Thursday, February 21, 2008

Last and next tasting

Those of you who came over to Church St. Tues. last, were treated to a smorgasbord of wines from Austria, Switzerland, and Greece. The reasoning being was that I do not carry enough wines from any one of those countries to suffice so--
Austria led off with the ever popular Gruner Veltliner from Weinzierl in the convienient liter bottle. A light perfectly balanced charmer that is crisp and dry and delivers a touch of fruit and spice. "No brainer" white for sitting on your porch(later) and enjoying life. Next was a Moschofilreo a white wine, from the Mantinia region of Greece. This unique grape throws off a beautiful bouquet of flowers and fruit that is almost worth the price alone. The flavors are well integrated pear with spice held up by ample acidity. "Zorba the Greek" would drink two bottles and go singing and dancing into the night. Anybody remember the movie? Great stuff. He would have also liked the very popular red wine "Agiorgitko" due to its very charming personality. Smooth medium bodied, and just easy. A real discovery that would delight any "Zorba" in the house. Try it with lamb, Greek style and rejoice(good acidity for red sauces also). Then, ready?, from Pretterebner a Blaufrankisch( say that fast three times you could hurt yourself) An organic producer here uses minimal intervention, lets nature take its course and delivers a wine of complete originality. With aromas hard to describe but "barnyardish" might work with a touch raspberry and herbs. Very smooth mouthfeel. From Austria. Also from Austria the soft sophisticated elegant(dare I say feminine?) Zweigelt from Hillinger. More subtle that powerful in the best sense with red fruit flavors that linger nicely on the palate. Finally the delicious Germanier, Dole Balavaud from Switzerland. Dole is the blend that must be at least 85% pinot noir with some gamay added. Classy wine with "Burgundian" notes and a soft supple finish. Good match, I believe, for pork or turkey, among others.

Now for next week, the 26th. we will feature wines of Spain. From Jumilla, Valencia, Bierzo, Rioja, Priorat, and Penedes the incredible variety and quality of present day Spanish winemaking.

Have to mention again the visit to our store from the owner and winemaker of Le Piane estate in northern Piedmont. on the leap day the 29th of Feb. @6:30 See below for particulars.

One more thing concerning wine classes. I have gotten some interest and will try to hold the first class the 2nd Thurs. in March the 13th. Salem Film Fest is next week and the week after I'll be at Carleton School benefit at Old Town House if you care to attend. Wine, beer tasting with auction 7:00-10:00. Let me know through e-mail( if you have interest in classes. $20 per for Cabernet night. Others priced accordingly

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wine maker visit

Just booked a visit from a stellar producer of Piedmontese wines to our humble wine shop. February 29, at 6:30 we will have a tasting of the wines of Le Piane, from the northern region of Piedmont called Boca with the winemaker-owner, Christoph Kunzli. The wines are familiar to some of you as we've been selling "La Maggiorina" red for some time. He will also be opening some of his better bottles for our and your enjoyment.
In the early 90's Christoph bought a very small vineyard in the Novara region of NE Piedmont in Boca. Realizing the great possibilities for winemaking in this historic area he has cleared and planted land until he had enough to commercially bottle his distinct style. We are the beneficiaries of his vision and skill. Mostly Nebbiolo with Vespolino and the native Bonarda added for complexity, they are big wines with a silky elegance. not to be missed. Stop by, have a glass or two, talk to Christoph and I'm sure he'd sign a label or two for your cellar.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tasting Feb., 19th.

Tuesday the 19th at 6:30 we will restart our weekly tasting events. Opening that week will be Austrian, Greek, and Swiss wines that are unique to those countries and, I think, will be a delight and revelation to all. My philosophy(often challenged) on these matters is that there really aren't bad wines just bad food matches with them. Now, obviously, there are abysmal wines true but I stand by my philosophy(generally) that wines most always need a proper partner to truely shine. Take, for instance, Agiorgitiko, (what?) from Greece and pair it with a Greek lamb dish and voila.(what is Greek for voila?). A perfect match made from hundreds or maybe thousands of years of practice on getting both right. Who's to argue? We won't have the lamb Tues. but we will have Agiorgitiko,and Moschofilero from Greece. The much easier to pronounce, Zwiegelt and Gruner from Austria, and two wines from Switzerland, Dole Balavaud and Dubaril. Plus a mystery wine. Stop by if you can and join us. Informal, as usual and any later arrivals welcome.

On a different note, I thought I'd test the waters so--anyone out there want a leather bond twelve pack of Ch. d'Yquem for a nominal price of $7000? Twelve vintages including 84,5,7,8,91,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 2000. The good news is they are full bottles. Seriously a great collectors item. As the guy says when he was trying to sell a million dollar TV "I only have to sell one".

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Valentines Day

The wine, flower, chocolate shop savior--Valentines Day. How unromantic you get with a retail business. Anyway I have gone to great extremes to meet your romantic needs in the way of the grape. First off a very commercial sounding name that just happened to have very good and (Salem Wine Imports favorite) unusual grapes. The names, gulp, "You are so Nice", and "You are so Pretty". Before I go any further and my loyal readership(?) thinks I've gone chain store on them let me tell you these are seriouly good wines. From the "Louis/Dressner firm that specializes in Loire Valley wines these two energetic and nervy wines are fruit driven charmers, in bottle as well as out. Slightly different in composition and flavor they are predominately Cot, better known as Malbec, with some gamay in Nice and Pineau D'aunis in Pretty. Take one or both home, smile while presenting, open and -- who knows? Made for us who are really romantic, we just can't express it.

Just introduced to a Bargain Rose Champagne. So pretty the sight of it coming over the threshold alone could save many a marriage. Beautiful color, beautiful flavors, beautiful price($39.99).

For something entirely different a "Vin de Bugy from the village of Cerdon near the Swiss border in France. Far away from any premier vinyard area this small VDQS produces this charmer of low alcohol, good effervescense, and off dry berry flavors that is a great match for chocolate cake or as an aperitif in front of the fire. Boy, if that isn't romantic enough I hear it's an aphrodisiac.

Just a reminder--No tasting the 12th but yes on the 19th. Emerging countries. Swiss, Austria, Greece, etc. Thanks Eric
PS special bottles open Sundays around 3:00.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Just as I had hoped, the tasting was very popular last night. We had appx. 35-40 people and all seemed to enjoy the excellent selection from Adonna wines, the importer who hosted the event. As an added bonus two fellow bloggers( and were in attendance and added quite interesting comments and opinions. In fact I'm so lazy today I am going to defer to Richard at foodie to supply my material. Saw this morning he already had his blog up and running concerning the tasting and thought an independent critic would be fun. Try the two blogs--they are quite good. Remember there will be no tasting next week, the 12th. Return to action the 19th with emerging countries. --Greek, Swiss, Austria, Luxembourg, etc. Obviously they are "emerging" only in the import sense. Wine has been a staple there for centuries. Come and see what they have to offer today.
Three very interesting items in stock for Valentines day. 1. Trentadue Chocolate Amore, yes sounds very contrived and commercial but the stuff is an after dinner dream come true. Made with Merlot in a port stlye but with chocolate infused in. I'm having difficulty keeping my hands off. Also #2 A great value in Rose Champagne from a hitherto unknown Beaumont des Crayeres. Beautiful copper-pink and as tasty as wines costing $20 more. and #3. A beautiful "Cerdun de Bugey" Rose from Patrick Bottex in the Savoie region of France. Come in Sunday after 3:00 and maybe we'll open a couple.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Italian Tasting

This Tues. the 5th of Feb., we will be trying our best selection yet. Joining us to moderate this time will be Salems' own, Eileen Wright. Eileen is responsible for importing the wines we will try and for that I'm forever grateful, and I think you will agree. It makes my life a lot more fun (not to mention, successful) with wine such as hers. We will try; 1. Martilde, "Gelo" white--from Oltrepo Pavese, 2, La Maggiorina, from Boca in the Piedmont, 3. The rustic, earthy, Bonarda also from Martilde, 4. The near spectacular Solatione Chianti Classico. 5. the intriging and delicious Teroldego Rotaliano (great name) from Trentino. # 6 will be a surprise Eileen will bring. Don't miss this one if you can help it.

Friday, February 1, 2008

New Arrivals

Just received some new, unusual wines in--- 2 Italian, a Teroldego, and a Lagrein. A new item from Austria, Zweigelt and the return of a favorite, the Italain white from Martilde with the sheep dog on the label( in case you didn't remember name). The Teroldego is smooth, velvety and with a tart finish. Kinda like a high toned Zinfandel. It would go very well with lamb, game or a steak. The Lagrien is from the Alto Adige in N. Italy and is a local grape not found many other places. Notice I hedged my bet. I'm sure someone uses it elsewhere but ??? It is a smokey(slightly) medium full bodied with good fruit, depth and grip. Try with pizza (lotta topings) rosemary flavored stew, of any persuasion, or barbecue. The Zweigelt is the most popular of Austrian reds and is a user friendly styly similar to beaujolais with good grapy freshness. Chill a bit and enjoy. The Martilde, called "Gelo" if some recall is fresh, fun and elegant. I won't devulge grape unless you come in. Company secret, but you would never guess. Great new Swiss white coming later today will be a favorite I do believe. Eric