Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Grapevine Travelers Grand Spring Tasting

Over the weekend, I and some other members of the North Shore Winers attended a Spring Grand Wine Tasting at 2 1/2 Year Anniversary Party at Grapevine Travelers in Medford. This was the first of two Grand tastings that I would be attending on this day. Thus, my time was a bit limited though I think I did an admirable job in tasting a good selection of wines.

This Grand Tasting had 13 different vendors (12 wine vendors and 1 beer vendor) and there were over 70 wines available for tasting. I actually ending up tasting about half of the wines. So let me list my favorites of what I tasted. As I did not taste all of the wines, I am sure there were other very good wines that I missed.

If you did not attend this Grand Tasting, you missed out on an excellent opportunity to taste many new wines. I have been to several of the Grapevine Travelers' Grand Tastings, and they always excel.

I will list my favorites by the distributor so that if you cannot get to Grapevine Travelers, you might be able to find these wines elsewhere. Though some of these wines may only be available at Grapevine Travelers.

Violette Imports:
Violette carries some excellent organic wines and I am always anxious to try whatever new wines they have to offer. This tasting was no exception.

2005 Coturri Rosé ($24.99): The Coturri Winery is one of my favorite organic producers and they have recently produced two new additions to their portfolio, including this Rosé. This Rosé is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Carignane. It has a powerful, fruity nose, a ripe pink color and incredible fruit flavors on the palate. It is a bit high on the alcohol content, as compared to many other Rosés, at 14%, but I think it is well balanced. It is not as dry as a French Rosé but not as sweet as some other California Rosés. It impressed me and I was sure to buy some. As an added bonus, this Rosé won't be officially on the market until August but Grapevine Travelers was able to get a limited supply now! So rush down there to get some before they sell out, which will likely be soon.

2007 Coturri Sauvignon Blanc ($24.99): This is also a new addition to the Coturri portfolio. It is made from 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Semillon. I very much liked this wine too. It had good fruit flavors, plenty of nice citrus but without a predominant grapefruit taste. It was smooth and crisp and definitely a summer pleaser.

2007 Verdad Albarino ($22.99): Verdad Winery is another one of my favorite wineries, a California winery that uses primarily Spanish grapes. Their Albarino was very good, a crisp wine with good fruit flavors and a touch of tartness.

Wine Cask Imports:

2004 Chateau Bianca Pinot Noir ($20.99) is from Williamette, Oregon. Chateau Bianca is new to me and I learned that the wine is named after the wine maker's sister. This Pinot spent 24 months in French oak. This was a light colored Pinot that was very Burgundian in style. It was smooth and subtle with excellent fruit and a touch of earthiness. It had a decently long finish and was very satisfying. And at this price, this is an excellent value. You don't find many Pinots of this quality costing under $25.

2006 Chateau Bianca Vin De Glace Ice Wine ($18.99): This is an authentic ice wine made from 100% Chardonnay. This was a delicious wine, only mildly sweet, with a nice honey flavor. I liked that it was not cloyingly sweet. And at this price, this is another excellent value. Another winner from Chateau Bianca.

Pacific Wines:

2006 Ferreiro Albarino ($27.99): Old vine, about 80 years old, Albarino from Rias Baixas, Spain. Good fruit but with more of a mineral taste, similar to Portuguese Alvarinho.

2007 Domaine Richou Rosé ($14.99): From Loire, France, this Rosé is made from the Gamay grape and it typical Old World style. It is dry with subtle fruit flavors of strawberry and raspberry. Very nice summer wine.

Martingetti Wines:

2007 Alois Lageder Lagrein Rosé ($18.99): From the Alto Adige, Italy, this is another very good Old World Style Rosé. Dry, subtle fruit and refreshing.

2005 Ascheri Pelaverga ($18.99): From the Piedmont, Italy, the grape in this wine is the rare Pelaverga. It is a light colored red wine with an excellent flavor of black cherry, raspberry and a touch of spice. It does have somewhat of a different, but good, taste from many other Italian wines though I could not pinpoint the exact flavor. There are some moderate tannins but they do not overwhelm. A good food wine as is typical of Italian wines.

2005 Frog's Leap Petite Sirah ($39.99): A biodynamic producer from California, Frog's Leap makes many very good wines. This Petite Sirah is a big, muscular wine with plenty of lush dark fruit and strong spice. Though the alcohol content is only 14.2% which is low compared to many other Petite Sirahs. Grill up a nice steak and quaff down this big, bold wine.

Vineyard Research:

2006 L'Ancienne Mercerie ($14.99): This wine is from the Languedoc, France, and is a blend of Grenache and Carignane. This was an interesting wine that seemed different from the usual. It had good dark fruit flavors with a touch of spice, vanilla and leather. It was a fairly complex wine for this price point and definitely worth checking out.

Aidil Wines:
They had an all Portuguese line-up which delighted me as I think wines from Portugal are very underrated and are often excellent values. And Aidil had what I feel was the top value wine of the tasting.

2007 Muralhas Vinho Verde ($12.99): This wine was a little effervescent with nice citrus flavors and only a touch of minerality. A clean, crisp taste that makes an excellent summer wine.

2006 Conde De Vimioso ($10.99): This was the top value wine of the tasting! A dark red wine with an alluring fruity nose. On the palate, there are ripe plum and blueberry flavors with spicy notes. It is a smooth, easy drinking wine with plenty of character. It is more of an elegant wine rather than just some fruitbomb. At this price, this wine is an exceptional buy. Would make a great BBQ wine this summer, as well as a wine for all year round.

2005 Esporao Reserve Red ($22.99): A spicier wine with more subtle, dark fruit flavors. More complexity and a longer finish. Another very good choice.

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

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