Hello and Happy Friday!
I know you miss me, but never fear, I will be returning this coming Tuesday, June 29th. I’m excited to get back and share my stories with you!
In the meantime a reminder that the store is open today from 4 to 7 PM. Tomorrow, Saturday, June 26th, Candid Wines will be in the house from noon till 6 PM to watch the store. As a special treat they will be pouring the delicious new Sangiovese blend from Cosimo Maria Masini – and it is a fabulous value!
Now, back to business. It is the last Friday of the month, and most of you out there in e–land know what that means! It is “six for $60” time! Don’t know what that means? It is pretty simple, a monthly sampler featuring six recently tasted and Craig approved wine values. Together these six individual bottles cost only $60 (excluding tax).
The “six for $60” is highly recommend to those learning about wines, trying to stock their wine rack with affordable and tasty adult beverages, or wanting to bring a gift to someone hosting a party.
So how does this work? To order simply e–mail me back and say “Hey Craig, hook me up.” To join the devoted legions of fans who receive them every month you can just say “and keep ’em coming!” All of the wines are available by the bottle or case, but for total jubilation just do the whole sampler. Some people are challenged by some of the wines that I put in to my sampler. If you do not drink Lagrein because it reminds you of your college days, Tannat is too hard for you to pronounce, or you just simply hate something I am offering, I will substitute and try to get the sampler as close to $60 as possible.
A suggestion to those folks trying to learn from this as well as get a buzz, print out a copy of the newsletter to keep with your sampler. That way when you are in the mood for a bottle you have your own mini wine lesson on hand. So what are you waiting for? Order yours today!
Have a great weekend,
2009 DOGA DELLE CLAVULE VERMENTINO
Earlier this month I had a white wine tasting in the store entitled “A White Wine Tasting: Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc you aren’t invited!”
Yes, it is true that there are other white varietals besides these two and the other usual suspect Pinot Grigio. The world is filled with obscure varietals, and often times they may fit into your palate profile. In fact, you will often get better value for your money by buying wines from varietals that are less known.
Italy is home to hundreds of local and obscure varietals. Today’s “six for $60” offers a Vermentino to try. This grape varietal is actually pretty widely planted around Italy, especially in Tuscany.
Doga delle Clavule is located in the Maremma, or more specifically within the appellation of Morellino di Scansano. Farming is the prominent occupation in the region, and the vine has been there for hundreds of years.
Vermentino in the Maremma is often an early ripening varietal that is vinified into a fresh, crisp style of white. The 2009 from Doga delle Clavule is really delicious juice, with notes of lemon, peach, and white flowers. The acidity levels are refreshing, yet not so high that this can’t be enjoyed with white meat like pork or chicken. Personally, I can drink it on its own by the bucket–load.
Get out of your white wine rut and try a Vermentino today!
$12.00 BTL. / $144.00 CASE
2008 DOMAINE MONTE DE LUZ TANNAT
Table for three please. What once was a South American table for two has expanded to add another party. For some time, Chile and Argentina have been the only proverbial wine countries at this table, but now Uruguay is making a strong push for their seat.
I’m going to have to admit that I am no expert when it comes to Uruguay or it’s wine. I do know that Montevideo is the capital, I do know that Manhattan’s are not a popular drink, and oh, I also know that Tannat is a pretty prominent grape varietal.
Tannat may not be on your wine radar screen, but it is thought to have originated in Southwest France, where today it is most famous in the appellation of Madiran. Grape historians feel that it may have been brought to Uruguay by those in the French Basque country, where it grows along the Pyrenees Mountains.
It is now a heavily consumed grape varietal, and after all the Uruguayan’s like to party (second largest wine consumption in South America).
This Tannat comes from the San José appellation of Uruguay. Monte de Luz is owned by the Lesgourgues family, who is the owner of Château Laubade, the famous Bas Armagnac producer. The winery was founded in 2000, and has established itself as a high quality domaine.
This Tannat doesn’t see any oak treatment and is really meant as a fresh, juicy expression of the varietal. I like it for its dark cherry, pepper and mineral notes. It is a really good BBQ wine, perfect for your summer outdoor parties!
Bolivia, Brazil, Peru: who is next at the table?
$8.50 BTL. / $102.00 CASE
2009 MAIPE TORRONTÉS
“You wine people really talk strange!” Yep, I hear it a lot from consumers, and well, they are kind of right. What prompts this response from many people is the verbiage that us wine geeks use when describing wine. Balsamic, wild strawberry, white pepper, hay, and flowers, I mean come on does that really exist in our wines?
The answer to this question is yes! Aromas and flavors change all the time, and there is certainly no right or wrong in all of this, but sometimes varietals really do have strong aromatic or flavor characteristics. Take Torrontés for example. This varietal, almost always emits a very strong floral aroma. Maybe it is not the extreme rose smell of Gewürtztraminer, but it is really there!
So take the “sniffer challenge” and pour yourself a glass of this delicious Torrontés from the Mendoza producer, Maipe. You will see, that we all aren’t whack–jobs!
Seriously though, when you have floral characteristics, it takes a deft winemaker and enologist’s touch to get the balance right. Maipe, does a good job at making a well balanced example of the varietal. And since it is from Argentina, you know you are going to get a really great value!
This is 100% Torrontés from the Salta region, and it really sings with well balanced acidity, melon, peach, and yes, floral notes. A delicious aperitif, or really good with whole grilled fish.
$9.00 BTL. / $108.00 CASE
2008 CANTINA ANDRIAN LAGREIN ROSÉ
It’s just not fair – poor rosé! I know that as I get older, I get just a little more popular. Yet rosé has a negative connotation the older it gets.
It’s true that you don’t want to have a cellar full of pink stuff, but sometimes, a year in bottle does wonders for rosé.
Here is the perfect example of a rosé that I have liked since my first taste of it, but you know, it is actually drinking even better right now!
Lagrein is a really interesting and delicious varietal that you find throughout Northeast Italy. As a red wine, it is plump and juicy, with really interesting spice and mineral notes. There are simple examples, and then those that can age really well. It is not surprising that it makes for a really interesting rosé.
This example hails from Alto Adige’s oldest cooperative, Cantina Andrian. This is a relatively new arrival to the American market, and truthfully, it wasn’t until Cantina Terlan’s recent involvement in enology and winemaking operations that quality has soared.
This is a very different style rosé than I have offered on previous samplers. This is a nod to the full–bodied style, with dark berry fruit, good weight, and a nice spice driven character. Have this rosé with some grilled red meats, you will see the wide range of food that pink stuff can go with!
Enough of this old–age rosé prejudice, it’s time for some enlightenment!
$9.00 BTL. / $108.00 CASE
2008 LOOSEN BROS. “DR. L” RIESLING
Speaking of prejudice, no wine provokes more bias then my friend, Riesling! It can be dry, it can be sweet, it can really vary depending on location, producer style, climate, and much more. So how then do we consistently make sweeping statements about the varietal?
Whatever the case, it is my job on the Six for $60 to get you give certain wines a second chance. Keep in mind, this is inexpensive, you can afford to give it a try.
My guess is that once you taste what amounts to a really lightly sweet Riesling from the Mosel, you will apologize profusely to me. Really you should direct your apology to Riesling though.
Ernie Loosen is super–proud of this wine. Not because it is his most complex or longest aging wine, but rather he is proud of the great quality for the price of this 100% delicious Riesling.
This is an old, historic domaine with vineyards in the heart of the Mosel Valley. Unfortunately the estate’s prized vineyards can’t fit budget wise into the “Dr. L” category. But never fear the Loosen brothers work with long–term contract growers, to provide top quality fruit for this wine.
While Mosel Valley Riesling can age and age, this wine is meant to drink fresh. It’s got a screw top, it’s the type of wine you can drink in 2.2 seconds, and it is really delineated and refined for a Riesling in its price point.
You owe it to yourself to try this wine. Have it on a warm day, or better yet, match it with spicy Thai food. It works together like no other.
$10.00 BTL. / $120.00 CASE
2006 ROCCA DEI MORI “BRIACÒ” PRIMITIVO
What is it about Southern Italian reds that makes me think summertime? I often find myself reaching for reds wines like Primitivo from Puglia during the warm months. I have found that this stems from the fact that I think they pair well with summer foods. BBQ, tomatoes, more savory and aromatic herbs – these are all natural pairings for wines such as this one from Rocca dei Mori.
This wine is made by the folks at Apollonio, based in Lecce in the southern tip of the heel of the boot of Italy. This historic company can trace its roots back to the late 1800’s, and the company is still going strong today with a wide array of wines from the different appellations in Puglia.
“Briacò” is an IGT made from 100% Primitivo grown in the chalky–clay soil of Salento. The grapes go through a traditional soaking of 30–45 days followed by a temperature–controlled fermentation. The wine is aged in American oak barrels for a year, followed by another year in bottle.
This is a whole lot of wine for the money. And some of you will be reminded of an American Zinfadel upon tasting this wine. You can think of it that way when you match this up with hearty fare, like BBQ, roasted lamb, or braised goat tacos! My recommendation is to decant this for about a half hour. This will be a big hit at your next party!
$11.50 BTL. / $138.00 CASE