Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring has Sprung

Hello from Church St:
Well the temp doesn't show it much but we are into spring and the first sign is--no not a robin but new releases of rose wine. The 07's are trickling in and I hope and expect this to be the breakout year for these delightful wines. Colorful, easy, flavorful and with a touch of elegance, these wines have finally shaken the disastrous comparison to white zin. Similar in color only, the French, Italian and Spanish versions are wonderful examples of no nonsense, relax and enjoy spring wines of varying grapes and shades. Some with beautiful spice, wild strawberry, mineral, herbs or a combination, but all (ones we buy) with gentle acidity and firm finish. Backyard barbecue, fish on the grill, summer salad, or just while watching the boats go by these are very adaptable and versatile. If your not a believer, come and sample some next Tues. and see for yourself. The ultimate summer wine.

The 5th of April, Saturday at 4-6pm we will be hosting a Ca. winery, Cameron Hughes, at our shop. Cameron Hughes is a fairly new negociant who buys grapes from top growers and bottles under his name. His Napa Cabernet's and Chardonnay are excellent values and you can sample here before you buy. Hosted by Stephanie Restuccio of Cameron Hughes.

New summer hours are --Tues., Wed., Thurs., 12:00-8:00. Fri., Sat., 12:00-9:00. Sun. 1:00-5:00.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Everyday wines

My everyday wine expense keeps climbing and now is around $15 a bottle. Ten dollars used to be a nice point
at which to purchase wines but everything rises except my income. What to do? Well we started looking for under $10 values and came up with some fine wines. Certainly not complex, but simple on the good side, every day, no guilt, wines. Always well balanced and tasty, they help you pay your gasoline bill and still keep wine on the table. Anyway, the wines at our tasting last Tues. were-- 1,2,3. Masciarelli Trebbiano, Rosato, and Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Always have believed the latter to be one of the best buys in the country. Straight forward, uncomplicated, it delivers fruit aplenty, is high toned and finishes with that tell tale Italian slightly bitter finish. Did I hear someone order pizza? Bring it on. The 06 rose was a favorite. Clean, fresh, throughly enjoyable. The Trebbiano, clean and refreshing-a perfect warm weather sipper. All three wines are $7.99 each--2 for $15 and THREE for $21. Next up, the personable Esteban Martin Tinto, from Spain a simple but well balanced, fruity, easy going sipper. A bit fuller than the aforementioned Montepulciano, it will find a nice place at my first burger backyard feast. $7.99 Next a very popular and rewarding wine from the south of Italy, IL Filare from Puglia. 50-50 Primativo and Sangiovese from a high altitude vineyard keeping the wine balanced and fresh tasting. Broad and ripe but not overly so it is full with some complexity. $9.99. Last, but certainly, not least, the most popular wine in the shop--Bouchard, Bourgogne Rouge(Pinot Noir). From the highly acclaimed 05' vintage. This wine is $11-$13 most places and absolutely will be around $14 after the next overseas delivery. $9.99 here,now. Please buy yourself a case or two while you still can @ $9.99 less 10%. You will thank me this summer.
For you white wine fans we have a Pinot Grigio with real class coming in today for $9.99. "Riff" from the world famous Alios Lageder winery in Alto Adige in Italy, this wine delivers dry stoney freshness and minerality and that will please all. If you are stuck on one of the commercial brands--come try a wine worthy of your 10 bucks.(and then some).
Early notice of a representative from a Califonia winery, Cameron Hughes, will be tasting here, April, 5, 4-6pm. Stunning values from this new "negotiant". Mark down the date if you like California. Some superior Napa Cabs from $19.00 and up will surprise you.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Notes on Bordeaux

Last Tues., the 4th we had a good crowd over to try the 05 Bordeaux's we sell. Surprisingly,because of the euro, I found the wines to be exceptional values. We tried just five reds, but each one had a personality and character all there own(what else is new) and are worthy of your consideration. Were talking 1. Ch. Des Jaubertes, a Graves with considerable talent at $9.99. Fairly tough with dry tannins but good black fruit and earth flavors and a very dry finish. This wine cemented my belief that Bordeaux's generally need the company of food more than any other wine. I liked as is but all of these would benefit a steak, duck or lamb and vice versa. Next a smoother velvety Medoc, Ch. Clos de Verdun. Smooth, fairly soft entry is followed by good grip and fresh clean berry and spice flavors that is eminently drikable. The Wall Street Journal "Best Buy", Ch. Au Grand Paris is, and I quote "lovely, with restrained but abundent fruit, red berry tastes and some complexity. Could age some." Couldn't have put it better--that's why they pay them the big $$. Next up, the ever popular, Ch. Mylord, an 87-88 pt Wine Advocate best buy probably the best of Jaubertes (dry, earthy) and Verdun(ripe, fruity) that was the tasting favorite. Dry and fruity seem contradictive but when tasting Bordeaux's you see perfectly the stlye I'm referring to. Finally, to reward the faithful, we opened a 2000 Medoc, Ch. La Cardonne. Ageing beautifully, this elegant example showed nice tobacco, spice and delicate herbal notes, with soft mature tannis. It is the quintessential "affordable($23.00) mature, Bordeaux.

Next Tues., the 11th we will try to impress you with our "everyday" values. A collection of under $10.00 wines that are increasingly hard to source. With the euro at an all time high, these affordable, drinkable, inexpensive wines are tough to come by. Unless you shop at SWI. Come and see for yourself. Always free, always 6:30, bring glass if possible.

Class for Cabernet night, the 13th almost full. Call or e-mail if interested.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Le Piane

Oftentimes the wine business is fun, exciting and educational but seldom all at once as it was here Fri. night Feb., 29th. We were treated to a visit from Christoph Kunzli owner of "Le Piane" as previoully mentioned and he did not disappoint. Large, affable, gregarious and seemingly continually happy, Christoph is, I guess, the 'perfect" winemaker. Somebody we all would like to meet on their own turf, and just happens to make incredible wines. He loves his wines and he loves the people who are interested in his wines as he showed during our two plus hours of tasting. Totally at ease and without pretense he had us engrossed (and jealous) in life on a vineyard in N. Piedmont. Unfortunately the tasting was so busy I was unable to write any real notes on the individual wines. My wife, Susan was ferrying different tastes to me at the register without vintage knowledge as I went from wine to wine just pleased to be there. I know they were full of spice, tobacco, fruit, earth and had an almost perfect mouth feel with a weight that was at once full yet delicate, not in the least heavy. For better notes try, "A Passionate Foodie", or "smells like grape". I bet they'll have good notes.
We will remember our visit with Christoph fondly for years to come and enjoy his wines while we do. Good luck, Christoph.

One more reminder of our Bordeaux tasting this Tues. March 4th. Also, last call for Cabernet class. March 13th.