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Volume 8, Issue 6 November / December 2015
Inside this issue:
November / December Selections; Ruston, Dresissigacker, Dudognon, Ravines, Gulden Draak, Sharpe Hill, Betsy’s Corner
Special points of interest: Wine of the Month Club
Planning a PARTY? Let Betsy help you select just the right beverages!
Stop in, email, or Phone us! Let us help you with your next party.
860.889.4637 Email us! Winetowne@sbcglobal.net
November / December Selections
La Vinyeta Heus Negre 2013
Wine from Catalunya Spain is not often seen. We are quite glad to bring you this young wine from a winery focused as much on the environment as on winemaking. This wine, made from Grenache, Syrah and Carignan, is a blend which we have always liked. It is in-tense and rich with spice and red berry fruits. If you are looking to break away from the traditional Rioja, this is a good place to start.
$15.99 reg $14.39 club
Domaine Chiroulet Terres Blanches Cotes de Gascogne 201
This region is located in the southwestern part of France. This wine is a blend of 50% Gros Manseng, 40% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10% Ugni Blanc. This is a blend that gets its richness not from wood but from the stirring of the lees. Melon and citrus fruits come thru on the nose. This is a good way to either ease into Sauvignon Blanc or to try a white blend—either way you can’t lose.
$14.99 reg $13.39 club
This is another Spanish wine but this time from the Catalayud region in the northeast. The importer is Eric Solomon, a man who has an impressive portfolio of wines. This is a very popular wine made from Garnacha grapes 50-100 years old and sustainability farmed. This wine is lus-cious, rich, fragrant and quite a mouthful; and as Robert Parker says “with loads of blueberry and black currant fruit under-lying crushed rock notes and some floral scents”. A great wine to take to parties.
$11.99 reg $10.19 club
Oh When the Saints…
St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc 2014
A consistent winery across the board, their 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Napa is a classic; it is also estate grown. It was an excellent year for harvesting these sustainability farmed grapes. They pick Sauvignon Blanc in the cool hours of the morning to ensure that the classic aromas and flavors are retained. The grapes quickly go into tank and all fermentation is done in stainless steel. This is classic Sauvignon Blanc—citrus, stone fruits and the thing we like best about Sauvignon Blanc, its drinkability.
$11.99 reg $10.19 club
Classic Cali Cab
Ruston Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
This Napa Valley winery you’ve probably never heard of is small, understated, and growing some of the best grapes around. Located on the site of an old prune and walnut orchard, it now grows not only the grapes for this wine, but also Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon—all the classic grapes of Bordeaux. This Cabernet Sauvignon is from four vineyards in the legendary town of St. Helena. St. Helena is a classic Napa town well known for its production of Cabernet Sauvignon; it’s also a great town to visit if only for the restaurants alone. This isn’t the kind of wine you can get everyday because they make it in small quantities and it is in huge demand at places like The French Laundry, Chez Panisse, Gramercy Tavern and other such highly es-teemed places. This is classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in the old classic style; the kind of style that you used to get that wasn’t overly extracted and had elegance, the kind that reminds you why Robert Mondavi became famous in the first place. The fla-vors? Think back to late 80s to mid-90s Cabernets—cedar, elegant dark fruit, pencil, maybe even think Rutherford Bench Dust.
$39.99 / btl
Go ahead, be a Riesling Gawker…
Dreissigacker Riesling 2014
It’s always exciting to read about someone taking over the family business and putting all of their heart and soul into the enterprise. The new generation at this winery wanted to take into account not just the making of the wine but also stewardship of the land, the local climate, and respect for the resources. Jochen, the son who took over, has worked hard to now have the vineyard certified organic. The wine is from the Rheinhessen region and fermented in stainless steel. In classic Riesling fashion it exudes what may be called classic aromas but apparently it also exudes a bit of caraway seed—a thing that certainly adds complexity to this beautifully dry Riesling. This is true pure Riesling possessing all the qualities you would expect from such a great producer, vineyard, and region.
$19.99 / btl
This Month’s Cellar Selection
Dudognon Reserve Cognac Grande Champagne
Produced in France, Cognac is a subset of brandy. This one is made in the Grande Champagne region (no, it has nothing to do with Champagne, it’s just the name of the place). This organic Cognac is made from Ugni Blanc grapes which are fermented into a wine and then distilled. It is then aged in wood. The average age of the Cognac in the bottle is 10 Years Old. It is mellow and easy to drink with some good spices. It’s an excellent Cognac for these beautiful autumn evenings.
No Game of Thrones Required
Gulden Draak “Brewmasters Edition ”
Yes, we know that microbrews are the hot thing right now. The shelves could probably be filled with just IPAs but that would be wrong because it would leave out the amazing world of Belgian beers. Belgium is a massive producer of beer ranging from Stella Artois to breweries so tiny that production barely reaches our shores. The famous Brouwerij Van Steenberge produces the beer called Gulden Draak—it means Golden Dragons!
The brewery started out as a farm which brewed beer for its own consumption, a classic thing to do. The long history of the brewery of course includes war, marriages, lemonade, new investments, and hop fields. The history of this beer is really the history of Belgium. This beer falls under the Special Ale category. It’s a category for beers that are treated differently or have added ingredients. This Brew-masters Edition is one that bourbon/whiskey drinkers will like as it was matured in Whiskey Barrels. The Brewmaster created it as a tribute to his grandfather, Josef Van Steenberge and the 230th anniversary of the brewery. Apparently it was inspired by the Brewmaster’s many trips to the USA and his respect for the craft beer movement cur-rently happening here. Brew-master adds no caramel as he believes it impairs the aging ability of this beautiful brew. At 10.5% alcohol in a large bottle it is meant to be shared with friends. It’s a nice malty beer with the influence of whiskey. A great beer with food or with apple crisp.
$18.99/ 750ml bottle
Pinot Road Trip
Ravines Pinot Noir 2012
You are probably thinking Oregon or even California. Nope. This is Pinot Noir from the Finger Lakes in New York. Yes; according to Ravines it is one of the few places in the world outside of Burgundy where Pinot Noir does well. In fact it has been a staple in that region since the 1950s. The winery may be in the New World but its heart is very much Old World. The winery describes the aromas and flavors of this classic Pinot Noir as “layers of plum and cherry fruit, brown spices…elements of violet and forest floor”. Buy some to age and put it in a blind tasting.
Sharpe Hill Fleur Rouge 2013
Is this perhaps the most popular Connecticut winery? Nestled in the northeastern hills of the Quiet Corner of the state, Sharpe Hill produces a variety of wines including the very popular Ballet of Angels. They have planted the usual grapes you know such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc but they also plant the lesser known St. Croix and Vignoles. The Fleur Rouge wine is a wine that is neither overly sweet nor overly dry. It occupies that in between place that will make you think of “red currants and sweet plum.”
Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Russian River 2013
To call Paul Hobbs a winemaker is to say Picasso is just a painter . Paul Hobbs is not only a wine-maker, he is also a consultant to some great wineries around the world. He consults and/or makes wine in many places such as Argentina, Canada, France and Chile but perhaps is best known for making wine in California under his own name. It could be argued that Russian River was one of the places people talked about when they started getting tired of Napa wines. The Russian River Valley has a climate that is very conducive to the two great grapes of Burgundy: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The grapes for this wine come from five different estates that each contribute a different micro-climate, soil composition and exposure. In addition the type of clones used are famous in their own right—Wente, Calera and Mt. Eden just to name a few. The yields for this wine are very low allowing for great quality. According to the winery the 2013 vintage was great in almost every way. The grapes were picked at night, barrel fermented with indigenous yeast for a unique and individual profile and only partially aged in new French oak barrels for 12 months. A blend of different types of barrels and the aging on the lees followed by bottling unfined and unfiltered produces a wine that is unique. The winery describes it as having aromas of “white flowers, baked pear tart, nectarine and toasted almond shortbread” with the palate being “full bodied with flavors of Asian guava and keylime”.