Saveurs du Temps Costières de Nimes Rosé ($11.99)
Rhône Valley, France
From the distributor:
"Vignerons Propriétés Associés is set on the right bank of the Rhône, a few steps from the historic site of the Pont du Gard. The vineyards are located in a triangle between the famous commune of St Hilaire d’Ozilhan at the heart of the southern slice of land bordering the Gard region and the Côtes du Rhône, then head westward towards Sommières, to the edge of the Camargue Region. VPA includes 620 Hectares spread out over the 4 communes of Saint Hilaire d’Ozilhan, Castillon du Gard, Valliguieres and Laudun. 930 Hectares of Costières land in six communes, Générac, Nimes, Saint Gilles, Milhaud, Bernis, Aubord and Beauvoisin. 1112 hectares of Oc and Coteaux du Languedoc land in Calvisson. All of these terroirs make up the vineyards and the diversity of their production.
Intense nose of red fruit, raspberries, and blackberries. Ample and generous on the palate. Pairs well with white and grilled meats."
Grapes: 75% Grenache, 25% Syrah
This is a four-season rosé in that it has more body and elegance than the lighter, fresher wines from Provence and Languedoc. It is lovely on its own, but it is versatile enough to pair with a wide variety of dishes. I would definitely put this on the table with any sort of fowl or pork. This is a terrific wine for Easter dinner.
Von Donabaum Grüner Veltliner ($13.50)
From the producer:
"Volker Donabaum, the founder of Volker Wines, has been in the wine industry practically since birth. He grew up on the Donabaum family estate in the Wachau in Austria, where the family has been making wine since 1833. Volker worked several harvests in Austria before working as an assistant winemaker in California, France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Oregon and Canada. In 2012, Volker moved to New York City, where he imports and distributes wines from around the world, including his Volker Wines.
Grüner Veltliner von Donabaum 2016 comes from a 25 year-old single vineyard in the Austrian village of Röschitz, which is located about 1 hour north of Vienna. The hand-picked and hand-sorted grapes are destemmed before crushing, and, after a cool fermentation in stainless steel, the wine rests for 3 months on its fine lees."
Grüner Veltliner mostly comes from Austria, and is a great alternative to either Sauvignon Blanc or Picpoul. This one is very dry with green apple on the nose and stony lemon on the palate, undercut by white floral notes. It is a zesty and refreshing wine that is perfect as an aperitif. I was lucky enough to meet Volker, whose wine I am pleased to support.
Schiopetto Malvasia ($26.99)
From the producer:
"Malvasia Istriana is one of the historic varietals of the hills of Friuli. It grows well in poor soil of marl composition with hot and sunny exposition where the grapes are left for a lengthy maturation. They are then picked by hand, pressed at low temperatures. This is followed by a static decantation in absence of sulphur dioxide and the vinification and ageing take place in stainless steel for 8 months. The wine thus obtained is rich and complex but at the same time fragrant and aromatic.
Colour: Bright straw yellow with golden touches
Aroma: Fresh and round balance marine aromas that are perfectly balanced with scents of flowers and sweet fruits.
Palate: Creamy, rich and warm. Sweet flavors are marched by a refreshing palate with a clean high acidity finish.
Serving temperature: 13° C
Food pairings: Perfect with apetizers and first dishes, both with fish and meat."
This wine is of medium body and balanced acidity with a light floral aroma to balance the fruitiness. Eight months of aging on fine lees in stainless steel creates a crisp, but smooth feel on the palate. This would be an excellent choice for an elegant spring meal.
Tenute Rubino Salento Rosso Oltreme Susumaniello ($16.99)
From the producer:
"Susumaniello, the most typical variety of the Brindisi area, in purity. It matures only in stainless steel vats allowing the primary flavours to fully express themselves. It enchants with simplicity through its fruity and spicy flavours.
Colour: Intense ruby red with purple tinges.
Bouquet: Fragrant fresh notes of red fruit: cherries, pomegranate, raspberries and mature plums.
Taste: Sapid, mineral and round, with pleasantly soft tannins.
Characteristics: A balanced and velvety wine, with an elegant texture; its harmony and persistence are truly enchanting. Its varietal notes stand out clearly.
Food matches: It goes well with savoury dishes such as stuffed aubergines and peppers, orecchiette with tomato sauce, risotto with porcini mushrooms. It pairs well with cold cuts, semi-cured cheeses and grilled meats."
As many of you already know, this is one of my favorite wines in the shop. Southern Italian wines are really up my alley; I love the full body, the rusticity, the ripeness, the earthiness, and the boldness. Susumaniello has become one of my favorite grapes, and I love that it is indigenous to the area where this wine is made. This is a must-try.
Ultraviolet Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99)
From the producer:
"2016 marks the seventh vintage of Ultraviolet Cabernet Sauvignon, by winemaker Samantha Sheehan of POE and Mommenpop. Samantha's Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays have always been inspired by the wines of France, thus her California Cabernet project deserves a fitting title. Ultraiolet is an homage to the California climate where Sam grew up, and a pure expression of fruit ripened under the California sun.
95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 10 months (50% new French oak, 50% neutral French oak)
Ripe notes of blueberry compote, plums, fresh violet petals and currant, a round mouthfeel with hints of blackberry bramble, black pepper and Bordeaux-like earthiness, with bright acidity and velvety, persistent tannin."
The tasting note above perfectly describes this wine, so I'll just add that if you like Napa Cabs, but would prefer better value for money, this is your wine. If you wish California Cabs were a little more subtle and complex, this is your wine. If you want to try a wine by an extraordinary winemaker, this is your wine.
Alois Trebulanum ($34.99)
From the producer:
"Classification: Terre del Volturno IGT
Grape varietal: Casavecchia 100%
Production area: Pontelatone (CE/Italy)
The Casavecchia grape variety has a mysterious origin. There is an old country legend that narrates the discovery of a small grape vine in a 'casa vecchia' that means 'old house' in the township of Pontelatone.
This vine survived the epidemic times of the Phylloxera and the parasite fungus of Oidio dated 1851.
Casavecchia has extraordinary qualities and it is currently studied in the agricultural faculties of the University of Naples and Florence.
There are also some hypothesis that see the Casavecchia as the wine Trebulanum, praised by the Latin writer Pliny in his famous Historia Naturalis (Natural History) as a wine that came from vineyards on the hills surrounding the old town of Tremula Balliensis, an area that now comprehend the townships of Pontelatone, Castel di Sasso Liberi and Formicola.
The propagation started with the cut and the setting of a small branches and the provine, an ancient method that places the vine branch in the soil until it develops its own roots.
To the nose and the mouth, the Casavecchia gives an evocative fruity taste than only a few other fruits can give."
This single vineyard indigenous red is one of the most interesting wines I've yet tasted. My tasting notes on this include the word "perfect." The current vintage is 2012, and it can easily take 5-10 years of cellaring. If you want to enjoy it now, though, expect a bold tannin propping up deep red fruit and mild forest earthiness. This, to me, exemplifies Southern Italian wine at its best.