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I love it when I’m blindsided by a wine that’s so unexpectedly GOOD and sells for a really cheap price. Believe me, it doesn’t happen very often. I usually find myself at a tasting, hunched over a glass of something that’s depressingly formulaic, outsized, AND expensive; the “Special Reserve” from hell, if you will. Not so this week—instead we have an oddball white varietal blend from a place that most people associate with red wine. In actuality, more white is consumed by the locals, which makes perfect sense given the bounties from the sea they are blessed with.

Feudo di Santa Tresa is an organically certified winery located in the southeast corner of Sicily. I wrote last year about their luscious Frappato, dubbing it “Vittoria’s Secret”. The heat-relief provided by the Mediterranean, the sandy white soils (rina ianca); these factors are in play here just as they are for the Frappato, and that is important. As one might suspect, it gets pretty frickin’ hot in this neck of the woods. The cooling sea breezes teamed up with some judicious canopy management help preserve balancing acidity in the grapes, counteracting the perfumed weight that can sometimes feel like a wet blanket when trying to broach a goblet of Viognier.

So, how does it coalesce, this unlikely union of the native Sicilian and the French interloper? On the nose the Viognier is dominant, contributing rich aromas of apricot and peach. The Grillo chimes in with some herbal and vanilla overtones (the result of a small portion that sees 3 months in barrique), then takes over on the palate with a show of juicy, cleansing acidity and an intriguing finish of peppery spice. The winery’s website suggests a matching dish of Spaghetti alle Vongole (spaghetti with clams). It’s hard to argue with that but I found it easier to bake a piece of flounder, plate it with some sweet corn and summer squash, and then linger over some good family conversation for a half hour. I can also see lots of this being drained all by its lonesome.

THE RINA IANCA USED TO SELL FOR $15. WITH THE SAGGING FORTUNES OF THE EURO, AND SOME SHREWD PURCHASING BY YOURS TRULY, WE NOW OFFER IT AT $9.99.  BUY IT THIS WEEK AND PAY JUST $7.99 PER BOTTLE. SAVE EVEN MORE BY THE CASE: 12 BOTTLES FOR JUST $89.99.

 

 

Comments | Posted in Wine of the Week Archive By Kelly Raymond

Wine of the Week-2013 RIO MADRE RIOJA

May 21, 2015 11:44:34 AM

Less than ideal vintage conditions present savings opportunities for savvy buyers, particularly when critics who should know better paint a vast area like Spain with too broad a brush. It is true that like much of northern Europe in 2013, most Spanish regions were plagued with cool, rainy conditions throughout the growing season and harvest. But (there’s always a but) reading between the vines, we learn certain areas like Toro, Jumilla, and Rioja escaped the worst of the dank chill as sunshine and warmth returned by the time picking began. I pass on this selection (as I do every week) as a reward to those who bother to put in the effort to check out this space.

Bodegas y Vinedos Ilurce began as a family company in 1940 although the winemaking roots at the estate go back another 90 years to 1850. The winery today enjoys a favorable location at the intersection of tradition and innovation, one such example being the planting of a vineyard in 1997 dedicated to the almost-forgotten, but still-important, graciano grape. Graciano is a variety that has traditionally been blended with tempranillo, garnacha, and mazuelo (carignan) in Rioja, ostensibly to add a certain floral perfume, deep color, and refreshing acidity to the finished wine. Rarely does it stand on its own… until this week, that is.

Dedham-based wine importer Jose Ordonez created this unusual monovarietal bottling for the first time in 2010. I was taken with it from the beginning; I believe we have carried every vintage since. The Rio Madre experience commences with a visual of deep violet. Blackberries and cherries waft up from the glass, tickling the nostrils with wisps of smoke imparted from the ten months the wine rests in French oak barrels. The texture is medium-bodied, juicy, and full of intriguing, complex mineral notes. In sum: a combination of power and finesse that is uncommon to find at this lowly price. Enjoy under the cool blue skies this coming Memorial Day weekend!

RIO MADRE IS NORMALLY PRICED $14.99. PICK UP A BOTTLE THROUGH NEXT SUNDAY MAY 31 FOR JUST $9.99. BUY A CASE OF 12 AND PAY JUST $96 ($8/BOTTLE). THAT’S A SAVINGS OF ALMOST 47% OFF THE REGULAR TARIFF.

 

Comments | Posted in Wine of the Week Archive By Joe Godas

Summer beckons, and with all else that implies, add a spike in white wine consumption to the list. I’m beginning an 18 week series of white wine recommendations, not just any run-of-the-mill, boring, innocuous palefaces, but rather offerings that exhibit character, boldness, food-compatibility, and value-for-money.

 Speaking of value-for-money, my friend and Philadelphia-based importer Bryce McNamee sources wines from top growers in interesting regions of the world for his project “Love over Money”. The results are what the name implies-good stuff to drink that helps introduce folks to lesser-known grape varieties and sites that can translate into stunning bargains. To wit, this week’s pick.

 The Tokaj area of Hungary is famous for its decadent nectars based on the furmint grape. The region is a plateau dotted with hills, the burped-up remnants of long-extinct volcanic activity. Anyone familiar with topography will immediately realize that these volcanic, mineral-rich, clay soils, are ideal for viticulture. Combined with the river-induced humidity that produces botrytis (the Noble Rot) and a long ripening season, these conditions allow the production of what is known as “the Wine of Kings and the King of Wines”. Our focus today though, is a relatively new phenomenon, DRY furmint.

 After the fall of Communism, as the revival of the region was getting underway, producers and investors realized that they could not survive by selling only expensive sweet wines. Thankfully, furmint (and its sidekick harslevelu) are capable of yielding immensely likeable and thought-provoking dry wines too. Bryce has delivered to us a treat to begin our summer-long quest for value off the beaten path. Pear, peach, and melon are evident on the nose; the mouthfeel is round and succulent with a gently appealing combination of sweetness and salinity. About 20% of the furmint sees 6 months of barrel aging on its lees which helps explain the generosity of texture. There is more than adequate acidity to help balance the wine and ensure freshness. Serve this lightly chilled alongside a plate of cold chicken with watermelon and a basil-sprinkled pasta salad. An exotic alternative to chardonnay, pinot grigio, or sauvignon blanc.

 THE AFFINITAS FURMINT IS NORMALLY $14.99. BUY IT THIS WEEK THROUGH SUNDAY MAY 17 AND PAY $11.25---A SAVINGS OF 25%!!!

 

Comments | Posted in Wine of the Week Archive By Joe Godas

A briefer than usual note this week as I am traveling in South America.

 Cono Sur is a winery rightly celebrated for their pinot noir production, both for quality (very, very good across the price spectrum) and for quantity (at some 25,000 acres spread across several regions of Chile, they are the largest volume growers of pinot noir in the world). However, while tasting at the winery Tuesday in the town of Chimbarongo, I was struck by the purity and outright deliciousness of the Organic Sauvignon Blanc.

The second tier in the winery's hierarchy, the Organic series is designed to showcase the regional style of this particularly fine Chilean interpretation of SB. The grapes are harvested from young (8 years old) vines planted in the cool coastal climate of the San Antonio Valley. Natural pest management such as keeping natural vegetation and fauna in the vineyard to attract foxes that ward off rabbits is practiced.

 And just how does this all taste in the glass? My notes: "From 70% French clones and 30% UC Davis clones...vinified in stainless steel...cool, clean aromas that smell almost like lemon-drop candy...spicy, herbal flavored of peppery grapefruit; absolutely delicious. A refreshing, full-flavored wine without heaviness or any noticeable alcohol; suave and classy. Fans of Sancerre will love this at a much lower price". I kept coming back to this as the tasting of other whites and reds progressed to re-charge my palate.

 Like the weather today here in Chile, this wine is all about sunshine and cool breezes.

 Off to Argentina and until next week back in Weymouth,

 Joe

 

THE CONO SUR ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC IS NORMALLY $12.99. THIS WEEK THROUGH SUNDAY MAY 3 IT'S JUST $7.99 PER BOTTLE. PURCHASE A CASE OF 12 (AND YOU WON'T BE SORRY YOU DID) AND PAY JUST $89.99. THAT'S A NET PRICE OF  $7.50, OR, A SAVINGS OF $5.49 PER BOTTLE OFF THE REGULAR PRICE!

Comments | Posted in Wine of the Week Archive By Joe Godas

Mulderbosch Rose of Cabernet SauvignonThere hasn’t been a cloud in the sky for the past three days. It’s been a stretch of 60-ish, picture-perfect spring weather that after the past six months feels so good, I can’t help executing a swan dive into the Sea of Blush.

 It’s safe to say that as a species, we have turned the corner on the perception of pink wine. Everyone who’s been paying attention at least part of the past two decades knows that pink is all about refreshment, drinkablilty, and food-friendliness. Here is a perfect opportunity to kick off the warm season with one of my favorites at a price so low, we’ve never been able to offer it before and may never be able to again! 

The wine is question is the 2014 Mulderbosch Rose. Produced for the first time in 1999 (I think I’ve carried every single vintage), this was unique in that it was the first pink wine in South Africa from land farmed specifically for the purpose of crafting Rose, which traditionally had been treated as a dump-bucket for excess juice discarded after red wine production. Always delicious, it has now become an icon of sorts, perennially delivering maximum pleasure. We commence with the visual of the vertical landing-strip label to the strawberry/watermelon-pink flecks that dot the glistening magenta hue. The aromas burst forth from the glass like a fresh blast of red berries and lavender sprinkled with a pinch of cinnamon. It slides down the throat with a vibrant gush of red fruits: a dry, bracing swallow of pure deliciousness.  This is a perfect accompaniment to lighter foods—all kinds of vegetables, seafood, roast turkey, and more exotically spiced meats. I’m enjoying a chilled glass as I type this, in fact, all by its lonesome.

 Rose. Make it a year-round thirst.

 Until next week,

 

 Joe

 

THE 2014 MULDERBOSCH ROSE IS ELSEWHERE $12.99. WE NORMALLY SELL IT FOR $9.99. THIS WEEK THROUGH APRIL 23, IT’S JUST $7.99. BUT LIKE THE INFOMERCIALS SAY, WAIT--THERE’S MORE!

 BUY IT BY THE CASE (12 BOTTLES) AND IT’S JUST $75. FOR THOSE DOING THE MATH, THAT’S $6.25 EACH. OUTRAGEOUS.

 

Comments | Posted in Wine of the Week Archive By Joe Godas

2012 DOMAINE PELAQUIE COTES DU RHONE

Wine of the Week-2012 Domaine Pealquie Cotes Du RhoneOh, what should I drink tonight? The calendar says “Spring” but the cold drizzle says “Hello, I am Winter and I’m not letting go”. For dinner I’m having roasted potatoes touched up with rosemary and a generous dollop of Isole e Olena Olio d’Oliva, a bit of lightly breaded trout, and a heel of crusty baguette. There can only be one choice for the wine--chilled or room temp—Cotes du Rhone Rouge.

This week’s specimen is from a domaine whose vineyards span the communes of Laudun, Lirac, and the famous Rose-production village of Tavel. Laudun, where Luc Pelaquie continues his family’s 400+ year old tradition, is a site entitled to its own Cotes du Rhone-Villages appellation status: one of now eighteen villages that are deemed worthy of the appendage.  The cooler, limestone-and clay-dominated terroir of Laudun is said to impart a higher acidity to its progeny than those found on the warmer opposite bank of the mighty Rhone River.

Here then, is another in the procession of inexpensive Cotes du Rhone, a genre the estimable Andrew Jefford terms “unbeatable for artless, supremely delicious drinking”. Irresistible floral and spice aromas, lead to a clean, cool mouthful of strawberry and cherry fruit enlivened with hints of black pepper. I promise that (having tomorrow off) the bottle will be drained to the last drop. And, when I’m washing the dishes and wineglasses in the morning, I’ll already be looking forward to next time.

 

THE 2012 DOMAINE PELAQUIE COTES DU RHONE ROUGE IS NORMALLY $12.99. BUY IT THIS WEEK UNTILFRIDAY APRIL 17 FOR JUST $9.99. SHOULD YOU TAKE THE PLUNGE ON A CASE OF 12 BOTTLES, PAY JUST $100…A SAVINGS OF ALMOST FIFTY SIX BUCKS FROM THE REGULAR RETAIL PRICE!!!

 

Comments | Posted in Wine of the Week Archive By Joe Godas

Wine of the Week-Alain Thienot Brut

Apr 3, 2015 9:38:05 AM

Alain Thienot Brut           Easter signifies rejuvenation. In the secular realm, I associate the day with a quiet feast for the senses—rest, relaxation, and some time spent regrouping after a soul-crushing winter. I’m looking for a wine to last the day with me from an egg-centric brunch to a late, family-attended dinner of roast turkey, crisp greens, and sumptuous vegetables. Perhaps, there will then be just enough left over for one last sip of magic before bedtime. Of course, I can be talking about only one beverage. Champagne.

      Champagne-the REAL deal-is a wine like no other. Its pedigree of northerly latitude, chalk soil, and winemaking tradition weaves a mosaic of richness, delicacy, and liveliness that’s simply stimulating. There are many large firms and small growers who participate in this exemplary work. At present, I’m digging this one—a producer I discovered whilst reading a book by noted Champagne expert Michael Edwards, who cites this offering as perhaps the single best VALUE in non-vintage Brut Champagne.

             Founded some 35 years ago by the dynamic Champagne and Bordeaux entrepreneur Alain Thienot and now helmed at the winery by his son Stanislas, this prototypical blend of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier is a tapestry of supple, creamy orchard fruit flavors enlivened by the sparkling stimulus of bracing acidity. The finishing aromas remind me of drifting woodsmoke as a burning pile of branches felled by winter crackle in the midst of a field of budding white flowers. Great stuff!

            If you drink this only as an aperitif or a “toast”, we’ll never speak to each other again. This is an all-arounder, meant to go the distance. Make real Champagne a part of your existence.

The Alain Thienot Brut is normally $42.99. Buy it this week for Easter or Passover and pay just $33.99 per bottle. That is a steal for first-class, never mind world-class.

 

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all.

Joe

Comments | Posted in Wine of the Week Archive By Joe Godas

Wine of the Week-2012 Scaia Corvina

Mar 23, 2015 11:44:35 AM

                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    TENUTA SANT’ANTONIO SCAIA CORVINA 2012

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2012 Scaia CorvinaSo. The Wine of the Week is back. The contractual disputes and squabbles over intellectual property rights have been settled. It’s time to get back to heralding pieces of the vast vinous jigsaw I’ve constructed over the past 19 years. As longtime readers might remember, the W.O.W is chosen for its drinkability (solo or in benevolent partnership with foods), its ability to convey some sense of ancestry and provenance (terroir), and its price-to-quality rapport. It can be red, white, pink, bubbly, fortified, sweet, or dry. A wine may hail from familiar climes or, it can emanate from that hometown of particularly sinister and mysterious pro wrestlers on TV, i.e. “Parts Unknown”. The traits they share are the two common denominators of ALL fine wine: DEPTH and BALANCE. Each week I present wines that are for the interested drinker who not merely marches to a different drummer, but rather is a solo drummer in a parade of his or her own.

Let’s begin anew with an old favorite. To recommend this wine to customers is easy. Many of you have liked it so much that it’s become as comfy a prop as Linus’s blanket. Nestled at some 1,000 feet in the Valpolicella hills is the winery of the Castagnedi brothers, Tenuta Sant’Antonio. Their self-professed mission is to create something out of the ordinary; a reputation that has dogged Valpolicella for decades it seems.

  How to do this? It seems that the answer lies in a different mentality, one that is manifest in the estate’s Monte Garbi soils: all full of calcerous, chunky, chalky dirt---quite unlike the anonymous clay patches that dot most of the Valpolicella landscape. The brothers call this soil “Scaia”. In the Veronese dialect, the term also means “Parmesan crumbs”.  Now, think about this real good: the salinity and texture found in foodstuffs like Parmigiana-Reggiano, the sanguine acidity and refreshing, palate-cleansing bitterness of ripe cherries (hallmarks of the corvina grape used here)…those are qualities that make REAL Italian wine so irresistible—and so different--from soft, oaky, sweet, “cleverly” named mass-market brands that sell for the same price or more. Fermented and raised in stainless steel, exuding mineral, earthy class, and capped with the glass closure that makes women swoon; this is the absolute embodiment of a really good, inexpensive gem. I advise drinking it a bit chilled alongside a meat-sauced bowl of thick pasta sprinkled with the aforementioned crumbly cheese. Better buy two.

 THE SCAIA ROSSO IS FOUND ELSEWHERE AT PRICES UP TO $12.99. OUR EVERYDAY PRICE IS $9.99 AND THIS WEEK, IN HONOR OF OUR SPRING WINE TASTING, GET IT FOR JUST $7.99!

 SHAMELESS COMMERCIAL PLUGS:

 **Saturday March 28 from 2 until 5 pm (Weymouth Store only) is our Annual Spring Wine Tasting. We’ll be showing 80 wines from around the world, all priced $9.99 or less with a 20% discount on any 12 or more bottles purchased from the tasting. This is as good a time as any to purchase multiple cases for the much-anticipated arrival of warmer weather. Complimentary food will be served.

 **Wednesday April 1 I will be hosting the return of our immensely popular Wine 101 class. The class runs ONE NIGHT ONLY from 6:30 until 8:30 pm in our new tasting room a.k.a. The Education Seminar. We’ll be looking to have lots of fun in those two hours, hopefully setting attendees upon a journey of wine discovery that can last a lifetime, should they choose. For full details on this and other upcoming events, please visit our LEARN page.  Both new and familiar faces are welcome!                                                  Cost is $30 per person.                       

 I hope to see you there!

~ Joe Godas

Comments | Posted in Wine of the Week Archive By Joe Godas

Chardonnay and cabernet are to wine what vanilla and chocolate are to ice cream: scoffed at by the sort that consider themselves learned and cutting-edge, but still the most popular choices of folks in the real world. One reason may be the relative simplicity and inoffensiveness that these grape varieties present, especially when they’re from California. People are familiar with their characteristics. People feel comfortable buying and drinking them. Hey, people can even pronounce them correctly most of the time. Sometimes we detect problems when these grapes are grown in warm climates and are overly oaked; these faults are real, not imagined. Far too often, an excess of lumber is applied to overly ripe grapes, throwing an already acid-deficient, unbalanced monolith even more out of whack than it was before the makeup was troweled on. But (there’s always a but)… there are grower/producers that eschew this road and serve up tasteful (and tasty) fare in the chard/cab sweepstakes.

 

One such producer is Talley Vineyards. Established as a vegetable farm in 1948, and gradually given over to grape growing, the winery is now helmed by third-generation scion Brian Talley. The same meticulous care bestowed upon the eponymous, more expensive (but hardly exorbitant) chards and pinots is invested in the value line, Bishop’s Peak, which was created to showcase the unique diversity of San Luis Obispo County.

 

The chardonnay is a blend of estate-grown fruit; 74% from Oliver’s Vineyard in Edna Valley and 26% from the Rincon Vineyard in the Arroyo Grande Valley. Winemaker Eric Johnson shows the grapes respect, using native yeasts for fermentation and aging the juice sur lie in stainless steel and neutral French oak. The result is classical-dare I say Burgundian-chardonnay: floral, citrusy, energetic…a wine that seduces, rather than overwhelms. Romeo, if you will, not Cosby. The cabernet sauvignon is sourced from the warm environs of Paso Robles, still basking in the glow of an exceptional 2012 growing season. It’s a blend of grapes from three different sites, the ripe cabernet balanced by about 18% of petit verdot, malbec, and merlot. The visual is a deep ruby, the olfactory is spring-like with aromas of cherry, lavender, and spice vying for front and center position. In the mouth the texture is soft, plummy, and juicy.  Like the chardonnay, it’s fermented with native yeasts. It then reposes for one year in equal parts French and American oak, 20% of which are new barrels. Result: medium-body, serious structure, immediate gratification, pure deliciousness.

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Bishop's Peak Cabernet Savignon, $19.99 NOW on SALE $15.99

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Bishop's Peak Chardonnay 2013 San Luis Obispo County $16.99 NOW on SALE $12.99

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BUY 6 OR MORE (MIX OR MATCH) AND GET 20% OFF; CHARD=$10.39 AND CAB=$12.79.

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A PHENOMENAL DEAL FOR CALIFORNIA WINES OF THIS STATURE.

0 Comments | Posted in Wine of the Week Archive By Joe Godas

Wine of the Week Thanksgiving Edition

Nov 25, 2014 3:12:47 PM

A FILIPA PATO KIND OF THANKSGIVING

 

Filpa Pato makes some of my favorite wines. That she is the daughter of The Baga King, Luis Pato, helps to explain the dual properties I find whilst drinking her wares, an uncommon marriage of tradition and creativity. She also exhibits a simple genius of sparseness; like it says on the label, “Authentic Wines Without Makeup”.  I have previously extolled the virtues of her 2012 White Wine (Branco), an equal blend of the flowery, crisp, stony Arinto and the gentle lemon-creaminess of the Bical. With its mouthwatering textural purity, it makes a great choice for those who prefer to go pale with the Thanksgiving meal. Lay this on those relatives who slam down the “charbonnay” or the pinot “grilio”. They will love it without knowing why and you’ll have something you won’t mind sipping as well.

 

Should your tastes run to the sparkly side of things, grab a bottle of the 3B Brut Nature (3B = Bical, Baga, and Barraida). Pouring out a Crayola-like hue of magenta, these bubbles are toasty and rich; the fruit intensity plays off the structured earthiness to render a seriously complex, acidic solution to the gaminess of the bird and tart side dishes such as cranberry sauce. A perfect illustration of why I always sputter about how sparkling wine and your food should become better acquainted.

 

And then, there came the red. The following wine is what prompted this piece, a wine unusual enough to serve as the Wine of the Week: Thanksgiving Recommendation Version. I think it’s a rule that if you’re in the wine business you have to offer Thanksgiving advice, so here’s mine. Survey says that only about 5% of the shoppers here actually read and buy the Wine of the Week anyway, so this is for them: the people I write for…those who don’t march to the beat of a different drummer, rather those who drum in a one-person band of their own. The Post Quercus is produced from old vines of Baga, a grape indigenous to Barraida that possesses some of the tannic heft of Piedmont’s Nebbiolo and a bit of the fickle mystery of Burgundy’s Pinot Noir. Filipa has vinified this not in the traditional large oak barrels but in clay amphorae, the same clay that lies atop the chalky subsoils found in the vineyards. These porous jugs, buried in the earth, are said to provide a gentle micro-oxygenation that is responsible for the soft silkiness of the wine. The aromas invoke a certain warmth of spirit, the kind that comes from a gathering of family suddenly grateful for things that are too often taken for granted. The juicy flavors of plums and red cherries aid the various components of the feast to melt in one’s mouth. I can imagine kicking back in the chair, content (if not entirely comfortable) in the spiritual warmth of the holiday repast. Quiet conversation follows, there is a soft murmur. A barely audible sigh escapes. Then, it will be time for another glass. Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

FILIPA PATO’S WINES ARE PRICED AS FOLLOWS THROUGH THIS WEEKEND:

 

2012 BRANCO: $11.99 REGULARLY $14.99

 

2012 3B BRUT NATURE: $13.59 REGULARLY $16.99

 

2013 POST QUERCUS BAGA: $14.39 REGULARLY $17.99

 

Comments | Posted in Wine of the Week Archive By Brian Franzen
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