and  come to room temperature. Briefly  grill it over wood coals or charcoal and serve with oil, paprika, garlic salt and pepper. Very simple but very good.

Remirez de Ganuza Riojas: Modern meets Medieval in Samaniego

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Samaniego: Rioja in a 14th Century Village.
At twilight on a drizzly day we visited the medieval village of Samaniego named for an author of fables. One remnant of that era was a closed, windowless tower, kind of a stone silo that apparently was used as a huge mass grave for bodies from plagues, war & famine, you know, the usual medieval causes of death. They have a  church bell that rings every half hour, that may have also driven a few people into the tower.

This quaint village contains the winery, offices and some of the vineyards of Fernando Remirez de Ganuza who showed us around with his lovely
daughter Christina. Small by Spanish standards , producing only 15,000 cases per vintage and relatively new but considered to be one of a handful of Rioja producers making the best wine in this large region.  Fernando sources his grapes from some 60 hectares they own in five towns including Samaniego, El Ciego, La Guardia and San Vicente. INSERT PIC OF HWY SIGNS
The wines were amazing. Jay Miller of The Wine Advocate calls this “one of Rioja’s benchmark Estates” and he considers 2001 and 2004 the Estate’s best vintages.

Erre Punto on its lees

I am familiar with almost all the bodegas we visited but there were still many wines that were new to me. They make one white called Erre Punto, literally  “R-Dot”
or “R-Period”. It is very good, all from free run juice and a blend of Malvasia and Viura  with a total production of 60 barrels. There is also the Trasnocho which translates to “over night” or “through the night”.  This is a modern style, lush Rioja,  a bit of an experimental wine which undergoes an extremely gentle overnight pressing using the weight of a huge waterfilled bladder  that is introduced at the top of the fermentation tank and very gently squeezes the grapes without imparting any harsh tannins.

Our private tasting included the 2006 Trasnocho along with the 2004 Reserva Rioja and the 2009 Erre Punto. Afterwards we went to our regular three hour midnight dinner at one of Rioja’s best steak houses. Here are my notes on the wines:

Erre Punto white 2009
Malvasia and Viura blend all free run juice from a roto-macerator,  barrel fermented with fair amount of lees contact.
Nose: Ripe pear and peach with hints of vanilla and anise
Taste: Quite lush and ripe with a round feel and good acidity in the finish, very good

Fincas de Ganuza Reserva 2005 retail  considered a “second label” and sourced from 30-40 year old vines
Nose: Warm cherry preserves, toffee, hint of spices like allspice and nutmeg
Taste: Creamy texture with ripe berry flavors, hints of toffee, hefty tannins and a little herb in the finish, sage and thyme, very good

Remirez de Ganuza Reserva 2005 retail about $90, sourced from 60-90 year old vines 22 months in oak
Nose: More intense version of the Fincas de Ganuza, powerful dry cherry scents, more toast and toffee more herb and spice scents
Taste: Powerful dry black cherry and toffee with a hint of popcorn, some stone dust qualities, very intense fruit flavors with finer tannins and more polish than the “Fincas”. Excellent.

Remirez de Ganuza Reserva 2004 sourced from 60-90 year old vines 22 months in oak
Color is opaque purple black right to the rim
Nose: is powerful like a top right bank Bordeaux with concentrated berry liqueur, licorice, tobacco, and spice aromas framed in a sweet vanilla and oak scented frame.
Taste: follows suit with a lengthy opulence and fine tannins. The fruit extract is amazing with overtones of smoke, tobacco and a right bank minerality and a long long finish. Judged by most to be the best vintage of this wine ever made

Remirez de Ganuza Trasnocho 2006
This wine has only been imported to the US since about May 2011, what an amazing wine.
It is a super lush, inky but smooth style of Rioja, what you might call a modern style
Nose: Sweet sweet perfume of candied dry cherry, anise and pie spices
Taste: A cherry bomb but dark and brooding. The texture is ultra plush and lush like leather seats in the back of a lincoln town car. It is balanced with a clean finish that goes on and on.

At our standard midnight feast we had the Trasnocho 2006 and Reserva 2004 in magnum, what a pair of wines! I love the free range beef you find in Spain which is funny because it is very different from the Texas beef that Juan Muga loves so much. The beef we had at El Asador steak house is a variety called “Rubia Gallega” or Galician Blonde, the perfect foil for these great wines. I kept thinking about how jealous my dogs must be.
FYI: There are still some magnum (1.5L) bottles left of the amazing Remirez de Ganuza 2004, 2001 and 2004 were, to date Fernando’s best vintages. Contact me directly for availability and pricing There are even 3L, 5L and 12L bottles available but only direct from the winery, we can get those for you to.

Monday Morning Tasting QB February 27: The Wild World of Whiskies, tasting with Karl DuHoffmann

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This was a great tasting which Karl handled brilliantly! My favorite all around was the Chieftain’s Braeval 14 year old. I took home a bottle and it takes a lot for me to bring home a bottle of any spirit because it lasts me so long. i guess I should share more. Anyway we hope to have Karl do more of these educational spirit events real soon. Here is the line up with my impressions of each. BTW, Karl left the bottles so if you are curious to taste please stop by for a wee dram, any time. As you can see it was very well attended.

About Karl: Karl duHoffmann brings 20 yrs of experience in the food and beverage industry with  to bear when speaking on distilled beverages. A passionate advocate for the diversity to be found amongst the great spirits of the world, Karl is a dynamic educator who challenges received wisdom and brings a fun informative presence to the classroom. Karl leads professional spirit education seminars and we are fortunate to have him for absolutely no charge except an open mind and an interest in whiskies.

Breckenridge Distillery Bourbon Whiskey Colorado 86 Proof
My Tasting Notes: My kind of bourbon, lots of carmel and toffee but not too heavy or sweet. It has lots of grainy malty nose with hints of spice, wood, orange rinds
“This unique mash bill features corn, malted barley and nearly 40% rye. Made using traditional, open-top Scottish style fermentation, it was aged in 55 gallon, Char No. 3, Missouri white oak barrels for three years….” -The Distillery

Balcones Distilling Brimstone Texas Smoked Corn Whisky 106 Proof
My Tasting Notes: A bit much for me but some were mesmerized by its bold flavors. To me it had a very oily petroleum nose with flavors of barbecue wood smoke. The corn gives it a sweet undercurrent and it is really hard to get the taste out of your mouth.
“Made from 100% blue corn, this whiskey is smoked using Texas scrub oak rather than traditional Scottish peat… Chip Tate continues to assert his leadership of the craft distiller movement in Texas.” -The Distillery

Isle of Skye 8 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky 86 Proof
My Tasting Notes: A lovely all-round weekday scotch and a steal for about $30 a fifth!  Very malty and mellow with a nice smooth finish
“Premium quality 8 Years Old Blend…An exceptionally smooth and mellow Scotch whisky containing a high proportion of carefully selected Island and Speyside Malts. Honey/vanilla sweet Speyside flavour allied to smoky/peaty Island influences to give a well balanced distinctive blend.” -The Distillery

Kilchoman Spring 2011 Release Single Malt Scotch 92 Proof 
My Tasting Notes:  Has fairly peaty notes with a good deal of band aid, and wood smoke notes with a soft round finish in which some candied fruit and toffee notes kick in. The peat is pronounced and gives the whisky a lovely listerine accent that leaves your lips buzzing afterwords
89 Points – Whisky Advocate, July 2011
“A marriage of three and four year old whisky aged in first-fill bourbon barrels, with the four year old portion being finished in oloroso sherry casks. Among the best of the Kilchoman releases to date. The first-fill bourbon packs a flavor punch, while the sherry softens, rounds, and adds complexity. Barrel char, burnt raisin, boat dock, and tarry rope, softened by caramel and enhanced with notes of tropical fruit. Surprisingly mature for its age and very distinctive.” -John Hansell
Chieftain’s Braeval 1996 14 Year Old Limited Edition 92 Proof
My Tasting Notes: Speyside Single Malt Scotch nose shows some wool, malt and faint note of peat  on the palate it shows nice round apple, sherry, peat and sweetened cooked barley tastes the finish shows licorice and menthol.
“Established in Scotland in 1933, Ian Macleod Distillers was named after the chieftain of Clan Macleod. Privately owned and operated by the Russell family, they’ve amassed an extensive and enviable collection of casks from Scotland’s finest distilleries. Each cask is hand selected and signed by the Chieftain’s Rare Malt Manager…These whiskeys are very limited and only offered twice a year.” -The Importer

Visiting Bodegas Muga: Four generations of Rioja excellence

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This winery was amazing, very traditional and obviouly out to corner the market on all the oak forests in France. They’ve got the egg market sewn up as well. We met with the fourth generation of the Muga family wine business, Juan and Marco Muga
Bodegas Muga has a love affair with oak that borders on obsession. All the fermentation tanks, fermentation and aging barrels of course and even the HUGE storage tanks are all oak. Some  see this as a throw back considering most wineries use shiny, clean stainless fermenters and tanks but there opposing schools of thought. In the debate of Oak vs Stainless Steel the  downside of  oak is the labor. You need lots of labor  to build the damn things, and Muga does it from scratch. They have there own cooperage with three generations of master coopers employed , then there is  the labor to maintain all those wooden containers . Absolute cleanliness is vital to sound wine making and it is a lot easier to keep stainless clean than to clean wooden barrels, fermenters and tanks. It is a huge job if done properly.

Now if the devotion to oak isn’t anachronistic enough, Muga clarifies their wine with egg whites, thousands and thousands of egg whites. I just want to know why there isn’t a huge brand of mayonnaise called “Muga”. Well, that’s how they roll at Muga, very old school, but the results speak for themselves. After touring the cooperage, checking out all the tanks and getting lost in the 10,000 barrel barrel room (while tapping a few barrel samples) we wound up at an amazing lunch and tasting of the whole Muga range. The memorable dishes were beautiful whole split baby artichokes braised with herbs and onions and a mix of fresh white and green beans (green beans not greenbeans) with chorizo, and  loin lamb chops.
Most of these wines were  released May-July 2011 and are currently available. These are the highlights

Muga Blanco 2010 about $15
nose: Pear, spice, citrus and mineral
palate: balanced, crisp mineral and apple notes with slight flavors of bread, allspice and nutmeg. Firm on the palate with a nice fresh qualitiy

Muga Reserva Seleccion Especial 2005 about $50
nose: warm cherry, plum, licorice and white pepper
palate: a bit tight and tannic, needs some bottle age but very dense and concentrated, gets extensive aging in American oak.

Also tasted the Muga  Seleccion Especial 2004, Excellent! like silk, like the 2005 but very smooth with integrated tannins.

Muga Prado Enea gran reserva 2004 about $60, Also coming to the store week of February 27, 2012
I’m really biased on this wine, it’s one of the few gran reservas that I love. Gran reserva is required to age 5 years in barrel and bottle before release and many of them taste tired, oxidzed and dusty but Prado always has the density and concentration of fruit to make it a rich, intense beauty. The aging gives it a polish that leaves it smooth as silk. Though it’s not cheap, for the quality it’s a steal.
nose: red fruits, spice, hung meat, full, deep and fresh aromas . This is followed by notes of oak, slate, graphite and a little thyme
taste: powerful, mouth coating fine tannins. Flavors of dried plum, cherry, plum jam, mineral, red clay. Very impressive

Torre Muga 06 about $90
nose: inky concentrated nose, dense black cherry, licorice, white pepper, baked berry tart and hint of tar
taste: powerful dark berry, mineral, spice, herbs, the flavors just go on and on.

Muga Aro 06 about $170
Incredible like Torre Muga on steriods
Contact me directly if you want to know more or want to order any of them .  The Prado Enea 2004 and Seleccion Especial 2004 are in the shop, the others are special order items.

Want to discover Bordeaux? Vintage 2009 is a great place to start

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Do you even like Bordeaux? (red) Bordeaux is wine from a huge wine region of France (almost a billion bottles a year!)  from the regions established on and near the banks of the Gironde and Dordogne rivers in a cooler climate partially governed by the Atlantic ocean and partially by the continent. The better areas have well drained gravel soil. These wines are blended from the well known Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec
Your wine biases develop early on in your career.  If your first wines were California Cabs and Chardonnay you probably prefer fruit forward wines with low acidity, high alcohol and lots of oak. You may find Bordeaux to be thin and sour. If you grew up drinking  Bordeaux you probably prefer wines with a broader range of flavors besides just grapiness, a little herbaceousness, some spice and minerality. You probably prefer the subtlety of French oak over the heavy hand of American oak and like the lift of a little balanced acidity rather than the flabbiness of those over ripe California fruit bombs. At its best, Bordeaux is a harmonious balanced blend of flavors  including dark berries, cassis, oak flavors from the cask, spice and licorice flavors and even notes of mineral tastes from the soil. It is soft yet powerful with long lingering tastes and for the collector it is a wine that magically changes when properly stored and aged and goes through stages of life like a person with an infancy, youth, middle and if you don’t open it soon enough an unpleasant death. The best Bordeaux can get better in the bottle for a decade, plateau for another decade and hang on beyond that depending on storage.

Vintage 2009, a gift: I chose now to write this post because the 2009 vintage of Bordeaux wines  are starting to hit the shelves. It is a Great Vintage and the Big Time Bourdeaux (BTB) is being hyped to the heavens and priced in the stratosphere. Also it would be a sin to drink the top wines anytime soon, remember about the aging potential of Bordeaux, as well as the trophy factor of possessing the best Bordeaux from the best vintages. Well we want to drink the stuff that is actually available, affordable and good. This is a very good vintage to buy from top to bottom. At the bottom, the unclassified Bordeaux as well as the second labels of the more famous estates are excellent to seek out and buy up. The great thing about these wines is that they are utterly charming without any breathing or bottle age. Just beautiful wines that are a joy to drink. What I like about Bordeaux is that it is easy to drink and goes so well with food. Some big reds just sate you with one glass. They are so thick and high in alcohol that you don’t want more than one glass and are often too  heavy for a heavy meal. Bordeaux is a bit more lithe, you can drink a glass with your meal and enjoy one or two more without feeling overwhelmed.

The real estate factor: If you are not a wine geek and you’ve heard of the “apellation” of the wine (Bordeaux subregion) it’s probably expensive.  Just as you pay a premium simply for getting the word “Napa” on a bottle of California  Cab, in Bordeaux the famous regions are on the left bank downstream from the city of Bordeaux. Regions like Paulliac, Margaux, Saint Julien, Saint Estephe are more expensive as are the wines from Graves, further upstream and Pomerol, still further upstream and on the right bank. There are less well know Bordeaux appellations that make great wines at better prices. Look upstream on the right bank a little further from the river for less well know apellations that give you more bang for your buck. Look for Fransac, Cotes de Castillon, Cotes de Bourg and Cotes de Blaye, even the famous appellations like Pomerol have border areas on the “wrong side of the tracks” like Lalande-de-Pomerol . And  on the famous left bank Molise and Listrac are appellations (Bordeaux sub regions) that fly under the radar as well and generally give you wines with lots of stuffing for not a lot of money. Going farther away there are also the Malbec based wines of Cahors in southwest France for Malbec fans. Cahors is NOT Bordeaux but hey the bottles look the same so I thought I’d throw it in.   Again start with good retailers and ratings for specifics, here are a couple to get you started.
Chateau Haut-Surget Lalande-de-Pomerol 2009
Chateau Clos du Roy Fronsac 2009
Chateau Hyot Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux 2009
Chateau St. Didier-Parnac Cahors 2009

Petit Chateaux: These are all the unclassified estates and  are often bottled simply as “Bordeaux”, “Bordeaux Superieur”, “Premier Cotes du Bordeaux” or maybe even “Medoc” or “Haut-Medoc”
From the good years they are often very good and are often under $20. There are so many I hesitate to give specifics estate names since each shop has a different selection but many are regularly rated by Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits and a couple of others that are popular in this country. The rating is of course subjective but it gives you a starting point. Well informed retailers are good to ask as well.  A couple of the estates we carry in this category are:
Chateau Saincrit Classique Bordeaux Superior 2009
Chateau Macard Bordeaux Superieur 2009

Second Labels: The better estates want a consistently high level of qualtity yet younger vines and weaker vintages result in juice that doesn’t make the grade. What to do? Often the wine is merely very good rather than excellent so it is bottled under a second label, in cases where the juice is just poor for some reason it is sold off and not even vinified by the estate itself. So if you want to spend a bit more and taste what better Bordeaux is like try one of these.We have a few in our selection but again, there are many so don’t get hung up on these names.  Ratings and retailer recommendations are good starting points as well. These are not from the 2009 vintage but looking for these second labels is an overall good Bordeaux strategy. Actually we have one from the famous 2000 vintage that is priced really well. Here are a few to get you started:
2nd label of Ch. Cantemerle (5th growth) is Chateau Les Allees de Cantemerle Haut-Medoc 2006
2nd label of Ch. Leoville Las Cases (2nd growth) is Chateau Clos du Marquis St.-Julien 2006
2nd label of Ch. La Tour Carnet (4th growth) is Les Douves de la Tour Carnet Haut Medoc 2000

Good hunting,

Rich Mora

My Humble Opinion:What’s New at Paumanok Vineyards? Tasting the 2010’s and 2011’s with Karen

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The low down on the recent Long Island vintages,  in a nutshell, 2010 was killer, 2011 was a little more, shall we say “challenging”. As far as I’m concerned the 2010 reds coming out are awesome, especially the new Cab Franc and the non-vintage “Festival White” which is  mainly Chardonnay, and is 2011 juice, is better than ever with a touch of Chenin in the blend for some lovely aromatic components. So enjoy the 2010’s and fear not the 2011’s because the winery and the winemaker is more important than the vintage year in the final analysis.

Here’s my take on some of the new wines from  Paumanok, consistently in the upper echelon of Long Island Wineries.
Paumanok Festival Chardonnay 2011
Festival Chardonnay is a blend of several lots of Chardonnay and 2% Sauvignon Blanc and 1% Chenin Blanc. I love the touch of Chenin, it gives the wine a beautiful floral character. In the past the sauvignon blanc takes over and kills any chance of mistaking the wine as a Chardonnay, the Chenin definitely changes the style of the wine but acts as an enhancer.

Paumanok Riesling Dry 2010
“This wine was fermented entirely in stainless steel tanks to preserve the Riesling varietal character.

Paumanok Chenin Blanc 2011
“The Paumanok 2011 Chenin Blanc is a blend of our three lots of Chenin, 100% Chenin. The 2011 is definitely a step down from the 2010 and 2009 indicating the difficulties of that vintage. It is very good and had you not had the benchmark of previous vintages you’d be quite happy with it. Still one of the most unique and special whites made on Long Island and I believe may still be the only straight Chenin produced on the whole East Coast though you have to ask Karen about that.

Paumanok Festival Red 2009
Not as good as the 2008, okay but NBD

Paumanok Cabernet Franc 2010
76% Cabernet Franc, 23% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, and 100% delicious. This was great! The character of the 2010 reds are that the sugars got high, the ripeness was high and the wines are yummy immediately upon release. If you are not familiar with this wine, usually it is tight, astringent and closed when it first comes out, especially in a better vintage. Usually it shows well a few years after the release and still needs to breath in a decanter. Not this one, pop it and drink it, though it will have great longevity from its classic structure.  I got a lot of flavors of sour cherry and mulberry from it with soft smooth tannins.

Paumanok Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Excellent wine from an excellent vintage, at a total production of only 681 cases we’re lucky to still be able to offer it.  Drinking really well, highly recommended

Get Naked for Valentine’s Day

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Looking for something different to do on Valentine’s day this year?

2010 Some Young Punks Naked on Roller Skates Shiraz . This is a lush Shiraz, very smooth, medium bodied and delicious with a touch (5%) of Mataro (aka Mourvedre, Monastrell) for color and a little more blackberry flavor.

Springtime in February: Torrontes from Argentina, a breath of fresh air

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Torrontes in America Argentina’s signature white variety, Torrontes  is relatively new to this country. The good ones are fresh and snappy with  a lovely perfumed nose and good acidity which  makes it appeal to dry Chenin Blanc and Viognier aficionados.  I remember in the 1990’s when it was an oddity here (I’d say it still is),  a wine I suspect the Argentines kept for themselves but in the last decade imports of Torrontes have increased tenfold. Don’t worry, Chardonnay has nothing to worry about, at under 300,000 cases a year it is still an oddity and a footnote in the annual wine stats but growing fast with a lot of brands on the market.  They are very good values, readily available and I really like the ABC factor. That is Anything But Chardonnay. I love a good Chard but I like to venture into unfamiliar territory even more, sometimes.
Torrontes in Argentina Torrontes is genuinely Argentine, not coopted from France like Malbec.  It is a hybrid of the Muscat de Alexandria and the white Mission grape. The muscat parentage is apparent in that lovely aroma. One of our more reliable wine consultants related to us that Susana (Rocky) Balbo who makes lovely Torrontes, spearheaded the surge of Torrontes as a dry table wine. Pre-Susana Torontes was traditionally used in sweet dessert wines, and she does make a beautiful late harvest Torrontes dessert.

Torrontes and food Treat Torrontes like dry Chenin Blanc or Viognier. Good dry Chenin, such as a high quality Vouvray is delicate yet has  a good lengthy finish and wonderful aromatics.  It is great on it own as an aperitif but don’t overlook its food compatability, especially seafood, shellfish in white sauces are very good. Also the aromas, low alcohol acidity and impression of sweetnes makes it go with the spice and heat of  Indian and Thai dishes. For a good list of potential food pairings goto and hover over the “recipes” tab on the navigation.
Mora’s Torrontes Stable:
Bodega Colome Torrontes 2010
89 Points – Wine Enthusiast, May 2011

Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes 2010
90 Points – International Wine Cellar, January/February 2011
91 Points – Wine Advocate, December 2010

Goulart Torrontes Mendoza 2010 BEST BUY
90 Points – International Wine Cellar, March 2011

Urban Torrontes 2009 BEST BUY and coolest labels
Rating and review for 2008 vintage:
89 Points – Wine Advocate, August 2009

and last but not least the dessert version, really delicious
Susana Balbo Late Harvest Torrontes 2009 500mL
90 Points – International Wine Cellar, January/February 2011
90 Points – Wine Advocate, December 2010

The perfect white for the Spring weather we’re having:Torrontes

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Goulart Torrontes Mendoza 2010
Sale Price: $8.24 (Save 25%!)  Regular Price: $10.99

90 Points – International Wine Cellar, March 2011
“Very pale yellow. Intriguing aromas of lemon, minerals, menthol and white pepper; reminded me a bit of grüner veltliner. Then tactile and supple but dry, with good density and an almost sauvignon-like tang to the flavors of minerals, ginger and flowers. Should make a very flexible wine at the dinner table. This is made from the more minerally Mendocino clone of torrontés, not the Salta clone.” -Stephen Tanzer

Free Saturday Wine Tasting February 11: A Midwinter’s Wine Event with Paul Yolanga

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Saturday February 11 stop by for our popular weekly tasting (Starting at 3pm) with our popular wine consultant Paul Yolanga of the Opici Wine Group. As always we offer a great line up of value wines, interesting new wines and a nice surprise or two. Paul usually pops open some “extra credit” wines when he visits us. We start at 3pm: here is the lineup

Vina Robles White 4 Paso Robles 2010 (90WE)
92 Points – Wine Enthusiast, March 2011
“Just when this Chard seems simple and sweet, the fruit is overtaken by acidity and minerality, taking the tangerine, lime and mango flavors to the next level and making the wine complex and fascinating. Shows how exceptional winemaking can result in exceptional wine.” -Steve Heimoff

Robert Oatley Tempranillo 2009 (87WS)
87 Points – Wine Spectator, March 2011
“Firm, succulent and appealing for its spicy dark berry flavors, riding easily over a bed of fine tannins. Drink now through 2013. 2,000 cases imported.” -Harvey Steiman

CARM Tinta Reserva 2008 (89WA)
89 Points – Wine Advocate, February 2011
“The 2008 RESERVA is a Douro Superior blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Francisca and Touriga Franca, aged for 18 months in a mixture of used American and French oak. What do you get by trading up here from the regular Tinto? Not much, frankly, other than some obvious oaky notes, the sweet vanilla nuances that obscure the fruit. It does have a sweet ‘n’ sexy feel to it that will delight many, plus the same nice structure and focus…” -Mark Squires

Waterbrook Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008 (90WS)
92 Points – Wine & Spirits
“A cabernet with classical restraint, this elegant red displays an old-school sense of proportion. Its black plum flavors and clean velvety texture feel sleek, driven by polished tannins. The finish brings to mind purple flowers. A posh red for beef bourguignon.”

Casa de la Ermita Dulce Monastrell 2008 500mL
“…Using a combination of new and previously-used 60% American and 40% French oak barriques, the wine was aged for 3 months before being filtered and bottled. On the nose, this wine expresses notes of ripe fruit and spices. It is rich and jammy. Good tannins harmoniously balance the sweetness.” -The Importer