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Exquisite European wines

New Wines

2008 Tre Monti Vigna Rocca Albana, Italy – Northern Italy’s Emilia Romagna Region sports a dedication to food and wine that is hardly rivaled anywhere in the world, even within Italy. The famous names of various cured meats, cheeses and wines from this area are so extensive that I couldn’t even begin to touch on them here. Needless to say, all of this stems from a deep relationship between the local people and their agricultural purveyors. Topping the list are the white and red wines produced from Albana, Trebbiano and Sangiovese; the Tre Monti winery is as good a place for an introduction to them as any. This white wine with gorgeous bronze hue is produced using 100% Albana; I promise, you haven’t tasted anything like it before. The higher alcohol content tells us that the grapes were very ripe when harvested and then fermented totally dry. Aromatics range from dried apricot to hazelnut. The flavors woven into the rich texture feature more dried fruits, faint citrus, pear and lots of nuttiness. This wine would be heaven with a creamy dish like risotto. $11.99/ btl.

2008 Les Brugueres Priorat Blanco, Spain – At this point, I’m not looking to add new red wines to the Priorat shelf in our Spanish section, a shelf dominated by big, modern-styled red wines. These are wines that for me don’t represent the most authentic or interesting things going on in Spain right now. So, when I was presented with a rare white wine from the area last week, my interest was immediately piqued. The story goes that over 100 years ago, monks planted white Grenache vines on the slopes above the town of Scala Dei and the vineyards remain there to this day. The advantage of vines this old – which now look like little stumps by the way – is that they have an uncanny ability to express the minerality of the soils. In this case, the wine opens with an absolutely ethereal array of dusty schist minerality and underlying ripe pear and anise notes. The mouthfeel is richly textured, but backed up by a bright vein of acidity that gives lift to the seemingly endless barrage of white fruit and mineral flavors. A glass of this stuff with smoked trout and some variety of soft cheese and, well, it starts to get pretty hard to beat. $30.59/btl.

Great Wines

2006 Hecht and Bannier Cotes du Rousillon, France – There are so many examples of outstanding and ageworthy wines coming out of the Languedoc and Rousillon areas of Southern France today that any statements about the area’s sub-par quality are simply outdated. This particular one is a perfect example why. We found concentrated cherry and mulberry flavors along with toffee, coffee, and underbrush notes, ending with a lovely crunchy minerality. Full-bodied and impeccably balanced, this red would make an obvious early addition to your roster of wines to serve with summer barbecue fare. $13.99/btl.

2008 Cecilia Beretta Soavé, Italy – I’ve been happy to note in recent years a resurgence of interest in the white wines from Italy’s Soave winemaking region. However delicious and popular these wines are, the good ones rarely go for less than $15. Don’t get me wrong, these wines are worth the money, but when I come across something authentic and delicious like this one that I can sell for under $10, we’re talking about some serious value. Produced using 100% Garganega grapes, the wine opens with an alluring pineapple and pear perfume and moves on to ripe and round flavors of tropical fruit and white tea. I’m trying to imagine a person who wouldn’t like this delicious white and I’m not coming up with anything. $9.79/btl.


• Friday, March 5 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. – Drop in and meet Sunday from Mystic Vineyards as she pours four of their red wines.

• Saturday, March 6 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. – We’ll be joined by Emily from Bergstrom and tasting both their chardonnay and Pinot noir.