Overachieving Wines for Olympic-Level Palates.
Thursday, August 9:
Dao "Ribeiro Santo", Carlos Lucas 2011- $12.99/btl ($10.40 by case or mixed case): The great table wines of Portugal can hardly be termed "sleepers" any longer, as adventurous oenophiles everywhere have discovered the wide variety of styles the emanate from this often-overlooked nation. Nevertheless, most of the market's attention is focused on Portuguese red wines, which is a shame, since there are a handful of serious, top-notch white wines that represent a massive step up in class from the ubiquitous Vinho Verde. A good case in point is the sensational- and rare- white Dao from Carlos Lucas. It's a blend of Malvasia and a native grape, Encruzado, that displays a transparency of terroir that's suggestive of the best warmer-climate whites of France, Spain or Italy. If you're a lover of whites that manage to wrap weight, persistence and aromatic refinement around a core of almost crystalline acidity and minerality, this would be an exceptional choice. It's not difficult to imagine that this is the kind of wine a master of Chablis- such as Raveneau or Dauvissat- would come up with, should he somehow find himself in Portugal.
Montescudaio Rosso "Spazzavento", Fontemorsi 2009- $16.99/btl ($13.60 by case or mixed case): The relatively new Tuscan appellation of Montescudaio, near Pisa, gained its initial notoreity for being a great place for adventurous growers to experiment with non-native white varieties, most notably Chardonnay and Viognier. And while the whites being made there are both promising and gently-priced, it's the tried-and-true Tuscan workhorse, Sangiovese, that really shines. We're especially impressed with the '09 Spazzavento from Fontemorsi, as they've blended their Sangio with a 30% addition of Merlot that renders it immediately open, aromatic and ready to drink...without being simple or cloying. If you're looking for a bit of the "Super Tuscan"- without the stratospheric price tag- this would be a great choice.
Friday, August 10:
The Fabulous Offerings of Artisanal Premium Cheese NOTE SPECIAL TIME TONIGHT OF 6-8 PM: If you were unable to stop by for last month's tasting of chef Terrance Brennan's Artisanal's cheeses, be sure not to miss this one! We'll again have Jay Phillips here to taste and discuss a range of Artisanal Cheese's perfectly-aged, hand-cut offerings, such as: Gouda, Tomme Fermier, Brillat-Savarin, Grassias and Camembert. Of course, we'll pair each cheese with a surprise libation that's sure to be just the right match. If you're a cheese lover- but tired of the lifeless, waxy deadweights entombed under glass at the local grocery stores- come taste cheese the way it's meant to be!
Saturday, August 11:
Chad Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2010- $15.99/btl ($12.80 by case or mixed case): One of the happy byproducts of California's seemingly endless oversupply of grapes is that talented guys like Chad Alexander can tap into some of the finest vineyard sources and turn one grower's problem into a source of bargain-priced pleasure for many. JWS regulars already know Chad's 2009 Red Hills Cabernet, a rich, concentrated gem that tastes like it's well over $20 and is priced well under that mark. Now, we're happy to announce that he's done it again...this time, gathering prime Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (from sources who would be embarrassed should we divulge their names) and guiding it into bottle with a minimum of intervention and manipulation. In other words, it's not clubbed to death with oak. No, it's not Kistler, Littorai or Lioco...but it's very, very good and priced under $13 when bought in quantity.
Cotes-du-Roussillon-Villages "Effet Papillon", Les Vignes de l'Aire 2011- $12.99/btl ($10.40 by case or mixed case): Marjorie and Stephane Gallet have become the darlings of the Michelin 3-star set in France with their spectacular array of Domaine Le Roc des Anges wines. However, as is so often the case with great wineries of impeccable pedigree, the Roc des Anges levels of production are practically non-commercial in size, and the wines are so cost-intensive to vinify that the Gallets must seek outside grape sources in order to make additional bottlings. Out of this need was born their second operation, Les Vignes de l'Aire, and the "Effet Papillon" wines, both white and red. The Gallets' white Effet Papillon has been one of our best-selling, best-received wines of 2012, and we're thrilled to now offer the red: a deep purple, vibrant, garrigue-scented blend of Grenache and Carignan that's sourced primarily from some of the best vineyards in the Roussillon appellation of Maury. There is a depth, sophistication and precision here that is far beyond the appellation standard and is a revelation in that it manages to be a wine that is both honest to its hardscrabble origins, yet absolutely regal in its bearing. As such, you shouldn't worry about using this with a wide range of foods; it will pair equally well with barbecue, roasts or the finest cuts of beef or lamb. We don't have as much of this wine as we want or as we need, so be advised that this will disappear far too soon!
It's Beer Season
It's a short- but sweet- list this week, featuring the return of some old favorites, especially the gluten-free Tweason'ale from Dogfish Head and the superlative Rye Ale from Terrapin.
Yards Cape of Good Hope Imperial IPA- 4 pk
Dogfish Head Tweason'ale- 4 pk
Smuttynose Star Island Single- 6 pk
Port Brewing Shark Attack Amber Ale- 22 oz
Long Trail Double White Ale- 22 oz
Terrapin Rye Ale- 6 pk
Terrapin/Schmaltz Brewing Reunion Chocolate-Chili Ale- 22 oz
Terrapin Samaurai Krunkles IPA- 22 oz
Brenna Wine Queue
It's back on the chain gang for our favorite wine-loving lawyer this week, as we have a gauntlet of challenging wines ready for her:
Chambolle-Musigny, Louis Boillot 2010- $64.99
Volnay "Les Grands Poisots", Louis Boillot 2009- $39.99
Pommard 1er Cru "Les Fremiers", Louis Boillot 2009- $74.99
Roero Arneis "Bricco delle Ciliegie", Almondo 2011- $22.99
Langhe Chardonnay "Educato", Elio Grasso 2011- $22.99
Riesling, Seven Hills, Columbia Valley 2010- $12.99
Merlot, Seven Hills, Columbia Valley 2009- $28.99
Sudtirol Terlaner Sauvignon, Ignaz Niedrist 2011- $35.99
Sudtiroler Vernatsch/Schiava, Widmann 2011- $19.99
Sudtirol Eisecktaler Riesling "Kaiton", Peter Pliger 2011- $33.99
Roero Arneis "Bricco delle Ciliegie", Almondo 2011- $23.99