It is the season for wine tastings, especially large events, with 50+ wines. One of the first such events this season was the Third Anniversary Tasting event at Wine••Sense, an excellent, boutique wine store in Andover. There were over sixty wines available for tasting, with cheese and crackers for nibbling.
Overall, I sampled nearly all of the wines and found plenty of delicious ones. That was to be expected though as Wine••Sense has an excellent selection and carefully selects the wines they will sell. So, I will just highlight the wines that especially stood out, listed by distributor, those wines which most impressed me.
2007 Domaine Nigri Jurancon Sec, France ($15.99): A unique blend of 80% Gros Manseng, 10% Camaralet, and 10% Lauzet. This wine has a nose of floral notes and tropical fruits. On the palate, it is crisp, dry and has delicious tropical fruit and honeysuckle flavors. It has a more unique flavor profile which really intrigued me.
2006 J.L. Chave Hermitage Silene, France ($35.99): This wine, made from 100% Syrah, was impressive, an excellent example of Old World Syrah. It had a subtle nose of black fruits and earthiness, which became more prominent on the palate. It was powerful but not overly tannic, full bodied and with a lengthy, satisfying finish. Excellent black cherry and ripe plum flavors. A complex and interesting wine.
2007 Paraiso Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, California ($21.99)-This has long been one of my favorite, least expensive Pinot Noirs. It has rich fruit flavors, interesting spice notes and is fairly complex for the price. Plus, it has a moderately long and pleasant finish. It is not your typical California Pinot, but also not quite Burgundian either. But you won't find many other comparable Pinots for under $25.
2006 Patricia Green Pinot Noir, Oregon ($34.99)-This was a more Burgundian Pinot, with subtler red fruit tastes, some earthy flavors and a lengthy finish. Plenty of complexity, this is an elegant and satisfying wine.
2007 Lazaret Chateauneuf du Pape, France ($37)-A perfect example of the best of Chateauneuf du Pape. An elegant wine with lots of character, well balanced and very drinkable, even though still young. This is a wine that should impress, and is well worth the price.
2008 Tenuta Migliavacca Fresia, Italy ($12.99)-From the Piedmont, this producer was the first biodynamic one in the region. This is an excellent value wine, with delicious aromatics, great red fruits on the palate, and a satisfying finish. A very food friendly wine with good acidity, it also is smooth and enjoyable. Great every day wine with character.
2003 Massa Vecchia Querciola, Italy ($67)-This organic Tuscan wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Alicante. It is an amazing wine, complex, flavorful, smooth, and slightly earthy. This wine certainly evolved during the hours of the tasting, and I did get to taste it at a few different points. Over time, it opened up even more, becoming better and better. Yes, this wine is pricey but the price is justified due to the exceptional quality of this wine. Sublime!
2008 La Bergerie Sous La Tonnelle, France ($15.99)-This is supposed to be a blend of 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Chardonnay. I really enjoyed this crisp, dry and clean white wine which had delicious tropical fruit, lemon, and grapefruit flavors. A perfect summer wine, as well as a very food friendly one.
2003 Bressan Carat, Italy ($32)-This white blend has Tocai Friuliano and Ribolla. A very interesting smell and taste. Floral notes, honey, spice and mild tropical fruit flavors. Definitely has an exotic feel to it, and is a very compelling wine. A complex wine to savor slowly.
2004 Bressan Schioppettino, Italy ($42): Schioppettino is also known as Ribolla Nera. It had an explosive flavor, very concentrated dark berry flavors and elements of cigar box. Definitely a wine for wild game or steak.
2006 Isole e Olena Cepparello, Italy ($62.99): I have loved the previous vintages of the Cepparello and the 2006 was not an exception. It reminded me more of the 2005 than the 2004 vitage, being very approachable now though young. This is a great producer and I highly recommend their wines. Even though pricey, this is a wine I recommend as a superb example of what Sangiovese can produce.
Thanks to Samanta of Wine Sense for another excellent anniversary tasting.
166 North Main Street