This Week’s Wine Tasting: Wine Abroad
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons
Wines from France, Portugal and Italy
Frederick Wineman and Sons– “Following the repeal of prohibition, Frederick S. Wildman, a Connecticut-born wine connoisseur, bought the century-old Bellows and Co., a wine importer and fine-food emporium. That same year Wildman traveled to Europe’s finest vineyards to pursue suppliers and to grow his importing business. Within a short time, Wildman signed on some of France’s finest wine producers, many still in Frederick Wildman’s portfolio today.
With Wildman in charge, the company grew and prospered. The Colonel, as he was called, continued to travel to Europe to develop contacts and establish partnerships. When National Distillers decided to leave the premium wine business in 1952, the Colonel was able to create his own company, Frederick Wildman and Sons, Ltd. Champagne Pol Roger, Domaine Armand Rousseau and Château Fuissé were mainstays of the portfolio then and remained when Colonel Wildman retired in 1971, and his company became a subsidiary of Hiram Walker.
In 1993, Cacciato, along with an investment group that included six of the company’s top suppliers purchased Wildman from Hiram Walker. This was a strong vote of confidence on the part of the suppliers in Cacciato’s leadership as well as Wildman’s stability and promise for the years to come. The portfolio now includes over 50 brands under its umbrella, each one unique and each one prominent in its region of production.”
Cavicchioli 1928– “The Cavicchioli family has been cultivating vines in the San Prospero province of Modena (Sorbara DOC) for over a century, but it was not until 1928 that Umberto Cavicchioli began bottling the wine under his family name. Umberto’s two grandsons, brothers Sandro and Claudio, are still part of the business today: Claudio looks after the commercial side of the family business and Sandro is the Winemaker. The Cavicchioli family is among the largest landowners in the Modena DOC with 95ha of vineyards of which 70ha are of the prized Sorbara variety. Here, the climate is always humid with cold winters and hot summers and vineyards are planted in the pergola system to keep the vines dry.”
Cavicchioli 1928 Spumante Demisec nv
Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. A blend of Malvasia and other aromatic grapes. “Malvasia and Pignoletto are sourced from vineyards located in the various provinces of Emilia Romagna. This is a light straw-yellow wine, with a persistent and creamy froth and a fine perlage. Its perfume is aromatic, intense and highly characteristic. Enticing aromas of peach and apricot give way to delicious juicy fresh fruit flavors complemented by a balanced sweetness on the palate. The light sparkle adds a creamy texture and refreshing crispness to the mouthwatering finish.” “Cavicchioli 1928 White Spumante Demisec features, when poured and tasted, white foam, fine and lingering perlage; its straw yellow in color with an intense and characteristic bouquet of white flowers, roses and peach. The Cavicchioli 1928 White Spumante Demisec is an attractively sweet, aromatic and persistent taste; its alcohol is 8%.” $12.99
Hugel et Fils– “For over 370 years and with 13-family generations the Hugel family has unrivaled experience and knowledge of Alsace vineyards and winemaking. Without the work of the remarkable Hugel family, located in the picture-postcard fortified village of Riquewihr, the worldwide reputation of Alsace wine would not be the same.
Over half Hugel’s 30-hectares are in Grand Cru vineyards Sporen and Schoenenbourg, a special source of pride, planted to Riesling and Gerwurztraminer, with small parcels of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Winemaking is transparent, so that fruit, soil and vintage are clearly conveyed in the glass. Handpicked grapes come to the winery in small tubs, are rigorously sorted then gravity-fed into the presses without pumping. After gentle pressing the must is decanted before a long, slow fermentation in temperature-controlled barrels or vats at 64 to 72°F. The wine is racked once, before slow natural clarification over the winter. “Hugel” wines are the quintessence of Alsace.”
Hugel et Fils Classic Riesling 2012
Alsace, France. Riesling. “Made exclusively from hand harvested grapes from predominantly clay and limestone vineyards, in a dozen of the most favored localities in and around Riquewihr. A cool and long growing season give this unique dry wine great finesse and unequalled intensity. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled vats followed by natural clarification in neutral vessels over the winter. The wine is lightly fined and gently filtered prior to bottling in the spring. Totally dry with high natural acids. This famous grape celebrated in all the Rhine valley combines great elegance, finesse and minerality. Our most gastronomic wine for most fish and seafood dishes and many Alsace specialties. Riesling is the Pinot Noir of white wines! It is our most demanding variety as it is also the latest ripening. Dry and elegant, it expresses itself best on our steepest slopes with the most complex minerality. True to Hugel family tradition, this is a fine, thirst-quenching Riesling, dry, lively, fresh and easy to enjoy, with great elegance and drive. Beautiful pale green color, bright and youthful. Fresh, clean lively aromatic expression. Attractive fruit-driven taste of green apple, gooseberry, citrus, grapefruit, lime, with spring blossom, elderflower and primrose.” $17.99
J.J. Vincent– “J.J.Vincent produces a range of wines made with the same care and expertise as those made at the Vincent’s historic domaine, Château Fuissé.
Made primarily from grapes sourced from Mâconnais vineyards owned by members of Jean-Jacques Vincent’s family, these wines are of extremely high quality and represent remarkable value. Maison J.J. Vincent wines are both lovely and approachable wines for immediate consumption and a great introduction to the Château Fuissé range of great wines.”
J.J. Vincent Bourgogne Blanc 2011
Burgundy, France. Chardonnay. “JJ Bourgogne Blanc is a tribute to Jean Jacques Vincent who has managed the family domaine of Chateau Fuisse for the past 40 years. It is a distinctive wine exclusively from the southern part of Burgundy near Mâcon and Pouilly Fuisse. The Mâconnais area offers naturally rich soils with a high proportion of clay which leads to a wine rich in mineral character. Summer temperatures are generally higher in the Macon than in northern Burgundy, affording the wines rich and ripe fruit character and soft acidity. The full maturity of the skins adds an extra dimension to the grapes, a ripe exotic character, with hints of brioche. To preserve the fresh fruit characters, 70% of the wine is vinified in stainless steel tanks with the remainder sees about 6 months in oak barrels. Clean pale yellow color and green reflections. A nice brilliance. The nose is fresh and fruity, ripe and round with discrete vanilla and brioche scents. On the mouth, the wine is dense and rich, fresh and subtle with a good length and finesse. Overall, the wine is nicely balanced, fresh, and elegant, with a long finish.” $13.99
Jaboulet Parallele 45– “Jaboulet Parallèle 45 is the Côtes du Rhône that has built the reputation of the Rhône as the region producing the greatest values in fine French wine. “P45” competes head-to-head with wines from France, Italy, Spain and the new world and justifies its reputation as France’s greatest value red wine year after year. The Jaboulet’s named their Côtes du Rhône in the early 1950’s and the name has been synonymous ever since.
Under Jaboulet’s new owners, the Frey family, Parallèle 45 is reaching new quality levels. In 2007, Jaboulet vineyards passed qualification for reasoned agriculture, encompassing: vineyard management, fertilization and vine treatments. This first step to obtain double certification ISO 9001/ISO 14001 indicates Jaboulet’s commitment to sustainable vineyard practices.”
Jaboulet Parallele 45 Rouge 2012
Cotes du Rhone, France. Grenache: 60%, Syrah: 40% “This Côtes du Rhône takes its name from the 45th north parallel which runs two kilometers from our cellars. In the village of Pont de l’Isère, a monument symbolizes this line with an inscription: “The South begins here”. Our wine has had this name since the beginning of the 1950s. Jaboulet Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45 is a blend of Grenache and Syrah from vines averaging 25 years old. Sourced from vineyards throughout the Rhone valley that combine to produce a pure, clean expression of this region. The grapes arrive at the winery and are sorted and vinified in stainless steel tank for 3 to 4 weeks to extract flavor, followed by 3-6 months in tank prior to bottling. The goal is to retain freshness and balance while producing a robust and food friendly wine. The 2012 Parallèle 45 Côtes du Rhône is a fresh, medium bodied red driven by notes of black fruit and exotic spices with a rounded and delicate mouthfeel.” $13.99
Churchill’s Estates– “Churchill’s Estates Douro table wines are produced from select vineyards owned and farmed exclusively by John Graham’s Churchill Graham Port Company. These dry wines have turned heads since their first releases in 2005. Today the range extends beyond a dry Douro Estate red to include a single varietal, Touriga Nacional, and a single estate from the famed and celebrated Quinta da Gricha. These spectacular wines challenge the world’s best and are a special challenge to their Iberian cousins in the Priorat.”
Churchill’s Estates Duero Red 2012
Duero, Portugal. Touriga Nacional: 40%, Touriga Franca: 30%, Tinta Roriz: 30% “This wine is produced from grapes grown on Churchill’s Douro estates. The areas of vineyard or “talhões” chosen depend on which grape varieties are most favored by the climatic conditions of the year. The grapes are picked into small boxes of approximately 20 kilos and brought to the winery where they undergo a careful selection process before being crushed. About 30% of this wine is aged for 12 months in both new and old French oak casks, the remaining part is kept in stainless steel vats to maintain its fruity character combined with the oak complexity from the wines in casks. It is fined and lightly filtered before bottling. A deep garnet color with a violet hue. Intense red cherry aromas with hints of sweet basil and white pepper. An elegant combination of red fruits and well integrated oak notes, with lively acidity providing a fresh palate and excellent backbone to this wine.” $15.99
Churchill’s Port– “Founded in 1981 by John Graham, Churchill’s is the first new British Port wine company established in more than 50 years. Churchill’s Port grew from John Graham’s desire to continue his family’s Port making tradition by setting up a company to produce his own, individual style of wine. It was his wife, Caroline Churchill, who provided the company with its name. Compared to other Port Wine shippers, most of which were established around the turn of the 18th/19th centuries, Churchill’s history is short.
In only 30 years of trading, however, the company has built an enviable reputation for producing Port Wines of the highest quality, reflected by their impressive performance at comparative tastings over this time.
In 1999 Churchill’s bought Quinta da Gricha, a 50-hectare Grade “A” Vineyard estate situated on the south bank of the River Douro between Pinhão and Tua, in the prestigious Cima Corgo sub-region of the demarcated Douro Port Wine region. All Churchill’s Ports are produced at the Quinta da Gricha winery in the traditional granite “lagares” or treading tanks built in 1852. Since the acquisition of the Quinta da Gricha vineyards in 1999, Churchill’s has also been developing Churchill Estates to produce dry Duoro wines.
Churchill’s is today positioned in the industry as a high quality “boutique” Port and Douro Wine Company, specializing in premium Port and Douro wines.”
Churchill’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2005
Duero, Portugal. A field blend of many varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca and Tinta Francisca. “Late Bottled Vintage has become one of the most popular styles of Port these days. It offers near-Vintage quality at premium Ruby prices. Its popularity, however, has led to highly competitive pricing and a more commercial approach by many of the larger Port companies; most of these LBV’s have been cold treated and filtered and have no potential for ageing in bottle. As a result they deprive themselves of the richness, elegance and complexity usually found in a mature bottle-aged Port. At Churchill’s they believe that patience is an essential element in producing the finest Ports. Sourced from the same grade “A” vineyards that produce Churchill’s Vintages, Churchill’s LBV is a premium quality Port which, after ageing in wood for 4 years, requires at least 3 years and preferably 5 to 10 years in bottle to reach optimum maturity.
A deep ruby color with a violet hue. On the nose, a seductive combination of blackberries and wild flowers, with an herbal background. Rich and complex on the palate, with fresh flavors of mint chocolate and cherry liqueur, finishing with excellent grip due to the firm tannins and well defined acidity.” $27.99