Saturday Tasting Archive: Summer’s Last Hurrah 6 wines for Chillin’ and Grillin’

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Join us this beautiful weekend so you have plenty of good wine to toast the perfect weather and the beginning of school. Another summer has come and gone, boo hoo…  but Mora’s fantastic wine tastings never end! As always we go from 3 to 6pm, we’ll be pouring a crisp white, a dry rosé and 4 hearty reds for the red meat.  We even have a nice Pinot Noir for that beercan chicken. Here’s the line up:

Dandelion Vineyards Wonderland of the Eden Valley Riesling 2010 

96 Points – Australian Wine Companion, 2012 Edition
“Colour: Pristine pale straw with almost fluorescent green tinges. Nose: Bursting fruit freshness, with invigorating, intense smells of lime skin, citrus blossom, green apple, ripe guavas and cinnamon spice. Palate: Opens with crisp and crunchy fruit flavours lime sorbet, stone-fruit , including apricot as well as classic mandarin citrus on the mid palate, developing into rich lemon meringue tart-like flavour but still with a refreshing steely minerality, balanced with racy, slate-like acidity.” -James Halliday 

“Pristine pale straw with almost fluorescent green tinges. Bursting fruit freshness, with invigorating, intense smells of lime skin, citrus blossom, green apple, ripe guavas and cinnamon spice. Opens with crisp and crunchy fruit flavours lime sorbet, stone-fruit , including apricot as well as classic mandarin citrus on the mid palate, developing into rich lemon meringue tart-like flavour but still with a refreshing steely minerality, balanced with racy, slate-like acidity.” -The Winery


Domaine de la Mordoree Cotes du Rhone Rose la Dame Rousse 2011 See details

Domaine de la Mordoree Cotes du Rhone Rose la Dame Rousse 2011 

92 Points – Wine Advocate, June 2012
“And speaking of a Cotes du Rhone appellation, the 2011 Mordoree La Dame Rousse Rose (40% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Cinsault and the rest Carignan and Mourvedre) is gorgeous. A surprisingly full-bodied rose offering up notes of rose petals intermixed with hints of orange rind, sweet black cherries, licorice and earth, this is a big, rich, pure and intense rose to drink over the next several years.” -Robert Parker

Chateau de Pena Cuvee de Pena VDP des Pyrenees Orientales 2010 See details

Chateau de Pena Cuvee de Pena VDP des Pyrenees Orientales 2010 

Rating and review for 2009 vintage: 

90 Points – Wine Advocate, June 2011
“The as usual Carignan-based red 2009 Cuvee de Pena is simply the finest of its illustrious bargain-priced breed that I have tasted (and I go back 20 years with this cuvee and its predecessor), which also makes it a mind-boggling value! Clean and polished, concentrated but unexaggerated, this delivers sweet fruit with soil and soul. Ripe cherry, black raspberry, and purple plum are shadowed by their distilled counterparts in a high-toned nose and practically gush on the palate. Pungent, resinous herbs, smoky black tea, toasted pecan, brown spices, and crushed stone all serve for aromatic and gustatory interest, leading to a brightly juicy yet deeply rich finish. Buy it by the case…” -David Schildknecht


William Cole Pinot Noir Albamar 2010 See details

William Cole Pinot Noir Albamar 2010 

86 Points – Wine Spectator, December 2011
“Sleek, with fresh cherry and red currant fruit laced with a subtle vanilla streak. Ends with a bright finish. Drink now. 5,000 cases made.” -James Molesworth

First Drop Half & Half Shiraz/Monastrell 2010 See details

First Drop Half & Half Shiraz/Monastrell 2010 

90 Points – International Wine Cellar, July 2012
“Bright violet color. Deeply pitched aromas of black and blue fruits, cola and licorice, with a spicy topnote. Picks up a smoky quality with air and offers powerful boysenberry and dark cherry qualities. Dusty tannins add grip to a long, sweet and penetrating finish. This wine drinks very nicely with some decanting.” -Josh Raynolds

Shinas Estate Cabernet Sauvignon The Verdict 2007 See details

Shinas Estate Cabernet Sauvignon The Verdict 2007

“The results are in and the ‘Verdict’ (Cabernet Sauvignon) has been delivered. Like the Guilty and the Innocent, only a lucky few will ever get to taste it. Deep crimson in colour with lovely ripe plummy characters, this fruit driven Cabernet Sauvignon certainly matches well with the Guilty and the Innocent. With the typical quality shown by this winery, we can once again enjoy crafted wines that exhibit the warm, sunny climates of Mildura, a region fast gaining a reputation for fine wines. So the jury is no longer out – the Verdict is in.” -The Winery

Super easy party recipe: Clams and chorizo in a garlic broth

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Basque style Clams & Chorizo in Garlic Broth from Winespecator.com

Recommended wines:  Dandelion Vineyards Riesling Eden Valley Australia or Domaine de la Mordoree Cotes du Rhone Rosé. In lieu of these a good rule for matching food and wine is to drink the wine from the region of the cuisine, in this case Basque country. We happen to have a wonderful pair of wines from Getaria near San Sebastian. the wine are  called Txacolina (“cha-ko-leena”) the Txomin Etxaniz white and Txomin Etxaniz roséwith wonderful fruit and mineral notes with a brisk acidity and a touch of effervesence which blasts through the smoky garlicy seafood flavors of this dish.

Sausage and shellfish stews come in all sorts of regional permutations (think seafood gumbo, clam chowder with bacon, paella), but they don’t get much easier than this Spanish classic: clams and chorizo steamed in a garlicy white wine sauce. With a minimal amount of chopping and assemblage, this single pot dish comes together in well under 30 minutes.

A note about chorizo: There are a lot of different types out there (sweet, spicy, cooked, raw, Mexican, Spanish or Portuguese, etc. …). In this recipe, I used a mild cooked Spanish-style chorizo from specialty meat purveyor D’Artagnan. If you can’t find chorizo at all, look for andouille or a mild breakfast sausage, and then a supplemental seasoning of smoked paprika or sweet red peppers would do just fine.  Total Time: 25 minutes
1 baguette, cut into oblong rounds
2 chorizo sausages, diced (1/2 pound)
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine (whatever you’re drinking will work best)
6 small Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced
30 littleneck clams, rinsed and scrubbed
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Brush the baguette rounds with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the oven and cook until the rounds have crisped and browned slightly, around 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.

2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add the diced chorizo sausage and cook until browned, stirring occasionally, around 4 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft, around 2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add the wine and stir, scraping up any brown bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan. When the wine comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the potatoes. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes have softened.

3. Add the clams to the covered pot and continue to cook until the clams have fully opened, around 4 to 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and discard any clams that have not fully opened. Add the parsley and the cooked chorizo to the pot and stir. Adjust the seasoning of the broth with salt. Divide the clams and broth mixture into 4 bowls and serve with the crisped baguette rounds. Serves 4.

My favorite wines of the summer of 2012

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2011 Channing Daughters rosés: We are sold out. Please check with the winery on availability their site is listing 4 out of 8 as available. Channing Daughters winery and vineyard is a lonely outpost of innovation on the south fork has such a diverse line up of esoteric wines that I think of Chris Tracy as the Willy Wonka of wine. They have all manner of funky cool climate varieties, all sorts of interesting blends and even styles few people attempt like the “orange wines”, whites made with prolonged skin contact, and a ripasso/solera style red called “Over and Over”. Anyway, they produced a rainbow of rose from just  about all their red varieties in the 2011 vitage and it was so much fun to taste through them all.

2011 Avanthia Rosé: This is a manly pink wine. It is not a simple sipper but rather a rich food wine that shows best taming the beast in hot curries and buffalo chicken wings. It may become my thanksgiving wine if it lasts long enough to serve with turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and gravy.

2009 Alto Moncayo Veraton: is just off the summit of the Borsao mountain range of great Spanish wines. Only Alto Moncayo Alto Moncayo and Alto Moncayo Aquilon are above it in stature but the Veraton is the old vines Garnacha from this winery that I drank the most of this summer. It is the consistency of chocolate syrup thinned with some soy sauce, very rich and savory.

Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Madeiras: I’m familiar with  the New York Malmsey and the Boston Bual, named after important cities of the American revolution While not a summery wine per se, I fell in love with it over the summer and I think its a love that will last well into fall and winter. The delicious flavors of burnt sugar, spices and candied orange peel are addictive and its a pity it isn’t served more often

2010 Pellegrini Vintner’s Pride Encore – Barrel Sample: The 2010 vintage of Long Island’s reds will be stunning and we got to taste in Pellegrini’s barrel cellar twice earlier this year. The “Encore” is amazing.

These were the wines that popped into my head first so they qualify as most memorable, but I could have easily extended this list quite a bit.

Saturday Tasting Archive: Mercedes is coming to town! Taste the great Spanish wines of Jorge Ordoñez Saturday Aug 25

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One of the most influential wine importers of the last 30 years, Jorge Ordoñez’s wines have a special place in our shop and in our hearts. Stop by Saturday to taste a great line up with lovable Mercedes our Ordoñez wine consultant for many years. here’s the line up

Nisia Verdejo Old Vines 2011 

“Produced from 50 year old vines, this organic wine features a hint of white peach on the nose and follows through with ripe and abundant fruit that never wavers from its clearly dry style. The rich, mouth-filling texture is a smile-inducing bonus. With a clean, refreshing and complete finish this is a perfect summer white at a great price. Think of a Very Good Sauvignon Blanc but with distinct notes of Apricot.” -The Importer

Zerran Garnatxa Blanca 2011 See details

Zerran Garnatxa Blanca 2011 

“The winery is located near the town of Capcanes next to a nature reserve park. The climate is Mediterranean with an average annual rainfall of 450 L. Despite the proximity to the Mediterranean this location has a high elevation, 500-600 m (1,500-1,800 ft.) above sea level, and is buffered by a series of mountains – Serra del Llaberia and Serra de Tivissa. The soils are similar to Priorat with Montsant being a bit more complex with a mixture of slate (llicorella), sandy clay, and chalk. 

“The varietal, Garnatxa Blanca is planted on slate, llicorella. 50% of the wine is stainless steel fermented and aged for 6 months in stainless steel. The remaining 50% is barrel fermented and then aged in French oak for 6 month.” -The Importer


Avanthia Rose Valdeorras 2011 

“High above the village of Barco de Valderroas steep vineyards of Mencia cling to the mountainsides. From this red grape out winemaker is able to create this rose wine. Full bodied with an elegant and deep rose color, the wine lets the more delicate fruity aspects of the Mencia grape come forward while it reflects minerality of the granite of the soil from which it is grown.” -The Winery

Bodegas Cepa 21 Hito Ribera Del Duero 2009 See details

Bodegas Cepa 21 Hito Ribera Del Duero 2009 

90 Points – Wine Advocate, June 2011
“The 2009 Hito is 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) aged for 8 months in large French oak. It sports the rich fruit of the great 2009 vintage along with enticing aromas of cedar, mineral, tapenade, violets, and blackberry jam. Savory, ripe, and balanced in the mouth, it is an excellent value for drinking over the next 5-6 years.” -Jay Miller 

90 Points – International Wine Cellar, November/October 2011
Bright ruby. Red and dark berry aromas show very good clarity, with spice and floral notes providing added lift. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering focused raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a hint of candied rose. Finishes bright and long, with resonating spice and cherry notes. This wine is quite suave, and surprisingly drinkable now, but it has the balance to age. 90 points


Zerran Tinto 2010 See details

Zerran Tinto 2010 

“The winery owns 4 hectares (9.88 acres) of very old vine Garnacha and Cariñena. It also purchases grapes from local grape growers. The soils are similar to Priorat with Montsant being a bit more complex with a mixture of slate (llicorella), sandy clay, and chalk. The varietal, Cariñena (Mazuelo), was planted on sandy clay soil; Syrah on chalky soils and the Garnacha on slate, llicorella. The climate is Mediterranean with an average annual rainfall of 450 L. The estate owned vineyards were planted between 1932 and 1942. Zerran Tinto is stainless steel fermented and undergoes malolactic fermentation in barrel. It is then aged for 16 months in premium French oak barrels 2 and 3 years old. Jorge Ordoñez is one of the pioneers of Montsant. He has been working in this region since 2004. He is very familiar with the best terroirs. That is the reason he chose the town of Capcanes for this project.” -The Importer

Sierra Cantabria Rioja Cuvee Especial 2005 See details

Sierra Cantabria Rioja Cuvee Especial 2005 

91 Points – Wine Advocate, June 2009
“The 2005 Cuvee Especial was aged for 12 month in seasoned French and American oak followed by four months in new French oak. It yields a complex aromatic array of pain grille, pencil lead, spice box, lavender, and black cherry. This leads to an elegant, sweetly-fruited, spicy wine with good depth and excellent length. Give it 2-3 years of cellaring and drink it from 2011 to 2020.” -Jay Miller 

92 Points – International Wine Cellar, Sept/Oct 2008
“Saturated ruby. Rich, expansive nose displays fresh red berries, tobacco, violet and smoky minerals. Bright red fruit flavors gain sweetness and depth with air while maintaining vivacity. Finishes with slow-mounting spiciness and excellent clarity. A very persistent Rioja with no apparent hard edges.”


Alto Moncayo Alto Moncayo 2008 See details

Alto Moncayo Alto Moncayo 2008 

92 Points – International Wine Cellar, November/October 2011
“Deep, bright ruby. Exotic aromas of fresh raspberries and cherry-cola. An expansive, sweet fruit bomb with intense raspberry and blackberry flavors enlivened by juicy acidity; this doesn’t come off as jammy. Finishes bright, sweet and long, with an echoing raspberry note.” -Josh Raynolds 

91 Points – Wine Spectator, June 2011
“This alluring red packs plenty of flavor in its medium-bodied frame, offering blackberry, brandied cherry, chocolate and spice notes over smooth tannins. There’s just enough acidity to keep this lively and focused. Drink now through 2013. 600 cases imported.” -Thomas Matthews


Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada 2008 375mL See details

Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada 2008 375mL

90 Points – Wine Spectator, August 2010
“This amber dessert wine is rich and viscous on the palate, with date, fig, honey and clove notes. Intense and sweet, without being sugary. Drink now through 2020. 500 cases imported.” -Thomas Matthews

Northernmost apellation in Spain: Getariako

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The tiny apellation (only 124 acres) of Getariako,  deep in Basque country may also be one of the most beautiful and I believe the northernmost D.O. in Spain. As you can see the vineyards of Getariako come practically to the Atlantic ocean a bit west of San Sebastian were the maritime climate gives the wines a light, crisp, slightly effervescent quality. As most things Basque, they have their own style of wine, their own oddly named varieties that are produced nowhere else and a long history behind it. The Txomin Etxaniz (pronounced “Chomin Eh-chaneez”) estate run by the Txueka (“Chueka”) family in the heart of Getariako is one of the oldest producers of Txacoli with vineyard plantings dating back to 1649 though the official recognition of the D.O. (Denomination of Origin) region of Getariako Txakolina only came in 1989

About the wines:

Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli de Guetaria 2011

Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli White 2011 (buy/more info) is made of 85% Hondarrabi Zuri and 15% Hondarrabi Beltza.
Tasting notes: Nice crisp green fruits like a slightly sparkling viura/macabeu with some herbal qulities along with  lime and chalky flavors. It is light bodied with refreshing acidity yet nicely concentrated, kind of like a vino verde on steroids. An excellent seafood wine.

Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli de Guetaria Rose 2011

Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli Rose 2011 (buy/more info) is made of 50% Hondarrabi Zuri and 50% Hondarrabi Beltza like the white with some red fruit overtones and a little less acidity.  It has a beautiful salmon color and is balanced and fresh, great for seafood and cold salads. very limited production.

Ordonéz new wines from Montsant – in the “suburbs of Priorat” Bodegas Zerran

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terraced vineyards- Montsant, Spain

Jorge is at it again, ferreting out great wines from the huge range of apellations in Spain. Sometimes he represents an established winery sometimes he partners with the locals and builds one from the ground up starting with great vineyards.
Today we talk about a brand new venture in the region of Montsant in the northeast corner of  Spain. Jorge finds the great undervalued vines like his wonderful and inexpensive tempranillo from La Mancha and Mourvedre from Alicante. This time he is in another region he knows well, bordering Priorat. Priorat is beautifully situated near the Mediterranean with a wonderful terroir distinguished by its licorella slate soil and vines planted on  impossibly steeply terraced vineyards. Along with gnarly old vine grapes we have a recipe for great wine. Montsant borders Priorat with the same combination of proximity to the sea, soil, steep elevations and old vine grapes. The big difference is the value. Great Montsant wine at a fraction of the price of Priorat wine.

Zerran Tinto 2010 (buy/more info) is made from Syrah and very old vines Garnatxa (aka Garnacha or Grenache) and Carignan (aka Mazuelo) aged 16 months in French oak. Ask me after the tasting on Saturday Aug 25, 2012 how the red is

Zerran Blanco 2011 (buy/more info) is made of 100% Garntxa Blanc (Grenache Blanc) grown in licorella like the red grape.
50% of the wine is stainless steel fermented and aged for 6 months in stainless steel. The remaining 50% is barrel fermented and then aged
in French oak for 6 month.  I tried this one this week. Its delicious with the the full mouthfeel and fruit (apple and pear) with strong mineral notes of chalk and a little spice. Only 500 cases for the US.

I would jump on this limited production. This project has Jorge’s name on it and you know he will make sure the first release knocks your sock off!

Gary Farrell winery gets new winemaker

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Gary Farrell winery has appointed Theresa Heredia as Winemaker on the Gary Farrell Winery team. The long-time winemaker at Freestone Vineyards in Sonoma County, Heredia brings extensive experience with cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as small-lot, single-vineyard wines. Gary Farrell Winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some of the top vineyard sites in the Russian River Valley.

At Freestone, Heredia’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay brought the Joseph Phelps-owned winery significant critical acclaim. She made the first vintage of Freestone wines in 2002 when it was still an experimental project at Phelps, and she later moved to the Sonoma Coast to open the new Freestone winery in 2007. In early 2012 she was named “Winemaker to Watch” by the San Francisco Chronicle, reflecting her interest in wines that offer a pure expression of their vineyard site and her willingness to experiment with different winemaking techniques.

Heredia brings a hands-on Burgundian perspective to Gary Farrell Winery, having worked in France at Domaine de Montille. She trained with renowned winemaker Craig Williams at Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the Napa Valley, after starting her career as an enologist for Saintsbury. Heredia was a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry with an emphasis on enology at U.C. Davis, before leaving to follow her calling as a hands-on winemaker. She has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

“Theresa is a visionary leader who brings us a spirit of innovation in winemaking and an impressive background in cool-climate, single-vineyard wines,” noted Nancy Bailey, general manager for Gary Farrell Winery. “She has a keen appreciation for our house style, which emphasizes elegance and balance in the wines. Theresa’s experience and interest in exploration, both in the vineyards and in the winery, make her an ideal person to carry on on our strong legacy, while adding her own signature to Gary Farrell Winery.”

Mora’s Fine Wines is proud to stock:  Gary Farrell Chardonnay Carneros Selection 2009, very yummy and balanced  and the Gary Farrell Chardonnay Russian River 2009 with a 93 Point rating from Winespectator!

Boston and New York: The Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Madeiras

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Besides being the home to historic baseball teams, much of the history of our nation’s founding was made in the great cities of New York and Boston. And back then, during the colonial era the colonists were not drinking beer or whiskey they drank fine Madeira, one of the worlds great fortified wines. America has historically been the greatest consumer though presently the closest most people come to consuming Madeira is in dishes and their sauces. The Rare Wine Co. is re introducing us to our own traditional drink through their Historic Series of Madeira named after historically important US cities.

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Rare Wine Co Historic Series Madeira New York Malmsey

Tasting notes: Medium amber. Powerfully scented bouquet combines cherry compote, cola, molasses, pipe tobacco and brown sugar. Lush and expansive in the mouth, offering sweet pit fruit and orange marmalade flavors and a deeper note of espresso. Clings tenaciously on the finish, which leaves notes of bitter cherry and candied flowers behind. – Josh Raynolds
Ratings:
Wine Spectator Rating: 89 Points
International Wine Cellar Rating: 92 Points
Medium amber. Powerfully scented bouquet combines cherry compote, cola, molasses, pipe tobacco and brown sugar. Lush and expansive in the mouth, offering sweet pit fruit and orange marmalade flavors and a deeper note of espresso. Clings tenaciously on the finish, which leaves notes of bitter cherry and candied flowers behind.

 

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Rare Wine Co Historic Series Madeira Boston Bual

Tasting notes: Light, bright amber. Deep aromas of cherry pit, candied orange, toffee and molasses, lifted by a note of dried rose. Chewy in texture, with dry-edged nut and burnt orange flavors, a touch of molasses sugar and good back-end grip. Quite sweet but the wine’s acidity adds focus, nerve and finishing bite. – Josh Raynolds
Ratings:
Wine Spectator Rating: 90 Points
International Wine Cellar Rating: 92 Points
Light, bright amber. Deep aromas of cherry pit, candied orange, toffee and molasses, lifted by a note of dried rose. Chewy in texture, with dry-edged nut and burnt orange flavors, a touch of molasses sugar and good back-end grip. Quite sweet but the wine’s acidity adds focus, nerve and finishing bite.

Saturday Tasting Aug 18: Classics from the classic (and neo-classic) regions

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Around the world, vintners have laid claim to certain varieties and styles of wine and have earned fame and notoriety for their typical regional wines. In some cases it is the original (or almost original) source of the grape variety coupled with their unique terroirs, in some cases a variety has been co-opted by vintners in a new region, usually in the New World where a classic varietal  is found to thrive and take on a distinctive character.  The Point is best made by tasting the wines. Isn’t that always the case? We have Sauv Blanc from New Zealand and Chardonnay and Cabernet from California as examples of Neo-Classics as well as Austrian Gruner Veltliner and Cotes du Rhones as exemplary wines of the “Ancien Regime”  So come on down to our chilly little shop and taste with us. From 3 to 6 at Mora’s Fine Wines.
Forstreiter Gruner Veltliner Grooner 2011See details
Austria: Forstreiter Gruner Veltliner Grooner 2011 Juicier than many Gruner’s, especially such inexpensive ones. This was the most popular white of the day, very fresh and very easy to drink.

“This young fresh perfectly vinified Gruner Veltliner is produced by master winemaker Meinhard Forstreiter. Fresh, dry, ‘zippy’ with loads of healthy grape flavors and acidity that make one think instantly of green apples and citrus fruits, this lovely wine is a great aperitif, a perfect summertime wine and a great companion to all casual meals where being with friends and great conversation are the most important part of the meal. Drink up!” -The Importer
New Zealand:  Trinity Hill Metis Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2010 Nicely breaks out of the Marlborough mold. Shows a bit more tropical fruit and lime and just a hint of white grapefruit with some limestone mineral notes.

89 Points – Wine Advocate, October 2011
“The 2010 Metis Sauvignon Blanc offers tropical aromas of guava and passion fruit over crushed stones and a whiff of fresh herbs. Medium bodied, crisp and dry, it has a nice suggestion of silkiness to the texture and a long fruity finish. Drinking now, it should remain fresh through 2013.” -Lisa Perrotti-Brown
California: Gary Farrell Chardonnay Carneros Selection 2009 Buttery and balanced, very enjoyable or “hedonistic” as Parker used to say with gobs of butterscotch. I’d say a bit underrated by CGCW and Spectator.

89 Points – Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine, January 2012
“Not quite in the same league as the winery’s Keefer Ranch bottling but certainly likeable in its own right, this wine skirts the edges of full-bodiedness while finding a slightly lighter quality than many of its peers. Its ample green apple fruit is joined by notes of toast, butter and a hint of roasted grains in both its well-crafted aromas and slightly oily yet solidly structured flavors. Long and lively by virtue of its ample acidity, it is a wine to be enjoyed alongside a platter of pan-grilled trout or Sole.” 

88 Points – Wine Spectator, Web Only 2012
“Exhibits rich, focused ripe pear, citrus, spice and floral scents leading to a full body. Graceful and elegant, ending with a hint of butterscotch. Drink now through 2017. 1,721 cases made.” -James Laube

France: Jaboulet Parallele 45 Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2009 Most popular wine of the day! Hard to beat for the quotidian pour, Nice dark berry flavors on top, a little spice box in the middle and some stone dust underneath, very balanced with lively acidity and light body. Eminently quaffable

“Jaboulet Cotes du Rhone Parallele 45 is a blend of Grenache and Syrah from vines averaging 25 years old. Sourced from vineyards throughout the Rhone valley that combine to produce a pure, clean expression of this region. The 2009 Parallele 45 Cotes du Rhone is a fresh, berry fruit driven red with loads of soft, pure plum and blackberry flavors mingling with black pepper spice.” -The Importer
Amapola Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Valley 2006 See details

California: Amapola Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Valley 2006

90+ Points – Wine Advocate, February 2011
Wow wine of the day. Make that score 90 +++, nicely dense with well resolved tannins but with the stuffing for another 5 years plus in bottle. enjoyably chewy lots of dark brooding  red and black fruit flavors, some earthiness a slight suggestion of sweet oak.
“As for the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, it has a slightly denser ruby/purple color than the 2005, more plum, black currant and smoky, earthy underbrush notes as well as hints of vanilla and red and black fruits. Medium to full body and slightly more rugged tannins characterize this wine, which will benefit from another several years of bottle age and drink well for 12-15 years.

 

“Having sold the Arrowood winery to Jess Jackson, Richard Arrowood has stayed on as a consultant, but this is his own operation, which involves estate Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as purchased Zinfandel from the historic Monte Rosso Vineyard. These are all impressive newcomers, but that’s to be expected from Dick Arrowood, one of the most experienced and highly talented winemakers of the last four decades.” -Robert Parker

Rich’s (me) Rosé tasting wines on a muggy Saturday: six snappy pink wines, perfect for summer

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Last Saturday afternoon rosé riot was a blast, I’m really sorry I didn’t post on FB then and I hope you didn’t miss it but my hands were full of ice cold bottles of pink wines that were happily consumed by the usual gang of  wine connoisseurs that frequent our fashionable East Setauket shop. The wines were all pink and varied from bone dry to off dry. we featured wines from Long Island, France and Spain. They were all deeply discounted and under $20. They’re all great food wines and very very easy to drink. Usually at our tastings most people taste, but on a hot August afternoon these inviting pink wines caused many of our customers to take several laps around the tasting table, completely understandable. Here’s my take on the line up:

This was the absolute bargain of the line up made of 100% Grenache from the folks that make Alto Moncayo and Veraton in the Aragon region near Zaragoza in Campo de Borja.  The wine had fresh raspberry/ strawberry flavors with a touch of mineral and spice fairly light and easy and quite dry

L’Escargot Rose Cotes de Gascogne 2011

Many regions of France besides Provence have their own style of rose and this one is from Gascogny with ripe red berry flavors and some heft on the palate. I’d recommend with cheeses, salad and light seafood dishes
This local wine has the pale “oeil de perdrix” hue of a Provence rose. Unlike most of the others it is made by mixing Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cab Sauvignon and Cab Franc with (quel horreur!) Chardonnay, a white wine.
This was very popular today, it is bone dry with only 0.1% residual sugar (<1% is dry), however the flavor profile plays a trick with your palate. You smell and taste the red fruit you would expect from rose, the raspberry, cherry and strawberry flavors but you also get the aroma of Chardonnay which is about 20% of the blend and not what you’d expect. To me it smells like a basket of these fruits and I expect it to be a little sweet  but it hits your palate bone dry with a nice mineral and spice quality. Very good. This one is very versatile and great for cold hors d’oeuvres, smoked salmon and grilled or steamed seafood. My consumer tip of the day is to beware with the 2011 Long Island vintage, except rose which was excellent and fairly abundant.

Avanthia Rose Valdeorras 2011 See details

This one is a personal favorite of mine, customers either loved it or found it a bit sweet. It definitely has residual sugar but it has a lot of body, intense raspberry, blueberry and even some briary spicy licorice notes. It has the stuffing to stand up to some hearty dishes and actually is better with food than without.  I find the sweetness is the perfect foil to hot foods like hot Indian or Thai curries, Buffalo chicken wings and jalapeno poppers. It also complements the soy and wasabi you serve with sushi and sashimi or the the rich soy flavors of teriyaki dishes. Its from Galicia in Northwest Spain, made from 100% Mencia and very rare. I suggest you stash away six bottles until Thanksgiving. It would be perfect with roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce.
Domaines Ott Les Domaniers Rose Cotes de Provence 2011 See details

Domaines Ott Les Domaniers Rose Cotes de Provence 2011

 

Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli de Guetaria Rose 2011 See details

Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli de Guetaria Rose 2011