Preview of April Wine Club
(Wines Ready Friday)F
I am sure many of you are delighted to hear that we have the 2009 “Tosca” Blend for our first red wine in April. Reininger Winery in Walla Walla has bottled this special wine for the Intermountain Opera Bozeman presentation of Puccini’s “Tosca” next month. We are also pleased to have it in the Wine Club as previous bottling's of this blend have sold out to rave reviews.
The label was painted by Bozeman artist Laurel Hatch. Her work, entitled “Recondita Armonia”, is her interpretation of the famous aria in the first scene of “Tosca”. In the aria, artist Mario Cavaradossi proclaims the mysterious harmony and diversity of beauty. In the sacristy of a church, he paints a beautiful blue eyed, blond Madonna. As he sings he muses how his own true love, Tosca, is beautiful in her own right with dark hair and dark eyes. Laurel’s painting shows the dark haired Tosca looking into a mirror whose reflection is the blond woman.
Inside the “Tosca” bottle is a mysterious, diverse and beautiful blend of Columbia Valley red grapes from Reininger Winery in Walla Walla. It features Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot and a splash of Petit Verdot all from the 2009 vintage. Tosca’s Blend is a lush, plush, intensely garnet colored red wine with big fruit aromatics of dark plums, black currents and hints of sweet oak spice. The palate is a cavalcade of cassis, blackberry, toffee and nutmeg finishing with smooth but complex tannins. Previous vintages of this blend have sold out in a matter of days and bottles of those vintages that remain are collectors’ items. Fewer than nine hundred bottles of this commemorative “Tosca” special cuvee were made. Like the “Recondita Armonia” label art, “Tosca” reflects a wine that bears all the hallmarks of careful expertise and esthetic concern given to artisanal small lot production ($17.50).
Our first white is the 2015 Domaine La Taste Gascone Blanc from Southwestern France. A juicy blend of Colombard, Gros Mensang, Sauvignon Blanc and Ugni Blanc, this stainless steel fermented beauty clocks in at a mere 11.5% alcohol and is what the French would term a "Glugg, Glugg" wine (I believe the American term is “deck wine”). It is the sort you drink and come back to because it is so approachable and friendly. As you can imagine, the wine is bright and fruity.
Our tasting notes reveal melon tones with a hint of ginger and minerals. It has crisp acidity and a light touch of citrus to go with the lively acidity. The blend brings out the herbal flavor of Colombard with just a touch of honey from Gros Mensang. Enjoy this with light appetizers, fresh fish, roasted chicken with herbs or even a pork chop with a fruit component. It goes great with Spring menus so keep that in mind if ham is on your Easter menu. ($11)
The second red for April is the 2014 Reverend V Syrah from Western Australia’s Margaret River. Beautiful vibrant purple in color, this Syrah lends inviting spice and floral perfume aromatics with underlays of fleshy, juicy fruit.The mix of wild berry fruits extends across the palate with weight and texture and the gentle but firm oak integrates with this array of berry fruit, giving length and complexity. This Syrah can be cellared for up to eight years, or matched with duck, game and light meats, or even aromatic spice dishes. ($17.50)
Wine Club members who receive two white wines will also receive the 2015 LaFage Côté d’Est. As the name suggests, Côté d’Est, comes from vineyards planted on the gentle slopes facing the Mediterranean just a few kilometers inland from the sea. Benefiting from the thermal breezes that refresh these vineyards every afternoon in the summer – which preserves a high level of natural acidity in the grapes – this is a lively blend of Grenache Blanc with smaller percentages of Chardonnay and Marsanne. Floral and aromatic, it is an excellent example of the open and friendly whites you can find all along the Catalan coast. Wine Advocate awarded 90 points ($12).
Millennium Club members will receive the 2014 Gilles Troullier Tandem Syrah. A fabulous value, the inky colored 2014 Tandem comes from Maury and offers classic notes of chocolatey dark fruit, licorice, graphite and herbes du Provence. Full-bodied, rich and layered, with a big mid-palate and no shortage of texture, it makes the most of this cooler, difficult vintage and will drink well for 5-7 years. Did I tell you it had a 94 point rating from Wine Advocate? ($32)