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Cru Krewe

Cru Krewe – November 2016

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Holiday Wines

Welcome to November Wine of Month!  We’ve been searching over the last couple of months for the perfect complements to the Holiday season – suitable for the table and for simply enjoying a glass.  We’ve found an interesting take on an American red (Zinfandel), a fresh, energetic example of a classic European red (Tempranillo), and a surprising white grape from a region you wouldn’t normally expect (Viognier).  Don’t worry about pairing these wines with specific dishes.  Just pop the cork and let the celebration begin!

Cline Sonoma Estate Viognier 2015

Cline at Cru Cellars?  You mean that brand you see on the shelves everywhere?  That’s correct but you will not find this wine anywhere else.  Viognier is an aromatic white grape that produces wines with lush, silky texture.  Its traditional home is in the northern Rhone Valley (France) but has found a new home in Cline’s cool-climate Sonoma Coast and Carneros vineyards.  Cold nights and morning fog allow the grapes to ripen slowly providing aromatic complexity, freshness and crisp acidity.  Lots of afternoon sunshine adds just the right amount richness and body.  We taste apricot and other orchard fruits with hints of orange blossom and citrus. $19.99

Tomàs Cusiné Llebre Tempranillo 2013

The winery Tomàs Cusiné is in the highest elevation vineyards in Catalunya, eastern Spain.  This is rugged, mountainous terrain where the grapes grow in calcareous/gravel soils amongst oak trees, pines, and juniper.  Tempranillo is the age-worthy red grape most often seen in Rioja and Ribera del Duero.  There is a small amount of Garnacha, Carignan, and Syrah blended into the Tempranillo.  The grapes are farmed organically and hand-harvested.  Josh Raynolds from Vinous loves the wine, “Bright violet color. Fresh red fruit scents are complicated by suggestions of candied flowers and allspice, with a hint of cola in the background.  Sweet and silky on the palate, offering juicy raspberry and cherry flavors that firm up slowly on the back half. Shows good energy and thrust on the finish, which is firmed by smooth, slow-building tannins.”

$19.99

 

Neyers Vineyards Vista Luna Vineyard, Borden Ranch Zinfandel 2015

Neyers Vineyards is one of our favorite California producers.  Bruce Neyers has had a long career working with French wine importer Kermit Lynch.  That experience has had an undeniable influence the wines.  Neyers farms organically, harvests by hand, and uses minimal intervention in the winery.  Borden Ranch is a tiny Sierra Foothills AVA in an outcropping of hard rock – mostly quartz and granite.  This rocky base serves to reduce vigor in the vines, and provides a host of mineral components that reveal themselves in the finished wine.  Borden Ranch’s cool climate (due to brisk westerly winds) produces low alcohol, highly aromatic, fresh Zinfandel.  Only wild yeasts are used in the fermentation.  The wine rests in large, used oak barrels to soften the texture without masking the true Zinfandel aromas and flavors of blackberry and pepper with dusty tannins at the finish.

$24.99

Cru Krewe – October 2016

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SpOoOoky Surprise in the Glass

 

Coca I Fitó ‘Jaspi Negre, Spain

This blend of Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet and Syrah comes from old vines from vineyards with different mineral compositions in the DO Montsant of Northeast Spain, made by Toni and Miquel Coca I Fitó. Aged for a short time in French and American oak barrels (3 to 4 months) after spending a year in underground cement vats, the wine is full of ripe fruit and spice with smooth, velvety tannins. Pleasant yet powerful, it’s a versatile delight with food.

Agricola Cuvelier Atanea Pinot Noir, Chile

Ask me for my favorite Pinot Noir under $20 and it’s guaranteed to be this Atanea from Chile. Established in 2009, Agricola Cuvelier aims at producing and promoting great natural wines that showcase the terroir rather than cover up faults with sulfites, yeast strands, or excessive oak.

Weingut Lackner-Tinnacher Sauvignon Blanc, Austria

From a family that has been making wine in Austria for 240 years comes this Sauvignon Blanc that is full of ripe gooseberry and smoky spice. It is complex and concentrated with a cutting acidity that balances out a palate of lychee and star fruit that extends over a long finish. Refreshing and exotic. Your new replacement for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc!

Cru Krewe – September 2016

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Southern France!

CHÂTEAU FONTANÈS ROUGE (Languedoc Pic Saint Loup) 

  • 40{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Syrah, 20{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Grenache, 20{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Mourvèdre, 10{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Cinsault, 10{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Carignan
  • Biodynamic farming
  • Wine is aged in stainless steel and demi-muidbarrels for 6 months to one year
  • Hand-harvested and all fruit is de-stemmed
  • Natural yeast fermentation lasts 2 weeks

Cyriaque Rozier, the highly acclaimed winemaker and vineyard manager at Château La Roque, makes his own wine under the label Château Fontanès in Pic St-Loup in the Languedoc region of southern France.  Pic Saint-Loup is a 2100 ft.  mountain made of limestone and clay about 20 miles inland from the Mediterranean. The combination of high elevation and limestone soils add freshness and finesse to the Fontanes wines.  A charming man with a strong sense of vocation and relentless drive, Cyriaque often works sixteen-hour days between the two domaines. He first started his domaine in 2003.  He has taken to farming biodynamically, a task that forgoes the shortcuts that most vignerons have at their disposal today in favor of producing organic grapes in a rich, healthy soil.  This wine expresses raw terroir.  It offers lots of minerality in its violet, black cherry, pepper and crushed flower-like bouquet in addition to juicy red fruits and silky tannins.


NOVELLUM BLANC (Cotes Catalanes)

  • 100{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Chardonnay
  • Organic farming
  • Aged 3 months in stainless steel on Viognier lees, followed by 3 months in barrel
  • Hand harvested

This is one of the best values in Chardonnay we’ve tasted.  It is a collaborative effort from superstar importer Eric Solomon and Domaine Lafage.  Lafage is located where the Pyrenees mountains and Mediterranean Sea intersect – near the French border with Spain.  Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage farm 160 hectares organically.  Some of their vineyards are situated a few kilometers from the Mediterranean, while others can be found in the foothills of the Pyrenees. This range of sites allows them to make both refreshing whites as well as concentrated reds.  Jeb Dunnuck, from the Wine Advocate, writes, “Tasting like it cost three times the price, it offers lots of orchard fruits, white peach, honeysuckle and a hint of vanilla to go with a medium to full-bodied, crisp, yet still textured and mouth-filling style on the palate.”  We like the crisp acids on the finish that make it a perfect weeknight sipper or with your favorite vegetarian dishes.


CHÂTEAU MASSAIC CUVEE SENTINELLE ROUGE (Minervois)

  • Approximately 67{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Syrah, 33{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Carignan
  • Certified organic farming
  • Hand harvested
  • Aged in tank for 9 to 12 months

The Chateau Massiac has a long history that dates back to the Roman Empire when this area was colonized by the Romans using the nearby Mediterranean port (30 kilometers) of Narbonne as an access point. In the 17th Century, two brothers from Massiac in the Auvergne region traversed the area in service to the King of Spain and eventually settled at this spot situated almost precisely halfway between the clock towers of the villages of Azille and Rieux Minervois. During the French Revolution, the “chateau” was burned to the ground.

The domaine lies at the extreme south of the Massif Centrale, effectively in the gently sloping foothills that lead to the Mediterranean coast which is not terribly distant. The subsoils are essentially limestone and clay with silex and marble infusions, all of which was formed during the Lutecian geologic era. This soil has particularly good drainage which accounts for the superior concentration that Massiac achieves in its wines. As well, the site is exposed both the winds that sweep north from the Mediterranean and the cooling northwest wind coming from the mountains known as Le Cers which consistently dries the vineyard and makes it less vulnerable to the maladies of the vine.

The “Sentinelle” cuvée is the more precocious of the two reds produced at Massiac. The tannins are more supple and the fruit a touch “sweeter”, more forward and less rustic than its companion. Fermentation and elevage are in tank. The wine is bottled within a year of the harvest. The blend is usually two-thirds Syrah and one-third Carignan.

Cru Krewe – August 2016

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August Wine of the Month: Terroir Selections

This month there is no region or seasonality we are focusing on, but rather a small distributor known as Terroir Selections. This Florida-based company shares the same philosophy as Cru when it comes to wine buying. They are boutique-focused and care about the approach and steps it takes to produce quality wine such as organic or biodynamic farming practices, and family owned estates. Cru has dealt with Terroir’s wines before and many of you have loved their selections, so I am proud to dedicate this month’s picks to this unique company.

 

Bonny Doon “A Proper Claret”

While the Bonny Doon Vineyard began with the foolish attempt to replicate Burgundy in California, Randall Grahm realized early on that he would have far more success creating more distinctive and original wines if he worked with Rhone varieties in the Central Coast of California. The key learning here was that in a warm, Mediterranean climate it is usually blended wines that are most successful. Bonny Doon Vineyard has enjoyed a long history of innovation- the first to truly popularize Rhone grapes in California to successfully work with cryo-extraction, the first to utilize microbullage in Cali, the first to popularize screwcaps for premium wines, and, quite significantly, the first to embrace transparency in labeling with its ingredient labeling initiative. Bonny Doon is also a leader in biodynamic and organic farming with all of their vineyards. As for the wine I have chosen, it is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon-based and offers a pleasant flavor of cassis, blackberry, touch of violet, cedar, and mint. I do suggest decanting before drinking.

 

Domaine des Escaravailles “ Les Sablieres”

In 1953, Jean-Louis Ferran purchased several well-situated hillside parcels in the southern Rhone villages of Raseau, Roaix, and Cairanne. He dubbed his new domane “Escaravailles”, the Occitan word for beetles (scarabs). This was a nickname for the black-robed monks of the area’s hill-perched Catholic monasteries in centuries past. Jean-Louis’ grandson Gilles assumed control of the Domaine in 1999 after working alongside his father Daniel Ferran for several vintages. The Ferran’s modern winery is built into a hillside in the heights of Rasteau, surrounded by terraced vineyard. The Grenache in this blend comes from these high altitude vineyards which sets “Les Sablieres” apart from other Grenache Rhone blends that overripe and over-extracted. The blend is 70{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Grenache which is fermented separately from the 30{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Syrah that sees time in oak. The wine is full of elegant red fruited notes, garrigue earthy tones typical for Rhone wines, and offers a very inviting palate full of smooth tannins and juicy black and red fruits. Lovely wine for an array of dinner dishes!

 

Domaine Ciringa Sauvignon Blanc

Oftentimes when someone refers to a growing region as “up and coming” they’re talking about a region that has been making wine for generations. Take Slovenia, whose wines are just recently entering our market but have been in production for ages. Domaine Ciringa, from the Tement family of winemakers, reflects these age-old traditions. Its Fosilni Breg Sauvignon Blanc exhibits the origin-accentuated characteristics of mineral, peaches, herbs and pepper and generous acidity.

Cru Krewe – July 2016

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South Africa

Secateurs Chenin Blanc

Adi Badenhorst, who gained a reputation as one of South Africa’s most talented winemakers during his years at Rustenberg, began his own label with wines from purchased fruit in 2006, then bought his estate in Swartland in 2007.  The winery is located on a mountain range which is a granite outcrop and three distinctive types of granitic soil are found on the property.

Badenhorst works in a decidedly low-tech, non-interventionist style.  They farm organically whenever possible.  Grapes are never de-stemmed.  Wines ferment in open-top fermenters and rest in a mix of large, used oak foudre and cement tanks.

The 2015 spent time on its lees in concrete tanks and old casks – this is an important part of the maturation and gives incredible texture and palate weight to the wine. The aromas are flinty with honey, orange blossom and white stone fruit notes.

$14.99

 

Raats Family Wines Jasper Red Blend

Raats Family Wines specializes in only two grapes: Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.  Cabernet Franc takes the starring role here, making up 85{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} of the Jasper, a Bordeaux-inspired blend.  The grapes grow in 100{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} decomposed Dolomite granite soils with an average vine age of 20+ years.  Grapes are hand sorted three times, crushed and left to cold soak on the skins for five days.  After fermentation the grapes were basket pressed. The wine was then aged for 16 months (in a mix of French oak barrels) prior to bottling.

Neal Martin from the Wine Advocate loved this wine, giving it 92 Points:

The 2013 Red Jasper is a blend of 85{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Cabernet Franc, 5{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Cabernet Sauvignon, 5{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Malbec, and 2.5{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} each of Merlot and Petit Verdot. Thus far, it represents the largest proportion of Cabernet Franc. Raised for 16 months in French oak (20{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} new), over the last 12 months it has evolved a more classic, tobacco-tinged bouquet that remains very well defined. The palate is also less fleshy, revealing its structure and agreeable austerity that renders this very “classic” in style. The acidity is perfectly in tune with the fruit with an almost foursquare finish. This is a perfect Claret doppelgänger in everything but price.

$19.99

 

Tygerberg Pinotage 2013

This wine is named after the seemingly ‘spotted’ hills that early Dutch settlers though resembled leopard pelts in the Durbanville district.  The estate has been owned by the same family since the 1850s!  Brothers John and Oliver dry farm this 100{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Pinotage from clay-rich soils that retain a lot of water to combat dry summers.

Pinotage is South Africa’s signature red grape.  It was created there in 1925 as a cross between Pinot Noir (hard to grow well) and Cinsault (flourishes in South Africa).  Pinotage wines, including the Tyberberg, generally offer generous plum and black fruits.  Pinotage really shines in it savory complements to the fruit: licorice, dried herbs, and a distinct tea-like character all make an appearance here.  12 months French oak barrel aging softens and rounds out the flavor profile.  This bottle is the perfect match for red meat cooked on the grill.

$24.99

Cru Krewe – June 2016

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Wines for BBQ Night

With Fourth of July upon us I wanted to choose wines that would pair well with BBQ foods. When I think burgers and steaks on the grille I want big reds with fruit tannin and whites that have a fuller mid-palate with a backbone of acidity.

Tierra Divina Vineyards “Reds”

This wine begins in some of the oldest vineyards in California. The Carignan vines are 130+ years old, Zinfandel is 90+ years old, and just a splash of a youngster Petite Sirah (only 50+ years old) is added for color and depth. The wine is fermented in steel, and there is a minimum use of oak in the cellar to keep the flavors and aromas pure fruit. Winemaker, Patrick Campbell moved west after graduating from Harvard and joined a Buddhist community on top of Sonoma Mountain and found a vineyard called, Laurel Glen.

He bought, farmed, and later expanded it to make cult wine before finally selling it. At this point, he expanded his interests into Lodi and ancient vineyards in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina. He actually happened to be the first North American winemaker to take advantage of the high desert-like climate of Mendoza. This is where he sources fruit for the Tierra Divina Vineyards ‘Reds’ using all sustainable farming and low impact winemaking. The blend exudes a bouquet of dark berries, herbs, and strawberry fruit tape and has an opulent palate full of cassis, raisin, tart cherry, and herbal tea.

Foxen Chenin Blanc

“To make great wine, it starts in the vineyard. You can’t make excellent wine if you don’t have high-quality grapes.” This quote said by winemaker Bill Wathen explains Foxen’s philosophy and style. The “Foxen Boys”, Dick and Bill, established the winery in 1985 and their focus has always been on small production, sustainably farmed, terroir driven wines using minimal intervention techniques in the cellar. This current release of their 50-year-old vine Chenin Blanc is one of the more anticipated alternative whites coming out of Santa Barbara each year. The wine shows light honey brittle, tangerine, yellow apple, pear, and yellow raisin. On the palate it exudes peach pit character, sweet floral, and spice nuances with an intensely structured finish. These boys really know how to make some serious juice.

Mazzocco Dry Creek Zinfandel

Zinfandel is an excellent pairing with barbecue – it’s deep jammy fruit and significant acidity practically mimic a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce itself – and the ideal terroir, the Burgundy of Zin, lies in the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma, and Mazzocco’s is among the best examples. This wine has a special place for me as it was one of the vineyards I visited on my first wine trip! I can remember trying Zin after Zin in Dry Creek and almost calling it quits when we decided to drive onward and up a hill onto Lytton Springs Road.

Just on top of the hill perched Mazzocco winery and tasting room with wall to wall glass windows to look over all of Dry Creek and their estate vineyards. Mazzocco had no distribution outside of their tasting room when I visited three years ago so I was ecstatic when I found they had finally made their way to Florida and into your Wine of the Month!

Cru Krewe – May 2016

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TAMI’ Frappato (Sicily, Italy)

This wine comes to us from the young female winemaker Arianna Occhipinti. She created the TAMI project a few years ago to prove that Sicily can produce straightforward natural wine. The vines are farmed organically. The wine undergoes a short maceration/fermentation before resting 6 months in stainless steel.

Frappato is indigenous to Sicily. It can be vinified alone or blended with Sicily’s other indigenous red grape, Nero d’Avola, to produce Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG wines. Frappato generally has a perfumed strawberry nose, along with some subtle herbaceousness (reminiscent of the Sicilian landscape). TAMI Frappato has a sleek medium-bodied frame and lingering minerality at the finish. Chill for 30 minutes prior to serving. Pairs well with vegetarian, chicken, or lighter seafood dishes. Light, chillable – a perfect new red for Spring time!

Chȃteau Graville-Lacoste Graves Blanc (Bordeaux, France)

The Graville-Lacoste comes from Graves, Pessac Leognan in Bordeaux. The appellation takes its name from the deep layers of gravel and stone that form the soils. The owner and winemaker, Hervé, blends a high proportion of Sémillon (75{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22}) and a splash of Muscadelle (5{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22}) with Sauvignon Blanc (25{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22}) to create a rich, full mid-palate to complement the clean finish. He keeps the wines fresh by vinifying and aging for 6 months in stainless steel. This is a versatile white than pairs well with everything from chicken dishes to spicy Asian take out.

Domaine du Pavillon de Chavannes Côte de Brouilly Cuvée des Ambassades (Beaujolais, France)

Our next red is from the commune Brouilly in Beaujolais and consists of 100{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Gamay. Beaujolais is no longer the sweet, bubble gum flavored plonk you may have encountered as ‘Nouveau’. These are serious, age-worthy reds that derive weightless power from granite rich soils and a cool Continental climate. Chavannes is family-owned property (since the mid 19th century!) that makes wine traditionally: fermentation in vats, after which the wine ages in neutral foudre. Look for raspberries, cherries, and sweet spice over a light-bodied mid-palette. Chill for half an hour before opening!

Cru Krewe – April 2016

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To The Outback!

April is the month we travel to the fourth largest wine producing region in the world, Australia! The hesitation when buying these wines is understandable when you think of the kangaroo-riddled labels that are most certainly the cause of your worst hangovers but we’re here to change that!! We have hand selected some wines that represent the Cru personality; all natural, hand harvesting, low production, unique, and most importantly the best value.

 

Misfits Wine- Cycle Buff Beauty (Shiraz/Malbec) 2014

Another project from iconoclast winemaker Colin McBryde and sourced from Clare Valley and McLaren Vale in South Australia, this wine explodes with flavors of sour cherry, blackberry, and a touch of smokiness. It’s full bodied, lushly tannic and is excellent with food, with enough raciness to hold up even to tomato-rich Italian fare.

 

Shinas Estate ‘The Verdict’ Cabernet Sauvignon

In northwest Victoria, this estate has been producing wine since 1898, and the verdict is in on its Cabernet: killer fruit in an awesome package. 24 months in French and American oak and full malolactic fermentation gives it a plush texture familiar to fans of the new-Napa style, with notes of black cherry, plum and ripe strawberries.

 

Dandelion Vineyards Enchanted Gardens of the Eden Valley Riesling

Eden Valley is renowned for its dry Riesling, and this wine is a celebration of it. Minimally fined and filtered to bring out the essence of Eden Valley, it’s aromas of citrus zest and dragon fruit are in perfect harmony with its intense minerality and austere acidity. Bone dry and great for warmer weather.

Cru Krewe – March 2016

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Welcome to the exciting world of Italian wines.  Unlike France or the US, Italy cultivates vines virtually everywhere on the peninsula – from the Alps in the north to Sicily in the south (which is closer to Africa than France!)   Italy’s mountainous geography, especially the Apennine mountains which form a backbone of the peninsula, explains the ubiquity of vines and viticulture.  Grapes love nutrient-poor soils.  High-elevation vineyards create freshness and complexity through slow-ripening and extreme diurnal variations in temperature.  This created tremendous diversity – Italy has over 400 indigenous grape varieties!

The names we all know are synonymous with fine wine the world over: Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, Chianti.  This month, we are introducing new regions and producers that represent the best of what Italy has to offer outside of those classics.  These wines are quintessential Cru Cellars: family-owned and operated, everything done by hand, organic farm practices when possible, and a strong sense of place (tipicità).

Cantine del Notaio l’Atto Aglianico del Vulture 2013

Gerardo Giuratrabocchetti founded the winery in 1998 in memory of his grandfather and in honor of his father, a notary, on a centuries’ old family farm.  L’Atto is a pure expression of Aglianico (called the ‘Barolo of the South’ for its intensity and age worthiness) from the tufo and limestone-rich soils of the Vulture volcano in Basilicata. The wine opens with cherry, blackberry, and cassis over dusty mineral notes of pencil shavings and flint that hint at its volcanic upbringing. The winemaking is absolutely pristine and focused.

$24.99

 

Mormoraia Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2014

Vernaccia originates in the sandstone soils surrounding the town of Siena in Tuscany and the famous towers of San Gimignano.  Mormoraia is a 100-hectare family farm that grows grapes, olives, and a multitude of vegetables.  Farming here is 100{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} organic.  The wine is rich and tangy – offering citrus & melon with hints of fresh herbs & almonds on the finish.

$14.99

 

Avignonesi Cantaloro Toscana IGT

This estate originates in Montepulciano (southeastern Tuscany) and the wines are based on Sangiovese (the grape that makes Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino) known locally as Prugnolo Gentile.  This version combines Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot to create a classic ‘Super Tuscan’ blend that emphasizes full-bodied cherry & plummy fruits with easy-drinking freshness.

$14.99

 

Sources:

Oxford Companion to Wine

Wine Spectator

Vinous

Wine Advocate

Cru Krewe – February 2016

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SPAIN SPAIN SPAIN

Focus: United Cellars

Spain has been our main focus this month starting with our Wine Wednesday tasting with Martin, a cool guy who represents some stellar “new” spanish wines, and then our *sold out* Wine Dinner which also features all Spanish wines. Martin’s portfolio is akin to all natural wines that incorporate all organic practices, include funky grape varietals, and mirror a very fresh style which is everything Cru is about. As much as I love these wines I wanted to give our customers a break from all our “weird” wine and highlight the traditional stuff that is also coming out of Spain while maintaining our loyalty to boutique wineries. Romain, the star of this month’s show works for a teeny tiny importer known as United Cellars. The philosophy behind United is to find those limited production, family wineries that are passionate and innovative. Most importantly they want to present one of the things Spain does best….WINE.

 

Pago de los Capellanes-Joven Roble: Tempranillo

Ribera del Duero has a unique terroir due to its location on the northern plateau of the Iberian Peninsula where the smooth basin is mostly covered by tertiary sediments, particularly the marl, limestone, and chalky deposits. The vines planted here by Benedictine monks date back to the 12th Century and still stand on their own rootstock today. Time and geography all work in the estate’s favor and showcase the wines distinctive structure and finesse.  The Joven Roble is wide and bright on the palate with a velvety texture, wild berry and floral notes on the nose and the finish is lively and long. 91 points by Robert Parker!

 

Pago Florentino-Vino de Pago: Tempranillo

We’re giving you Tempranillo two ways this month. Pago de las Capellanes was a fresher take on Tempranillo and now you have a more masculine style by Arzuaga Navarro. Vino de Pago is actually the classification of the wine that has much stricter quality requirements for designation than the regular D.O., or D.O.C. that applies to an entire region. Pago Florentino is one of only thirteen vino de pagos in Spain. This is the highest category on the quality scale of Spanish wines and means that in addition to having a proven track record of consistent quality, they must adhere to organic practices that make it different from other wines produced in the zone. In the glass you will see the properties all come together in a harmonious blend of red fruits, oak, spice and delicious texture.

 

Adega Arousa-Pazo da Boucina: Albarino

If you are a Florida resident and have not tried Albarino then this is your lucky day. It is THE summer white wine. Crisp, energetic, citrus driven, just what you want on all our hot, humid days, not to mention with seafood! Albarino is native to Rias Baixas, a fairly new wine-growing region that did not get its Spanish wine designation until the 1980’s. As we know now, Monks loved their wine so they actually planted Albarino in the 12th century in Rias Baixas.The Pazo da Boucina comes from a small single vineyard site with forty year old vines. The fermentation is completed in all stainless steel tanks with occasional lees stirring for added texture. Intense nose full of mineral maritime character, ample palate, with a finish full of acidity!  Pop the bottle and enjoy this unique varietal, it might replace your Sauvignon Blanc cravings!