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August 2010

Vinedo de los Vientos Tannat

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Vintage: 2007

Varietal: 100% Tannat

Though I'm not ready to say summer is done, I will admit that the air has been noticeably cooler and drier over the past weeks.  Worryingly, I've even found myself wearing long pants comfortably at night. As naturally as the leaves starting to turn, my thoughts have begun to turn as well; to richer, earthier, autumn wines and this Uruguayan Tannat fits the bill perfectly!

Background: This is from the Atlantic coast of Uruguay, a rather cool temperate location.  Tannat has always been the predominant red grape here since southern French immigrants brought it back in the mid 1800's.  This is made by Pablo Fallabrino, whose family has owned the vineyard since 1947.  He practices low intervention wine making, working hard in the vineyard to produce healthy natural grapes while respecting the environment around him.  

Profile: Well, as Tannat is supposed to be, it's black.  Like "dye a shirt" black.  So black I can't even see the Fruit fly that just flew into it.  It stains the whole glass red.  It has a slightly sweet aroma of dried red fruit and some spices. I think it smells a bit like baking gingerbread.  It drinks like a big full Italian: some dry earth on the mid palate, good acidity and dry tannins.  It's a deep complex wine that brings to mind standing in an apple orchard in the fog on a cool damp autumn day.  The tannins are a significant part of the structure, but it has a meaty mid palate that hides notes of cinnamon, mocha, licorice...this is a complex wine.

This is undeniably an impressive, unique wine that has a lot of depth.  I would compare it to a Barolo first and a big old school CA Cabernet second.  If those are your kinds of wines check this out.  Or even better check this out with some slow cooked ribs.  Something with enough fat to blunt the tannin a bit.

Available at:  This is available at the Yarmouth Rosemont and RSVP.  It retails for around $16.


In Advocation of Box Wine

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As I write this I am sitting at my computer (Obvi) thoroughly enjoying a plate of fried chicken and a glass of Domaine Roger Perrin Cotes du Rhone 2009.  The saltiness of the chicken works great with the bright fruit of the Cotes du Rhone.  The wine has really fun, young cherry and blackberry fruit with an intense aroma of plums and violets with a hint of wild herbs. 

The above statement is nothing out of the ordinary.  Of course young bright Cotes du Rhone goes well with fried chicken.  Why am I even bothering to write about this?  Because the wine came out of a box.  Yes, that's right!  A 3L box of Cotes du Rhone.  From a small family winery in Chateauneuf du Pape no less! 

Listen here, sez I: Box wine is cool.  Now, here's why:

When wine comes out of the bladder in a box no air goes in.  Therefore, the wine left inside doesn't start to break down and stays fresh.  That means fresh vibrant young Cotes du Rhone WHENEVER YOU WANT IT!  Not just at home, but at restaurants too. How often have you ordered a glass of wine at a restaurant and been disappointed by it because the bottle had been open?  Or maybe you're like me and you just never order wine by the glass.  I believe "Once bitten, twice shy" is the expression?  It's unavoidable when pouring glasses from bottled wine that it will oxidize, or the restaurant has to deal with spoilage and waste.  Box wine allows restaurants to pour glasses of wine with the confidence that each one is fresh and vibrant: the way it was meant to be.  Unfortunately, most of my restaurant customers say they will never serve box wine on principle.  The principle is that you: the consumer, will never drink it and turn up your nose.  Although there isn't a great selection of box wine available in the US yet please don't write it off.  Just like Vouvray, Chablis, and rose'; it's reputation was ruined by cheap plonk in the past, but times have changed and plenty of delicious table wines are available in boxes.

On top of that, box wine is much more environmentally friendly than wine in glass bottles.  Visualize a case of 12 glass bottles.  Remember kindergarten?  The round peg in the square hole?  So a case of bottles is 12 round pegs in 12 square holes.  That means lots of empty space around each bottle.  The result is you pay for shipping 12 bottles of wine plus a whole lot of empty space.  But wait, not only are you paying for shipping empty space, you're also paying to ship all the heavy glass encasing the wine!  It may not seem like much, but the glass for one bottle alone weighs in at almost 1lb 2oz. Multiply that times 672 bottles on a single pallet and you're looking at some serious weight.  Which costs serious money to ship, and burns serious fuel in the process.  Putting wine in boxes means far less fuel burnt in shipping a given volume of wine, plus far less dead space, cause you're shipping square boxes in square holes!  That equals less fuel burnt, less pollution, and less money spent in the process.  Win, Win, Win, Wine!

So in conclusion, please, putting wine in boxes is the way to go; at least for everyday drinking stuff.  If you are willing to join the cool kids on the cutting edge of wine, you can find boxes of this Perrin Cotes du Rhone at the Yarmouth Rosemont and soon at Whole Foods.