Sunday, July 28, 2013


Clos Cibonne Tibouren Rose' 2011


Last Sunday afternoon was one of those gorgeous days of summer, perfect for a wine tasting at our local Rosemont Market (Munjoy Hill) - Portland, and hosted by the illustrious Ned Swain of DEVENISH Wines. And such a fabulous and unique line-up ... wines from France, Italy, California and Slovenia!

I had been excited to try the Cru Classe' (top rated chateau/growth) Clos Cibonne Tibouren Rose' 2011 from Côtes de Provence.  What a treat!  Made from 100% Tibouren, a rare/indigenous grape from Provence on the Mediterranean, this was exquisite in every way.  Amazing salmon pink in color, this wine had blossoms, wild berries and sherry on the nose and palate, possessing that "old World" depth that I love.  Lush yet ultimately clean/austere mouth feel. Heavenly. Herbaceous, one might say eucalyptus in the back. Sexy & understated, you feel like you're sipping sherry with a refreshingly lively illusiveness!  Aged in 100 year old oak barrels, which explains those sherry tones. Imported by De Maison Selections, IncNot inexpensive but worth it. $26.99/btl. Available at Rosemont Munjoy Hill

Tasting DEVENISH Wines at Rosemont Market - Munjoy Hill, Portland

Cantina de Srobara "Nicchia" NV Lambrusco
Cantina di Sorbara "Nicchia" NV Lambrusco from Emilia Romagna, Italy is a super fun, lively sparkling red with mixed bright berry flavors of raspberry, blackberry, black cherry. Subtly sweet with great acidity and clean, vibrant, zingy finish. Lambrusco is the grape and the wine is named for Virginia Oldoini, the Countess of Castiglione, fondly nicknamed "Nicchia". She is apparently credited with having surprising political power, in the 19th centured hailed as unifying Italy and helping prevent "post-Franco-Prussian was occupation of Paris".  Well okay! This is completely affordable and delicious at $11.99/btl. Wine to share and celebrate! Imported by T. Edwards Wines, New York.

Ned Swain (DEVENISH Wines) pouring Nicchia Lambrusco

Also featured, from  Matthew Rorick Wines Valdiguie 2012. Slightly tannic in a youthful sense, with notes of twig, forest floor, blackberry & raspberry followed. Refreshing and quaffable. Valdiguie is a rare grape varietal grown by Matthew Rorick at his vineyards in Fairfield, California (located midway between San Francisco and Sacramento). $18.99/btl. Available at Rosemont Munjoy and Vignola Restaurant.

Matthew Rorick Valdiguie & Terminus Cotes du Rhone

The Terminus Côtes du Rhone 2011 was earthy, with dark fruit and elderberry. Classic peppery notes. A red Rhone blend, mainly with Grenache. This is completely approachable in terms of palate and pocketbook. $10.99/btl. Imported by T. Edwards Wines, New York.

The tasting actually began with  Črnko Jarenincan 2012 from Stajerska, Slovenia (here pictured back at the abode!) This is a blend of Laski Rizling (Riesling), Sauvignon Blanc and Ravenec. Light lemon in color with minerals and lightly aromatic on the nose, it had hints of lush, rich fruit. Gooseberry, apricot, melon. Smooth mouth feel. Clean, delightful finish. This is considered the village white wine, and in summer the locals of Jarenincan mix it with sparkling water and drink through the day! Only 11% alcohol. $14.99/1L btl. 

Produced and bottled by Silvo Črnko. Imported by Blue Danube Wine Company, Los Altos Hills, CA. Available in Portland at Rosemont Munjoy Hill & Brighton, Aurora Provisions, Le Roux Kitchen, Oh No Cafe; in Brunswick at Local; also at Bow St. Market, Freeport, Treats, Wiscasset, Rising Tide Market, Damariscotta and Rockland Food Service.

Enjoy the rest of summer!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Château Coupe Roses "Champ du Roy" Blanc

Château Coupe Roses 
"Champ du Roy" Blanc 2011
Vin de Pays des Côtes de Brian
Languedoc, France

Muscat & Viognier (roughly equal parts), with 5% Marsanne, 5% Grenache Blanc.

Light white gold in color, this wine has briny minerals on the nose with lime/citrus on nose and palate. Elegant and rustic all at once, yet completely unpretentious, there is plenty to get excited about! Muscat and Viognier impart lovely aromatics, perfume and acidity. Floral notes of light orange blossom and edelweiss give way to stone fruit and white peaches. Marsanne and Grenache Blanc provide the body and richness. Clean, dry, refreshing finish. This bottle is seriously gone before you know it! Perfect summer enjoyment ... better get two! (around $15/bottle at Browne Trading Co. in Portland).

Château Coupe Roses' vineyards are located in the Minervois appellation of the Languedoc region of France (south near the Mediterranean) on an arid windswept, plateau above a cliff at 750 - 1,350 ft. above sea level.  These vineyards reside in the two highest zones in the Minervois, Le Causse and Le Petit Causse, names that refer to exposed rock and garrigue, calcified limestone to be exact. The name "Champ du Roy" means field of the king. Winemakers Françoise Le Calvez and her enologist husband Pascal Frissant are hands-on and passionate about their wines. "At Coupe Roses, the sum total of high-tech wizardry is confined to the modern winery press and the narrow gauge Lamborghini vineyard tractor" (Vintage '59). 

The Vin de Pays designation is only because Viognier is not allowed in Minervois AOC wines and in no way reflects the quality or sophistication of this wine. In fact, François Serre, a friend, colleage and consulting enologist at Château Rayas in Châteauneuf-du-Pape is also consulting enologist at Coupe Roses.  Tres Bien!

Brought to us in the northeast by CRUSH Distributors through Vintage '59 Importers, Washington, DC.  Ask your local market or restaurant to carry it!