Last week we Featured wines we called "New For You." This week, we continue the parade...with "New For You Two."
Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko 2011 (Santorini, Greece) Regular Price $28.50/ Feature Price $24.23
This a a new white from our friend Jim Stock of The Haw River Wine Man. He’s not the importer, but he carries it because he has family connections with Greece. Also, the 2010 vintage of this wine got 91 Points from Wine Spectator magazine and was included in last year’s “Top 100.”
You can understand what the wine is if we go through the label one word at a time. First, there’s “Sigalas.” That refers to Paris Sigalas who is one of the best known Greek winemakers both inside and outside of Greece. Sigalas’ forte is making wines - both dry and sweet - from the native Santorini grape, Assyrtiko. There you have both the second and third words. Santorini is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands. And, in this case, it is also a “Protected Designation of Origin” for this wine. The last word, Assyrtiko, is the grape, a native of Santorini. One of the characteristics of this grape is that when it is grown on volcanic soil like that of its home islands it keeps its acidity no matter how ripe it gets.
Finally, the wine...We tasted this one at a trade show in Wilmington a few months ago. I must say it practically took my breath away. I had to pull out two of my favorite superlatives for a wine of this style - “racy” and “stunning.” The minerality fairly bursts on your tongue and leaves a long, clean finish that’s like a plunge in a chilly pool. I know it’s a lot to pay for a white, but I think once you try it, you’ll go for it. You don’t have to save me some. But if you buy all of what I’ve got...I’ll go back for more.
Garofoli Montepulciano Rosé (Marche, Italy) Regular Price $16.30/ Feature Price $13.86
Here’s another new one from the Haw River Wine Man. It’s a dry rosé from 100% Montepulciano grapes, the red grapes that make the easy-drinking Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. This one’s from Marche (MARK-uh), just north of Abruzzo, on the northeast Italian coast. The fermentation is in stainless steel to keep the clarity of the fruit. It’s recommended you serve this wine at 55º, making it a perfect candidate for the “20-minute rule” - take it out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving with gusto (and, of course, a lot of Italian hand motion).
El Supremo Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza, Argentina) Everyday low price $9.50
We introduced the El Supremo Mendoza Malbec to our “$12 and Under” selection a few weeks ago. Now we’re adding the Cab. That’s because this is one of those Great Buys that will keep you coming back for more.
Château La Goutère Bordeaux 2009 Amazing price $11.95
2009 has been touted as a “vintage of the century” in Bordeaux. Of course, the Premier Cru wines of this vintage can be had from around $350 a bottle to a princely $2,999 for a 2009 Le Pin (only if you buy 3 bottles). Not in my range...or the store’s. But in the interest of life being too short to drink bad wine, we bring you this blend of 77% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc from vines “near” Saint Emilion, with an average vine age of 26 years. Oh, yes, I’ve sampled it. It’s certainly in the “everyday” range, but very tasty. And with a classy French label and under $12 price tag, you can’t afford not to.
Camino de los 7 Lagos Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2008 (Neuquen, Patagonia, Argentina) Regular Price $18.45 Feature Price $14.83
When I saw this wine was from Patagonia, I thought “Tierra del Fuego...ends of the earth...back of beyond.” Actually, Patagonia is the name for the whole southern half of the South American continent on both sides of the Chile/Argentina border. This wine is from Neuquen, which is the northern end of Patagonia and is actually just south of the better known Mendoza region. Because of its higher latitude (remember, south means cooler in these regions) the wines have a lighter, more European character. My comment at the tasting was “very unique and interesting.” Come try it with me and see if you don’t agree.
Venturini Baldini Reggiano Lambrusco Rosso Amabile (Reggio, Italy) Regular Price $12.20/ Feature Price $10.37
This last one is fun...but it’s sophisticated, quality fun. If your idea of Lambrusco is the ubiquitous Riunite, then, as Italian-Americans in New York would say, “fugetaboutit.” This is a wine in the light-bodied frizzante style with 8.5% alcohol, and its label of “demi sec” means that it’s got some sweetness to it. But it’s more like our fabulous Brachetto D’Aqui than it is like Cold Duck. If the name “Reggiano” sounds familiar, that’s because you’ve had Parmesano Reggiano cheese from the same region. But Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is also from that region, as is Prosciutto di Parma. Closer to home, how about fresh strawberries covered with a sauce of Callebaut dark Belgian chocolate? Now, that’s amore!