Friday Night Wine Tasting, 2/16, 5-7:30 pm
Le Paradou, Viognier 2016 – $11.99, Tasting Price – $10.19
(100% Viognier; Languedoc, France)
The exact origin of Viognier is unknown, but it is the vine of the mythical Condrieu of the Northern Rhone Valley. Even though it almost disappeared in the middle of the twentieth century, it is now famous around the world. It grows best on limestones and chalky soils and needs some cool temperatures to preserve its elegance. In a climate which is too hot, its aroma becomes heavy and denatured. The Viognier is very fragile during growth and during the winemaking process; it is characterized by low yields and very elegant aromas: apricot, pear, violet and white flowers.
San Marzano, “Il Pumo” Sauvignon – Malvasia 2016 – $12.99, Tasting Price – $11.69
(50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Malvasia; Salento, Italy)
Cantine San Marzano is a modern, high-quality co-op of some 1,200 grape growers on the Salento Peninsula, which is the tip of Italy’s boot heel. We love their juicy Primitivo which we’ve featured before. But we just re-discovered this succulent, balanced white full of aromatic fruit and vibrant acid. To achieve this, the winemaker blended two very different grapes: a zingy, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc with floral, fruit-forward Malvasia. A perfect wine for the coming of spring.
J. Mourat, Moulin Blanc Val de Loire 2016 – 24.99, On Sale $10.96 wholesaler closeout
(100% Pinot Noir; Loire Valley, France)
The symbolic windmill which was burnt down during the Vendée wars and has recently been fully restored overlooks the vineyard on its hillside landscape. Mostly made up of old Pinot Noir vines, Moulin Blanc benefits from the rich clay land which helps increase the maturity of the Pinot Noirs in order to preserve their fresh-ness. This has resulted in a wine with a rich and fruity freshness. This domain has been engaged in organic production since 2011.
Espelt, Garnacha Emporda Old Vines 2015 – $12.99, Wine of the Week – $10.96
(100% Garnacha; Emporda, Catalonia, Spain)
Warm, sunny places where mountains meet the sea are always popular holiday destinations for the sun-starved, northern tourists who flock to the beaches of the Costa Brava for their yearly dose of vitamin-D and fresh seafood. The Garnacha from Espelt comes from their highest elevation vineyard, Rabós, tucked in the Albera Nature Reserve Area. These are the oldest vines on the property with centenary Garnacha Negra and Carinyena grow on sandy slate and granite soils. While there are plenty of inexpensive, fruit-forward Garnachas coming from Spain, few have the depth of minerality and complexity found in this old-vine cuvée.
Aia Vecchia, Toscana Rosso “Lagone” 2015 – $16.99, Tasting Price – $15.29
(Merlot, Cabernet, Cabernet Franc; Tuscany, Italy)
In the glass, the wine is deep ruby with purple hues. On the nose, the wine is delicate with notes of cherry, vanilla, raw beef and herbs. On the palate, it is dry, structured and elegant with flavors of plum, ripe cherries, wild berries and a hint of spice, followed by a lengthy and smooth finish that begs for food. Grapes undergo temperature-controlled fermentation, manual punch-downs and pump-overs. The wine ages 12 months in barrique and a minimum of 6 months in bottle.
Coupe Roses, Minervois Rouge “Orience” 2011 – $29.99, Tasting Price – $26.96
(Syrah, Carignane, Grenache; Languedoc, France)
Chateau Coupe Roses has been in the Le Calvez family since 1614. Situated on the high plateau around the historic village of Minerve – long considered one of the best sites in Minervois – the estate is managed by Francoise Le Calvez and her husband, oenologist Pascal Fissant. They farm their 16 acres according to the ecological principles of lutte raisonnee, or reasoned fight, a practical approach that dictates the use of synthetic sprays only when clearly necessary. It is a fight that Pascal, schooled in the benefits of organic ground covers and blessed with an arid climate, rarely loses. Orience is the luxury cuvée of densely dark Syrah, intensely flavored old-vine Carignan, and a dollop of pure red fruit Grenache. Orience deserves decanting to allow its flavors to unfold.