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Wine Club September

Cooler weather is around the corner, which means more reds in the Wine Club. Blends seem to be the unintentional theme this month with some interesting examples from around the globe. Enjoy!

Save the Date! 2018 Decatur Wine Festival, Sat. November 3rd, 12:30 – 4:30. Tickets will be on sale soon and I will forward the link.

Cheers, Herb

P.S. – My non-Wine Club selection for the month is the 2015 Stinson Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc grows very well in Virginia (it’s the 2nd most planted grape). The example has a lovely aroma of berry fruit and a touch of spice. It’s has great structure with dark fruit, spice and a hint of vanilla. It’s lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, but still short-term cellar worthy – I bought some of the 2010 Stinson and it is superb. Try some today!

2016 La Mura Bio Bianco Terre Siciliane IGT (Sicily, Italy)

Tasting Notes: Garganega is typically found in Italian Soave, but I’m seeing more and more declassified versions as both a blending grape and single varietal. This is positive because it offers a great alternative to Pinot Grigio. This example from Saporito, an 85/15 blend, has a bright apple skin aroma. It has a nice evolution on the palate with initial tart apple flavors that turn to stone fruits – peach and mango – as it opens. This is a ripe offering with nice palate weight, but has enough acidity for balance. The finish has semi-tropical fruits, nice brightness and good length.

Food Pairing: This wine has enough flavor to serve by itself and enough acidity to serve with light to medium appetizers. Otherwise, I would pair this with any medium-bodied meal like chicken or pork.

2014 David Bruce Russian River Chardonnay (Russian River Valley, Calif.)

Tasting Notes: True confession – every so often I like to drink a slightly aged, big, rich west coast style Chardonnay. The David Bruce checks all my boxes. It’s slightly aged, so the components can integrate – no wonky oak flavors or unbalanced acidity. It has a rich aroma of crème brulee and a thick and unctuous mouthfeel with ripe, but not too ripe, bright pineapple fruit. The finish is creamy with butterscotch notes, hints of brightness, spice flavors and a VERY lengthy finish. I don’t find these types of wines for the Wine Club very often, so this selection is a unique treat.

Food Pairing: I’ll be honest here. This Chardonnay might be best served by itself or with a very light, unassertive main dish. The wine should be the focus, so keep it solo or simple.

2016 Terra D’Alter Red (Alentejano, Portugal)

Tasting Notes: I found another Wine Club selection from the Alentejano region in Portugal. They’re great values and solid everyday wines. The Terra D’Alter is a blend of equal parts Trincadeira, Aragonez and Syrah, two Portuguese varietals and one European variety. It is a very enjoyable wine. Aromas of fresh-picked raspberries fill the glass and lead to nicely concentrated, pure red fruit – raspberry and strawberry – on the palate. It’s thick and ripe, but has enough acidity for balance, which comes through on the mid-palate. The finish shows softer red fruit with light to medium tannins and medium length.

Food Pairing: This is a great everyday red that can be enjoyed by itself or with any everyday meal like burgers, pork chops, chicken, etc.

2016 Cembra Pinot Nero (Trentino, Italy)

Tasting Notes: Pinot Noir/Pinot Nero from Italy is a thing. I don’t know if it’s maturity of the vines or more experienced wine making, but I’m finding superb values, particularly from northern Italy. The Cembra is Exhibit A in defending my assertion. It has an appropriate color (no added Syrah!) with aromas of ripe, earthy red fruit. It’s clean on the palate with lightly bright, elegant red berry fruits. Balance and elegance are the stars here, something not always present from their brethren in France and California. The finish has medium-ripe red fruit, a hint of vanilla and nice length. This is a great Pinot Noir.

Food Pairing: Given the acidity in this wine, I’m going away from my go-to Pinot Noir pairing with salmon and recommend it for medium-bodied, Bavarian type foods – sausages and pork dishes.

2016 Prime Cuts Red Blend (Swartland, South Africa)

Tasting Notes: I’m finding that blends are the key to enjoying South African reds. This winner from the Swartland area, gimmicky label aside, is a blend of Shiraz, Petite Verdot and Cinsault (notice no Pinotage – the king of “love it” or “hate it” grapes). It has a fairly clean aroma of creamy red fruit and earth notes. On the palate, I found dried cherry/berry fruit, small asphalt notes, a staple trait of all South African reds, and good acidity. This red has a solid fruit profile and minimal South African terroir. The finish is full-flavored with juicy raspberry fruit and nice length.

Food Pairing: This red has enough body to pair with heavier meat dishes. BBQ beef or pork would also be a nice choice.

2014 Domaine du Bouscat Caduce Bordeaux Superieur (France)

Tasting Notes: Either by climate change or active winemaking practices, Bordeaux is making more user-friendly wines. They still retain good acidity (yeah!), but the fruit is definitely riper. This example is mostly Merlot (70%) with Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), Malbec (5%) and Cabernet Franc (5%). It has a nice cherry aroma. This red is lithe on the palate with dried cherry fruit, that’s pleasantly tart, and good acidity. There’s a nice hint of creaminess on the mid-palate and the finish has good tannic grip and solid berry/cherry fruit. Very enjoyable!

Food Pairing: I would pair this with heavier meat dishes or lamb. It has enough body to hold up to these heavier foods.

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