Category Flavor of the day

The glamour of the garden and elegant wine

Jungle Beauty. La Dolce Vita. Diary of Faith. Ice Carnival. Daydream Believer. These are not summer wines, they are daylillies blooming in the summer gardens circling my home.

The Wine Goddess — my wife Mary Lee — has carefully nurtured these dazzling gems for years — some from seedlings that she hybridized herself — and she now has 200 varieties popping out with each new glorious sunrise. The colors, fragrances and textures of these amazing gifts from Mother Nature are incredible.

‘UP’ or Urban Provence Rose with daylilly Helaman.

So, while lounging in the pergola surrounded by this overwhelming beauty, it suddenly occurred to me that I was going to have some fun.
I called down the Wine Goddess from on high (she was reading on the upper patio) and I told her we were going to p...

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Portugal’s authentic wines of Alentejo

By Jim Campanini, The Wine Novice

Did you know the people of Portugal eat more seafood per capita than any other European, barring the Icelanders?

So it’s only natural that the Portuguese know the best wines to drink with their spicy shrimp tapas and bacalhau (salted cod) dishes.

Of course, the famous cuisine, influenced by centuries of the comings and goings of the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Spanish and Brazilians, goes well beyond seafood. How can anyone pass up caldo verde soup, an all-season delight made with potato, shredded collard greens and chunks of chourico (a spicy native sausage)?

Tiago Caravana, an agronomist, is a regional representative for Alentejo wines.

Or how about Portuguese steak, bife, which is a slice of fried beef or pork served in a wine-based sauce with fried potat...

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Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc rises to a ‘Signature’ station

By Jim Campanini
Every once in a while I feel the urge for a lip-smacking,
grapefruit-driven, crisp Sauvignon Blanc. It started several years ago when the Wine Goddess — my wife Mary Lee — and I took a spectacular fall trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Guess what we drank with our oysters, which were the most impeccably Oysters Rockefellerwe’ve ever tasted? Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, NewZealand.

(Suggestion: If you ever get to Halifax, go to The Press Gang Restaurant & Oyster Bar on Prince Street. The oysters are delivered
fresh daily from 12 local farms. The friendly place features a nice wine menu too.)
There’s nothing like hitting upon a perfect food-wine pairing, and Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is a go-to drink with shellfish, lobster, seafood app...

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Lacryma Christi may just have you weeping for joy

Terra Mia’s Lacryma Christi has a distinctive label and story to tell.

Just the name – Terra Mia’s Lacryma Christi di Vesuvio Bianco – is enough to intrigue a curious wine drinker to investigate what’s in the bottle. So begins today’s journey into a truly unique white wine from the Italian province of Campania.

According to archaeologists who analyzed residue left on ancient casks, Lacryma Christi comes closest to matching the version of wine drunk by the ancient Romans who lived around the still active volcano Mt. Vesuvius, which overlooks the Bay of Naples.

Lacryma Christi, which means the “tears of Christ”, was a very prized wine in the Middle Ages.  Iit still  lives up to its reputation today although few non-Italians know about it.

Centuries ago, the Romans exported it throughout th...

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Don’t blush to judgment with rosé

A friend asked me why I liked to drink rosé. This was back during Christmas season. He said rosé is a “summer wine.”

I laughed. “Think pink when you drink,” I replied.

Then I explained that rosé has actually become a year-round dry, refreshing wine. It’s a great for as a dinner aperitif, party sipper, or to finish a long day with a vibrant pick-me-up.

But my real affinity for rosé is that it’s not my father’s — or mother’s — sweet White Zinfandel of the 1970s and 1980s.

Naturally, tastes change. Sweet, “blush” Zinfandel wines still sell — 17.2 million cases in 2016 in the United States alone — but total sales are declining each year.

Sales of dry and drier rosés, on the other hand, are soaring. Imports from France, particularly from Provence, are up 44 percent in the U.S...

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Part 2: There’s a lavish Brunello for most budgets

La Poderina 2004 is bright, energetic and silky smooth as it celebrates its 14th birthday.

In a recent column, I wrote about the versatility of the sangiovese grape, and focused on the high end Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino from Tenuta Il Greppo in Tuscany. Biondi-Santi is a collector’s wine, selling for high prices. But you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to enjoy this exquisite and highly revered Italian red. Listed below are several Brunellos from my own cellar that I’ve cracked open in recent months as they hit their peak drinking window.

La Velona is modest in scope but still very pleasant.

Il Valentiano Brunello Campo di Marzo 2007 – The years have been kind to this middle-tier Brunello, which sold for $24 a bottle  when it hit our shores six years ago...

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Biondi-Santi Brunello: Sangiovese at its best

Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino has a rich history in Italian viticulture.

Sangiovese is the most widely planted red grape in Italy and also among the most versatile.

It reigns supreme in Tuscany, where sangiovese (translation: blood of Jove or Jupiter) is the primary grape for four distinctly incredible wines: Chianti, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile Montepulciano (not to be confused with the southern Italian varietal and wine Montepuciano D’Abruzzi).
Sangiovese is also used to craft iconic Super Tuscan wines, mostly from Bolgheri, where it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.

So how can the same grape produce uniquely, different tasting wines?

It’s all in the varietal’s multiple clones and, of course, the terroir (land, soils, cl...

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Prosecco Part Two: Cartizze ‘cru’ and 4 DOCG delights

A nice holiday selection of Prosecco Superiore DOCG bottlings. See tasting notes below.

By Jim Campanini

So what’s the difference between Prosecco DOC and Prosecco Superiore DOCG sparkling wines?

Location, location, location. And a few more production details.
The Prosecco DOC classification zone is broader, covering about 44,000
acres under vine in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions
around Treviso.

Prosecco Superiore DOCG zone is much smaller — only 17,000 acres — and runs from Valdobbiadene in the west to Conegliano in the east. This small zone has
the steepest hillsides which form an embroidered network of   sloping vineyards.

Fagher Valdobbiadene Le Colture Brut.

The Belluno Prealps to the north creates annamphitheater effect to shield  vineyards from harsh winter weat...

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For a road trip, bring a six-pack — of vino

Rosa dei Masi from Italy s Veneto region

Rosa dei Masi from Italy s Veneto region

It’s party pack time, a six-bottle sampler for a weekend getaway or an extended trip to the beach.

In my mind, the key to any good summer road trip includes a rosé, a crisp white wine, and a punchier red varietal or blend.

Andiamo! (Let’s go!)

THE ROSATTOS: There are simple, good rosés, and then there are the complex, intriguing styles that turn happiness into total bliss.

Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia

Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia

Two sublime examples are Rosa dei Masi from Italy’s Veneto region and Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia. (Both are available for less than $15 in New Hampshire.)

The Masi company is one of Italy’s leading wine innovators as well as producer of the prestigious Costasera Amarone...

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Wilson Creek’s Peach Bellini: A unique holiday sparkler

So what will I be drinking with the Wine Goddess, Bella the cat, and the rest of the family on Thanksgiving Day?

<a href=”http://blogs.lowellsun.com/winenovice/files/2016/11/Bellini.jpg”><img class=”size-medium wp-image-3531″ src=”http://blogs.lowellsun.com/winenovice/files/2016/11/Bellini-225×300.jpg” alt=”Wilson Creek Winery’s Peach Bellini is fine holiday starter.” width=”225″ height=”300″ /></a> Wilson Creek Winery’s Peach Bellini is fine holiday starter.

There’s one definite on my list, and I got it several weeks ago from Sam Messina of the Wine ConneXtion.
At the time of the store’s Grand Wine Tasting event, Sam said Wilson Creek Winery Sparkling Peach Bellini ($12.99) from Temecula Valley, Calif., would steal the show. I tasted it and he was right.
I drank my first Bellini (Prosecco...

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