Saturday Tasting Archive: Feb 16 2013 Wines from Argentina, California, Italy & Portugal

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This Saturday barring any more blizzards we are pouring a great line up of wines from around the world with one of our extremely knowledgeable and personable fine wine consultants, John Rooney from Polaner Selectionis. We start at 3 and will be serving great cheeses from C’est Cheese of  Port Jefferson as well, here’s the line up

This and the La Posta Malbec were Saturday’s big faves. Usually Torrontes reminds me of Chenin or Viognier with lots of apricot and white flower scents. This smelled just like Grewurtz with a powerful Lychee smell, then on the palate it did a twist and turned very crisp and minerally with a lot of zestiness when the nose promised more fruit and sweetness. If it were a warm day in June (instead of a cold day in Feb) we would have completely sold out. I predict it will be very popular this summer.
92 Points – Wine Advocate, October 2012
“Beginning with the entry-level Hermanos range, the 2012 Hermanos Torrontes from Cafayate in Salta is from 26-year-old vines. It has a superb bouquet of peach skin, pear and a hint of lime flower that has a Riesling-like personality. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannins and a precise, mineral-rich finish that shows what Torrontes can do in the right hands. Excellent. Drink now-2016.” -Neal Martin

I’d say the Parker score  below is accurate. It is a blockbuster Chardonnay with lots of grip and power, yet still very charming in its infancy, I can only wonder what it will do with 5 years or so of bottle age. Not unlike a premier cru Meursault.
93+ Points – Wine Advocate, December 2012
“The 2011 Chardonnay Mt. Harlan bursts from the glass with expressive apricots, peaches, crushed rocks, French oak and spices. Rich yet weightless, the 2011 is striking from the very first taste. Once again, Calera’s Mt. Harlan Chardonnay is world-class. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018. Calera is clearly not in Napa Valley, but these current and upcoming releases are deserving of serious attention, hence their inclusion here.” -Antonio Galloni


“This beautiful Chardonnay is just a baby with a long, full life ahead, yet is captivating now with its bouquet of pippin apple, Meyer lemon, mandarin and vanilla cream. It glides across your palate with sensual softness, lively tartness and firm structure all at once. The spice and minerality underscore a hint of light caramel and white peach custard, then trail off slowly and gracefully.” -The Winery

Petalos Mencia on sale

Descendientes de jose Palacio Petalos del Bierzo 2010 Save 15% on this wine through Feb 21st

91 Points – International Wine Cellar, September 2012
“(all mencia, as is the case for all of these wines, which are aged briefly in new French oak and then in older barrels before bottling): Dark ruby. Ripe red- and blackcurrant aromas are complicated by anise, cola and sexy oak spices. Soft dark berry preserve flavors gain minerality and firmness with air. Zesty cherry skin and mineral notes carry through a long, gently tannic finish.” -Josh Raynolds

91 Points – Wine Spectator, December 2012
#57 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012

This and the Hermanos Torrontes where Saturday’s big favorite, there is a reason good Malbec is so popular
93 points – Wine & Spirits Magazine
“In a world of superripe malbec, once in a while we come across a wine that emphasizes red fruit and tense acidity—without giving up the weight and structure that would place it with the meats of an Argentine asado. This is a selection of vines planted in the early 1970s in Mendoza, and 2010 may be the best vintage this site has produced to date.”


90 Points – Wine Advocate, December 2011
“More serious is the 2010 Malbec Angel Paulucci Vineyard, sourced from 38-year-old vines and aged for 14 months in 25% new French oak. Notions of cedar, Asian spices, incense, floral notes, and black cherry lead to a smooth-textured, elegant, spicy offering that delivers outstanding value in a wine meant for drinking over the next 5-6 years.” -Jay Miller

90 Points – View From the Cellar
“The Di Barr vineyards are in an extremely steep section of the Aoste Valley, in the village of Saint Pierre, where everything must be done very carefully by hand, with grapes collected in baskets that the pickers wear on their backs, as they need both hands to hang on! In many ways, this region must be quite similar to the Ribera Sacra area of Spain. The 2010 Mayolet Di Barr is another excellent wine from this small estate, jumping from the glass in a bright and complex blend of cherries, a touch of balsam bough, woodsmoke, a beautiful base of complex soil tones, a bit of pepperiness and a topnote of violets. On the palate the wine is medium-full, pure and complex, with fine focus, tangy acids, very good mid-palate depth and impressive grip on the long and classy finish. I may not have heard of Mayolet before tasting through these selections from the Val d’Aoste, but if they are all like this lovely wine, count me a convert to the grape! 2012-2020+.” -John Gilman

Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Madeira Boston Bual NV Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Madeira Boston Bual NV  Save 20% on this wine through Feb 21st
I love this and have John pour it whenever he comes to do a tasting. I love the warm burnt brown sugar aromas, and the balanced sweetness.
93 Points – Wine Enthusiast, November 2006
“Slightly richer than the Charleston Sercial, the Boston Bual boasts knockout aromas of toasted nut oil, orange peel and hints of dark honey or maple syrup. Despite the extra weight and sweetness, it’s not cloying at all – the finish is mouthwatering and long.” -Joe Czerwinski

Napanook: The affordable Dominus

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napanook cabernet on sale

This just came in, our good friends brought this wine along to a BYO restaurant we ate at recently and being a lover of California Cabs I was delighted by this wine. As you know the properietary wine Dominus is amazing and amazingly expensive but this is a great Napa Cab from the same Moueix property at under $50. I highly recommend it. Please click here for detail or to purchase 2009 Napanook.

Artisanal Distiller Profile: The (Bad Ass) Corsair Distillery

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Corsair Triple Smoke Whisky for sale

Childhood friends Darek Bell and Andrew Webber began homebrewing beer and wine in Darek and Amy Lee Bell’s garage. They hit a snag while working on a prototype bio-diesel plant, causing Andrew to remark that making whiskey would be much more satisfying. The idea stuck, and the two soon found themselves studying distilleries and spirits. Soon after, Corsair Distillery was founded and they are making “Booze for Bad Asses” as the website proclaims. One of their products of theirs in our shop is really cool. Corsair Triple Smoke American Malt Whiskey 80 Proof is done in three types of wood, cherry, beech and oak for a unique aroma and flavor profile.

Verite Wines: Fruit of the terroir and the work of the vigneron

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100 point Verite wines for sale

The Wines
Jess Jackson (of Kendall Jackson fame) had a vision of three “terroir” driven wines that express the character of the best sites in Sonoma. The blends are all of Bordeaux varieties so the archetypes are the top of the Bordeaux food chain. One is modeled after the best left bank wines of Paulliac is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, the other two are akin to the best of the right bank, a Petrus-like, Pomerol style, Merlot based wine and finally  a blend based on Cabernet Franc and Merlot like Cheval Blanc, the top of the heap in St Emilion. This is an ambitious undertaking but has been quietly succeeding for 14 vintages now. When winmaker/vigneron Pierre Seillan was first courted for the gig which involved producing wine on par with Petrus and he saw what he had to work with, he asked “why not better than Petrus?”. After 14 vintages, whether or not he succeeded in bettering Petrus depends on your measuring stick. In my humble opinion they have refined the clumsy term “meritage”.  This is the catch all category for California Bordeaux blends with out a varietal label which meet certain standards. Meritage wines are loosely Bordeaux inspired, Verite’s wines are a true tribute to the Bordeaux heroes.

There are three wines made

La Muse is the Pomerol style wine. For example 2007 La Muse was 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec from Chalk Hill (48%), Knight’s Valley (21%), Alexander Mountain Estate (21%) and Bennett Valley (10%).

La Joie is the Pauillac style wine. For example 2007 La Joie was composed of  68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec, the 2007’s fruit came from four sources, Alexander Valley Mountain Estate, Knight’s Valley, Chalk Hill and Bennett Valley.

Le Desir is the St Emilion style wine. For example 2007 Le Desir is composed of  44% Cabernet Franc, 44% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Malbec, with 56% of the fruit from Chalk Hill, 26% from the Alexander Valley Mountain Estate, 14% from Knight’s Valley and 4% from Bennett Valley.

The specific blends each showcase a different variety as in the subregions of Bordeaux but the winemaking involves blending four different “terroirs” as well. This is a French term that loosely translates to a “sense of place” and identifies a wine by its vineyard location as well as the varieties in it. It covers the influence of microclimate, geologic composition and geographic structures on the the taste of the wine produced. It is the basis for labeling wines by place name rather than grape variety. To this end, Verite vinifies each subregions separately and then blends them for varietal composition as well as source. To give you an idea, there is a big difference between Cab Sauv from say Howell Mountain and the Rutherford Bench though it’s the same type of grape.
That is why the winemaker Pierre Seillan prefers to call himself “Vigneron” because the winemaking begins in the vineyard at bud break and is only finished in the cellar with aging and final blending. Strictly speaking a winemaker makes wine but a vigneron may manage vineyards as well as make the finished product. “Winegrower” would be a good Americanization of “vigneron”. So to understand
Verite wines you need to understand terroir (the sense of place) and the work of a vigneron as a “winegrower”, you also have to drink some of these rare wines if you can find them. Please click here for tasting notes, scores and pricing on the 2007 vintage.

A wine review(er) you can really sink your teeth into

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Robert Parker Jr Head Shot RobertParkerFootShot

This is an extreme example of the hate side of the love/hate relationship Robert Parker Jr. (The Wine Advocate) has with the French wine world. When he loves them they love him, when he is critical, they bite back, literally.

From The Atlantic December 2000 by William Langeweische
It was a small dog, but aggressive. Parker was in his hotel room in Bordeaux one night, working on the day’s notes, when he got a phone call from Jacques Hébrard, the family manager of a famous chateau called Cheval Blanc, whose recent vintage Parker had described as a disappointment. Because Hébrard was very angry, Parker agreed to visit the chateau the following night, after his regular schedule of work, in order to retaste the wine. At the agreed-upon time he knocked on the chateau door. When it opened, a snarling schnauzer came out, leaped into the air, and clamped onto Parker’s leg. Hébrard stood in the doorway, staring into Parker’s face and making no attempt to intervene. After several attempts Parker managed to shake off the dog, which went tumbling into the night. Parker followed Hébrard into an office, where he saw that his pants were torn and blood was running down his leg. He asked Hébrard for a bandage. Hébrard came across the room and glanced disdainfully at the wound. Without saying a word, he went to the far side of a desk, pulled out a copy of The Wine Advocate, and slammed it down hard. He said, “This is what you wrote about my wine!”

In his simplified French, Parker said, “That’s why I’m here. To retaste it. Because you think I’m wrong.”

“Well, I’m not going to let you retaste it.”

Parker got as belligerent as he gets. He said, “Look. I came here at the end of the day. You said I could taste your wine. I’ve been bitten by your dog. If I was wrong about this wine, I will be the first to say so.”

Hébrard stalked out of the office. Parker thought he would have to get up and leave. But then Hébrard came back and said, “Okay, let’s go taste the wine.” Parker limped after him to the tasting room. He was quick, as he always is; he tasted the wine twice to be sure, as is his habit, and realized to his chagrin that Hébrard was right — the wine was better than he had thought. He returned to his hotel to wash his wound. As a critic who often has to condemn the efforts of people he likes, he now had the equally hard task of admitting that Hébrard’s work was top-notch. For the families of Bordeaux it was satisfying: Parker had been punished for his judgment. With luck he would have a little scar as a souvenir.


Free Weekly Saturday Wine (and sometimes spirits) Tastings, Weekly Wine & Spirit Specials No Comments

Free Tasting with Vision Wine Brands


Come and taste wines from the Vision Wine Brands portfolio. Our rep won’t be with us but Mora’s crack staff will ply you with fine wine and regale you with amusing anectdotes.  We’ll be pouring an excellent Umbrian white, Cab Franc from Chile, a great value Argentine Pinot Noir from the Uco Valley of  Mendoza, and  a really nice Barbera. As usual we have a little of everything and you can count on some extra credit wines as well plus cheese from C’est Cheese in Port Jefferson. Don’t miss it this Sunday we start at 2pm.

Cantina Novelli Pecorino Umbria 2011 See details Cantina Novelli Pecorino Umbria 2011 Save 15% through Feb 14

Explosive aromas of yellow flower, peach and exotic fruit. Beautiful and powerful expression of Pecorino, rich and decadent for a dry white from Italy. Perfect harmony and balance. “The Pecorino, a native variety grown for centuries in the Valnerina area, was rediscovered and restored to quality production by Cantina Novelli. Our agronomists located ancient vines of Pecorino at an altitude of 1100 metres above sea level. The vines are century old, ungrafted, grown on rows with maple trees according to the customs of mixed agriculture of one time and are at very high altitudes. These conditions give the variety a value wich goes far beyond its organoleptic qualities, producing a wine unique characteristics.” -The Winery

Misfit's Wine Company Riesling The Golem Clare Valley 2010 See details Misfit’s Wine Company Riesling The Golem Clare Valley 2010 Save 15% through Feb 14 

90 Points – International Wine Cellar, July/August 2011
“Light yellow. Lemon thyme, anise and green apple on the nose. A spicy, focused midweight that offers tangy citrus, pear and deeper melon flavors, along with a subtle herbal note and very good mineral cut. Becomes juicier with air and finishes dry, with a strong echo of citrus and herbs.” -Josh Raynolds

Calcu Cabernet Franc Colchagua Valley 2010 See details Calcu Cabernet Franc Colchagua Valley 2010 Save 15% through Feb 14 

90 Points – Wine Enthusiast, December 2012
“Dark in color, this smells great, with cassis, plum and black cherry aromas, bearing very little herbal character. It feels tight and secure, with ripe blackberry, tobacco and oak flavors.” -Michael Schachner

Puydeval Rouge Vin de Pays d'Oc 2010 See details Puydeval Rouge Vin de Pays d’Oc 2010 Save 15% through Feb 14 

“A distinctive blend crafted by winemaker Jeff Carrel, Puydeval is based on Cabernet Franc, which thrives in the cooler microclimates of the generally hot Languedoc region of Southern France. This iconic, eponymous, and admittedly unusual wine has quickly gained a fervent following for its originality and for delivering outstanding value. Big, rich, concentrated and intense. A ripe, polished and well-balanced wine, offering spicy aromas of black cherry and blackberry, with hints of anise, and just a touch of earthy character.” -The Importer

G. B. Burlotto Barbera d'Alba 2011 See details G. B. Burlotto Barbera d’Alba 2011 Save 15% through Feb 14 

The 2011 Burlotto Barbera D’Alba is Outrageous. It screams Piedmont in its exotic and alluring bouquet of blackberry, cigar box, rusticity (Earth), satisfying medium bodied velvety mouthfeel that finishes with a brightly acidic and persistent finish. Sure to get a 90+ review, but by then it’ll be all gone. Tastes much more expensive than it’s price. 

“The Burlotto family is one of the oldest families involved in the production of Barolo wines. The Barbera d’Alba from Verduno vineyards is distinguished by its richness and elegance. The ripeness of the grapes accounts for the full, fruity characteristics of this Barbera.” -The Winery

Calathus Pinot Noir Uco Valley 2010 See details Calathus Pinot Noir Uco Valley 2010 Save 15% through Feb 14

“A complex, well-balanced wine with aromas of black cherries on the nose. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it offers dark-berry fruit and round tannins with a delicate touch of oak, ending with a long, lingering finish. Named after the ceramic vases that were used to serve wine in Roman times, Calathus is produced by Finca Don Carlos in Tupungato, in the heart of Mendoza’s Uco Valley, at 3,200 ft above sea level. With its wealth of old vines and a new, state-of-the-art winery, Calathus represents a perfect union of terroir, tradition and technology.” -The Importer

Saturday Tasting Archive:Monday Morning QB Saturday Feb 2, 2013 tasting with Paul from Opici Wines

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Robert Oatley Chardonnay Mudgee Craigmoor AC1 2009 See details  Robert Oatley Chardonnay Mudgee Craigmoor AC1 2009 save 15% through Feb 7, 2013

A real sleeper, has more lively acidity than I am used to in Aussie Chards outside of Margaret River. A real bargain too. -Rich

Cadaretta SBS Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Columbia Valley 2011 See details  Cadaretta SBS Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Columbia Valley 2011 save 15% through Feb 7, 2013

A touch grassy for my tastes but varietally very correct with good minerality -Rich

De Bortoli Emeri Sparkling Shiraz NV See details  De Bortoli Emeri Sparkling Shiraz NV save 15% through Feb 7, 2013

It was fun to watch customers react to a dry shiraz fully effervescent and served quite chilled. the bubble and chill throws off your orientation a little but it works, though not for everyone. It’s a perfect game day quaffer for ribs, wings, pizza. -Rich

The Crusher Clarksburg Petite Sirah 2011 See details  The Crusher Clarksburg Petite Sirah 2011 save 15% through Feb 7, 2013

I admit I threw this in partly as a nod to the big game  but the Crusher Petit Sirah (as well as the Bone Shaker Zin) were big customer favorites on Saturday and sold out quickly. Don’t worry, we’ll make more. The Crusher is an inky wine with a velvety feel and notes of cocoa, vanilla and oak wrapped around the core of mulberry and blackberry fruit. Very lush and ridiculously inexpensive. -Rich

This was the other favorite today, I admit I have a fondness for Lodi Zins. That area produces great wines at great prices. This one is from 100 year old vines and hard to keep in stock especially when we put it on sale. -Rich

whitehall lane cab on sale ar Mora's

See details Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009 save 20% through Feb 7, 2013

I’m a sucker for good Napa cabs and this one drew me right in. Very lush and easy to drink with good structure, concentrated berry flavors with underlying brush, fine stone dust and well integrated tannins. I’m sorry it’s been so long since we stocked this wine, but now its back. -Rich