Weekly Wine Sale & Tasting: Jan. 28 – Feb. 4, 2014: Storm Recovery Lineup!

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“These wines are deeply discounted for one week. We feature a wide variety of wines in a wide price range
so have a look there is something for everyone. They have all been fully taste tested as well.” -Rich

Ten Acre Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands 2013 California White Wine

Ten Acre Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands 2013–$24.79 SAVE 20%! (on sale through 02.04.15)
Review for the previous vintage:
87 Points — Wine Enthusiast, Dec. 2013
“This is pure and intense with layers of limes, kiwis, apricots, oranges, pineapples and golden mangoes. Only neutral oak was used, providing background hints of buttered toast. The winemaker did not put the wine through malolactic fermentation, resulting in wonderfully bright acidity.” —S.H.

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Panizzi Vernaccia di San gimignano 2013 Italian White Wine

Panizzi Vernaccia di San gimignano 2013–$16.99 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 02.04.15)
90 Points – International Wine Cellar, Sept. 2014
“Bright, light yellow-green. Deep aromas of tangerine, lime peel, quinine and white pepper. A densely packed, mineral-driven Vernaccia with spicy, floral, citrus flavors enlivened by harmonious acidity. Supple in the middle but distinctly firm-edged and tannic on the long back end, which is absolutely typical of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a rare tannic white grape variety.”

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Zonte's Footstep Cabernet Sauvignon Avalon Tree

Zonte’s Footstep Cabernet Sauvignon Avalon Tree–$16.99 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 02.04.15)
Previous Vintage:
90+ Points – Wine Advocate, December 2012
“Deep garnet-purple, the 2010 Avalon Tree Cabernet Sauvignon reveals pronounced notes of creme de cassis, chocolate box and menthol with hints of cedar, toast and lavender. Full-bodied with a very good concentration of minted black fruit flavors, it has a solid backbone of medium to firm grainy tannins and crisp acid, finishing long. Drink this one now to 2017.” -Lisa Perrotti-Brown

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Maipe Malbec Reserve Mendoza 2012

Maipe Malbec Reserve Mendoza 2012–$13.59 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 02.04.15)
91 Points – Wine Advocate, August 2013
“The same can be said for the 2012 Malbec Reserve, a 100% hand-harvested Malbec from the estate’s finest vineyard parcels. Aged 12 months in French oak, it possesses a softer style than the Cabernet Sauvignon with more minerality as well as lots of blackberry, white chocolate, incense and graphite characteristics. Deep ruby/purple-hued, rich and full-bodied, it is a full-throttle, stunning Malbec to drink over the next 4-5 years.” -Robert M. Parker, Jr.

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Domaine Cabirau Cotes du Roussillon 2011 French Red Wine

Domaine Cabirau Cotes du Roussillon 2011–$12.74 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 02.04.15)
88 Points – Wine Enthusiast, Nov. 2013
“Hints of earthy spice and bark add interest to the somewhat muted blackberry and black plum aromas. The wine opens up more on the palate, revealing a lush and creamy texture, with dense blackberry flavors and a sweet oak and vanilla spice that lingers through the finish.” -Lauren Buzzeo

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Tre Monti Sangiovese Campo di Mezzo Italian Red Wine

Tre Monti Sangiovese Campo di Mezzo–$12.74 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 02.04.15)
“100% Sangiovese di Romagna aged in stainless steel. Crisp dark fruit, with hints of sweet violets. Well balanced and succulently fruity on the palate, with prominent notes of wild and sour cherry. Serve with baked pasta with mushrooms or meat souce, recipes featuring chicken livers, and charcuterie.” -The Winery

Thursday Morning Whiskey Wednesday Recap(or sip as the case may be…..) PM Spirits at Mora’s Fine Wines

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DSC_0024 1Sometimes my life in wine is not about wine. Sometimes it’s about spirits! Now I don’t mean those gossamer-like banshee types flying around at night. No, I’m talking about whiskey!!!!! One Wednesday a month Mora’s hosts Whiskey Wednesday, a chance for our spirit customers to come together with a savvy spirit rep and taste some brilliant batches they may not have known about before.

Last night was, for me, landmark. Our lineup was from PM Spirits, a house that represents the best in artisan spirits of many kinds. Chris Haitt brought an amazing line- up that included Cognac, Tequilia, Rum, Bourbon and Brandy. Now I am more of a wine person, myself, so this was a treat. Chris started off the tasting with the Paul Beau Hors d’Age, Grande Champagne Cognac. Cognac starts out as wine, much as Whiskey starts out as, well, beer. (of course it’s not that simple, but the point stands.) The grapes for this Cognac are distilled in an old fashioned pot still. This cognac is aged for 30 years! I was amazed! I imagined a very old French man being carried out on his deathbed to check the cognac one last time before he had to hand the reins over to the next in line. It would have to be heartbreaking to leave something after so long…

In any case the 30 years did their job. This Cognac was strong, well-balanced, quite drinkable. It was named one of the top 130 spirits in the world by Paul Pacult’s Spirits Journal!

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And that was just the beginning…..

The next was a Spanish Brandy named Navazos-Palazzi Montilla Brandy Old Oloroso Cask. Now I am not a brandy drinker, never have been. My only experience with the stuff was at a hockey game eons ago when I had a sip to stay warm. It was awful. So, of course, I approached this one with some reservation. That reservation is gone! This brandy is not sweet, it is not cloying; it is elegant and refined. There is a base of dark substantial flavor out of which rises dark flowers and warmth. I just wanted to stay where it put me forever! “Hypnotic” is the word for this. The cask was purchased over 40 years ago. This brandy may have been aged over 50 years. It has stories to tell. And I was there to listen !

And yes, I did continue on through the tasting…..

Next up was Rum(I will not include jokes about Pirates…you can do that yourself). We were treated to Navazos-Palazzi Single Oloroso Cask Rum . Yes, the same people who created that wonderful Oloroso cask brandy, also made some rum. This Molasses-based rum was very different from expectations. I spoke to some tasters before I started myself and was interested to find that people who didn’t really buy rum were buying this one! This was not my favorite of the tasting. However, I have to qualify by stating that, like brandy, the thought of rum(based on prior experience) makes me sick. But… This is my life now, so I forged forward bravely to the rum bottle and had me a sip! It was good. Again, not my favorite, but a revelation for me and rum nonetheless. Maybe it’s the Oloroso cask that gives it such a mature, elegant, subtle taste and easy finish. I honestly don’t know, but it was good!

(I should mention here that while I might be stating that one or two of the offerings were not my favorites, they are part of a top line flight of spirits. I started with probably the best cognac I’ve tasted. I continued to taste through a mind-changing brandy. So when I write that the spirit was “good.” We can probably read it as “slightly less fantastic than the cognac.”)

Now…Tequila!…(a moment here to remember the song). I tasted this alongside another taster. We had almost the same experience. Neither of us are Tequila drinkers really but we both loved this ArteNOM 1146 Tequila Anejo. I was wowed by the clarity and purity of taste. There was finish but no after-taste. In short, this is entirely too easy to drink. The only thing that kept me from a refill was knowing that the “mono locos” were there in the bottle just waiting for someone to go overboard……. We will meet again someday Tequila.

I finished the tasting as I started it; with something that I love. The final offering was Cyrus Noble Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey . I do love bourbon and already tasted this fun offering. While the other spirits of the night were imports, bourbon is beautifully US American in every way. This small batch, family recipe whiskey is lovely, affordable, and has substantial depth. While not complex, neither is it terribly hot. To me, that means it’s drinkable to regular spirit people and to someone who may be interested in the craft spirit movement but new to the flavors and alcohol content therein.

So, there you have it friends! I hope you enjoy this recap. In retrospect, I was able to spend the night with the spirit of my favorite places: I love France(and will go there someday…if only in my dreams). I fell in love with a Spanish man. And of course, I love my home! So it was all good.

DSC_0032 1Much more goes into a store tasting than the actually sips. PM Spirits provided a wonderful representative and lineup. They really are a great company. The owner, http://pmspirits.com/Nicolas Palazzi, grew up in France surrounded by vineyards where he played as a child. The company is named in tribute to his late father, Paul-Marie Palazzi. When asked how the company decided what brands and such to take on(I was surprised by the variety of spirit types) the rep replied that they just look for the grooviest stuff around. I like that! We, at Mora’s Fine Wines like to sell the grooviest stuff around to the grooviest customers in the world!!!!

Thank-You!

Contributed by Carolyn Mora mavieenvin.co

Weekly Wine Sale & Tasting: Jan. 21- 28, 2014: Perfect Picks from Polaner

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“These wines are deeply discounted for one week. We feature a wide variety of wines in a wide price range
so have a look there is something for everyone. They have all been fully taste tested as well.” -Rich

Hardin Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2012 Red California Wine

Hardin Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2012–$25.49 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 01.28.15)
“The first Hardin Cabernet Sauvignon (2003) was discovered by Doug on a trip to California. The wine was sourced from one of Napa Valley’s long time ‘cult’ producers. Doug found himself in Napa at the right time, and was able to taste and buy a small lot of this top, top quality wine. Following the blow-out success of the first effort, Doug has continued to put together a stellar follow-up throughout the years, the 2010 being Hardin’s seventh vintage.

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Hernadez y Sourdais Antidoto Ribera del Duero 2011 Red Spanish Wine

Hernadez y Sourdais Antidoto Ribera del Duero 2011–$19.99 SAVE 20%! (on sale through 01.28.15)
91 points – International Wine Cellar, Sept. 2012
“Bright purple. Expressive aromas of black raspberry, cassis, potpourri and cracked pepper, with a hint of anise in the background. Intensely flavored, penetrating and precise yet quite lithe, with very good spicy lift to its dark berry and floral pastille flavors. Finishes with fine-grained tannins, zesty mineral cut and lingering spiciness.” -Josh Raynolds

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Felsina Chianti Classico 2011 Italian Red Wine

Felsina Chianti Classico 2011–$19.19 SAVE 20%! (on sale through 01.28.15)
Ruby Red with deep intensity and hue. Fruity, fine and elegant aromas dominated by wild berries accompanied by various spicy notes. Fruity on the palate with good tannins and a lingering finish.

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Ernesto Catena Vineyards Tikal Patriota 2012

Ernesto Catena Vineyards Tikal Patriota 2012–$18.69 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 01.28.15)
91 Points – Wine Spectator, February 2014
“A rich red, packed with concentrated flavors of blackberry, dark plum and mocha, featuring plenty of dark chocolate notes. Offers a ripe texture, with creamy accents and hints of savory herb on the long finish. Drink now through 2020. 12,500 cases imported.” -Kim Marcus

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Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes 2011

Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes 2011–$12.74 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 01.28.15)
90 Points – Wine Advocate
“The 2011 Torrontes offers up enticing aromas of peach, melon, floral, and tropical fruit. Medium-bodied, dry, savory, and nicely proportioned, this lengthy effort will deliver plenty of enjoyment over the next 1-2 years.” -Jay Miller

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Wyatt Chardonnay 2012 White California Wine

Wyatt Chardonnay 2012–$11.89 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 01.28.15)
89 Points – Wine Advocate, August 2013
“The 2012 Chardonnay is a surprisingly rich, relatively naked style of Chardonnay with excellent quince, white currant and white peach notes, some subtle spice, but a clean, medium-bodied, surprisingly dense and rich mouthfeel. Drink this beauty in its first year or two of life. The packaging from Polaner seems to get better each year, if that matters to readers.” -Robert Parker

Weekly Wine Sale & Tasting: Jan. 14-21, 2014: Superb Selections from California & Australia

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“These wines are deeply discounted for one week. We feature a wide variety of wines in a wide price range
so have a look there is something for everyone. They have all been fully taste tested as well.” -Rich

d'Arenberg Shiraz/Viognier Laughing Magpie 2009

d’Arenberg Shiraz/Viognier Laughing Magpie 2009–$22.94 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 01.21.15)
91 Points – International Wine Cellar, July/August 2011
“(a 92%/8% blend, with a pH of 3.31) Bright purple. An exotic and expressive bouquet evokes blackberry, candied plum, violet and mocha, with spice and incense notes adding complexity. Sweet, juicy dark berry flavors show liqueur-like intensity and gain spiciness with aeration. A late note of white pepper adds bit and focus to the plump fruit qualities, which linger on the finish. This will drink very well young.” -Josh Raynolds 91 Points – Wine Advocate, February 2012 “The 2009 The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier contains 6% co-fermented Viognier. It presents a deep garnet-purple color and notes of blackberry and blueberry preserves with some raisins, violets, peach blossoms and baking spices. Rich, ripe, and nicely balanced, it’s full bodied with firm grainy tannins, crisp acid and a long finish. Drink it now to 2021+.” -Lisa Perrotti-Brown

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Fogdog Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2011 Red California Wine

Fogdog Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2011–$22.09 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 01.21.15)
93 Points – Wine Enthusiast, December 2011
“Distinctly Sonoma Coast in the forest berry fruits and feral, earthy notes of anise, balsam and Dr. Pepper cola. Fine and silky in the mouth, with modest alcohol and a burst of cool-climate acidity. A more feminine style of Pinot, which is not to understate its power. Could easily develop over the next six years, but it’s pretty compelling now.” -Steve Heimoff

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Stickybeak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2012 Red California Wine

Stickybeak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2012–$20.39 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 01.21.15)
Winemaker’s Notes: “The 2012 Stickybeak Cabernet Sauvignon shows classic Cabernet notes of dark berry fruit, pencil shavings and earthiness on the nose. On the palate, the wine is fleshy and ripe, with rich, vibrant fruit, such as red and black currant, as well as chocolate and coffee. Rich and deep, the wine has finely structured tannins and an energetic finish.”

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Decoy Pinot Noir 2013 Red California Wine

Decoy Pinot Noir 2013–$19.54 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 01.21.15)
“Building on the traditions established by our acclaimed Goldeneye and Migration wines, Decoy Pinot Noir expands our exploration of the depth and diversity of this varietal to Sonoma County winegrowing. Highlighting a distinctly plush and approachable expression of Pinot Noir, Decoy is crafted to be ready upon release.” The Winery

 

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d'Arenberg Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2012 White Australian Wine

d’Arenberg Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2012–$15.59 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 01.21.15)
89 Points! Wine Spectator, June 2014
“Tight, spicy and appealing, with pear and lychee flavors, well-modulated to fly smoothly on the medium-weight frame. Shows impressive persistence on the finish. Drink now. 6,500 cases imported.” -Harvey Steinman

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d'Arenberg d'Arry's Original Shiraz/Grenache 2010 Red Australian Wine

d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Shiraz/Grenache 2010–$15.59 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 01.21.15)
89+ Points Wine Advocate Feb 2014
“Medium garnet in color, the 2010 d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache fills the glass with aromas of blackberry preserves, kirsch and dried mulberries highlighted by nuances of baking spices, damp earth and white pepper. Medium-bodied with a good amount of expressive red and black fruit flavors complemented by earth and spice hints, it has just enough rounded tannins and lively acid to finish with good length. Drink it now to 2018+” Lisa Perroti-Brown

Cognac: what it is and why it’s so delicious

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If you’re not already an afficionado there can be something quite intimidating about cognac.  It has this association with only the most genteel of drinkers.  Even when it’s being slung around in music videos by people who wouldn’t be caught dead in the same sentance as “genteel,” it’s still there because of its unmistakable air of oppulence, this connotation that if you’re holding a snifter of cognac, you’ve made it.

But is cognac really only for the elite?

Rewind several hundred years.  It’s the 1600’s and as much as European traders want to deal in wine, they find time and time again that it just doesn’t do well on ships for weeks and months on end.  Leave it to the Dutch to try distillation as a solution, taking wine and distilling it into a less delicate, concentrated form that much better handles sea journeys.  And bonus: something about all that time in oak barrels seems to only improve its flavor…

Really all brandy is made this way (vinified, distilled, aged), but, like champagne, cognac is named for the specific region from which it hails.  All cognac is brandy, but only brandy from Cognac, France can be called “cognac.”  And also like champagne, there is a distinct method that makes cognac distinctly cognac.  There are only a few grape varietals that are approved for cognacs (primarily Ugni Blanc), it must be twice-distilled in copper pot stills, and the aging must be for two or more years in French oak.

Aging Tip: cognac is frequently blended and does not brag about its age the way, say, scotch does.  It hints only.  If you see VS (very special) that means the youngest cognac in the bottle is 2 years old, the minimum for cognac.  If you see VSOP (very old superior pale), the youngest is 4 years old, and if you see XO (extra old), the youngest is at least 6 years old.  It is even possible to see XXO (you guessed it: extra extra old)–30, 40, or even 50 years old–though good luck finding that anywhere outside of Cognac, France…

So in the end it’s not that surprising that a product that takes so much knowledge, care, and TIME to produce would be considered high end, elite.  But is it so unaccessible for the average Joe and Jane?  Perhaps not.  At Mora’s you can pick up a bottle of the Courvoisier 12 Yr for around $50.  That’s an incredible value for a cognac of that age!

This month’s in-store spirit tasting features all products from PM Spirits, and we will be pouring a cognac bound to knock your socks off.  Even for around $110, this is a bottle that’s worth the investment; for the cost of a few nights at the bar, you could have one of the most highly-decorated cognacs ever produced:

Paul Beau Hors D’Age Cognac
It has “earned six Gold Medals at the Concours Général de Paris since 2000 and numerous additional medals at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2010 and 2011.” (Caskers, online)  The Paul Beau Hors D’Age was rated one of the 130 best spirits in the world from Paul Pacult’s Spirits Journal, which gave it 5 stars and their Highest Recommendation, saying: “Harmonious and tightly-knit cognac splendor. A new entry that blew me away…and one that’s affordable on cognac terms.”

This month’s in-store spirit tasting will be on Wednesday, January 21st from 4-7pm at Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits.

Contributed by: Nancee Moes

PM Spirits: Provider of Geeky Spirits

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“Geek” (like “nerd”) is a name that has been rehabilitated as of late.  It used to be an insult across the board, something children and adults alike would throw around as a way of dimissing a person’s inordinate fascination with some esoteric pursuit; but while “geek” still refers to someone with a niche passion, thankfully it isn’t used as an insult quite so often these days.  It’s become a badge of honor for many.

All this makes “geeky” just the perfect modifier for the products provided by PM Spirits, and for the provider itself.

The company–named for Palazzi’s late father, Paul-Marie Palazzi–is based in Bordeaux, France, but also operates in good old Brooklyn, New York.  Not a bad locale for a spirits geek.  Chemical engineer now PM Spirits owner Nicholas Palazzi stumbled across the business just 7 years ago when he accepted several barrels of brandy as collateral on a loan he made to a friend of his grandfather.  This move sparked an interest in acquiring brandies–especially cognacs–from tiny, independant distillers which he bottles and sells.  Now, all sorts of spirit distributors do this, but really none are as fastidious and selective as Palazzi.  You won’t be able to find his portfolio anywhere else because of how single-minded he is in his concern for the “little guy” distillers and for quality above all else.

In Palazzi’s own words, “We don’t do brands.”

This month’s in-store spirit tasting features all products from PM Spirits.  Though PM’s biggest and oldest passion remains cognac, they’ve recently paired with sherry bottler Equipo Navazos to explore what Spain has to contribute to the world of distillation.  What excites Palazzi  is not only top quality products from small distillers, but also the kind of distinctive products that exemplify the region (terrior) from which they come.

Navazos-Palazzi Single Oloroso Cask Rum
This is a 100% molasses based rum, distilled somewhere in the Antilles and aged on site in first filled bourbon casks for a little over 5 years. It was then shipped to Jerez, Spain where it was transferred to freshly emptied Oloroso casks for 10+ years.
96 points – Penin Guide, 2014
94 points – Antonio Galloni

Navazos-Palazzi Montilla Brandy Old Oloroso Cask 375 mL
In Palazzi’s own words, “This is flat out the oldest and best Spanish brandy we’ve found so far…It’s the epitome, the climax of what Spanish brandy is about.” (interview with Antonio Galloni, Dec. 2013)
96 points – Penin Guide, 2014
95 points – Antonio Galloni

 

This month’s in-store spirit tasting will be on Wednesday, January 21st from 4-7pm at Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits.

Contributed by: Nancee Moes

Weekly Wine Sale & Tasting: Dec. Jan. 7-14, 2014: Paumanok Vineyards

Free Weekly Saturday Wine (and sometimes spirits) Tastings, Weekly Wine & Spirit Specials, Wine & Spirit Events, Wine and Winemaking Comments Off on Weekly Wine Sale & Tasting: Dec. Jan. 7-14, 2014: Paumanok Vineyards

 

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“These wines are deeply discounted for one week. We feature a wide variety of wines in a wide price range
so have a look there is something for everyone. They have all been fully taste tested as well.” -Rich

Paumanok Cabernet Franc Grand Vintage 2010
Paumanok Cabernet Franc Grand Vintage 2010–$38.24 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 1.14.15)
“2010 was another Grand Vintage year at Paumanok. This wine is made up of a blend of our best barrels of Cabernet Franc. It offers subtle aromas of violets, potpourri, prunes and leather. Blackberry and black cherry flavors and a firm tannin structure make this medium-bodied red well-suited to a meal with roasted meats and vegetables.” -The Winery
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Paumanok Cabernet Franc 2012
Paumanok Cabernet Franc 2012–$22.99 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 1.14.15)
“Aromas of bramble fruit, herbs, flowers and spice. Medium-bodied with firm tannins, red fruit and cherry flavors. Try it with poultry, game or mild cheeses. 90% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot.” -The Winery
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Paumanok Riesling Dry 2012
Paumanok Riesling Dry 2012–$17.84 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 1.14.15)
“This wine was fermented entirely in stainless steel tanks to preserve the Riesling varietal character. It offers aromas of lime, green apple, lilies, lilac and other white flowers. Bone dry with flavors of lime, green apple, white apricot, it finishes with intense acidity. Pair it with white meat dishes and lighter fish.” -The Winery
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Paumanok Riesling Semi-Dry 2012
Paumanok Riesling Semi-Dry 2012–$17.84 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 1.14.15)
“Fermented in stainless steel tanks, this Riesling bursts with a fresh, fruit cocktail of peach, apricot, nectarine and apples. While it starts off sweet, it finishes dry with crisp acidity. Pair it with loin of pork, Asian foods – especially Thai or Indian – and Cajun or Tex-Mex dishes.” -The Winery
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Paumanok Festival Chardonnay 2013

Paumanok Festival Chardonnay 2013–$13.59 SAVE 15%! (on sale through 1.14.15)
“Festival Chardonnay is a blend of several lots of Chardonnay. It was fermented entirely in stainless steel tanks. It is light, dry, crisp and clean with refreshing aromas and flavors of apple, lemon, pineapple and stones. This is a great every day white, perfect with pasta, poultry, fish and cheese dishes.” -The Winery