Daily Archives: July 11, 2008

It’s the weekend and there is tasting to be done!

 It is Friday and I am a little late getting out the info on some of the weekly tastings around town. Don’t forget, these tastings I post aren’t the only ones in town. Most likely your usual shop has a Friday or Saturday tasting, so it doesn’t hurt to ask, you might be missing out.

Tonight Friday the 11th

The Wine Cellar in Midlothian from 5:00 – 8:00

Tonight it will be four new wines and one new vintage. Jim from Cobblestone Cellars will taste his wines.

1. Avery Quinn Chardonnay Monterey $11.75

2. Pampano Vino Blanco Rueda Spain $10.95

3. Simon Hackett Old Vine Grenache $15.45

4. Avery Quinn Merlot Lake County $11.75

5. Matzin Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi $20.95

River City Cellars in Carytown from 5:00 – 7:00

“For this Friday’s wine tasting, I’ll be focusing on southwestern France, a region rich in winemaking tradition, but often overshadowed by other areas.   In addition to well-known grape varietals such as Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah, the southwest corner of France also has  many indigenous varietals including Negrette, Gros Manseng, and Fer Servadou.  It’s interesting to note that some of these varietals have lately been planted in vineyards right here in Virginia. At any rate, here’s what I will be pouring this Friday:”Domaine de Martinolles 2007 Chardonnay:  Highly regarded for its sparkling Cremant de Limoux, Domaine de Martinolles also makes this crisp, delicately floral Chardonnay in an area south of the city of Carcassone.

Domaine Castera 2006 Jurancon Sec: Made from 100% Gros Manseng, this crisp, dry white wine has a complex mesh of citrus, mineral and herbal elements.  A superb alternative to Bordeaux Blanc!

Chateau Bellevue La Foret 2007 Cotes du Frontonnais Rose:  Made from 70% Negrette, 15% Syrah and 15% Gamay, this dry rose is both fruity and herbal,  and is one of my favorite warm weather wines, period.

Domaine du Cros 2006 Marcillac:  The local grape Fer Servadou imbues this  medium-bodied red wine with rich flavors that recall black currants and raspberries.

Chateau de Jouclary 2005 Cabardes:  Located north of Caracassone, this fuller-bodied red is made from 45% Merlot, 45% Syrah and 10% Grenache.


Saturday July 12th

Bella Vino Stony Point from 2:00 – 9:00

Our free tasting this Saturday will have another line-up of stupendous Italian wines at great prices.  We have over 100 different Italian wines in stock right now, which means that we probably have the most comprehensive Italian wine selection in town.  And, it’s still growing!  Down the road we should have as many as 140 labels.  This tasting will focus on wines from Piedmont, a region in NW Italy.  As usual, the tasting will last from about 2 until 9 and will be free.  Also, buy any of the three wines tasted and get $5 off!  That makes the following wines even better values:

Cantine Sant’Agata Cortese                        Monferrato, Italy                             $11.99/bottle

Although Piedmont is better known for its reds, this little white is a fantastic Summer sipper.  Made from the Cortese grape, it is clean and focused with honey and peach on the palate, and a tangy minerally finish.  An excellent palate-cleanser to go with shrimp or squid, although I think it might also be great with fresh guacamole.

Bricco Dei Tati Barbera                                  Piedmont, Italy                                $8.99/bottle

Few wines make as good a daily red as this inexpensive Barbera.  Barbera makes fruity wines with a certain degree of lively acidity.  This acidity is what makes the wine taunt and vibrant, rather than jammy and thick like many other inexpensive fruity wines.  This acidity also makes Barbera a fantastic food red.  It might be a better pair for red sauce than Chianti.  This wine tastes of dark cherries and has a certain pleasant grapiness.  A great red wine to drink chilled.

Cantine Sant’Agata Altea Barbera            Asti, Italy                                             $13.99/bottle
This is a more expensive example of Barbera, and it shows it.  Not that this wine is exponentially more delightful than the Tati, but it has more complexity and character.  Here, the black cherry fruit is backed up by certain amount of mushroomy funk, and the wine has a bright, raspberry edge to it.  Nonetheless, the wine is still excellent with food.  Whereas the last wine was a Tuesday night pasta wine, this is a Sunday night risotto wine.

Lodali Nebbiolo 2005                                     Alba, Italy                                           $17.99/bottle

Holy crap, is this wine good!  Those of you who know Barolo will know that Nebbiolo is the grape that goes into that wine.  Here’s the same grape from the same region from a great vintage at, oh, ¼ the price!  On the nose, classic aromas of menthol, truffles and earth, on the palate expansive dark fruit and dry tannins on the finish.  This wine may lack the complexity of a great Barolo (now, although if you aged it 2-3 more years…) but it has the great structure and power of that wine.  I’m stocking up on this wine, I hope you will too.

Lodali Moscato D’Asti                                    Asti, Italy                                             $13.99/bottle

I smile when I think of how this tasting will go:  after the big, serious Nebiollo we have…Moscato D’Asti!  This wine is as delightfully simple to enjoy as a lollipop.  Bright peach and tangerine fruit and significant sweetness.  Just the thing to clean the tannins of a big red out of your mouth.  And at only 5.5% alcohol, this wine will leave you feeling refreshed and revived.  Buy some of our fresh biscotti to have with this wine after dinner

Next Tuesday July 15th

The Barrel Thief in Short Pump from 5:00 – 8:00

Join us Tuesday, July 15th, from 5-8pm for a tasting with Jim Ungerleider, owner of Exclusive Wine Imports. For $5, you will be able to taste 8-10 wines from Burgundy. This is a great time to try-before-you-buy all the wonderful 2005 reds (best vintage of a generation) and 2006 whites before they sell out.


Cheers! Have a great weekend!

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