This past Saturday, I and some members of the North Shore Winers attended the special Second Anniversary wine tasting at Wine••Sense in Andover. The tasting was divided into two sessions, one from 12-3pm and the other from 6-9pm, each session having different distributors and wines. I attended both of the sessions and had a lot of fun as well as tasting some excellent wines.
I should also note that the local Whole Foods supplied cheese, crackers and dip for both sessions. There was a nice variety of delicious cheeses which certainly went well with some of the wines.
The first session garnered only a small crowd which was nice as it gave you more opportunity to talk with the distributors about their wines. The second session was much busier but I still was able to talk a bit with the distributors. My friends enjoyed themselves and many of them left with some new wines.
Here are some of the wines that most impressed me.
Eileen always has some great wines and this was no exception. I had a few of the wines before, though not their new vintages. Let me highlight a couple of the wines.
2007 D.J. Vajra Moscato D'Asti ($19.99) from Piedmont, Italy: An appealing fruity nose with a nice taste of citrus and only a slight sweetness and a light effervescence. It was a refreshing wine which would make a nice apertif or a palate cleanser. Another excellent wine from this winery.
2003 Massa Vecchia Rosso ($57) from Tuscany, Italy: This is a wine that really needs to breathe for a time before you drink it. I had the opportunity to taste it soon after it was opened, an hour later, and then 7-8 hours later. I was not crazy about it soon after it was opened but it blossomed over time and then I got the full impact of this wine, all of its complexity and flavor. Lots of red fruit with hints of spice, vanilla, leather and more. A very long and smooth finish. This is a Wow wine but you need to be patient.
2005 Schroeder Family "Saurus" Malbec ($16.99) from Patagonia, Argentina: There is an interesting story behind the name of this wine. When digging on their property, they found a large dinosaur fossil. They were permitted to build their vineyard on the property if they protected the fossil so they built a museum around it. This wine is very good, with nice red fruit and vanilla flavors. It is a smooth wine with mild tannins and a bit lighter than many other Argentina Malbecs.
2004 Richard Hamilton Gumprs Shiraz ($19.99) from the McLaren Vale, Australia: This is another wine that is not like many other typical Aussie Shirazes. It is a light red color and has a delicious taste of cherry and raspberry, yet it is not a fruit bomb. It reminds me more of a Rhone wine, a bit more light and subtle than what is often seen in Australia.
2005 Laumann Family Cambiata Tannat ($32) from Monterey, California: Albeit a bit pricey, this is an intriguing wine made from Tannat, which is more often found in France and Uruguay. The Tannats I have had before are using quite tannic, big bold wines. Yet this was a much milder Tannay, with nice dark fruit flavors and a touch of spice. It was more like a smiple Petite Sirah.
2004 Bravanate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon ($50) from Howell Mountain, California: A big, full-bodied spicy Cabernet with well integrated tannins and a very long finish. Plenty of complexity and simply a delicious wine. This was a favorite of many of my friends too. An impressive wine that is reasonably priced considering its high quality.
2007 Alois Lageder Muller Thurgau ($19.99) from Alto Adige, Italy: An interesting white wine with citrus flavors, some mineral notes and a nice crispness to it. There is a hint of some more exotic spice that complements the wine.
2007 Bedell Cellars, First Crush ($14.99) from Long Island, New York: A very good value wine that is 54% Merlot. It is smooth, with very mild tannins and plenty of lush red fruit flavors. An easy drinking wine perfect for pizza to BBQ.
2006 Contat-Grange Maranges Rouge ($28) from Burgundy, France: A very nice young Burgundy with prominent fruit rather than any earthiness. A light wine compared to many California Pinots.
2007 Guy Allion Le Poira Malbec ($14.99) from Loire Valley, France: A value wine able to compete with any Argentina Malbec. This wine has interesting berry flavors, including a bit of blueberry, and mild tannins. A smooth, easy drinking wine with lots of flavor.
1999 Geantet Pansiot Gevrey Chambertin Les Poissenoits ($70) from Burgundy, France: As expected, this was a Wow wine, a top notch Burgundy. The nose seemed a bit musty but there was none of that in the taste. A complex melange of red fruit and earthiness with hints of cinnamon. A very long finish, well integrated tannins and just a smooth feel to it. A wine to contemplate as you drink.
1991 Simi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve ($75) from Sonoma, California: Another Wow wine that also begins with a musty nose. A subtler Cabernet, more like an older Bordeaux. Tame tannins, complex berry flavors with dominant cherry, and a very long finish. Another wine to contemplate, to savor slowly with close friends.
If you have not been to Wine••Sense before, then I do recommend you check it out. They have a diverse and interesting selection of wines, including all of the ones I just mentioned.