Friday, July 4, 2008

Wine-Sense: Pre-Fourth Summer Bash

Looking for some summer wine choices? If so, you should have been with me last night.

Last evening, I led a group of about fifteen people from the North Shore Winers to a special Pre-Fourth Summer Wine Tasting Bash at Wine••Sense in Andover. I recently reviewed Wine-Sense and found it to be an excellent, boutique wine store with a passionate and energetic owner.

Andrea Alexander and Jonathan Tagliani, both local distributors for different companies, were present and showcased some of the wines from their respective portfolios. This included whites, roses and reds. Something for all tastes.

I began the tasting at Jonathan's table, who had three Roses and one White.

First up was the 2007 Domaine Raffault Chinon Rose ($15) from the Loire Valley of France. It is made form 100% Cabernet Franc and has an alcohol content of 12.5%. It has a light pink color. Now, I am not a fan of Cabernet Franc. I find that most Cabernet Franc has a green pepper flavor that turns me off. And I did smell a little green pepper on the nose and also tasted it. The green pepper did mix with some red fruit, predominantly strawberry, but it is not a combination that I like. But, it was a very popular wine with others at the tasting. If you like Caberent Franc, then you will likely enjoy this Rose.

Next, there was the 2007 Domaine de Terrebrune Bandol Rose ($30) from the Provence region of France. This estate uses organic agriculture and will be certified as such later this year. The wine is about 90% Mourvedre with a little added Syrah and Grenache. It has an alcohol content of 13.5%. The Bandol region makes some incredible Rose, especially ones that age well. Domaine Tempier is considered by many to be the best estate in Bandol and I do very much enjoy their Rose. So how does Domaine de Terrebrune measure up? Actually, extremely well. The Rose is a very pale pink color with an intriguing nose of fruit and a touch of spice. It is a full-bodied wine with a complex taste of red fruit and spice. It is a wine to savor, to reflect on its quality. It has a long finish and I think it is comparable to Domaine Tempier. This is an excellent Rose and one I would highly recommend.

The 2007 Chateau De Trinquevedel Tavel Rose ($20) is also from the Provence region. This is a Rhone blend with primarily Grenache and it has an alcohol content of 14%. It has a medium pink color, almost a light red. On the nose, it has lush fruit smells which also are reflected on the palate. Vibrant strawberry, raspberry and watermelon flavors. There also seems to be a bit of pepper in the wine, especially on the finish. I very much enjoyed this wine and would also recommend it.

Lastly, there was the 2007 Seebrich Riesling Kabinett ($15) from Germany. With an alcohol content of only 10%, this is certainly a lighter choice. And once you taste it, I am sure you will enjoy it too. It has a nice crispness to it with only a hint of sweetness. It presents more of an apricot flavor with hints of tropical fruit. This is the type of wine to pair with spicier foods, maybe some Thai or Indian. Many people seemed to enjoy this wine and I would also recommend it.

It was time to move on to Andrea's table where she had three Whites and two Reds.

I began with the 2006 Stefano Massone, Vigneto Masera Gavi ($13) from the Piedmont region of Italy. This white wine is made from 100% Cortese and has an alcohol content of 11.5%. This dry wine has good citrus flavors with a touch of minerality and some nuttiness, especially on the finish. I liked it but it did not really impress me. For the price though, it is a good buy.

Next, there was the 2007 Salneval Albarino ($13) from the Rias Baixas region of Spain. I am a big fan of Albarino, especially from Spain. This wine, with an alcohol content of 12.5%, is an excellent example of Albarino. It has delicious citrus flavors with a touch of honey. It is a very crisp and refreshing wine. This is the perfect type of wine to pair with seafood. And this is an excellent price for an Alabarino that tastes this good. I highly recommend this wine.

The 2006 Staatlicher Hofkeller Wurzburg Abtswinder Altenberg Scheurebe Kabinett ($21) is from Germany. This wine must have one of the longest names in the world. The wine is made from the Scheurebe grape and comes in a bottle that reminds you of Mateus. Though in Germany, that shaped bottle is sometimes known as a "goat sac" bottle. The wine has an intriguing nose of spicy grapefruit. On the palate, it has plenty of acidity with an almost sweet taste combined with citrus, especially grapefruit. Again, this is a wine that some people really loved. For myself, I am not as keen on grapefruit so I was not a big fan of this wine. Though if you enjoy that flavor, you will definitely love this wine.

On to the reds, we began with the 2006 Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti ($12). This is a simply, easy drinking wine. It is a light wine with a fruity nose and plenty of cherry flavors on the palate. It has decent acidity and would make an excellent BBQ wine. A good value choice at this price point that should please many.

The final wine was the 2006 Domaines Barons de Rothschild Aussiers Rouge ($18). This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot and Syrah and has an alcohol content of 13.5%. It is made in 90% staineless steel. It has an enticing nose, very aromatic fruit. Though there was some good red fruit flavors, I also detected a touch of green, almost unripe flavor. So I did not care as much for this wine.

Overall, a very good tasting and my fellow Winers all seemed to enjoy. Many of them did buy wine so they found wines that they enjoyed. If you have not been to Wine••Sense yet, you definitely should check it out.

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