Inside this issue:
Torre dei Beati | Giovanna Madonia | Martin Ray | Herman Wiemer | Carpano Antica |Girard | Jean Luc Pasquet | Special Points of Interest: Wine of the Month Club
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DOMAINE CABIRAU 2015
This red blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan comes from the Cotes du Roussillon in the South of France. Fresh, bright and full of intense fruit, it is an easy to drink and easy to serve (screw cap) wine that delivers both on the palate and on the wallet. Hard to beat this combination. $15.99 reg $14.39 club
SHARPE HILL CHARDONNAY 2013
This is a Chardonnay made in the Northeastern corner of Connecticut. As the winery describes the wine “our Chardonnay is barrel fermented in the European style. This gives it a rich, complex yet delicate bouquet”. $13.99 reg $12.69 club
CHATEAU ROC DE LEVRAUT 2014
The family that owns this chateau has been making wine for three generations. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc (classic grapes in Bordeaux). The winery describes the wine as “red ruby color, fruity nose with licorice notes. On the palate, ripe with a nice intensity of the flavors. Fresh final with sweet tannins”. By sweet they do not mean sugar. $11.99 reg $10.79 club
TORRE DEI BEATI CERASUOLO D’ABRUZZO 2014
This tiny winery is organically farmed and belongs to a husband and wife team devoted to creating wines that are laser focused in their intensity. Montepulciano is the grape, and Cerasuolo is the name they give to this beautiful dark rose wine from Abruzzo. Do not be deterred by the fact that it is rose! Luscious red fruits come through in this wine. Of course you can drink it on its own but it will certainly pair well with things like grilled tuna or chicken or even ripe strawberries with basil. $12.99
NEBLINA, GIOVANNA MADONIA, ALBANA SECCO 2015
Located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Giovanna Madonia is located south of Ravenna and makes wines you don’t see every day. If you wish to explore white wines from Italy other than Pinot Grigio, this is an opportunity to do so. Made from the Albana grape, it seems to be a grape that is mostly grown in this region of Italy.
If you include unoaked whites on your table and would like to try something new, this wine is worth your time. Gently pressed to reduce skin contact and made in stainless steel, it delivers beautiful aromas of melon, peach and white flowers.
The recent trend in Italian wines is the availability of more obscure grapes in the market. As we think of spring, this is a good place to start. $17.99
MARTIN RAY CABERNET SAUVIGNON STAGS LEAP 2013
It would be hard to think of a more iconic place for making Cabernet Sauvignon in California than Napa Valley. That is exactly where Martin Ray (long a Pinot Noir/Russian River winery) went when it decided to grow Cabernet Sauvignon. Not only did they go to Napa but in the case of this wine, specifically—Stags Leap District. A district so well known, it probably doesn’t even need the words Napa or California anywhere near it. So iconic, that just saying the name almost guarantees quality. This wine is made of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from tiny plots that are planted to maximize sun exposure while at the same time getting only small yields that produce great intensity. The wine is allowed to ferment on the skins before about 60% of it is aged in new French oak for about 18 months.
The winery describes it as having the qualities of “matured ripe red cherries, floral violets and aromatic baking spices reminiscent of nutmeg and cloves”. $59.99
The name Martin Ray resonates deeply with those well-versed in the history of California wine. Winemaker Martin Ray was a pioneer in California winemaking by crafting 100 percent varietal wines from the region and made under his namesake label from 1943 through 1972. Nearly 20 years later Courtney Benham made an amazing discovery when he stumbled upon 1,500 cases of Martin Ray wine in a San Jose warehouse. Resonating with the brand story and recognizing his good fortune, Courtney purchased the brand, and since 1990 he has been dedicated to the production of exceptional artisanal wines worthy of the Martin Ray name. Since 2003, Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery has made its home in the heart of the Russian River Valley at one of the oldest continually working wineries in California. The winery and our 12 acres of Estate Pinot Noir vineyard are located just be-yond the eastern border of the Russian River’s coolest, foggiest sub-AVA, the Green Valley. —Martin Ray Winery
HERMANN J. WIEMER DRY RIESLING 2015
Upstate New York wines may be one of the best kept secrets on the east coast. Better still is the news that there is so much variety of Riesling that you have a choice of wide ranging styles. The Dry Riesling from this fantastic winery in the Finger Lakes comes from three different estate vineyards, harvested over the period of about a month. It is light, crisp and at 12% alcohol won’t weigh you down like some other wines. Even though it is a dry Riesling, it still has the fruit coming through that is the hallmark of Riesling. $19.99
Wiemer is considered one of the top Riesling producers in the United States. – New York Times
Finest American grown Riesling – Saveur Magazine
CARPANO ANTICA FORMULA VERMOUTH
It was only a matter of time before Vermouth made a come-back and this Carpano Antica comeback is one of the greatest. Different from the ones we know well (Martini & Rossi, Cinzano), this one has an incredible richness. This Vermouth has the essence of warm spices such as clove and vanilla, the almost haunting cola syrup-like aroma and a sweetness that is delicate and at the same time powerful enough to survive in a Negroni or Boulevardier. One of our favorite ways to serve it is in an old-fashioned glass with a large cube of ice and a squeeze of blood orange. $16.99 (375ml)
GIRARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015
The drought of 2015 meant that there was a smaller amount of wine available so if your thing is Sauvignon Blanc from the Napa Valley, scoop this one up.
We couldn’t describe it better than they do, “citrus, melon and exotic tropical notes. On the palate, the bright acidity is balanced by mandarin orange, kiwi, lime and a hint of honeydew melon. The balance of acidity and fruit linger for a clean, crisp finish”. $15.99
JEAN LUC PASQUET “COEUR DE GRANDE CHAMPAGNE” COGNAC
Cognac is considered one of the greatest spirits in the world. Under the right conditions this spirit from the mid-western part of France, not too far away from Bordeaux, is utterly ethereal. It has been said that “all Cognac is brandy but not all brandy is Cognac”; meaning that the spirit of the region cannot be reproduced anywhere else in the world.
Beyond the big names there are now many more options for this spirit that is distilled from grapes. More than just the overall region of Cognac, there are smaller regions that have unique terroirs and which are now coming to market.
There are six sub-regions in the area of Cognac with each producing its own unique flavor. Grande Champagne is probably the most famous and for many the one worth seeking out; it may also be the reason so many people choose to make cognac there.
This small vineyard (18.5 acres) has been producing cognac since the early 1700s. It was passed on to family members with the latest ones moving it towards organic production.
While the Ugni Blanc grape has never achieved greatness as wine, its use as a base for cognac distillation works. In a sense, Ugni Blanc lives on to see greatness in Cognac.
Aged in barrels from oak grown in the Limosin Region of France, this Cognac achieves elegance and complexity after years of contact with the barrel.
This Cognac is a blend of spirits from 5 to 10 years old and is a great introduction for those looking to experience Cognac for the first time. As the importer says “a lively, lighter-styled Grande Champagne, it is hard to imagine a finer entry-point into the world of great Cognac than this”. $44.99
One of the most important aspects of making drinks and serving wine is temperature. We don’t often think about temperature unless the temperature is in some way not right. Think about the cube of ice you need for the shaken martini or the block of ice you need for the summer party punch. Either way you want ice that is pure, clean and brilliant.
Ice. Ice. Baby.
Towne Liquor Store
Established in 1948, and still family owned, has been the premier supplier of excellent wine, beer and spirits in South Eastern Connecticut. We are located close to both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos. We provide a great selection and can also advise you on your spirited beverage needs.