The fall is the season for Grand Tastings at many wine stores, and they are the perfect opportunity for wine lovers to get the chance to taste a diverse selection of wines from all over the world. A couple weeks ago, I stopped by the Fall Grand Wine Tasting at The Spirited Gourmet in Belmont. There were about sixty wines available for tasting, and there was a 20% discount on all of the wines from the tasting. I needed to stock up a bit on some everyday wines so this was a good opportunity to do so, as well as to taste some new wines.
I was happy to see two sakes at the tasting, including the Yoshinogawa Gensen Karakuchi and Bunraku Nihonjin No Wasuremeno Yamahai Junmai (one of my favorites). But I was disappointed that both distributors provided me inaccurate information about sake. I did not correct them, but it indicates how consumers may be getting erroneous information. At least people had the chance to taste the sake, and hopefully some of them enjoyed it enough to buy some.
As for some of the wines that stood out to me:
2007 Gentilini Aspro Classic ($17.99): This is a Greek white wine made from a blend of Robola, Sauvignon Blanc and Tsaoussi. An intriguing flavor with tastes of melon, pear, herbs and a touch of ginger. Crisp, clean and tasty.
2006 Massaya Silver Select ($19.99): A red wine from Lebanon, it is a blend of 40% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Mourvedre. Complex, deep red fruit flavors, lengthy finish, moderate tannins, very compelling.
2008 Cedre Heritage Malbec, Cahors ($13.99): A French Malbec with more black fruit flavors as well as nice earthy tones. Very different from many South American Malbecs, and the type of wine which appeals to me. A good value wine.
2009 Ferreira Esteva, Douro ($11.99): Another good value Portuguese wine, with a red fruit aroma, plenty of fruit on the palate, along with a mild earthy taste.
NV Marsuret Prosecco ($13.99): An easy-drinking sparkling wine, with pleasant fruit and a clean finish. A good value bubbly which is sure to appeal to many people.
2007 Cianfagna Tintilia del Molise ($39.99): The Tintilia grape is a rare grape native to the Molise region of Italy. It produces dark red wines, and this wine had some ripe plum and blackberry flavors with plenty of dusty spice. An interesting wine though pricey, and something I would prefer to taste again some time with food. I think it would show even better with a hearty dish.
Cocchi American Aperitivo ($21.99): This intriguing apertif uses a base of Moscato di Asti and is then infused with herbs, fruit and spices, including cinchona, gentian and citrus. It had a nice flavor, both sweet and herbal, reminding me some of the new artisan Vermouths now on the market, though with its own unique taste. Would be a good mix for cocktails too.
2007 Santome Moro 41 ($12.99): An Italian red blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Raboso Piave. Raboso is an indigenous grape, new to me, so this wine intrigued me. But, the Cabernet Franc was strong, giving the wine a vegetal taste which I disliked.
2006 Wellington Cabernet Sauvignon ($24.99): In Massachusetts, The Spirited Gourmet exclusively carries Wellington Vineyards wines and I got to taste their Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Though I enjoyed all three, the Cabernet was my favorite. It was smooth, with low tannins, deep fruit flavors and a hint of herbs. An excellent Cabernet at this price point.
2008 Villemade Cour-Cheverny ($21.99): Made from the Romorantin grape, a local white grape, the wine had a strong lemon flavor with a minerally backbone.