Doors reopened, Wine ConneXtion offers Spanish samples

Sam Messina, co-owner of The Wine ConneXtion in North Andover, hosts a sampling Saturday.

By Jim Campanini, The Wine Novice

Now here’s a treat. The Wine ConneXtion in North Andover is featuring wines from Spain this Saturday, from 1 to 4 p.m. If you like moderate- to full-bodied and spicy wines, it’s worth the trip to 117 Main St.

Sam and Tina Messina, the store’s co-owners, have had a rough few days and would love to see some friendly and smiling faces. Last week’s Columbia Gas pipeline explosions, which rocked Lawrence, North Andover and Andover, forced a four-day shutdown of the popular wine store. Emergency personnel and safety workers used the First and Main plaza as a staging area to aid blast victims and evacuate homes. In fact, Tina Messina was forced to evacuate. She’s now back in her home, reports Sam.

“It was a tough four days for everyone,” said Sam, “but we’re just happy to be back.”

Among the Spanish wines featured at Saturday’s complimentary tasting are:

  • Juan Gil Family Estates Shaya Verdejo 2017 $13.99), a rich, creamy textured white that offers aromas of toasty baking spices, nutmeg, spring flowers and pit fruits.
  • Honoro Vera Rosé of Tempranillo & Syrah 2017 ($8.99), a light, fresh Juan Gil rosé with a “slight pickle of fizz,” according to the winemaker’s tasting notes. Banana and strawberry notes abound in the raspberry-colored drink that finishes dry.
  • Vallegarcia Hipperia Bordeaux Blend 2013 ($19.99), a big, bold, sexy red with lots of black fruit flavor and layers of smoke, mushrooms and truffles. Aged five years in the bottle, I believe this is probably going to be smooth and refined on the palate.
  • Juan Gil Family Estates Blue Label Red Blend 2015 ($29.99), an elegant wine that’s worth the trip alone. Here’s a description: “Knockout aromas and flavor of cassis, black raspberry, creamy licorice, rendered bacon fat and a bit of toast … beautiful mid-palate density, a polished silky texture and fabulous focus …” Yummy.

If you can’t make it, mark these Saturday dates on your calendar for other upcoming Wine ConneXtion events: Oct. 6, Natural and Organic Wines; Oct. 13, Robert Foley’s Portfolio of Wines featuring “Switchback Ridge”; and Oct. 20, Winemaker Layne Montgomery and his “m2” wines; Oct. 27, Annual Grand Wine Tasting of more than 50 wines from top global producers. The event is free and light fare will be served.

Andover Classic Wines, in the Shawsheen Plaza on Route 124, will hold its annual grand tasting of both wine and craft beers Saturday, Sept. 29, from 3 to 6 p.m. The educational tasting is free of charge, and more than 35 wineries and breweries are in the mix to offer samples.

Middlesex Community College has informed me that my seminar scheduled for Oct. 11 at the Nesmith House — “Vino Rosso: A Night of Incomparable Italian Red Wines” — has sold out. But don’t despair. All new registrants going forward will be placed on a waiting list for a second seminar date if there is enough demand. Go to MCC’s online website, plug in “Vino Rosso” in the search engine, and get all the details.

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