Saturday, November 15, 2008

Grapevine Travelers Fall Grand Tasting

Last weekend, I led a group of the North Shore Winers to a Fall Grand Wine Tasting at Grapevine Travelers in Medford. Like previous Grand Tastings, there were fourteen vendors, which include one beer vendor and one cognac vendor. With so many wines available for tasting, I was not able to taste all of them. But I will list my favorites, by distributor, from those I did taste.

Adonna Imports: One of my favorite Italian wine importers, they always have some excellent wines at local tastings.

--2006 Martilde Piume, Oltrepo Pavese ($12.99): This is made from 100% Malvasia and is a crisp, easy drinking white wine with pleasant citrus and green apple flavors.
--2005 Bianco Aldo Nebbiolo ($25.99): A light red color with a nose of bright red fruits. Plenty of fruit on the palate as well with mild tannins and a good finish. Great food wine.

Violette Imports: They carry some excellent organic and biodynamic wines and I am always eager to taste whatever they have that is new.

--2007 Corte Marzago Bardolino, Italy ($16.99): Only 5000 bottles made of this wine, which sees only stainless steel and no oak. This is a very juicy wine, smooth and full of flavor. A pure delight whether on its own or with food. A very good value at this price.
--2006 Guele de Loup, Provence, France ($18.99): This wine's name means "snout of the wolf" which refers to a flower that grows in the region. The wine is a blend of grenache, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. It sees only stainless steel. It has a deep dark red color with strong dark fruit flavors and a touch of earthiness. A very interesting flavor.
--2006 Coturri Albarello ($24.99): The Coturri Winery is one of my favorite organic producers. This is kind of a kitchen sink blend with grapes including carignane, cabernet sauvignon, charbono, petite sirah, and barbera. This was an exceptional wine, with ripe and juicy berry flavors and hints of various spices. It has a satisfying, long finish and also would be good alone or with food.

Classic Wines

--2006 Chateau Moncontour Sparkling Vouvray, France ($18.99): 100% Chenin Blanc made in the usual Champagne method though it sees no oak. A crisp sparkling wine with nice green apple and mineral notes.

Oz Pacific Wines:

--2006 Avondale Pinotage, South Africa ($13.99): Certified organic. An earthy and smoky flavor with dark blackberry and cassis flavors. A fine example of Pinotage and a good value at this price.
--2005 Domaine Rotier Renaissance, Gaillac, France ($20.99): This is an unusual blend of 30% Duras, 25% Braucol, 25% Syrah, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a dark colored wine with a spicy nose. This reminds me of some Rhone wines, dark and spicy with moderate tannins and a lengthy finish. A tinge of exotic flavor that sets this as a more unique wine.

Charles River Wines:

--2007 Marques Alella Pansa Blanca, Penedes, Spain ($15.99): Made from 100% Xarello, grape often used in Cava. Crisp and fruit with flavors of apple and melon. Easy drinking and should be great with seafood.
--2006 Terres Falmet Cinsault, D'Oc, France ($15.99): Though usually a blending grape, this wine is 100% Cinsault. A big bold wine with strong tannins, dark spices and blackberry and blueberry flavors.

Wine Cask Imports:

--2005 Pyr Gos, Somontano, Spain ($18.99): An intriguing blend of 60% Chardonnay, 25% Gewurtztraminer, and 15% Pinot Noir. Tropical fruit flavors with some apricot. A crisp wine that stands out due to its unique taste.
--2002 DeMeye Trutina, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($28.99): A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. A big, smoky wine with complex dark fruit and spice flavors. The tannins though are restrained so this was a smooth wine with a lingering finish. Quite delicious.

Genuine Wines:

--2007 Chermette Beaujolais, France ($19.99): Forget Nouveau Beaujolais. This is the real thing, a fine expression of the Gamay grape. Light, fruity, and very easy drinking. A perfect summer quaffer or a nice Thanksgiving choice.
--2005 Buil & Gine 17-XI, Montsant, Spain ($18.99): Similar to the wines of Priorat, this is a less expensive alternative. A juicy wine with a long finish and plenty of complexity for the price.

MSW/Negociants Wines:

--Yalumba Antique Tawny ($19.99/375ml): A wine similar to Port. It is made from a blend including Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Muscadelle, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Coa and Tinta Molle. A compelling nose of toffee and nuts leads to a smooth taste with a touch of sweetness and no bitterness. Complex, balanced and absolutely delicious.

Frapin Cognacs: They had four different Cognacs available for tasting ranging from the Frapin V.S. ($43.99) to the Frapin VIP XO ($194.99). They ranged from 6-7 years old to 25-30 years old. I enjoyed all of these cognacs as they were generally smooth, flavorful and complex. And the Frapin VIP XP was simply amazing.

Grapevine Travelers
18 High St.
Medford, MA
Phone: (781) 396-8463

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