Thursday, February 26, 2009

Discovery of the month: February 2009 Ferrando Canavese Rosso

2007 Luigi Ferrando “La Torrazza” Canavese Rosso Ivrea Italy $16.99
Suggested retail price $14-$17
Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant

Luigi Ferrando has long been the leading winemaker of the Canavese where his family's winemaking tradition goes back to 1900. He has strong ties to his local region. His attachment and commitment run deep, and have led him to collaborate with other winemakers and academics. They are responsible for discovering and preserving local winemaking traditions that might otherwise have been lost. His sons, Roberto and Andrea, now work with him on the estate, thereby assuring the continuation of the Ferrando tradition.

Technically speaking, the Canavese is part of Piedmont. Its location near the Val d'Aosta (north western part of Italy), famous for its steep terraced vineyards, imparts a distinctive quality to the wines. The Ferrandos painstakingly cultivate their Nebbiolo vineyards on the mountainside terroir of Carema, in the very shadows of Monte Bianco. The resulting wine is very different than its more famous cousins from Barolo or Barbaresco and is sought after by connoisseurs for its finesse, complexity, and longevity. Their other vineyard holdings are lower, on the plains and hills of the Canavese region (in and around the village of Caluso). In this unbelievable décor, they raise some interesting local grape varieties, and are particularly known for their Erbaluce di Caluso, an ancient white grape originally form the alpine foothills of upper Piedmont. It has a bright acidity, an elegant underlying minerality, and an overall structure that makes it the ultimate flexible wine: producing everything from sparkling wine, through bone-dry, off-dry, and late harvest wines.

Strict respect for tradition combined with a thorough knowledge of modern oenology gives Ferrando's wine the unmistakable typicity and quality that has won them fame worldwide. The wines offered by Ferrando reflect the diversity of the Canavese region. From lovely, light spumante to rich full passito and full-bodied reds. Oak is used with discretion in the reserve levels wines. The natural concentration and complexity comes from the vineyard.

They produce a few different types of wine. The whites are made entirely form the Erbaluce grape grown in different vineyards. The spumante is very special, made from Erbaluce and aged in the bottle for 18 months, in the champagne tradition. The Canavese Rosso ("Montodo") is produced predominantly from Nebbiolo with the addition of approximately 30% Barbera. The noble Carema is 100% Nebbiolo. The Carema "Etichetta Bianca" (white label) is aged for a minimum of four years, of which at least two are spent in barrel (a combination of large and small). The Carema "Etichetta Nera" (black label) is vinified and aged in similar fashion, but is only produced in exceptional years, and is exposed to a touch more small barrel aging (some new). The "Solativo" is a late harvest wine made form Erbaluce grapes selected from the Cascina Cariola vineyard in iverone which is fermented and aged in small oak barrels. The fabled Erbaluce di Calauso Passito is the traditional late harvest wine of this region, also produced in the cascina Cariola vineyard, harvested late, and then the grapes are left to "raisin" until March when they are crushed and fermented. This rare wine is then aged for four years before release. All these wines are great and deserve to be better known.

From their selection, my choice of this month is: 2007 Ferrando “La Torrazza” Canavese Rosso is a blend of 45% Nebbiolo, 45% Barbera and 10% of Croatina and Freisa. The robe is light, clean, bright cherry-ruby. Quite complex and inviting, the nose exhibits notes of bright cherry, earth, floral, smoke, minerals, spice, touch of leather and very integrated oak, and light hints of eucalyptus. The palate is light to medium bodied, with great acidity and earthiness, flavors of bright red cherry intermingled with smoke, minerals, earth, forest floor, game. The wine is focus, esoteric, somewhat rustic, and finishes with a light green tannic touch. Great with venison, rabbit stew, and soft chesse, it is definitely a nice discovery in this price range from, here again, a region very often overlooked.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Discovery of the Month: February 2009 Mencia for less

2007 Guimaro Mencia "Amandi" Ribeira Galicia Spain (Pedro M. Rodriguez Pérez)
Suggested retail price $13-$16
A Jose Pastor Selection imported by Vinos and Gourmet Inc. (CA) and distributed by David Bowler Wines in NYC

We are back in Spain, and more precisely in Galicia, the green fertile Spanish's north western corner on top of Portugal. Ribeira Sacra D.O. is a little small wine enclave of Galicia, located east of Rias Baixas and west of Valdeoras D.O. (and Bierzo D.O.).

Ribeira Sacra D.O. extends, north to south, from the province of Lugo to the province of Ourense, in central Galicia. It regroups about 100 Bodegas scattered on about 1,200 hectares of land and vineyards around the valleys, steep hills' slopes, canyons and plains of the Miño and Sil rivers. Although a few other indigenous grapes are used in small quantities, the main grape varieties planted are Mencía, for the reds, and Albariño and Godello for the whites.

For centuries, like in France and Italy (and few more western European countries), producing wine and vine culture have always been a major part of the Spanish agriculture and culture (especially on the roads to Santiago de Compostela, where the monks and other religious presence were omnipresent and many churches and monasteries where built). Through out history, from the middle age to the modern times, the monks continued and maintained their growing vines and producing wines tradition are which are now one of the most popular, most appreciated, most respected and most expanded cultures in the world. Somehow, Thanks to the monks if we can drink good wines today (and eat good food, because they were also fine eater and, to a certain extend, developed many of our today's food habit and local recipes (especially in the countryside of each European country).

However, and strangely enough, the recognition and classification of most Spanish vineyards and Appellations came much later than other surrounding and neighboring countries. I said "most" because Rioja D.O. was established and recognized in 1925 and Sherry-Xeres in 1933. Both these D.O. preceded France, that only started its "Appellation d'Origine Controlée" system (A.O.C) in 1935, and Italy's D.O.C in 1965.

So, all of this just to say that Ribera Sacra is a very young D.O., born in 1997, and although by the beginning of the 80's a few producers where already trying to bottle their own wines under their own labels, claiming the particularities of the local Terroir and producing wines with very distinct expressions of the soils and climate, it took them more than 15 years to be recognized and accepted. Nowadays, the D.O. is more define in the mind of the consumers and it is fully rewarded by the consistency and quality of its wines.

Talking about quality wine, well, I choose this particular wine, Guimaro Mencia, because it was a very good value for money, also because, it is coming from a lesser known area and it is made with the Mencía grape, which is still overlooked and unappreciated (even by the wine connoisseurs).

Bierzo is usually the D.O. of choice regarding wines made with Mencía grape, but most of Bierzo's better wines remain a bit too expensive (in most case) for an uneducated or inexperienced customer. Although higher in acidity and not as ripe or smooth (compared to Bierzo), in my opinion, Ribeira Sacra reds still offer a very good alternative for consumers that would like to discover the Cabernet Franc taste like grape that Mencía is, for a more reasonable price.

Here again, I wasn't able to gather much about the winery and the importer doesn't seem to have anything on this wine either, so I'm just going to describe it.

Made from 100% Mencía grapes harvested in vineyards located in Brosmos, South of Lugo, influenced by the Sil river and a more somewhat continental climate, 2007 Guimaro Mencía "Amandi" Ribeira Sacra Galicia Spain is a very inviting little wine. The nose boasts notes of red cherry, touch of dark and blue berry, somewhat restraint but not shy with hints of smokiness and green notes (quite characteristic of the grape variety, very Cabernet Franc like). The palate is fairly light and playful, with high acidity that carries the fruit nicely through the finish. I like it on its own as an aperitif, but I also appreciated it with simple "amuse-bouche" made of Duck or Lamb. In my opinion, the acidity and the high, slightly green tone of the wine complement and contrast quite nicely with the fat of the meat.

I don't think that this wine was aged in oak, but if it was, the oak is minimal in taste. One may find this wine somewhat similar to a Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, especially in the finish with the slightly green tannins (or the light touch of bitterness depending on your palate) mix with the acidity and the earthy smokiness.

It is and remains, for most of us, a bit of an esoteric feature in wine, which is not often necessarily understood or appreciated, but for the far-from-the-oak-and-the-overripeness palate drinker, it is a somewhat rustic delight that we surely appreciate from time to time.

Discover Mencía as a late spring-summer grape to enjoy with salads and simple dishes like cold cut and goat cheese.


LeDom du Vin

Step into the green! Drink more Bio and Organic wines (and food too) from sustainable culture and respect the environment!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Discovery of the month: February 2009 Chilean value

2008 Viña Palo Alto Reserve D.O. Maule Valley Chile
Suggested retail price $10-$13
Imported by Royal Imports and distributed by

I tried to get some info but I couldn't find much about this little wine. From a retailer website (no name), I kind of understand (it was a bit confusing...) that it was produced by the same people as Almaviva (understand Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. and Concha y Toro), which somewhat explains the Bordeaux style features of this wine, but their are no indications whatsoever on the label and Palo Alto doesn't have any website (which is also somewhat surprising, if it is produced by two major brands....I need to investigate on this....unless someone will be nice enough to leave a comment if he (or her) knows the answer...)

Curious by nature, I continued to search the web and found out that apparently Palo Alto is a related winery of Concha y Toro (go to and click on "The Company" then on "Related Wineries". Here is what it says about it:

"In 2006, Palo Alto is created to produce a single, innovative wine with the same name, very different from the classic wine lines produced by Concha y Toro. With a strong winemaking basis, Palo Alto is an assemblage or blend made from the best grapes originating in three specific vineyards in the Maule Valley: San Clemente (Cabernet Sauvignon); Villa Allegre (Carmenère); and Pencahue (Syrah). Palo Alto's modern approach breaks away from the more traditional wines of the world. Its vanguard style and attractive packaging identifies with today's wine consumer." (Info taken from

I guess that it gives us a bit more info about the origin of the wine but not really how it was made. So I read the back label to see what they say:

"Palo Alto combines the best grapes from Chile with the time honored tradition of the Old World wine blending. Created by the soil and climate of the Maule River Valley, which sits between the Andes and the Coastal mountain ranges, our wine is a unique of rich Cabernet Sauvignon, peppery Syrah and sensuous Carmenère, Chile's signature grape variety. The ripe berry flavors and elegant oak of Palo Alto create a complex yet balance wine which is deep red in color and rich in aroma and character." (Info taken from the back label of Palo Alto)

The back label completes a bit the lack of info, which allows us to better to understand this little wine. Although, I would have loved to find a bit more info, I guess it is ok for now.

So if I resume, Palo Alto is a related winery of Concha y Toro (one of their many new projects), making a wine of the same name from 3 different grape varieties coming from some of their best vineyards in selected specific locations within the Maule Valley. Their intention is to craft a flavorful, rich and balanced wine, reminiscent of Bordeaux style with the Cabernet Sauvignon, a twist of Chile's "Savoir Faire" with its most recognized grape: Carmenère, lifted up by a little spicy note of Syrah. The resulting wine is aged a bit in barrel to add more structure and texture. Et voila! Palo Alto was born and since its first 2005 vintage, it continues to grow in the mind of the wine buyers like me (although the 2008 vintage is my first taste of it).

2008 Palo Alto Reserve was a surprisingly good discovery for me. The wine isn't the most complex or the best wine that I tasted from Chile, even in this price range, but I found it very interesting and intriguing. The robe is quite dense and dark. The nose is quite ripe with aromas of ripe dark berries, hints of oak and spice. The palate is fairly complex, well balanced with mature dark fruit flavors, nicely integrated notes of oak and leather mixed with hints of earth and spices. Overall, the wine is clean, focus, quite juicy and well structured. I liked it a lot and when I tasted it really stand out from the other 7 or 8 wines (that I just tasted before). It offered more balanced and depth which I found very attractive for the price. It represents another great value from Chile and Bordeaux lovers will surely appreciate its characteristics.
It deserves to be served with a perfectly grilled "entrecôte" (grilled on "vine shoots" also called "Sarments" in French, it is tastier trust my 35 years of experience on this subject) topped with Argentinean mountain salt and Patatas Fritas (just to mix the best of this two beautiful neighboring country that I visited and truly fascinated me).


And step into the green! Drink more bio and organic wines (and food) made from sustainable culture.

LeDom du Vin

Friday, February 20, 2009

Discovery of the Month: February 2009 Earthy Notes

2005 Domaine de la Cave du Rocher Saumur Champigny Val de Loire (Rene Legrand)
Suggested retail price $11-$13
Imported by Baron Francois in NYC

Saumur Champigny is among the Loire valley’s finest red wines. This is a terroir of excellence for a fresh, balanced expression of Cabernet Franc.

Saumur Champigny are usually slightly lighter in style, structure and character than Chinon, yet in very good year, they can matched them in term of richness and length. Of course it depends on the style and the producer, but overall, one can say that Saumur Champigny is richer and more intense than a Bourgueil or a Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil, yet it doesn't reach the depth and complexity of a Chinon.

The Cabernet Franc vines grow in the yellow chalky soils, know as “Tuffeaux”, which give the wine its characteristic suppleness and an aromatic bouquet.

The harvest took place between the end of September and the beginning of October. After a maceration on the skin for about fifteen days, the wine was then matured in stainless tank, after a long fermentation. It was bottled in June of the following year.

Made from 100% Cabernet Franc, 2005 Domaine de la Cave du Rocher Saumur Champigny is surprisingly juicy, light to medium bodied yet fleshy and tasty. Although, Saumur Champigny is usually a great summer wine (like many Loire Reds), the rich and textured 2005 Cave du Rocher is a perfect wine to say good bye to Winter and welcome Spring. The palate is riper than previous vintages and certainly fleshier and juicier than many other Saumurs (that I tasted recently) in this price range (especially with no ageing in oak). Flavors of ripe cherry and ripe red berries intermingled with earthy and mineral notes, balanced by a great acidity that keep this wine focus until the end. The back palate and the finish are structured by some refined, integrated tannins (not too green, smokey or bitter, like it often happen with Cab. Franc base wines). This wine was an enjoyable surprise and may open wider the door to Loire valley to riper style wine drinkers (don't get me wrong, we are not talking about Californian or Australian wine drinkers....) Enjoy it room temperature for now and slightly chilled during summer. Serve it with cold cut, charcuterie or cheeses. Perfect for late afternoon break, barbecues and outdoors parties.

Step into the green! Drink more Bio and organic wines (and food) from sustainable culture!

LeDom du Vin

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wine Travel: Spain and Rioja

For those who know me well, you know my love for Spain. Every year, I go to San Sebastian and Getaria in the Basque country and spend a few days with my wife and son, eating tapas and drinking Txakoli whites and Rioja reds. I highly recommend it, for food and wine lovers.

Kaia Kaipe (in Getaria, excellent wine list with old Riojas and Riberas and fabulous grilled fish, the Turbo for two is one of the house's speciality) and Arzak (in San Sebastian, a mix of traditional and fusion cuisine in a Basque way, a bit expensive but excellent food) are two of my favorite restaurants in the world.

In Getaria, my favorite hotel is Saiaz Getaria Hotel, it is a lovely, peaceful, family run hotel with unique views of the ocean and the little bay of Getaria. In San Sebastian, Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra with its incomparable view of La Concha (the main beach of the town) is surely one of my favorites. The other one is Monte Igueldo hotel perched on the mount of the same name, overlooking the entire bay of San Sebastian (a bit old and run down in some part, noisy and a bit far from city center for some people but worth it for the views of the ocean and the city (go their for a drink just for the view).

I also went to El Bulli (in the village of Roses, north of Barcelona, in the Costa Brava region) which was a truly amazing experience and an unusual culinary lesson. In my opinion, El Bulli will never become your everyday restaurant due to the prices and the extreme texture of the food (lot of "mousse" or foam), however you should experience it at least once or twice in your life, it's worth it.

One of my most memorable memories in Spain took place at Marques de Riscal (Rioja, Elciego), after one of my numerous visits at the winery, we were invited to eat at their new gastronomic restaurant and to stay in their newly built Luxury Hotel. Don't ask me how we did it, it is a long story... however, here again the food was excellent, the service fabulous and the suites (it is more than a room, trust me) which were reserved for us, were sumptuous.

Despite sleeping in great hotels and eating in many exquisite, hard to book in advance restaurants, my previous job also allowed me to travel, every year, to many different wine regions of Spain (and many in France too) for wine tastings (often with the owner or the winemaker, in the cellar at the barrels) and buying purposes. I was really privileged to be able to prepare, organize and participate to all my boss's trips.

I visited many wineries, met a lot of earthy, welcoming producers and tasted hundreds of wines from Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Toro, Cigales, Bierzo, Rias Raixas, Ribeiro, Navarra, Monsant, Priorat, Bullas, La Mancha, Penedes, Rueda, Tarragona, Terra Alta, Coster del Segre, Emporda Costa Brava, Alicante, Jumilla, Yecla, Valdepenas, etc... and of course many Xeres (altough I never been to the south of Spain, I roughly stoped in the middle).

Spain is really a delightful place to visit but not only for its wines or its food, the culture, the history, the people, the sunny weather, the Mediterranean cost and the nouvelle vague (new wave) of artists and designers make Spain one of the main center of interest in Europe. Barcelona is (somewhat) still under the radar compared to Paris, London, Rome, Milan, Geneva, Brussels or Berlin (to only name a few), but it is getting there slowly and surely. You just have to walk the streets of Barcelona to realize it. There are paintings and sculptures, and many other forms of art to confirm it at every corners of this energetic city.

However, I could continue to talk about the multiple attractive features of Spain for many more paragraphs, but I think I should write another post about it. So let's come back to wine and especially to Rioja.

Despite the fact that my heart belongs to Bordeaux (and my wife and son) and that I absolutely adore Burgundy, I always come back to Rioja. First, because it is not too far from Bordeaux and San Sebastian (both primary destinations every time I 'm back in Europe), and secondly, because there is something magical about it.

I always say that Rioja has something almost unrealistic, a bit like an attraction park or a movie studio. You will understand what I mean if you drive through Rioja, because, (and this only a personal impression), the roads are brand new but everything around it date from the XII and XIII century, which create such a contrast that you could almost believe that the landscape is a decor, somewhat unreal or surreal.

If you leave the main road to take a more country side road to go to San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Laguardia or even Haro, you will suddenly be transported back in time, a more medieval time.
On the side of the road, next to the vineyard, you can still see these little domes made of stone and earth, sort of vineyard workers' hut where they usually rest during the day if the temperature rise to high during summer or just to take a break or stock their vineyard tools. Some of these Stone Domes or Huts date from even before the medieval times. From an historical point of view, Rioja's vineyards and wine culture began with the Phoenician in 11th century BC, and was later firmly established by the Romans (like most of the known vineyards in western Europe).

These Domes are vestige of the long wine producing tradition of the area. Even the villages, like in the medieval times, remain small and nestled on hilltop through out Rioja. They were built and erected on strategic high point to be defendable and some were impregnable. The lord of the village or the region could, that way, overlook the production of his land and protect his people.
Rich in culture and tradition, Rioja is a peaceful wine oasis that any wine and food lovers should visit.
To be continued....
LeDom du Vin
PS: next time, I will write a bit more about some of my favorites restaurants, hotels and of course wineries in Rioja. I will also give more details on different places that I visited in Ribera del Duero and Priorat (and more)....

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tasting Session: Skurnik (02/05/09)

All the following wines were tasted at the store on Thursday February 5th 2009, with Sabina from Michael Skurnik Wines (Importer/Distributor).

2005 Raventos I Blanc "L'Heureu" Brut Reserva Cava Spain
Suggested retail price $14-$17
Imported/Distributed by Michael Skurnik Wines in NYC

First, I need to say that I never been disappointed by Raventos, and once again, I wasn't with this one. Moreover, I like the fact that they are organic.

Made from 60% Macabeo, 20% Xarello and 20% Parellada, the 2005 Raventos I Blanc l'Heureu Brut Reserva has a yeasty, golden apple, fresh almond nose. The palate is light to medium bodied and expresses the same flavors in a nuttier kind of way. Well balanced with a lovely dry yet juicy mouthfeel, it is quite long and pleasant. Intermingled notes of almond, nut, peach and zesty lemon characterize the finish. Very enjoyable and organic on top of that. Step into the green! (Tasted 02/05/09) LeDom du Vin

For more info go to: or to:

2007 Stefano Massone Gavi Vigna Masera Piedmont Italy
Suggested retail price $11-$14
Imported/Distributed by Michael Skurnik Wines in NYC

Very characteristic from the Cortese grape, the 2007 Massone Gavi Vigna Masera boasts intense peach blossom aromas with delicate touch of white juicy fruit and mineral notes. It is as inviting on the palate as it is on the nose. Well rounded attack, medium bodied and soft with a good amount of acidity to balance it. Fresh peach, apple and lemon define the fruit flavors in this balanced, focus, uncomplicated easy drinking white wine. A very good value for money for everyday drinking. (Tasted 02/06/09) LeDom du Vin

For more info go to: or to:

2007 CantinaMatta "Casamatta" Toscana IGT white wine Tuscany Italy
Suggested retail price $10-$13
Imported/Distributed by Michael Skurnik wines in NYC

Made from 100% Vermentino, 2007 Casamatta has characteristic notes of fresh haye, straw, green almond, almost barnyardy in some way, on the nose and on the palate. In a kind of sherryesk way (without the extreme freshness or the see breeze, lightly salty attitude of a Fino), the attack and mid-palate is full of grenn and ripe golden apple, straw, hay, nutty flavors mixed with hints of minerals and lime. The finish is somewhat nutty, well rounded, kind of lush. Here again, another good value for money to enjoy with grilled chicken, dry aged cheese, nuts and spicy chorizo. (Tasted 02/05/09) LeDom du Vin

For more info go to:

2008 Mud House Wines Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand
Suggested retail price $10-$13
Imported/Distributed by Michael Skurnik wines in NYC

Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes coming from Mud House own vineyards in the upper Wairau Valley, as well as from other selected growers vineyards in the Wairau and Awatere Valleys, this a classic Marlborough Sauvignon at a lesser price than the most well-known houses (which are, by the way, nearly all, own by the same few big corporate companies).

Definitely usual and tipical NZ Sauvignon Blanc nose offering a mix of very grassy, green, goose berry aromas with white pepper and herbal notes. The attack and mid-palate deliver a lot of fruit, lime, lemon and white peach in a rounded, well balanced and focus way. Nice and clean overall without being too complex. A refreshing Marlborough at a good price. (Tasted 02/06/09) LeDom du Vin

For more info go to:

2007 Piazzano Chianti DOCG Green Label Tuscany Italy
Suggested retail price $10-$13
Imported/Distributed by Michael Skurnik wines in NYC (a Marc de Grazia Selection)

Made from 100% Sangiovese, Piazzano Chianti green label boasts fresh and fragrant red berry, cherry aromas on the nose. Quite ripe and charming in the same time, it is somewhat old school in taste: earthy, red cherry predominant on the mid-palate. Overall pretty balanced and focus, it has a light touch of green tannins on the finish (some may taste bitterness or tartness), however the ripe red juicy fruit and the overall structure of the wine compensate for it. Pretty enjoyable anyway in this price range, in my opinion. (Tasted 02/05/09) LeDom du Vin

Enjoy! and don't forget to step into the green! Drink more organic and biodynamic and wine coming from sustainable culture. It is good for you and good for the environment.

LeDom du Vin

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tasting Session: Domaine Select (01/29/09)

All the following wines where tasted at the store with Alison from Domaine Select (Importer/ Distributor) on Thursday January 29th 2009.

2007 Bodegas Tahuan "Siesta" Extra Brut Champenoise Method Mendoza Argentina 
Suggested retail price $16-$19
Imported/Distributed by Domaine Select in NYC

The complete name of this well made Argentinean sparkling is "Siesta en el Tahuantinsuyu". Own and crafted by Ernesto Catena, the son of Nicolas Catena the owner of the famous Catena Zapata (one of the leading winery in Argentina), this white sparkling wine is a blend of 50% Chardonnay  an 50% Pinot Noir. All grapes come from selected vineyards by Ernesto Catena

Pleasant, the nose boasts intermingled fresh, delicate aromas of white peach almond (the core of the fruit) and apple with light toasted, bready, yeasty notes.  On the palate, it has a full attack with a substantial amount of mousse yet not soapy and slightly yeasty yet it is not heavy or too rich . It has a very good balance and the refreshing acidity carries nicely golden apple, fresh  almond and white fruit flavors until the end. Very focus and inviting, it is a bit like biting into a juicy, earthy, ripe golden apple. Very enjoyable and versatile enough to suit any occasion.  
(Tasted 01/29/09) LeDom du Vin

For more info, read the following article at:,1197,4438,00.html

NV Tenuta di Collalbrigo Brut Rosé "Ti Amo" sparkling wine Veneto Italy
Suggested retail price $13-$16
Imported/Distributed by Domaine Select in NYC

Made with mainly Prosecco grapes and 10-20% Pinot Nero (the reason why it is not a Prosecco but a sparkling wine), it has a very clean, bright, light pink robe. Overall, the palate is very round, approachable and friendly with fruity flavors (and I do not mean sweet once again) but it is a bit plain. In my opinion, it is not bad but lack a bit of punch, character and acidity to lift up the fruit and the mid-palate. It wouldn't be my first choice for an inexpensive sparkling Rosé, but it surely will satisfy customers looking for a fairly simple, uncomplicated and not very complex sparkling Rosé. Minerality and crispiness lovers should choose something else.
(Tasted 1/29/09) LeDom du Vin

For more info go to:

2005 Fratta Pasini (Antichi Poderi del Conte Luigi) Valpolicella Veneto Italy
Suggested retail price $14-$17
Imported/Distributed by Domaine Select in NYC

The nose is nice and somewhat elegant. The palate is juicy with bright red cherry and great acidity. It feels ripe without being heavy or rich. In fact, it is rather light on its feet with a green, somewhat slight herbal tannic touch on the finish, but the juiciness of the fruit balances it nicely and makes you forget about it. It needs a bit of food to be fully appreciated. As we say in French: "C'est un vin de table, pas un vin de soif." ("It is a table wine, not a wine that will quench your thrust.") (Tasted 01/29/09) LeDom du Vin

For more info go to: and 

FYI: In France, and mostly everywhere in Europe, especially for the red wines in Italy, Spain and Portugal, we categorize as a "Vin de Table" (or table wine) a Terroir driven wine; especially when it tastes a bit earthy, somewhat rustic, with high acidity and dry tannins, and needs food to be fully appreciated (although you could surely drink it without, but it will taste better with a bite of something). A "Vin de Soif" is generally a wine which is juicy, ripe, approachable and friendly and does not necessitate anything with it. Wine from ripe climate region are often considered as Vin de Soif, mostly in the new world(s): Australia, Argentina, Chile, California, etc...

2007 Stefano Rizzi "Micante" MaremmAlta Maremma Tuscany Italy
Suggested retail price ...
Imported/Distributed by Domaine Select in NYC

Made of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, Micante has a floral, expressive, ripe nose with bitter chocolate, dark cherry aromas. The palate has the same type of flavors. It is very well balanced, round yet not plain or boring. The mid-palate and finish are very attractive, full yet lifted by a very good acidity and structured with integrated tannins. Overall, it is a very enjoyable food wine. I like it a lot. (Tasted 01/29/09) LeDom du Vin 

For more info go to: or 

2007 Primaterra Syrah Sicilia IGT (Italy)
Suggested retail price $8-$11
Imported/Distributed by Domaine Select in NYC

Like many wine from Sicily made with Nero D'Avola or Syrah, Primaterra Syrah is rich, earthy, well rounded and approachable yet may be a bit plain. Plain is may be not the right word for this wine, let's just say that is simple, uncomplicated yet with a good fruit driven attitude. The palate reveals lovely ripe dark berry flavors with hints of earth and spice and a crowd pleasing touch. Only hiccup, in my opinion, it has a slight green, bitter touch in the finish (may be due to the tannins but I do believe that in this case it more the alcohol). However, it remains a very good value in this price range and seems to be the perfect pizza wine. (Tasted 01/29/09) LeDom du Vin

For more info go to:  or to  

2003 Bodegas Tahuan Syrah (Tahuantinsuyu) Mendoza Argentina 
Suggested retail price ...
Imported/Distributed by Domaine Select in NYC

Here again, another wine from Ernesto Catena from the famous Catena family in Argentina. 2003 Tahuan Syrah has a great nose with ripe dark berry, Cassis and cherry aromas with earthy floral notes.  The palate is superb, really inviting, balanced, very ripe yet enjoyable, not stuffy. Pretty full bodied and overall smooth, with earth and spice hints, it has an easy drinking attitude that make it the perfect steak wine (to enjoy with mountain salt from Argentina). (Tasted 01/29/09) LeDom du Vin

For more info go to: 

To be continued with another Importer/Distributor....   


LeDom du Vin