Monday, May 25, 2009

Grapevine Travelers: Spring Grand Tasting

I recently led a group of the North Shore Winers to the Spring Grand Wine Tasting at Grapevine Travelers in Medford. Their Grand Tastings are usually fun events with plenty of excellent wines available for tasting. There were twelve vendors, which included one beer vendor, and over 60 wines. I did not taste all of them but will list the favorites of those I did. To make it easier, I am listing the wines by distributor.

Adonna Imports: As I have said many times before, this is one of my favorite Italian wine importers (though they import a few wines from other countries). They deal with many boutique wineries, most being organic and/or biodynamic. Their wines are often excellent and good values.
--2008 Salzl Gruner Veltliner ($12.99): This Austrian white wine has an enticing, aromatic nose with delicious citrus fruit on the palate. An excellent summer wine that should please most everyone. It may not be a grape with which you are familiar but one taste and you will become a fan.
--2007 GD Vajra Langhe Rosso ($12.99): An excellent Italian producer and this wine is no exception. Light, bright red fruit flavors with some character. Another good choice for a summer wine.

Cafe Europa:
--2005 Il Nuraghe Tenute Soletta ($24.99): This Sardinian wine is made from Cannonau, also known as Grenache. Interestingly, each bottle in a case has a different label. This was a very elegant wine, with restrained dark berry flavors and a touch of earthiness. It reminded me a bit of some Rhone wines. This would make for an excellent food wine.

Classic Wines:
--2006 Villa Wolf Pinot Gris ($10.99): An intriguing wine with an almost smoky nose. On the palate it is dry with good citrus flavors and some minerality. An excellent value wine that is much different from the usual Pinot Gris you may know.
--2005 Tukulu Estate Pinotage ($18.99): Yes, I love Pinotage and this wine was no exception. Plenty of lush dark berry flavors, some earthiness and a lengthy finish with tastes of smoky bacon. The tannins were moderate and this would make for a great BBQ wine. This is also a Pinotage that should please most people, including those who claim not to like the grape.

Violette Imports: Another of my favorite importers, they carry mostly organic and biodynamic wines.
--2007 Corte Marzago Bardolino ($16.99): I actually tasted this wine at their last Grand tasting but I had not remembered that. Last time, I loved the wine and this time it was equally as good. This is a delicious wine and I highly recommend it!
--2007 Beau Thorey "Bogus" ($22.99): Love the wine, hate the name. This luscious wine has excellent ripe plum and blueberry flavors. It is a well balanced wine with a lengthy finish and nice structure. "Bogus" is the name of the wine-maker's dog and it is pronounced differently than we would say it in America. But, I still forsee problems due to the negative aspect of the term as it is used here. But, it is an excellent wine.

Masciarelli Wines:
--2005 Graziano Petite Sirah ($19.99): A less tannic Petite Sirah, it still has plenty of excellent black fruit flavors plus hints of spice. A nice BBQ wine that won't overpower the food.

MS Walker Wines:
--2007 Evodia Garnacha ($12.99): Another good value wine from Spain. Made from old vines, it is actually a lighter style Garnacha with moderate tannins. Plum, black berry and spice with a decently long finish. An easy drinking wine, great with or without food. Spark up the BBQ and grab a couple bottles.
--2007 Mont Gras Quatro ($17.99): A Chilean blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec and Syrah. This was an excellent wine with a strong, smoky bacon flavor, ripe plum, vanilla, and blueberry. A lengthy and satisfying finish, plenty of character and just a delightful wine. You definitely should have this with food. At the price, this is a very good value and I made sure to get some.
--2005 Col Solare ($59.99): From the Columbia Valley of Washington, this wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a tiny bit of Cabernet Franc. It is made in the style of a Left Bank Bordeaux and it really impressed me. A dark purple color, the wine is as smooth as silk with plenty of complexity in flavor. Dark berries, plum, blueberry, cocoa, leather and more. A very long finish which you don't want to end. Just an amazing wine and well worth the price. This is not a California fruit bomb Cabernet, definitely feeling much more French in style. Highly recommended.

Vineyard Road:
--2007 Domaine Goisot Aligote ($16.99): A crisp, fruity and delicious white wine. A perfect summer quaffer, sure to please many people. I bought this wine as I really liked it and highly recommend it.
--2008 Domaine du Rin du Bois ($12.99): An inexpensive French blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. Dark berry flavors with hints of spice, moderate tannins and a decent finish. A good BBQ wine.

Still River Winery:
This winery makes Apfel Eis, an apple ice wine, which I have previously raved about. It was great to see them again and it seemed many of the attendees really liked their wine. They had some cheese to pair with the Apfel Eis, which is a nice pairing.

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


Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Tukulu have a good record of making excellent Pinotages. A very reliable producer..

Laurie Tadayon said...

I think it's perfect timing as we approach the summer season to have tasted the Salzl Gruner Veltliner. I would agree Gruner Veltliner is an excellent summer wine that should please nearly all who try it.

Did you know that the Salzl winery in Austria is located at the edge of Lake Neusiedl? Since it's a protected area, Salzl wines are farmed organically with a minimum of chemical substances. And the micro-climate coming from the lake, as well as the sandy soil, contributes elegantly to the wine's terroir.

Happy summer.

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks Peter for your info on Tukulu.

Thanks very much Laurie for the additional info on Salzl.