by Zoltan Szabo

2008 Offida Passerina ‘Gaudio Magno’ Vino Spumante Brut, Tenuta Cocci Grifoni, Le Marche, Italy
“Gaudio Magno” is Latin for “enjoy a lot”. Made from indigenous Passerina grapes and tank method. White peach and peach blossoms, mineral notes on its bouquet. Soft mousse and a great, fresh finish make it an alternative to mainstream sparklers and Champagne, value factor in effect too. Marilena Coffi Grifoni was in town recently and suggested that we try it with tuna carpaccio…we instantly became buddies…

2008 Pinot Noir ‘Queenston Road Vineyard’. Twenty Twenty Seven Cellars, St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Red cherry, spicy, floral, rose petals, bergamot, orange zest, underbrush. Light, delicate and fresh with really soft tannins. Twenty Twenty Seven Cellars is a virtual winery owned by Kevin Panagapka. Rieslings are also wonderful. “I think I have a healthy obsession with single vineyard Rieslings from the Bench, if any obsession is healthy” he says. Duck prosciutto here I come.

2006 Les Gondats de Marquis de Terme, Margaux, Bordeaux, France
Second label of Chateau Marquis de Terme. Currants, herbal, plenty of wood notes too, however, this is a silky, long – lasting and delicious red with ripe fruit tones like black cherry, plums and lush dark chocolate on the finish. A fantastic value for less than $15…You will love me for lettin’ ya know… Ya’ll cry if try with tartare de filet de beuf fait mail, ya catch my brilliant French, no…?!

2007 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ‘Uno’, Collefrisio, Abruzzo, Italy
A modern, slick and sexy red here, I may not call it Montepulciano d’Abruzzo in a blind tasting setting, but who cares? This rosso got it all, fruit, oak, texture and body, fresh acids, sweet tannins et al. Balanced with an extremely long finish. Goddamn impressive. Bio too. Less than $30, a must-have in your resto, or simply treat yourself. Ideal with Spring Creek Ranch beef short ribs, or with Arrosticini…if you are somewhat adventurous.

2007 Gewurztraminer ‘Rosenberg’, Domaine Barmes Buecher, Alsace, France
Stupendous, mind – blowing, unctuous. Tropical fruits, roses, exotic spice, lavender and honey. Full and so luscious, balanced by acidity, inexplicably. Day – long finish. Tried it with serious steak in Korean – style marinade and felt just like king of the road.

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