Monday, May 28, 2012

Domaine Les Chardons Touraine Sauvignon Blanc

Domaine Les Chardons Touraine
Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Thierry Chardon - Vigneron
Loire, France

100% Sauvignon Blanc.

I have a few wines to tell you about presently, but today seems to be calling for this delicious Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire region of France.  Light lemony yellow in color, It is pure sunshine!  A briny, flinty minerality emerges on the nose.  With light grapefruit on the palate and a lovely floral quality, along with a hint of pineapple (tropical fruit), it is clean, clean, clean and smooth, with a creamy mouth feel and dry finish.  Lightly perfumed with citrus overtones and surprising depth, this is an awesome/extraordinary “every day” wine and an amazing value!  I loved it.  Ned (Devenish Wines) likens this to a Sancerre, without the snobby Sancere price tag.  Yes!  However you choose to characterize this, it’s a fabulous “Go To” summer wine.  Have with simple plate of cheeses, crackers, bread and fruit as an aperitif, or perhaps with a seafood salad and crisp baby greens or summer grilled vegetables!  Bring it on the boat!  $12.99 at Rosemont Market.  

The vineyard is located in the town of Couffy on the southern slopes of Cher in the heart of Touraine in the Loire region of France (Sancerre to the east) and home to beautiful Loire Chateaux castles.  These chateaux were built by seventeenth and eighteenth century aristocrats attracted by the agricultural wealth and abundance of the region.  As to the terroir, it is composed of flint, clay and limestone, which truly shines through in this wine.  Winemakers Thierry & Sophie Chardon founded the vineyard in 1996, with six years of rich experience on a farm in Mareuil sur Cher as vineyard manager and also the experience of his elders – winemakers for generations. 

This wine is brought to us by Devenish Wines (Imported by Maximilien Selections through Fruit of the Vines, Inc., Long Island City, NY), as a result of a trip Ned took this past early spring visiting vineyards in search of wonderful wines.  See his blog:

Available at the followingRosemont Markets, Browne Trading and Aurora Provisions in Portland; Freeport Cheese and Wine Shop and Provisions in South Freeport;  Bandaloop Restaurant in Kennebunkport; Oak Hill Beverage, Scarborough; and the Blue Hill Wine Shop in Blue Hill.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Weingut Steininger Grüner Veltliner Grand Crü

                                                DOMBEK photo © 2012
Weingut Steininger
Grüner Veltliner Grand Crü
Kamptal Reserve 2010

100% Grüner Veltliner.

Deep golden straw in color with bright highlights, this wine has lush tropical fruit notes on the nose such as ripe pineapple, grapefruit peel and banana, along with a flinty minerality that comes through like a refreshing wave.  With a touch of orange peel, citrus and hint of spice along, with subtle warm vanilla overtones, the mouth feel is round, smooth and lovely with a distinctly silky yet fresh, clean finish.  Beautiful! 
I also loved that this bottle has a glass cork!

This Grüner Veltliner Grand Crü (French for “great growth”) is purportedly one for aging, and I can imagine the honey notes coming through even more distinctly with time.  However, it was perfectly delightful to enjoy now, and that we did as part of my recent birthday celebration.  Absolutely loved by all!  We enjoyed with a selection of cheeses with fruits & nuts to start, followed by a pasta salad with fresh veggies, herbs, chicken & shrimp and artisan bread.  Scrumptuous!

Grüner Veltliner is the most important grape varietal in Austria, greatly appreciated as a fresh dry wine, as well as one with powerful long aging potential.  The Steininger winery is family-run and situated in the wine growing village of Langenlois in the Kamptal Valley.  This grape accounts for over 50% of their production and can be found in different styles, from light summer wines to powerful, voluminous full bodied wines and also dessert wines. 

A favorite of John’s from Rosemont Market here in Portland, this is one of the wines he and Tabitha (CRUSH Distributors) discovered and brought back from their trip to Austria last February.  Treat yourself!  $27.99 a bottle at Rosemont.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2009

DOMBEK photo © 2012
Alvaro Palacios
Camins del Priorat 2009
Priorat, Spain

30% Garnacha, 60% Cariñena, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah.

Deep red violet in color, this wine exhibits lovely perfume, earthy and woodsy notes on the nose, along with hints of cedar, cocoa and violets.  Slightly dusty and soft, sensuous and smooth on the tongue, with beautiful luscious fruit such as currant, plum and dark cherry, even raisin and fig.  After some time, coffee liqueur underlying, along with dark chocolate, juniper and incense.  This opens slowly but gorgeously - with balance, depth and nice tannic structure.  WoW! 

Winemaker Alvaro Palacios, who is said to embody “the promise and spirit of The New Spain”, was one of nine children born to the owners of Rioja’s respected Palacios Remondo.  He studied enology in Bordeaux with Jean-Pierre Moueix at Chateau Pétrus, crediting his time there for imbuing him with his winemaking philosophy and showing him “the importance of great wines”.  He chose the remote area of Priorat, located in the southern part of Spain’s Catalonia region (60 miles from Barcelona) to establish his vineyards.  The terroir consists of steep hills and terraces of schist, evoking his experience at Pétrus.  Camins del Priorat is preceded by some big and expensive “trophy wines” created by Palacios:  Finca Dofí (only 1,250 cases!) and Les Terrasses “Velles Vignes” (I would LOVE to try those!)  Camins del Priorat is intended to be much more affordable and approachable.  But how delicious and what ancestry! Aged 3-4 months in barrique, followed by tank and cask aging, totally unfiltered.  In addition, 2009 is touted as a monumental vintage, “with the ripeness of 2003 and balance of 2008.”  Try this one, it’ll knock your socks off!

This wine is imported by Rare Wine Co., Sonoma, CA. and distributed locally by SoPo Wine Co., South Portland, ME.  Find it for around $21.99 at RSVP on Forest Ave. and Rosemont Markets, Portland

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Domaine Le Grand Rouviere Rose' 2011

                                               Dombek Photo © 2012
Domaine Le Grand Rouviere
Cuvée des Vieilles Vignes Rose’ 2011
Cote de Provence, France

70% old vines Cinsault, 30% Grenache.

Finally, a break from the cloudy and the rain ... today is the day for Rose’.  This is going to be a quick one today as I need to get outside into the garden (and no doubt will be having a glass of this later on!)

Light salmon pink in color, this is classic Provençal rose’.  Clean and crisp with flinty raspberry/strawberry sherbet on the nose, it follows through with delicious juicy berries and watermelon on the palate.  Slightly tangy yet delicate, light and elegant with nice acidity and dry finish.  Fun and lovely.  Serve with fresh spring greens salads w/ shrimp, mussels, salmon or as an aperitif with brie, pears, baguette.  Bring on the boat, for a picnic or light dinner!

Provence is located in the South of France on the Mediterranean just east of the Rhone region.  Winemaking is thought to have existed here since around 600 BC!  This Rouviere rose’ is made by the Leydier family, who own a sustainably farmed vineyard in the rolling hills situated on the border of the famous Bandol appellation. 

From Devenish Wines and available for around $13.99 at Rosemont Markets, Whole Foods & Aurora Provisions in Portland; Provisions and Bow St. Market in FreeportTess’s Market and Henry & Marty’s Restaurant in Brunswick.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Viñedos de los Vientos TANNAT 2007

                                               Dombek Photo © 2012
Viñedos de los Vientos
Atlántida, Uruguay

100% Tannat.

I know on May Day one should really be enjoying Rose' (and I do have one to talk about), however the weather here in Portland today is calling for something else ... thus the Tannat! 

Dark lush/black garnet in color, this wine has aromas of deep plum, leather and dark cherry with subtle vanilla overtones.  One immediate experiences a silky/suede mouth feel followed by luscious blackberry flavors, hints of dark cocoa, cedar and black licorice, even tar.  Perfume and spice persist.  Ned (Devenish Wines Proprietor) likens it to a Nebbiolo!  Warm and earthy, this has intense dark fruit (without being jammy), underlying brighter tannins and overall polish.  What fun!  We enjoyed this with a hearty lentil, vegetable & spicy sausage soup!  Add crusty breads and aged cheeses.  This warms senses, heart and soul on a chilly day! $16.99 a bottle from Rosemont Market on Munjoy Hill.

Tasting Wines with my friend Scott!
One thinks of Tannat as a grape originating from the Basque region of France and usually blended with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.  But Tannat has now found a prominent place in Uruguay, which is located in the southeastern part of South America on the Atlantic Ocean.  In the Fallabrino family since 1947, the property Viñedos de los Vientos means “Vineyard of the Winds” and is located where the River Plate Estuary (largest in the world and home to 150 species of birds) and the Atlantic Ocean meet, providing clean cool ocean breezes and an ideal climate for the maturation of grapes for fine wine.  They also practice sustainable agriculture and maintain respect for the environment and surrounding wildlife.  What's not to LOVE??

Exclusively imported by T. Edward Wines, Ltd., New York and Devenish Wines here in Portland.  Find at Rosemont Market and RSVP Beverage on Forest Ave.  Also on the wine list at Old Vines Wine Bar - 173 Port Road, Kennebunk, ME