It's officially Spring! Now we get as much sun as we do in late September...just not as much heat. But the days are longer and before long the weather may even be pleasant outside! That's worth celebrating. I love celebrating with food and wine and Easter's coming so I put together a list of the wines I'm excited about!
Frank Cornelissen Contadino 2016
The 2016 Contadino is here and it's excellent. It's fruit driven, ripe jammy black cherry and raspberry, but smoky and charry like a smoldering campfire. It pulls off being fun and vivacious and friendly but also brooding and powerful at the same time. Basically it tastes exactly like Mount Etna: amazing and beautiful but it might erupt and destroy everything and anyone. This is riper than the 2015 but not as heavy as the 2014. It's great but extremely limited. Contadino is just north of $30 and available at Maine and Loire, RSVP, Rosemont, Bow St Portland, Maine Street Meats, The Clown Lois's Natural Foods, The Farm Stand, and Meridians.
Grand Rouviere Cotes de Provence Rose 2017
Rouviere is a perennial favorite rose of mine. It's a 5th generation family winery way down in Provence on the border with Bandol. This is the best vintage I've ever tasted! I didn't expect that because it was a hot year, but somehow the Leydier family made a really gorgeous dry elegant rose with lovely giving flowery aromas that just somehow smell like the Mediterranean summer. The acidity and salinity that underpin the wine's ripe fruit are brilliant and really make the wine notable. Rouviere is around $17 and available at RSVP, Whole Foods, Farm Stand, Bow St Portland, Oak Hill Beverage, LeRoux, Browne Trading, Store Ampersand, and the Lighthouse in Augusta.
Podere Saliceto Albone Lambrusco
Saliceto is a little tiny operation outside Modena. This is Lambrusco Salamino naturally fermented by a pair of brothers in law. It's so juicy and fun and frothy! This is real full on dry red wine with juicy fresh black raspberry fruit but not really tannins to speak of. The effervescence (it's fizzy sort of like a beer) gives the wine a whole different dimension though and makes it fantastic with all kinds of food because the fizz primes and cleans your palate. This will be great with roast pork! The Albone is around $17 and at RSVP, Sheepscot General Store, the Farm Stand, Bow St Portland, Bootlegger's in Topsham, Maine St Meats, Friendly Discount Beverage, and Tess Market in Brunswick.
Hand Work Tempranillo 2017
Organic Tempranillo from the fantastic Bodegas Ponce in Manchuela. And it's in a Litre bottle! This is fresh young energetic Tempranillo that has just the right amount of rusticness. The fruit is that classic juicy bright cherry and blueberry that young Tempranillo often has but it's offset with this touch of spice and wildness. It's medium bodied, thirst quenching and easy to drink but interesting at the same time. This is a great medium bodied red to cut through the fat of pork or the saltiness of ham. Hand Work Tempranillo is around $14 and available at Good Tern Coop, Maine and Loire, Bow St in Freeport, Mane Street Meats, and Morning Glory in Brunswick.
Furlani Antico Frizzante
Matteo Furlani is really really good at making clean focused intense wines that are totally natural. The naturalness comes out in his wines as a vivid energetic precision; not as any kind of funky or earthy character. Some credit for that has to go to his location way up above Trentino in the foot hills of the Alps. It's cold there. That's an understatement, but he really uses it to his advantage by doing natural cold stabilizations in the winter. The cold temperatures help him to control and naturally slow things down resulting in spectacularly balanced crisp vividly aromatic wines. This fizzy bottle fermented wine is 100% Nosiola, a famously aromatic and respected grape from the high Dolomites. The Furlani Antico is avalable at Mane and Loire.
Poco a Poco Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2015
Poco a Poco is the second label of Porter Bass. Luke Bass grew up here in the vineyard as his parents reinvigorated the vineyard and transitioned to biodynamics. Somehow he pulls of this Pinot Noir that is seamlessly integrated and polished but still has the ripe fruit and friendly warmth that make the best CA wines delicious. This is classic perfect Sonoma Pinot. Poco a Poco is around $28 and available at Local Market Brunswick, Sawyer's Market in SW Harbor, The Rosemont Market's, and the Farm Stand.
Alpamanta Natal Malbec
Andrej Razomovsky came from eastern Europe originally as a journalist to AR but fell in love with wine making and put down roots, as he tells it, where the road literally ends in far south Mendoza. His Malbec is concentrated and ripe, but it has more acid and tannin to it. It tastes like it comes from a slightly cooler place in that in that it's more harmonious in how it's balanced and has a bit of a cool angular structure. The Alpamanta good be mistaken for a very good ripe Bordeaux I think, and that's why it's such a good spring Easter wine. This would shine with lamb! The Natal is around $16 and is available at Now You're Cooking, the Rosemont Markets, Oak Hill Beverage, RSVP, Good Tern Coop, and John Edwards Market in Ellsworth.