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29 March, 2013

Country Vintner 2013 Trade Show Finds

Posted in : Beverage, Events, Merlot, Other Red Blends, Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris, Product Reviews, Red Wine, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Valpolicella, White Wine, Wine on by : The Gourmez

Country Vintner 2013 Trade Show Finds

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Last week, I attended the Country Vintner’s 2013 Trade Show stop at the Cookery, one of a few stops they made in the state to show off their current portfolio of wines to local restaurants and wine purchasers from all over. The Country Vintner is a large wine sales and marketing group that sells to our area and other states in the eastern seaboard.

For me, this was a great chance to try a lot of wines I wouldn’t normally be exposed to. So taste I did! I took no pictures, but the Cookery deserves props for the fine spread of food available to enliven our taste buds after going through wine after wine — your tongue gets dulled rather fast at these sorts of events. Lamb sausage with garlic aioli, chicken salad cups, roasted vegetables with a great garlic dip … this food was a lot better than the customary wafer crackers at a winery, let me assure you.

I thought I’d highlight a few of the wines I discovered. These ones made the strongest impressions on me, and I hope some of our local vendors picked them up so I can try them out properly in the future. As I said, I didn’t use my camera at this event, so nearly all of the images are borrowed from the websites linked for the vineyards and wineries.

The first table I stopped at was one of my favorites, La Giaretta from Valgatara, Italy. Both the I Quadretti Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2008

valpolicella-quadretti

and the Volpare Valpolicella Classico 2011

valpolicella-classico

left lingering impressions. The Quadretti is a fuller wine with plenty of classic raspberry and chocolate notes and an aftertaste of tobacco, but the summery, light Volpare is the one that made me wish for hot summer nights on the deck.

From Avignonesi, a vineyard using organic methods in Montepulciano, the Desiderio Cortona 2008 was especially memorable with a beautiful combination of fruit flavors with a dry body.

Desiderio-2010The 50 & 50 Toscana Rosso 2007 combination of Merlot from Avignonesi and Sangiovese from Capannelle was intriguing and kept you guessing with the divergent qualities of both wineries’ grapes.

50x50

My husband’s friend Nick, wine manager at the Spirited Gourmet in Belmont, MA, and Bartholomew Broadbent, owner of Broadbent Selections and the man who invited me to come, both suggested I try Chateau Musar‘s offerings. It’s in Lebanon, and I think they may have recommended it for me because of its location in the Bekaa Valley (See, my name is Becca so the Bekaa Valley would be…okay, bad punnage. My apologies.). Their Blanc 2004 is that rare white wine I adore.

Photo borrowed from WineWatch.com.

It’s sweeter than I would normally be drawn to, but the whipped cream, kiwi, banana, and strawberry notes reminded me of a dessert my mom made with slices of those fruits stacked together and topped with whipped cream. There couldn’t be a simpler and pleasanter ending to a meal. I was also impressed with the Red 2004 full of berry, tobacco, soil, and gritty seed notes.

I didn’t try many wines from California this afternoon, but the ones I did really stood out, especially Talley Vineyard‘s Pinot Noir Rincon 2010 from Arroyo Grande Valley, pretty close to where I grew up.

Its berry struck me as a candied jam livened up with licorice notes, an excellent combination. I will absolutely seek that out again.

Thelema Mountain Vineyards, formerly an apple farm in Elgin, South Africa, had a great Mountain Red blend from the Western Cape region, but their Merlot 2009 from Stellenbosch impressed me more.

Thelema Merlot

The nose was delicious and the strawberry, cherry, cumin, and baking spices in the glass are ones that would keep me entertained with liveliness throughout a bottle.

Finally, I tried a few keg wines from the Gotham Project and found their white options quite appealing.

The Elki Sauvignon Blanc had a great smell of vanilla and almonds, and on sipping, green apple came to the forefront of the crisp, hearty white. The Gazerra Pinot Grigio, from a high altitude in Sicily, was lighter and subtler than the Elki but both would be great wines for a casual night at the bar. Part of what makes the Gotham Project succeed at providing great wines in keg form is that they use three regional filling stations so the wines never need travel farther than 500 miles from where the kegs are filled, preserving their freshness. For NC, the filling station is located in New York City.

Thank you, Bartholomew, for the invitation, and I can’t wait to see what our local Triangle restaurants decided to add to their wine lists soon. I’ll keep an eye out for the ones this trade show opened my eyes to!

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