Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fontezoppa Verdicchio di Matelica

                                     DOMBEK photo © 2012

Canale di Cantine Fontezzoppa
Verdicchio di Matelica 2011
Civitanova Marche, Italy

100% Verdicchio

Light chiffon yellow in color with faint citrus, golden apple notes and subtle saline on the nose, this refreshing white wine is clean and zesty, with a hint of lemon creme.  Slightly floral with traces of jasmine, ever so subtle juniper & herbs, essence of tropical fruit, and even a little unctuous honey when first chill wears off, this has great balance and acidity, a fair amount of structure and nice long finish.  So quaffable, it shines in simplicity yet with such sophisticated taste.  Loved it!  Great with sushi, shellfish or light pasta dishes, or try with grilled fresh wild salmon and asparagus spears.  Delectable! 
$13/btl at Browne Trading Co.

Fontezoppa Vineyards are located in Civitanova between the towns of Serrapetrona and San Severino in the Marche region on the east coast of Italy, close to the Adriatic Sea.  This area is considered to be one of the best spots in the Marche to grow grapes, being both warmer in the day and cooler at night.  Owner/winemaker Giovanni Basso has 20 years experience as a grower and produces wines of traditional character with great respect to terroir and "Burgundian levels of quality control (double sorting tables anyone)?"  This truly comes through in the wine. 

Take a look at this video.  You will get a sense of terroir/natural environment and soul of the region and vineyard ... even if you don’t understand Italian!

This wine comes to us from Easterly Wine, Belfast, ME.  Importer is Ideal Wine, Medford, MA.  Also available at Whole Foods, Rosemont Markets and Pai Men Miyake Restaurant, Portland.   

Monday, August 6, 2012

Trousseau, Assyrtiko, Cru Muscadet ... Why not?

                                                                         DOMBEK photo © 2012

Domaine Grand Côtes du Jura
Trousseau 2010
Jura, France

100% Trousseau.

Earthy and light/bright ruby in color, with overtones of light brown suggesting twigs on a forest floor, this wonderfully unique wine has a subtle floral perfume of violets, along with wild berries such as strawberries, raspberries and cranberries on the nose.  Light bodied and distinctly herbaceous, with cherries, rhubarb and spice on the palate, this wine has subtle yet complex flavors.  Completely lean and dry, this is a fabulous summer red!  Brendon from Devenish wines recommends putting a slight chill on it before serving.  Perfect!  $15.99/btl at The Bier Cellar.

Jura is a region east of Burgundy, France named after the Jura MountainsSwitzerland and the Swiss Alps are to the west.  The climate of the region has many similarities to Burgundy but is reportedly colder in winter.  Harvest levels are often delayed as long as possible to achieve the highest levels.  Vines are often pruned to the Guyot system, a method of trellising grapes (“cane pruning”) to allow for greatest exposure to sun and therefore ripening.  The Trousseau grape has characteristics that remind one of Pinot Noir, the primary red grape of the Burgundy region. Elegance, subtlety and balance are characteristics ringing true for me here.

The Grand family has been farming Organicly for Domaine Grand since the 80’s and they’ve been farming the estate since 1692!

 BIER CELLAR - 299 ForestAve, Portland, ME  
 Greg Norton (Bier Cellar) & Brendon Pringle (Devenish)  
I had this wine some time ago but was reminded how delicious it is recently at an excellent new Beer/Wine store in town – BIER CELLAR, located at 299 Forest Ave., just after the entrance to Hannaford.  

Their inaugural wine tasting was hosted by Devenish Wines and included the Jura Trousseau along with an excellent line-up of wines.  

Wine Tasting at Bier Cellar
Other stand-out pics included:  

Hatzidakis Assyrtiko 2011Santorini, Greece

Blend of Assyrtiko/Aidani /Athiri grapes.

Light straw yellow in color, this has briny air and aromas of wildflower fields on the nose.  This clearly speaks of “terroir” considering the vineyard is located on an island in the Aegean surrounded by the elements of wind, water and sun that literally pour through the wine!  White peaches, juicy honeydew melon and steely minerality follow on the palate for a wonderful, luminescent acidity.  Unique and delicious, this is Happiness in a glass!  $16.99/btl at Bier Cellar.  

 Hatzidakis Assyrtiko and Moriniere Muscadet Cuvee  
Assyrtiko grapes are trained in a “bird nest/basket shape” called 'stefani' to shield grapes from the hot Meltemi winds, also trapping precious dew from the night air to bring the vines much needed moisture.  

Stefani vine/dormant season

Stefani Vine taking shape
Soil is porous/pumice/volcanic. The Hatzidakis Winery was founded in 1996 by Haridimos and Konstantina Hatzidakis.  The vineyards were owned by Konstantina’s family but they had not been cared for since 1956, when they fled Santorini for Athens due to an earthquake.  “Haridimos may well represent the future of the wine industry on the picturesque Greek island of Santorini. He is the newest producer but many consider him the most talented enologist.”  I found this wine to be enchanting indeed!

For our third hightlight of the tasting, Chateau de la Moriniere Cuvee M Vallet Cru Muscadet 2009, Loire Valley, France.  This was subtle, elegant, rich, light and lovely all at once.  A true pleasure to experience.  Only 15 cases of this Cru Muscadet came into the country.  $19.99/btl at Bier Cellar.  

Ned (Devenish Wines) found this when visiting the Loire Valley last spring. Apparently growers haven’t quite settled on rules for cru designation yet (akin to Beaujolais), but Moriniere is already making this special reserve Muscadet from a very old vine vineyard in one of the zones to be eventually cru designated, The Vallet Vineyard. For more explicit info on this one and a taste of Ned’s adventure with it see his blog:

All wines featured today brought to us from Devenish Wines and tasted at Bier Cellar, 299 Forest Ave. Portland; A fantastic new retail establishment offering an amazing selection of craft beer, unique wines, cider and mead.

Also available at the following venues:

Côtes du Jura Trousseau:  Rosemont Markets & Browne Trading (Portland), Blue Hill Wine Shop (Blue Hill)

Hatzidakis Assyrtiko:  Rosemont Markets, Whole Foods, Browne Trading, Emilitsa (Portland), Niky's Restaurant (Lewiston), Bel Cibo da Cherie's (Kennebunk), Trattoria Athena (Brunswick), Mckean and Charles (Waldoboro), and The Wine Seller (Rockland).

Moriniere Cuvee M Vallet Cru Muscadet:  Rosemont Markets, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Browne Trading & Caiola’s (Portland), Lilly Lupine and Fern (Camden), Old Vines Wine Bar (Kennebunkport)

Find these in venues near you and experience them for yourself!