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2012 Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Margaret River (Australia)
A traditional Bordeaux blend from western Australia.  Cape Mentelle has been making wine since 1970 and their Cabernet has always been a stalwart of the Australian wine industry (they even make a Zinfandel!).  This refreshing white gets a lift in terms of body by the weightier Semillon.  This is what the International Wine Cellar opined: “Lively aromas of lemon zest, green apple and white flowers, with a chalky mineral overtone.  Dried citrus and orchard fruit flavors show good concentration and focus, with a gingery note adding bite.  Clean and brisk on the finish, with lingering notes of tangy lemon zest and a subtle herb nuance.”  $15.99

2011 Domaine Alain Pautre, Petit Chablis (France)

From vines aged between 30 and 40 years on the northwestern edge of the appellation comes this seductive and flinty Chardonnay.  Alain inherited these vines from his father in an area thought to be the of poorest soils, thus the Petit part of the name for the appellation.  Today it is considered a little gem of a location.  Expect an effusive apple core, great structure, acidity, flint, and plenty of well-padded fruit.  A very useful wine that commands attention.  $19.99

2012 Chalone Vineyards ‘Gavilan’ Chardonnay, Chalone (California)
The brand takes its name from its location in the Gavilan Mountains, which run along the eastern border of Monterey County. The range contains several peaks over 3,000 feet. Chalone Vineyards has been making outstanding Chardonnay wines since the mid sixties and this is one of their comfortably affordable lines. I am very keen on this wine because of its crispness, elegance, and acidity, packed full of apples, Asian pear, and a hint of the tropics. This is an easygoing wine, smooth, silky, and ready for you.  $14.99

Reds
2011 Renato Ratti ‘Ochetti’ Nebbiolo, Langhe (Italy)
This was one of the undisputed highlights of my Piedmont reds class a couple of weeks ago and I think it would make a harmonious companion to many kinds of Easter offerings.  I will let the International Wine Cellar tell you all about it: “In a distinctly powerful, slightly warm style, offering highly aromatic scents of blueberry, blackberry, licorice and leather.  Concentrated and serious, with sound acidity giving shape to the dark berry and spice flavors.  Quite primary and firmly tannic now but not hard.  This can be enjoyed young or held.  Ratti picked these vines a week before his Nebbiolo in Barolo, noting that the Ochetti is clearly not a declassified Barolo.  Like some other Nebbiolo bottlings from the Langhe, the Ochetti is becoming increasingly popular in U.S. restaurants.”  $23.99

2008 Lopez de Haro Crainza, Rioja (Spain)
91 points Wine Advocate: “a blend of 93% Tempranillo and 7% Garnacha aged for 18 months in French and American oak. It has a mellow bouquet of dried herbs, terracotta tiles and dusky black fruit that is very well-defined. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin: tart red berried fruit, laced with tobacco and dried herbs on the dry, crisp finish. This is a superb classical Rioja Crianza.  The beautifully designed label for the wines of Bodegas Classica imply a more traditional expression of Rioja, but “classic contemporary” is perhaps a more appropriate description. Thirty-six year old Raul Acha comes from a long line of winemakers and has a doctorate in viticulture from the University of Rioja. These are excellent wines brimming with personality and well-judged, prudent winemaking. The two most appealing wines come under the Hacienda Lopez de Haro label, from vines located in San Vincente de la Sonsierra.  $15.99

2011 Chateau de la Font du Loup, Chateauneuf du Pape (France)

Mostly Grenache, with bits of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault.  I had the pleasure to attend an all Chateauneuf tasting a week ago and even though some of them young babes are showing an outrageous amount of tannins, this one was appealing and fetching at such a young stage.  My friend agreed.  This is the International Wine Cellar yet again: “Aromas of fresh red fruits, white pepper, pipe tobacco and mocha, with a suave floral overtone.  Offers sweet raspberry and cherry-cola flavors, lifted by juicy acidity that adds back-end cut.  Smooth tannins shape the energetic, punchy finish.”  $39.99

Sweet

NV Cesar Florido Moscatel Dorado, Jerez (Spain)
Bodegas Cesar Florido was founded in 1887 and is currently maintained by Cesar Florido, a descendant of the founder. The winery is the oldest bodega in the town of Chipiona, located near Sanlucar within the Jerez denomination of origin. Bodegas Cesar Florido is one of only two bodegas in Chipiona that are still operating outside of the cooperative.  Wine Advocate: “produced from 15-year-old Moscatel grapes grown on sandy soils. The grapes are picked very ripe, the must starts fermenting and then fortified to 17.5% alcohol, and the wine spends two years in chestnut barrels.  It is a young Muscat of golden color and a clean fruity nose of orange blossom, honeysuckle, mint and fresh Muscat grape notes with a liqueur touch. The palate is sweet, without perceivable acidity and a pleasant bitter finish. Drink it fresh with fruit desserts. This is superb value for money.”  $14.99 (375 ml.)

 

One of the fun characteristics about the wine world is the countless numbers of opinions one can have about anything wine related.  Just like with anything else, wine also is a very personal matter of taste and choice.  I hear all kinds of opinions related to wines to bring to the Thanksgiving table and I’m often perplexed.  I am not here to pooh pooh other people’s visions about what is right in terms of pairings with turkey, but I am here to suggest my own personal preferences with the hope that you take my advice and absolutely love it.  Notwithstanding, I have a few suggestions for you, just like I do every year.  Here are some of my choices:

SPARKS

NV Barnaut Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne (France)
One of the most talked-about wines of our pre-holiday Champagne tasting from a producer who grows his own grapes.  International Wine Cellar 91 points: “(based on a very old solera; two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay, from Bouzy):  Bright gold.  Intriguing aromas of pear, melon, peach pit, lees and smoky minerals.  Silky orchard fruit and blood orange flavors are lifted by tangy acidity and sharpened by notes of jasmine and bitter lime zest.  Dry, focused and very pure, finishing with impressive clarity and length.”  Only $51.99

WHITES

2011 D’Arenberg The Hermit Crab, McLaren Vale Australia)

An amazing blend of two Rhone varieties, Viognier and Marsanne, from a producer that seldom fails me, making wine under this label since 1959.  This blend has always been one of my favorite Australian whites and you are going to love it.  International Wine Cellars says: “Peach, melon and ginger on the nose, with floral and lemon pith nuances emerging with aeration.  Shows good heft and creamy texture, with sappy pit fruit flavors brightened by a citrus note.  Finishes spicy, with a touch of warmth and good cling.”  Only $17.99

2012 White Pine Reserve Riesling, Lake Michigan Shore (Michigan)
Owner and winemaker, Dr. David Miller, is a noted winemaker and viticulturist with over 25 years of experience.  This is his new project and he is making waves.  I tried this Riesling with some buddies from the wine business and everyone was impressed.  The wine has a boatload of fruit: apples, peaches, even a little pear, sufficient acidity to pair well with the Asiatic-influenced meal I prepared that night.  This wine is not sweet, but it does have a redolent fruitiness.  Only $18.99

REDS

2009 Domaine du Moulin d’Eole ‘Les Champs de Cour,’ Moulin a Vent (France)
I am so glad I was able to find this outstanding Beaujolais from the magnificent 2009 vintage.  The Gamay that grows in Moulin a Vent–a grand cru of the greater appellation–has the propensity to make the beefiest and most robust wines of all the crus of Beaujolais.  This, my friends, is no Nouveau rubbish (and nothing against some of the well-made Nouveau wines we get once in a while).  Instead this is a wine of place, regal and sturdy.  From 40 year old vines, this oak-aged example is replete with “rich and intense aromas of ripe red fruit, nuanced with notes of undergrowth.”  It boasts impressive power and finesse.  Only $19.99

2012 The Dirty Pure Project ‘The F Bomb,’ California (USA)
Maybe California is beginning to win me now that they are attempting to make wines with less heft and more complexity.  The Rhone grapes are also solidifying their status by appearing more often in blends.  This one is a blend of 95% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre sourced from Santa Barbara County.  Folks, the charming and clever label is not a reason why I am offering this beauty.  I think this is a gorgeous example of the generosity of the Grenache grape, offering ripe strawberry, blackberry, black pepper, and velvety tannins.  I do however, have to warn you that this wine is over 15% alcohol so share it with friends, lovers, and/or a hearty meal.  $17.99

2010 Domaine Maby ‘La Fermade,’ Lirac (France)

While teaching my class about the reds of the southern Rhone this wine came second out of five (the Chateauneuf du Pape was the consensus winner) in terms of favorites of the night.  Therefore I want to recommend this as my choice for turkey this year.  Even though Lirac is on the left bank of the river and all the other more famous appellations are on the right, the wines from this area are making huge waves.  “Fragrant, fresh, full and fleshy, with spicy earth and ripe black fruit, a chocolaty middle and a flourish of savory, dry tannins to finish.”  Intense!  A blend of Mourvedre, Syrah, and Grenache.  Only $26.99

2012 Jean Vullien ‘Montmelian,’ Vin de Savoie (France)
Back to our shelves and a fresh vintage of this delightful Savoie wine made with 100% Jacquere.  The Vullien family has been at it for 36 years and they are also suppliers of young vines to myriad producers in France since 1890.  This wine never saw any wood and went through partial malolactic fermentation to counter the natural acidity of the grape.  The 2011 was great and this one is even better; still crisp and refreshing, with plenty of lemon and lime nuances, green apple, and honeysuckle, light in body, almost reminiscent of a Muscadet.  Try it next time you make fondue!  Regular $13.99, now $11.99

2011 Lone Birch Chardonnay, Yakima Valley (Washington)
For four generations, the Miller family has farmed in the Yakima Valley – Washington’s oldest established AVA and home to some of the state’s finest vineyards. The winery is named after a 70 year old birch tree that sits in the vineyards.  When I tried this discreetly oaked Chardonnay I was quite happy to have found my next Chard for our value wines.  The wine screams apples, peaches, white flowers, and a hint of bubblegum–which I often relate to a yeast-related aroma.  This is a wine which could be refreshing if we get a warm spell but has enough body and depth to keep us warm if needs be.  Regular $11.99, now $9.99

2012 Rustenberg Established White Blend, Stellenbosch (South Africa)
The kitchen sink of white wines from this renowned producer in South Africa’s better-known region.  Here we have a blend of six different grapes (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and Roussanne).  The International Wine Cellar scored it 88 points: “Enticing aromas of pineapple, passion fruit and white flowers.  Juicy and bright on the palate, with Sauvignon-dominated flavors of lemon and grapefuit.  A touch of steeliness and a saline element add nuance and grip to this nicely balanced blend, which also includes Chardonnay, Semillon, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne.  At once supple and lively on the back end, throwing off notes of grapefruit, tropical fruits and dusty herbs.”  Pretty good for a wine that sells for so little.  Regular $13.99, now $11.99

2011 Ibidini Nero d’Avola, Sicilia (Italy)
A second label of Valle dell’Acate, the Ibidini range (pronounced ‘bidini) consists of varietal-labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption and delivering tremendous value.  Robert Parker said this about the wines: “This is a superb set of wines from Valle dell’Acate. Not only are the wines delicious, the best bottles deliver incredible value as well. The estate uses only their best hillside plots for the Valle dell’Acate label, while the vineyards in the plains are used for the entry-level Case Ibidini range.”  This bottle offers copious blackberry, dark cherry, raspberry, faint earthy tones, and plenty of charm.  As smooth a wine for this little dough.  Regular $12.99, now $10.99

2012 Domaine Laroque, Cite de Carcassonne (France)
Let’s see how an old world Cabernet Franc fares as a Vino Value.  I stand completely behind this wine which I tasted 2 weeks ago and it absolutely blew me away.  Cabernet Franc tends to have an herbaceous quality which I personally love; this bottle has just a tad of this, so I feel comfortable that it will not offend.  40% of this wine is matured in oak barrels.  “A crimson robe, the nose of subtle raspberry , rhubarb, spice, and tobacco aromas. In the mouth the elegant and silky tannins bring a very feminine touch to this wine. Pair it with tagines, red meats, and cheese platters.”  Regular $11.99, now $10.99
2011 Terres Falmet Cinsault, Vin de Pays d’Oc (France)
Cinsault is usually a grape which is used to soften the extremes of the Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre grapes, and frequently only a small percentage is needed.  Not with this baby.  Here we have a solid 100% Cinsault ready to please you and all around you who enjoy good wine; furthermore, this wine sees no oak, so you get the ample experience of Cinsault.  The vines are planted around the village of Saint Chinian, one of my favorite appellations of the Languedoc.  Think of it as a little Chateauneuf du Pape without all the tannins.  Yowza!  Regular $14.99, now $12.99

It is time to face the fact that summer was a bit of a disappointment in terms of heat and perfect lake weather, September is halfway gone, and the fall is officially here since all the students are back. That’s when we start thinking about the upcoming holidays. To help you in this process I would like to extend an open invitation to our next wine tasting to be held on October 24th. Are you ready for true Champagne? I hope you are because that is what we will be offering–plus 2 amazing wines by renowned producer (who we sadly lost 5 years ago) Didier Daguenau, from Pouilly-Fume in the Loire valley. Come taste the wines of Barnaut, Coutier, Jacquesson, Pierre Moncuit, and the already-mentioned Loire rebel. Vintage ’59 Imports, the people who bring all these wines, strives to “represent cutting edge wines from France—it’s what excites us and it’s what we know best. Our aim is to stay abreast of who is making exceptional wine in good appellations and to bring their wines and stories to those of you who appreciate them.” Come join Mike Daniels, Carlin, and I for a night of fine wine, fun, and effervescence. We might even have a few cheese samples. Let the celebrations begin!

The tasting will be held at Vellum Restaurant (209 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104) on Thursday, October 24, 2013 from 7:30 until 9 in the pm. Cost $25.

Get your tickets here: http://www.localwineevents.com/events/detail/497619

September Vino Values

September 3rd, 2013 | Posted by Jorge Lopez-Chavez in Vino Values - (0 Comments)


2012 L’Enclos Colombard/Ugni Blanc, Gascogne (France)
From the ever reliable region of Gascogne in southwest France comes this stunning example of the grapes.  The two varieties are fermented separately and then blended to attain the perfect wine for the particular vintage.  I always describe these Gascogne wines as Sauvignon Blanc-like but with a little bit more roundness and baby fat.  Expect a torrent of lemon, white peach, hint of pear, lots of intensity for a wine at this price, and a mouthful of invigorating acidity.  A perfect starter, cheese companion, or simply a quaffer while one cooks.  I would also suggest this wine for cooking per se.  Regular $9.99, now $7.99

2011 Vina Herminia Viura, Rioja (Spain)
Making wine since 1949 but with vineyards dating all the way to 1885, this winery makes wines with a true sense of tradition.  The Viura grape, also known as Macabeo in other parts of Spain, is famous for making wines with plenty of acidity and it is often blended (even with red wine grapes) but not this time.  This wine exhibits citrus peel, preserved lemon, freshly cut grass, and stone fruits.  I am always looking for some good values from Spain and this one fits the bill.  Regular $9.99, now $7.99

2011 Domaine Ste. Anne Blanc, Cotes du Rhone (France)
Domaine Saint Anne make sure that they do things right before their harvest goes into their fermentation vats: with first-rate fruit, they believe that more than half the battle for great wine is won.  This wine is a blend of Clairette, Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussane, and Víognier, and what a blend it makes.  I feel whites from the southern Rhone are misunderstood, so I want you to pick a bottle of this and taste the unique flavors these grapes provide.  Rich, lush, powerful, without being cloying, peach, Persian melon, star fruit, decent acidity, and a long-lasting finish; just precious.  Regular $14.99, now $12.99

2010 Colmone della Marca ‘Il Ciarliero’ Sparkling Red, Marche (Italy)
I had to bring this in; I just had to.  This is a refreshing red, perfect for the month of September–since I am hoping for a somewhat warm month–which should be served chilled.  When Lance and I tried it we thought the charm was enough to win anyone who loves reds and sparkling wines.  Do not expect a lot of bubbles; this goes more towards the frizzante style without the sweetness.  Made with the Vernaccia Nera grape, this wine is racy, with plenty of red berries, black cherries, purple flowers, and just a hint of tobacco.  Pair it with roasted squash or aged cheeses.  Regular $18.99, now $12.99

2010 Vignerons de Caractere ‘A L’Ombre des Fontaines’, Cotes du Rhone (France)
Founded in 1957, the Cave de Vacqueyras is one of the youngest Cooperative wineries in France. It is located on the great Terroir of Vacqueyras, which obtained the “Cru” appellation in 1990. This light Cotes du Rhone is made with a majority of Grenache, with Syrah and Cinsault as the blending partners.  A burst of red fruits of the summer, spiced cranberries, red cherries, and a faint brushing of fennel seed.  I love the versatility of this wine, good for dark meats, fowl, fish, beans, or vegetable stews.  Regular $11.99, now $10.99

2011 L’Artista, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (Italy)
Another good value Montepulciano for your pleasure and your pocket.  Wines from this area of Italy are often made with very traditional methods which date back hundreds of years.  The Montepulciano grape grows at relatively high elevations close to the Adriatic sea coast.  This wine was showing a bit tightly 6 months ago but now it has opened up divinely.  Redolent with blackberries, black cherries, currants, and just a smidgen of cacao.  This wine is perfect for pizza, pasta dishes, or red meats.  Regular $10.99, now $8.99

Well folks, the results of the 36th Michigan Wine Competition are finally out there for all to see.  The best Michigan wines–gold medalists–are now readily available for your purchase.  Not all of the wines that were judged on Tuesday are available in the correct vintages; frequently distributors are sitting on previous ones, sometimes going back a couple of years.  However, there is plenty to offer, but you must act quickly because a lot of these wines are available in very limited quantities.  I will do my best to procure some of the more obscure wines which have no distribution except for direct shipping from the vineyards.
As always, it was an honor to be a part of such a passionate group of judges, my personal evolution as a wine lover always widens exponentially when I’m surrounded by such knowledgeable people.  Hopefully I’ll get to do it again next year.
To the matters at hand, here’s a list of what you might order, going from dry to sweet, at very special prices (it must be noted that most of these wines are not yet within the confines of the Produce Station, instead I will order the wines as I receive your orders):

Sparkling

NV L Mawby Cremant Classic $24.99
NV L Mawby Consort $20.99
2012 Black Star Farms Bedazzled $14.99

Whites

2011 Bel Lago Pinot Grigio $16.99
2012 Chateau Fontaine Pinot Blanc
2011 Black Star Farms ‘Arcturus’ Barrel Aged Chardonnay $18.99
2011 Chateau Grand Traverse Dry Gewurztraminer $17.99
2011 Chateau Fontaine White Riesling $12.99
2011 Good Harbor Riesling $21.99
2011 Big Little Mixtape $16.99
2011 Boathouse Sweet Riesling $13.99

Reds

2011 Left Foot Charley ‘Cadia’ Engle Ridge Farm $31.99
NV Fenn Valley Capriccio $12.99
NV Gill’s Pier Just Unleashed $16.99

Dessert

NV St. Julian Solera Sherry $16.99

Gold medalist wines for which we are still waiting:

Whites

2012 Brys Estate Pinot Grigio
2011 Bel Lago Estate Bottled Pinot Grigio
2012 Black Star Farms ‘Arcturus’ Pinot Gris
2011 Tabor Hill Chardonnay
2011 Bel Lago Estate Bottled Chardonnay
2011 Bowers Harbor RLS Reserve Chardonnay
2012 Verterra Dry Riesling
2012 Chateau Grand Traverse Ship of Fools
2012 Bowers Harbor Smokey Hollow Riesling
2012 Boathouse Knot Too Sweet Riesling
2012 Fenn Valley Proprietor’s Reserve Riesling

Reds

2012 Hawthorne Gamay Noir
2011 Chateau Chantal Proprietor’s Reserve Pinot Noir
2011 Peninsula Cellars Cabernet Franc
2010 Black Star Farms Leorie Vineyard Merlot-Cabernet Franc
2012 White Pine Dune Shadow Red
2012 Karma Vista Syrah
2012 Karma Vista Devil’s Head Red

Dessert

2011 Brys Estate ‘Dry Ice’ Riesling Ice Wine

Get these low prices by ordering right now.  Once the orders are filled and ready for pick-up I will e-mail you.  Viva Michigan!

2012 Hess Select Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast (California)
What is happening to Jorge?  Another California wine in our specials for the month?  Well, let me tell you what; you will enjoy this wine as the month of August tries to kill us with some extreme heat.  Hess Estate has been making outstanding wines since 1978; this Sauvignon Blanc is somewhat new to them.  The wine is made to exhibit a crisp and refreshing feel, mostly fermented in stainless steel tanks with a bit of neutral oak for added complexity.  Expect grassy tones, lemon-lime, pomelo, a hint of tropical fruits, and the aforementioned crispness.  This wine is going to please you for sure.  Regular $13.99, now $10.99

2012 Fattori ‘Gregoris,’ Soave (Italy)
From vineyards planted by Antonio Fattori in the early 20th century and now under the tutelage of his grandson, also named Antonio.  The Soave region was known for many years as bulk wine producers, making rather unremarkable wines, often shipped to unsuspecting Britons.  This one is not one of them.  I thought this treat was quite expressive of its grape–Garganega, full of peach, lemon, almonds, white flowers, and a lush creamy finish; it never touches any oak.  I could not hold back after I saw the price; you will be saving plenty of cash.  Regular $11.99, now $10.99

2012 Pehhcora, Pecorino Terre di Chieti
Pecorino is a very old indigenous variety that was probably a local wild grape; it eventually became domesticated for the purpose of making it into wine.  The grape has no relation to the cheese of the same name; the name instead is a derivation from the local word for sheep–who often ate these grapes as they trampled around the countryside.  This is a light and refreshing white, exhibiting white peaches, ripe quince, a hint of grass, and a clean and crisp finish.  The region of Chieti is in the Abruzzo region of Italy only a few kilometers away from the Adriatic sea.  Drink this friendly wine with seafood, spring salads, or sharp cheeses.  Regular $14.99, now $12.99

2012 Domaine Mireille & Vincent Rosé, Cotes du Rhone (France)
The domain was established in 1985 by Bernard Bizard who named his new domain after his children Mireille and Vincent.  The domain is situated in Valreas commune but the wines are all Cotes du Rhone.  Bizard furnish laboratory certificates of analysis to demonstrate that their wine has no trace of chemicals. In their vineyards, they use only natural fertilizers and they use traditional techniques without the use of herbicides.  This wine is about three-quarters Grenache, with the rest being Cinsault, Syrah, and Carignan.  Made in an unapolgetically fruity style, very dry, refreshing, and plain delicious.  Regular $12.99, now $10.99

2010 Macedon Pinot Noir, Tikves (Macedonia)
Many places claim to be the cradle of wine and Macedonia is one of them.  I’ll let the nationalistic personality types debate such issues.  I just thought this wine was exactly what I want in a good value Pinot–strawberry, cherry, tea leaf, plum, generous acidity, plus a cool and composed attitude.  This is some info I found on this sexy offering: “hails from an area noted as the “cross-roads of the ancient world, and the birthplace of wine”. It originates in Gradsko, sharing the same latitude band as Burgundy and Russian River Valley. The 40+ year old vines grow where two major weather fronts collide: the Aral Mountain continental and the Greek Aegean, yielding virtually no rain and consistent wind. The result is a wine of terrific elegance and complexity, rich yet linear; pretty, but with depth and power.”  Regular $16.99, now $12.99

2011 Trim Cabernet Sauvignon, California (USA)

And here I go again.  A classy California Cabernet with medium body and not overwhelmed by oak; this is the style I enjoy best.  Ray Signorello’s father, Ray Sr., initiated the Signorello Estate vineyard project during the mid 1970′s by purchasing the 100-acre estate located on the Silverado Trail in the beautiful Napa Valley. Ray Sr. worked side by side with Ray Jr., establishing the winery’s reputation for excellence until his passing in the fall of 1998.  Trim was started to provide well-crafted good valued wines to the market.  This wine shows plenty of black fruits, currants, dark chocolate, and a bit of a cedary nose, useful for red meats, savory barbecue, and even duck.  Regular $13.99, now $11.99

2011 Les Perles Piquepoul, Cotes de Thau (France)
The Etang de Thau is a large inland lagoon in the south of France, right between Narbonne and Montpellier, particularly famous for the oysters it produces on that mixture of salty and fresh waters.  This is the wine one must drink with such treasured bivalves.  I had not had a Picpoul (aka Piquepoul) on my shelves for a few months since I consider this wine perfect for the summer season, finally I have found the one.  Crisp apples, peach, white flowers, Asian melon, and just a hint of citrus leaf are some the aromas and flavors you will get.  The wine is dry yet fruity, with enough verve to pair well with seafood, summer salads, and ‘whiffy’ cheeses.  Regular $12.99, now $10.99

2012 Barone Fini Pinot Grigio, Valdadige (Italy)
The Pinot Grigio grape is being maligned as of lately because of the enormous amount of mediocre to grim examples which are being produced all over the world.  I remember not that long ago it was infrequent to find a California Pinot Grigio and now there are dozens!  The grape itself originated in Burgundy where it is known as Pinot Gris, and eventually made a name for itself in Alsace.  It is probably via Switzerland that it arrived to northern Italy and it made a second home for itself.  This bottle is not a thin and watery style that many are making these days; instead this wine is suave, lush, and deep, yet it remains fresh as it can be.  Take a bottle today!  Regular $13.99, now $11.99

2012 Rivera ‘Preludio No.1′ Chardonnay, Castel del Monte (Italy)
From the southern Italian region of Apulia (Puglia) comes this vibrant Chardonnay.  Castel del Monte’s local white varietal Pampanuto is a grape I have seldom encountered, now they allow Chardonnay to invade parts of the area on occasion and the wines can still be a part of the DOC (Denominazione de Origine Controllata).  The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then kept on its lees for an extra 3 to 4 months to impart some richness and complexity.  It shows plenty of pear, apple, stone fruit, dried flowers, and sufficient acidity.  Use as an aperitif, or as a companion to veal, poultry, or seafood antipasti.  Regular $12.99, now $10.99

2012 Moulin de Gassac ‘Guilhem’ Rosé, Pays d’Herault (France)
A mouthwatering blend of Grenache, Carignan, and Syrah, this producer does not fail to impress me 100% of the time.  I just love everything they do, particularly when one can find these values delivering such quality.  It exhibits a scrumptious aroma of strawberry, red currant, stone fruit, lavender, and watermelon; the palate confirms it.  I love these rosés from the south of France, and I love their versatility.  Try it with cheeses, cured meats, grilled chicken, trout, or pissaladiere (recipe: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/apr/01/nigel-slater-classic-pissaladiere-tart).  regular $10.99, now $9.99

2011 Ventisquero Reserve Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley (Chile)
Even though vines did not get planted in this Chilean coastal valley until the 80′s, the name already has gained notoriety because of the cool climate it enjoys, designating it the perfect spot to plant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.  Mark my words, Casablanca will be the place for Pinot in Chile for the next decades.  The nose on this wine suggests ripe strawberry, tart cherry, tea leaf, tobacco, and a hint of well-integrated oak.  70% of the wine did spend 10 months on neutral French oak imparting onto it a soft and smooth edge.  Another wine perfect for light fare during this summer months, lean enough to pair well with seafood if you must.  Regular $13.99, now $11.99

2011 Erau Cabernet Sauvignon, Vin de Pays d’Oc (France)
Made with organically grown grapes which do not see irrigation whatsoever; here in the south of France this outfit (like many others) let’s nature do the talking.  This wine is fermented in stainless steel and concrete tanks which means it touches no oak, therefore there’s no interference for the fruit to shine.  I think this wine is a true statement of the varietal, with black currants, blackberries, crushed pepper, and plenty of backbone.  I love the savory aspects these southern French Cabs exhibit.  If you like the Opalia Cabernet which I’ve carried for years, I think you will really enjoy this baby.  Regular $9.99, now $8.99

Last January we had the pleasure of hosting a tasting of Laurentide Winery wines from the Leelanau Peninsula and it proved to be a resounding success.  That night we showed their entire lineup of wines for the first time ever in Washtenaw county and we sold copious amounts.  These wines are all about quality, craftsmanship, and Michigan’s unique terroir.  We want to do it all over again, but this time we want to show some of their new releases from the epic 2012 vintage (everyone in Michigan is telling me that 2012 is the best vintage ever!) including a new wine they have started making: a 2012 Semi-Sweet Riesling.  We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome back Bill and Susan Braymer, owners of the winery, who will inform, discuss, and engage in dialogue with any and all of us.  Try 5 exciting wines with us at the Last Word on Thursday, July 25th from 7:30 until 8:30.  Bring a powerful thirst!

Tickets are only $15/person, so grab one right now!

Cheers!
Jorge Lopez-Chavez
Wine Director
The Produce Station
Gourmet Market

Purchase tickets online here:
http://www.localwineevents.com/events/detail/482823

or in person at
The Produce Station
1629 S. State, Ann Arbor, Mi 48104

Questions? Give us a call or email us!
email: wine@producestation.com
phone: 734.663.7848 (Ask for Jorge)

June Vino Values

June 4th, 2013 | Posted by Jorge Lopez-Chavez in Vino Values - (0 Comments)

NV Ciconia, Vinho Verde (Portugal)
Vinho Verde literally means ‘green wine’ because the grapes are deliberately picked on the greener side so as to attain acidity and freshness.  This is a wine style perfect for the summer months, crisp, acidic, with quince and green apple notes, also key lime, and even a hint of watermelon rind.  In Portugal they drink this with salt cod fritters, here you could pair it with any seafood or spring salads.  Regular $8.99, now $7.99

2012 Oyster Bay Chardonnay, Marlborough (New Zealand)
Their Sauvignon Blanc is already one of our best sellers, and when I tasted this distinguished Chardonnay from them I thought I could fit them both in my small wine department.  The wine is part stainless steel and part oak-fermented, but the oak surely does not get in the way of the crisp fruit.  Expect a combo of lemon, kumquat, apple, and tangy fruit in general, with a light to medium body, and lots of finesse.  Tremendous offer!  Regular $13.99, now $10.99

2012 Villa de Anges Old Vines Rosé, Pays d’Oc (France)
Again, one of our favorite values and rosé wines out there, as always made with 100% Cinsault and showing that hardiness this wine shows when just released.  This wine drinks beautifully after it has breathed for a good 1/2 hour, and you don’t really want to chill it to the bone–at least not until well into summer, when this wine will have added a substantial amount of flesh.  Expect the usual red berries, cranberry jam, subtle violets nuance, and plenty of acidity.  Regular $11.99, now $9.99

2012 Muga Rosado, Rioja (Spain)
Pinks from southern France are my favorites but this one from northern Spain has nothing to be ashamed about next to those darlings.  Muga Rosé is always a bone dry wine made with a blend of Garnacha, Viura, and Tempranillo.  This wine offers garden strawberry aromas, red currants, suggestions of orange blossom, and demonstrative acidity.  Versatility is also a benefit for this refreshing beauty.  Pair with anything you might want to eat except the red meats.  Regular $11.99, now $9.99

2010 E Solo, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (Italy)
From selected vineyards in the provinces of Pescara and Chieti, in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. Vineyards are all on southern exposed hillsides at an altitude of approximately 250 meters above sea level.  After de-stemming, the grapes are not crushed, allowing them to remain intact, reducing damage to the skins and optimizing color extraction.  Deep ruby-red color, with aromas and flavors of blackberry, bitter chocolate, hint of mocha, and cracked pepper. The oak is amazingly well integrated, giving the wine a juicy, jammy flavor, with a silky and long lasting finish.  Regular $13.99, now $11.99

2011 A.A. Badenhorst ‘The Curator’ Red, Coastal Region (South Africa)
This one is the BBQ choice for the month (but the other red should work also).  A blend of Shiraz, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Viognier.  I’ll let my man Stephen Tanzer tell you about it: “Bright, moderately saturated red.  Peppery red fruits and tree bark on the nose, perfumed by botanical herbs.  Then surprisingly sweet–almost syrupy–in the mouth, with strawberry, licorice and pepper flavors complicated by a saline element and lifted by lively acidity.  The red fruit flavors are framed by a peppery, herbal edge on the back end.  A very good value.”  I completely agree!  Regular $11.99, now $9.99