Volume 9, Issue 6 – October 2016
Inside this issue:
October 2016 Selections; Peterson 2 4 6, Madonna Nera, Cantina del Pino 2006, Alvear PX, CSM Indian Wells Red, Hanssens Lambic, and 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
Sur de los Andes Reserva Malbec 2012
If you thought the era of Malbec was over, think again. Malbec not only has increased in quantity but also in quality. Argentina is currently the country most closely associated with Malbec. Malbec, while used as a blending grape in Bordeaux and closely associated with Cahors, has undoubtedly found its place in Argentina. Good berry fruit and flavors earned this a 90 points score from the Wine Enthusiast.
$12.99 reg $11.69 club
Toad Hollow Chardonnay 2015
This winery produced its first Chardonnay in 1993 in an unoaked style. Today it is still making it that way. Located in the great wine town of Healdsburg California, the winery produces this hard-to-resist style of Chardonnay. It has well balanced acidity combined with stainless steel aging. Tropical fruits come thru on the palate for a flavor experience that you don’t often find at this price.
$14.99 reg $11.69 club
Chateau de Cugat 2012 Bordeaux Superieur
Those of you who like blends and are looking to expand your tasting options beyond say, California, would do well to try out this wine. It is a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Because it is aged in concrete and multi-used oak, it doesn’t have a heavy new oak influence. Instead, all that comes thru is fruit and flavor.
$15.99 reg $14.09 club
Gamay some wine
Jean-Paul Brun Fleurie 2013
The region of Beaujolais is highly underrated and widely misunderstood. Most people think of this region in terms of the really fruity wine that is released in November every year as a celebration of the harvest. This is not that wine. This wine is from one of the 10 communes in this region that produces top quality wine from the red Gamay grape. It is also a wine produced by one of the best producers in the area. Their importer describes it best “light, fruity and delicious”.
Cabernet + Malbec = Zero
2012 Peterson 2 4 6 Cabernet Sauvignon
California wine is so well known you may think that there is nothing new to show. Well, there’s an entire next generation that not only continues the tradition of excellent winemaking but also expands it a bit further. At Peterson Winery one of the overriding principles is that of Zero Manipulation. According to them it is a philosophy that captures what their winemaking is all about: “low tech, yet high touch, to produce wines of a place, wines with soul…most gentle, traditional winemaking practices possible to maximize the flavors, aromatics and texture of the wines”.
This wine is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Malbec. It is great for those of you who like blends but still like a solid amount of Cabernet. This wine comes from the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma Valley. It is an area very well respected for extremely well made wines. It makes for easy drinking and of course pairs well with food. The winery describes it as having flavors of “boysenberry, blackberry and dark cherry… traces of creamy oak and eucalyptus add an interesting dimension as the wine lingers on the palate”. This would work well with pork, lamb and certainly with the winery’s suggestion of brisket. In fact put some brisket in the slow cooker tonight and buy a bottle of this on the way home from work tomorrow. You’ll be happy you did.
$23.99 / bottle
Young Winery/Old Values
Madonna Nera Toscana 2011
For many people one of the first wines they ever tasted was from Italy and probably Tuscany. This red wine may remind you of why you love Italian wine. This is a young winery making wine on a very small plot of land. It has already garnered a large number of accolades for the three wines that it produces. This wine, which is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon is what a lot of people call a Super Tuscan; meaning a wine that doesn’t fall within the DOCG rules. Even without following those conventions, Super Tuscans have gone on to have a great following by dedicated drinkers of Italian wine. If you like Chianti and other Sangiovese-based wines, it would be worth your time to give this a try.
This Month’s Cellar Selection
Cantina Del Pino Barbaresco 2006
Sometimes it is hard to find a really good bottle of Barbaresco at a price that doesn’t kill your budget . Cantina Del Pino is at the perfect intersection of wines that are true to the location and the price/value ratio. The winery uses no chemical fertilizers and the vines are at least 40 years old. It is made from 100% Nebbiolo and aged for an extended period of time. This 2006 is a perfect wine to have on hand when you want something to drink with some age that shows some development. It is “elegant and fully ripe with intense fruit and wonderful structure and balance”.
Centuries of History in a Glass
Alvear Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927
Let’s start with the obvious: Alvear is the name of the family that has been producing wine in the Montilla-Moriles region of Spain. The family’s origins go back to the early 16th century. Montilla-Moriles is in Andalucia of which its nearest and most famous city is Cordoba. The grape is Pedro Ximenez. It is a grape traditionally associated with a sweet Sherry and sometimes abbreviated as PX. If you wanted to put this in the category of Sherry you could, although technically Sherry is legally limited to the region of Jerez de La Frontera which is farther west of Cordoba.
The region produces wines akin to Sherry but has its own designation—Montilla-Moriles. Fortified wines (which is what Sherry and its kin are) represent very good values when you consider how old the wines in the blend are and the method used to make them. Alvear is arguably one of the most important houses making Montilla-Moriles. The grapes are exposed to the sun after picking and allowed to become raisins. It is this dense “raisin juice” that will be made into wine and aged in criaderas—like warehouses in which previous years contribute to the current barrels.
Solera 1927 refers to when the system of moving down wines was started. This wine will last months after you open it even without refrigeration. Even though it is sweet it is so well balanced as to be delicate. It is fantastic as an accompaniment to blue cheese, or rich vanilla ice cream. On its own you can chill it with an ice cube or two
$28.99/ 375 ml bottle
Well, Well, Wells…
Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Red 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle is a large producer of wines. It is also a fact that the wines they make are all very good quality. You may know CSM for its wide range of Rieslings but they also make excellent reds. This red comes from their Indian Wells Vineyard which is located in a warmer region and produces more new world style wines—meaning wines that are richer and more luscious on the palate. This particular wine is a blend of mostly Syrah and Merlot with a sprinkling of Grenache, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Mourvedre. This wine can take you from beef and cheese all the way to chocolate. If you like blends and are a fan of Washington wines, we invite you to try this one.
Hanssens Artisanaal Oude Kriek Lambic
Hanssens blends beers to achieve a flavor based on wild yeasts—yeasts and in this case the addition of cherries. It is red colored and the bottle comes stoppered with a cork finish. Aroma… “opens with a barnyard gambit, but quickly dissi-pates, allowing complex aromatics of cherries, wood, earth, and vanilla to come through… Taste… full of sour cherries with hints of wildness and oak that blends well with the extreme acidity, and slight residual sweetness… Finish… Long, tart and fruity finish. Dry finish .”
$11.99/ 375ml bottle
Sharpe Hill Cabernet Franc 2012
If you live in Connecticut and you take a leisurely Sunday drive, you may see signs for wineries. In fact there are quite a few in a state once known for its puritanical views on alcohol. So much has changed that we now have wine trails and passports to the wineries so you can verify that you’ve been to them. Like Pokemon Go but better because there is wine involved.
In the case of Sharpe Hill you have to drive to what is sweetly called The Quiet Corner of Connecticut—the Northeast. In this part of the state this time of year is spectacular. Growing grapes in Connecticut is a challenge because of the harsh weather and what it can do to the grapes; it’s the reason you don’t see Pinot Noir. It is also the reason you don’t see high alcohol wines like from really warm climates. Sharpe Hill (which produces the famous Ballet of Angels) is one of the most prominent wineries in Connecticut. Cabernet Franc is a grape that will remind you of Cabernet Sauvignon but with a slightly different twist. It has traditionally been one of the blending grapes in Bordeaux and it certainly thrives in the Loire Valley. Thus Sharpe Hill’s Cabernet Franc is in very good company. It is made from 100% Caber-net Franc in the classic Bordeaux style. The Sharpe Hill Winery is worth the visit just to taste this wine.