I didn't have the opportunity to taste or discover much this week but what I did manage to get on my palate was mostly astonishing. The Craggy Range below really knocked my socks off as did the Monnot Chassagne Montrachet and the JL Chave Crozes Hermitage. Notes on all three wines are below. We also took in two new spirits this week. Both are distilled by Still The One Distilling right down the street in Port Chester! The Comb Blossom is a brandy distilled with honey mead and Byram River Rum produced with cane juice and molasses. Both are worth checking out.

Craggy Range Te Kahu 2010 - $22 per bottle
Yesterday afternoon I was blown away by the Craggy Range Te Kahu. This merlot based blend comes from New Zealand. And while most would associate sauvignon blanc with New Zealand, Craggy Range is making a range of sophiscated red blends that are quite eye opening. The Te Kahu is 80% merlot, 8% cabernet franc, 8% cabernet sauvignon and 4% malbec. Deep purple color cloaks and clings to the glass. The aromas are powerful and rich with plum, blackberry and an underlying green pepper savory note. The palate is opulent but stylishly sleek and firm, showcasing a fruit driven core that’s draped with fine tannins. It leads to a long finish that is supple with notes of vanilla and toast. This will cellar nicely for 5 years or so.
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Friday Night Wine Down # 237
I’m behind the barrel this evening pouring four new wines I’ve added to our portfolio. With Juan on vacation, I’m a man down. I’m pretty confident I can handle it though. Stop by and see me tonight. I haven’t seen some of you in awhile. Tonight’s wines will surely convince you to change your mind about some wines in your everyday rack. Here are some clues as to what I’m pouring. Bottles open at 6 pm. We’re here until 8 pm. Tasting is free of charge but a $5 donation to Turning Wine Into Water gets you a “staff” glass.

Discovering the Different Faces of Moscato
Founding partner Nicholas Troilo gets back in the saddle with a great article about the different styles of Moscato. In this week’s article he writes about Moser Moscato Giallo and Marcarini Moscato D’Asti. Both wines are in stock and ready for you to explore. Read the article and then come by and pick up a bottle or two of each.

Xavier Monnot Chassagne Montrachet 2010 - $65 per bottle
Disheartening news from Burgundy this week as a hail storm ripped through the entire region causing extensive damage. We don’t yet know the full extent, but it doesn’t look good. It was fortuitous that I tasted the 2010 Monnot Chassagne Montrachet this week. A great vintage and classic example of how good chardonnay from Chassagne Montrachet really is. Gorgeous lemon curd and popcorn aromas. Weighty and rich on the palate without being clumsy. A slight mineral tone on the mid-palate lends balance to a rich and enveloping finish. I highly recommend this for immediate drinking but would also advise putting some in the cellar.
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French Winemaking Royalty
Last week, I had the pleasure of finally ripping into a bottle of Jean Louis Chave Crozes Hermitage. I could not have been more impressed with this wine. The Chave family has been passing down its secrets from father to son since 1481. Folks, that’s before Shakespeare. The 2010 is 100% syrah (as usual). Purple violet in color, it shows off aromas of bright strawberry and raspberry fruit. There is a distinct savory note that hollers rosemary and lavender with a touch of eucalyptus. The palate is a naughty whisper of fruit balanced by acidity that leaves the senses tingly and stimulated. If you know a better use for $31, I’d sure like to hear about it.
Jean Louis Chave Crozes Hermitage 2010 - $31 per bottle
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Oh, one last note. If you happen to be attending Gathering of the Vibes this weekend, check out Cosmic Jibaros on the Green Vibes Stage at 11:00 am Saturday. They are an awesome Latin band that will get your feet moving. You might recognize their bass player. Enjoy your weekend everyone!

In good taste,