Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wine Sense: Second Anniversary Tasting

This past Saturday, I and some members of the North Shore Winers attended the special Second Anniversary wine tasting at Wine••Sense in Andover. The tasting was divided into two sessions, one from 12-3pm and the other from 6-9pm, each session having different distributors and wines. I attended both of the sessions and had a lot of fun as well as tasting some excellent wines.

I should also note that the local Whole Foods supplied cheese, crackers and dip for both sessions. There was a nice variety of delicious cheeses which certainly went well with some of the wines.

The first session garnered only a small crowd which was nice as it gave you more opportunity to talk with the distributors about their wines. The second session was much busier but I still was able to talk a bit with the distributors. My friends enjoyed themselves and many of them left with some new wines.

Here are some of the wines that most impressed me.

Adonna Imports:
Eileen always has some great wines and this was no exception. I had a few of the wines before, though not their new vintages. Let me highlight a couple of the wines.

2007 D.J. Vajra Moscato D'Asti ($19.99) from Piedmont, Italy: An appealing fruity nose with a nice taste of citrus and only a slight sweetness and a light effervescence. It was a refreshing wine which would make a nice apertif or a palate cleanser. Another excellent wine from this winery.

2003 Massa Vecchia Rosso ($57) from Tuscany, Italy: This is a wine that really needs to breathe for a time before you drink it. I had the opportunity to taste it soon after it was opened, an hour later, and then 7-8 hours later. I was not crazy about it soon after it was opened but it blossomed over time and then I got the full impact of this wine, all of its complexity and flavor. Lots of red fruit with hints of spice, vanilla, leather and more. A very long and smooth finish. This is a Wow wine but you need to be patient.


2005 Schroeder Family "Saurus" Malbec ($16.99) from Patagonia, Argentina: There is an interesting story behind the name of this wine. When digging on their property, they found a large dinosaur fossil. They were permitted to build their vineyard on the property if they protected the fossil so they built a museum around it. This wine is very good, with nice red fruit and vanilla flavors. It is a smooth wine with mild tannins and a bit lighter than many other Argentina Malbecs.

2004 Richard Hamilton Gumprs Shiraz ($19.99) from the McLaren Vale, Australia: This is another wine that is not like many other typical Aussie Shirazes. It is a light red color and has a delicious taste of cherry and raspberry, yet it is not a fruit bomb. It reminds me more of a Rhone wine, a bit more light and subtle than what is often seen in Australia.

Cafe Europa:

2005 Laumann Family Cambiata Tannat ($32) from Monterey, California: Albeit a bit pricey, this is an intriguing wine made from Tannat, which is more often found in France and Uruguay. The Tannats I have had before are using quite tannic, big bold wines. Yet this was a much milder Tannay, with nice dark fruit flavors and a touch of spice. It was more like a smiple Petite Sirah.

2004 Bravanate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon ($50) from Howell Mountain, California: A big, full-bodied spicy Cabernet with well integrated tannins and a very long finish. Plenty of complexity and simply a delicious wine. This was a favorite of many of my friends too. An impressive wine that is reasonably priced considering its high quality.


2007 Alois Lageder Muller Thurgau ($19.99) from Alto Adige, Italy: An interesting white wine with citrus flavors, some mineral notes and a nice crispness to it. There is a hint of some more exotic spice that complements the wine.

2007 Bedell Cellars, First Crush ($14.99) from Long Island, New York: A very good value wine that is 54% Merlot. It is smooth, with very mild tannins and plenty of lush red fruit flavors. An easy drinking wine perfect for pizza to BBQ.

Oz Pacific:

2006 Contat-Grange Maranges Rouge ($28) from Burgundy, France: A very nice young Burgundy with prominent fruit rather than any earthiness. A light wine compared to many California Pinots.

2007 Guy Allion Le Poira Malbec ($14.99) from Loire Valley, France: A value wine able to compete with any Argentina Malbec. This wine has interesting berry flavors, including a bit of blueberry, and mild tannins. A smooth, easy drinking wine with lots of flavor.

Vineyard Road:

1999 Geantet Pansiot Gevrey Chambertin Les Poissenoits ($70) from Burgundy, France: As expected, this was a Wow wine, a top notch Burgundy. The nose seemed a bit musty but there was none of that in the taste. A complex melange of red fruit and earthiness with hints of cinnamon. A very long finish, well integrated tannins and just a smooth feel to it. A wine to contemplate as you drink.

1991 Simi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve ($75) from Sonoma, California: Another Wow wine that also begins with a musty nose. A subtler Cabernet, more like an older Bordeaux. Tame tannins, complex berry flavors with dominant cherry, and a very long finish. Another wine to contemplate, to savor slowly with close friends.

If you have not been to Wine••Sense before, then I do recommend you check it out. They have a diverse and interesting selection of wines, including all of the ones I just mentioned.

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