Welcome to The Spirit Haus, Amherst's Specialty Beverage Center

Tomorrow, we taste eight new and exciting arrivals ranging from a Loire Valley Sauvignon; to the Alto Adige for a Lagrein and Lagrein Rosato; to Piemonte for a Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo; before finishing with two Zinfandels from Marietta Cellars of Geyersville, California.

Just southwest of the small village of Chateauvieux in the hills south of the River Cher, itself a “left” tributary of the River Loire, lies the La Chapiniere de Chateauvieux estate. We'll begin our afternoon with their 2018 Sauvignon Blanc [$13.99], a sustainably-farmed, fresh and welcome mouthful of wine during dinner's preparation or all dinner through...Vintage 2018 offers a touch riper fruit with a broader, slightly softer feel.

Next, towards the Dolomites we go, to Bolzano's Cantina Convento Muri-Gris for their 2018 Lagrein Rosato [$16.99] and 2017 Lagrein [$18.99]. Folklore has it that one rainy night, back before 1905, a young Einstein was waiting for his train in the Bolzano station after having had a glass of Lagrein with his dinner, when a fast train came roaring through the station on the thru track just as bolt of lightening lit the station and sky. In that moment, to Einstein, the train appeared roaringly fixed, frozen, still; and in this ordinary railway moment, the idea of relativity first came to him. Of course, in reality, the train was speeding; and yet to him, the observer, it was stationary – really. Theories of Special and then General Relativity followed easily upon. If the weather had been just a bit more summer-like, I am sure that Einstein would have been having a glass of Lagrein Rosato with his dinner instead of the Lagrein, and I'm quite sure it was a Lagrein from Muri-Gris, planters of the first recorded Lagrein in the Bolzano area. It has been two years since the wines of Muri-Gris have been with us and we welcome them back.

Then to Piemonte with the best “little” 2017 Dolcetto we've found this tasting season – from our old friend Paolo Scavino [$16.99], exactly the wine you'd have for your lunch break on a mid-week visit to the vineyards of Castiglione Falletto.   

The wines of Sottimano from Neive in Barbaresco first came to our attention about 15 years ago. Back then, their Barbara and Langhe Nebbiolo were in such short supply that the hungry Boston area market quickly gobbled them up and then they went missing for so long; but miraculously, not this year! While Sottimano might be best known for single vineyard Barbaresco, these “little” bottlings had excellent results in 2016 and will serve best an introduction. Their 2016 Barbera d'Alba Superiore Pairolero [$21.99], a blend from two single vineyards and aged in 15% new barrels, tasted as good as its memory and the 2016 Langhe Nebbiolo [$24.99] from young vines (18-20 years old) in the Cru of Basarin, expresses the virtue of this deeply ripe and balanced vintage. Sottimano farms without pesticides and herbicides, ferments with native yeasts and bottles without fining or filtering.  

Our final two wines from Marietta Cellars are superb follow-ups to their Old-Vine Lot #68 and Arme Cabernet bottlings we tasted back in January. The estate grown 2016 Roman Zinfandel [$19.99], named for their Cellarmaster of thirty years, Roman Cisneros, adding a dab of Petit Syrah and Barbera to its 90% Zinfandel base. Their 2016 Angeli [$32.99] comes from a single vineyard with small additions of Petit Syrah and Syrah added to its Zinfandel. Here are two nice reviews:

Marietta Cellars – Román 2016 North Coast

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2018: The Zinfandel-based 2016 Román is plump, juicy and forward. Succulent red cherry, plum, spice and leather are all propped up by bright acids. Dollops of Petite Sirah and Barbera round out the blend. This is a fabulous value from Marietta. Drinking window: 2018 – 2024. 90 points.

Marietta Cellars 2016 Zinfandel Angeli Alexander Valley

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2018: Marietta's 2016 Zinfandel Angeli is plush, deep, dense and beautifully textured. Expressive floral and spice notes add lift and nuance to this fresh, impeccably balanced Zinfandel. The purity of the fruit here is striking. Drinking window: 2018 – 2025. 92 points.

Thank you so much for your time and interest. Eight new wines in all accompanied by cheese, salumi and bread beginning at 2 pm. makes up our tasting afternoon, the paid portion of which will be $4.

Best then to all,

Gary