October Featured Wines – OT Vins El Cep, Penedes, Spain & Maria Cruz Garcia, Tempranillo, Narvarra, Spain

OT Vins El Cep, Penedes, Spain (2021) $12

This X-arel-lo has fragrant fresh pear and honeydew melon on the nose, along with a subtle floral nuance. On the palate it is silky showing good depth and a touch of waxiness to the ripe orchard and citrus fruit flavors. The melon note comes back on a smooth, persistent finish that features a refreshing bitter orange zest flourish. A lovely all around white. Alcohol: 12.5.%

Maria Cruz Garcia, Tempranillo, Narvarra, Spain (2019) $14

This is a a dark, plump and powerful Tempranillo with lots of intensity due to the blackberry and black plum fruit and accents of wild herb. The tannins are gentle and firm on the finish, amplifying the dark fruit flavors and making your mouth water for a big bite of lamb or steak.it is fermented and aged in steel tanks with no outside yeasts. Alcohol: 14.1%

October Featured Artists – Ann Hayden & Maurice Spector

The perfect way to celebrate fall is to show work by two our favorite artists from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Ann Hayden and Maurice Spector are kindred spirits when it comes to the subjects they paint. While their painting medium differs as do their painterly styles their subject matter is similar – an affinity for birds. You have to understand their aviary interests are not traditional. Ann’s interests focus on abstract takes on bird characteristics and behavior. Maurice represents birds – especially crows – as humorous characters both in paintings and sculpture. This is one of those shows where I chuckle as I hang because of the paintings and their humorous titles. Come and see for yourself at the opening reception on First Friday, October 7 from 5 until 8.

September Featured Wines – Cantine San Marzano, Edda Lei Salento Bianco & Terrilogio, Primitivo, Puglia, Italy

We are moving into fall but September is still a month for entertaining and grilled meals. Our selected wines come from Puglia, also known as Apulia, a region called “the boot” of Southern Italy. This region produces 40% of Italy’s olive oil but some of the best values in Italian wine come from this sunny, dry region. Most Puglia wine is red, full-bodied and pairs well with a wide variety of foods but there are several indigenous white grapes grown in the region. Both wines meet the IGT (“Indicazione Geografica Tipica standard”) for production consistency for their appellation.

The white wine is Cantine San Marzano, Edda Lei Salento IGT Bianco (2020.) This wine is mainly Chardonnay with white native grapes, Moscatel, and Fiano. It comes from Salento. The red selection is Terrilogio, Primitivo, Puglia IGT (2021.) Primitivo is the same grape as California Zinfandel.

Cantine San Marzano, Edda Lei Salento Bianco, Puglia, Italy (2020) $18

This wine is mainly made from Chardonnay grapes with some Moscatel and Fiano added. It is an intense yellow straw color. There is a scent of peach, citrus and vanilla on the nose. In the mouth it is soft, warm, elegant, with a savory and toasted finish. The wine is suitable for accompanying fish starters and first courses, as well as fresh soft cheeses. Alcohol: 13.5.%

Terrilogio, Primitivo, Puglia, Italy (2021) $11

This Primitivo is deep ruby red. It is full-bodied with warm tannins. Bold flavors hint of tar, licorice and red berries. There is a delicious fruity finish typical of Zinfandels. The body and warmth compliment hot and spicy food. This wine may be enjoyed young but further aging in the bottle will enhance the wine’s richness. Alcohol: 13%

August Featured Wines – Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lies (2019) Loire Valley, France & Beaujolais Villages, Marine Descombe (2020) Brouilly, Burgundy, France

This month we are offering 2 great wines for summer sipping. Once again our red selection is from Mary Taylor Wines” White Label Series. She describes this label as “thinking outside the grape.” Previously we have had 9 nine wines in this series and the reception has been very positive. The white we are offering is produced by Gadais Pere et Fils in the Loire Valley appellation Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine.

Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lies (2019) Loire Valley is produced by the Gadais family who have been in the wine business since the 1950s. The name Navineaux Amphibolite attached to this wine refers to the terroir of the vineyard in the Loire Valley. Muscadet is made from 100% Melon de Bourgogne grapes. This a new varietal for the wine club and a perfect one for summer enjoyment. I have had Muscadet in my inventory by request from 3 customers who find this a perfect compliment to seafood – particularly oysters.

Mary Taylor Wines’ Beaujolais Villages, Marine Descombe (2020) Brouilly, Burgundy is different from what many know as Nouveau Beaujolais. Beaujolais Villages and Nouveau Beaujolais are both made from Gamay grapes. The Nouveau is quickly vinified using CO2 to remove oxygen to speed up fermentation. These are young wines to be consumed young, Beaujolais Villages is produced using the Bordeaux style of winemaking. These wines have a much longer shelf life.

Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lies (2019) Loire Valley, France $16

This Muscadet offers a bright and complex nose of lemon, green apple, wet stone minerality, dried flowers and a lovely touch of gentle nuttiness. On the palate the wine is deep, focused and full-bodied, with lovely balance and grip, a fine core, impressive mineral undertow and a long, zesty and complex finish. It is described as “green and flinty.” Alcohol: 12.%

Beaujolais Villages, Marine Descombe (2020) Brouilly, Burgundy, France $15

This vintage offers deeply concentrated black fruit aromas, and beautiful substance on the palate, with melted tannins and long finish. It is considered a textbook blue stone Brouilly-style Beaujolais-Villages It has a beautiful purity of Gamay Noir fruit showcasing the unique expression of a Beaujolais that can be enjoyed for many years. As it ages, tannins soften. Alcohol: 14%

July Featured Wines – The Little Gazelle, Sauvignon Blanc (2021) & DeMorgenzon, DMZ Syrah (2018), South Africa

Wine Club has not tasted wines from South Africa for some time. Summer seemed a perfect time to revisit. Most consider South African wines to be New World although many of the varietals – and there are many produced – are considered Old World. Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are the most widely planted varietals but as we learned from Barista Pinotage, there are some unique wines produced.

This month’s selections are The Little Gazelle Sauvignon Blanc (2021) and DeMorgenzon DMZ Syrah (2018.) These will acquaint you with well-appreciated varietals that are not as widely produced.

The Little Gazelle Sauvignon Blanc has a clever label (similar to The Little Sheep wines.) This is no coincidence since both of these wines are produced and imported by Monsieur Touton, one of our suppliers. Monsieur Touton’s connections in the wine world give him the opportunity to buy excess “juice” for lack of a better term. Through his friendships with producers, he buys surplus quality wines that he finds represent that region’s varietals. This is the case of South Africa’s The Little Gazelle Sauvignon Blanc which is from the Coastal Region.

DeMorgenzon DMZ Syrah comes from another producer based in Stellenbosch, South Africa. This region has terraced hillside vineyards with views of both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. DeMorgenzon selects grapes from vineyards that show the best quality of the chosen varietal. Both wines will offer pleasant wines for summer enjoyment. One is light for fish and salads and one is great for rich barbequed beef.

The Little Gazelle, Sauvignon Blanc (2021), South Africa $10

This Sauvignon Blanc is described like a shy gazelle, simple yet refreshingly friendly. The wine is green and flinty but with fresh citrus, apple, melon, fig, and peach notes on the palate. It is a refreshingly, delicious summer wine. Pair with seafood, grilled chicken, and light appetizers. It is also a great complement to a salad with goat cheese. Alcohol: 12.5%

DeMorgenzon, DMZ Syrah (2018), Stellenbosch, South Africa $17

This Syrah has a deep, purple core with a rich, berry fruit nose with lots of ripe, red plum and whiffs of white pepper. There is some gentle oak integration which shows and supports the elegance and roundness. This wine is considered bold and structured with this vintage getting great scores. A perfect BBQ complement. Alcohol: 14%

June Featured Wines – Arrumaco, Garnacha Rosé, Galicia, Spain & Mary Taylor, Pedro Gonzalez Mittelbrun, Castilla y Leon, Spain

The rose we selected, Arrumacco (2021), is produced in Galicia on the Northwest coast of Spain which borders Portugal to the south. This region offers a mild Atlantic climate and sandy soil. As you know roses can be made from Garnacha, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah, and Carignan. The Spanish call roses “rosado” and this selection is made with Garnacha grapes

The red selection takes us back to Mary Taylor Wines. Once again we will follow her approach to finding wines indigenous to a specific region. Mary Taylor, Castilla Y León Pedro Gonzalez Mittelbrun (2018) is produced by Pedro Gonzalez Mittelbrunn from Prieto Picudo grapes grown in Castilla y León from vines that are up to 100 years old. This region is just east of Galicia. Tempranillo are the most produced wines but Mittlebrunn convinced fellow growers to keep the heritage of the Prieto Picudo “growing.” You can see why Mary Taylor selected his wine as one of her imports.

Arrumaco, Garnacha Rosé (2021), Galicia, Spain $10

Lighter in color and body than many other Spanish rosés. Loaded with intense raspberry and plum aromas that follow to a crisp yet silky palate. A light mix of peach pit and stalky fruit aromas form the opening on this standard summer sipper. Excellent on its own and with a wide range of lighter fare. The perfect summer sipper and tapas wine. Alcohol: 12.5%

Mary Taylor, Pedro Gonzalez Mittelbrun (2018), Castilla y Leon, Spain $11

The unique, rare Prieto Picudo grape is a small grape with big flavor producing wines with bold flavous that age well.  It is well balanced with a beautiful red color. It has ripe and fresh red fruit aromas. While this feels like a light Spanish wine, it is fresh and powerful on the palate with a lingering finish. It pairs with most summer food. A good sipper. Alcohol: 13%

March Featured Wines – 2020 Donnafugata, Sicilia Anthìlia & 2019 Donnafugata, Sicilia La Bella Sedàra Rosso, Italy

Donnafugata was founded in Sicily by a family with a keen passion for winemaking. Since their founding in 1983 by Giacomo Rallo and his wife Gabriella Anca Rallo, and now their sons, have been able to innovate the style and perception of Sicilian wine. Sustainability is a key value of Donnafugata. Music and art are also central to the Donnafugata mission. Their labels feature a world full of colors. Original labels have fantastic language and feminine identity. They feel the labels define their wines with a unique style which is pleasant and elegant and capable of delighting those who taste them. This makes their wines enjoyable on the palate and on the eyes.

The white selection is 2020 Sicilia Anthìlia is 100% Lucido (Catarratto.)

The red selection is 2019 Sicilia La Bella Sedàra Rosso, a blend of Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Both wines have striking female images on the labels that carry stories as told on their website

2020 Donnafugata, Sicilia AnthìliaItaly $18

Anthilia 2020 has a yellow straw color. The nose presents a fresh and fruity bouquet with notes of white-fleshed fruits (peach) combined with scents of wildflowers. On the palate we continue to find the evident fruity notes accompanied by a refreshing flavor and ended by a good finish. Perfect pairing with tomato and basil bruschetta, seafood pasta, blue fish. Try also with caesar salad. Alcohol: 12.5%

2019 Donnafugata, Sicilia La Bella Sedàra Rosso, Italy $18

Sedàra 2019 is ruby red in color with purple hues It offers a fruity bouquet with hints of red fruit (cherry and plum) and spices (black pepper) combined with a light balsamic note of mint. On the palate it shows a good structure with soft tannins and a pleasant freshness. A pleasant red, versatile in food matching, perfect for every day. Serve with lasagne, chicken cacciatore, BBQ, seared tuna. Alcohol: 13.8%

February Featured Wines – Mary Taylor, Olivier Gessler Winery, Cotes de Gascogne (2020), Gascony, France & Mary Taylor, Jean Marc Barthez, Rouge (2018), Bordeaux, France

Mary Taylor, Olivier Gessler Winery, Cotes de Gascogne (2020), Gascony $11

Colombard and Sauvignon Blanc blended with optimally ripe Gros Manseng and Ugni Blanc, give a finished mix with a superb balance of fresh vivacious fruit, delicate acidity and surprising length. This blend is bright and crisp with a touch of grapefruit lemon and tropical fruit with a lip-smacking mineral streak. Gascony is known to produce “crunchy, fresh white wine.” Alcohol: 11.5%

Mary Taylor, Jean Marc Barthez, Rouge (2018), Bordeaux, France $13

This “alternative” Bordeaux possesses much of the dark-fruited complexity that makes Bordeaux famous but it renders a brighter, more refreshing profile. It has wonderful “drinkability” highlighted by the absence of oak during the aging process. Mary recommends serving it slightly chilled with anything from rib-eye steaks and pan-seared duck breast to earthy mushroom dishes and even burgers off the grill. Alcohol: 14%

January Featured Wines – Mary Taylor, Pascal Biotteau Anjou Blanc (2020) & Mary Taylor, Sophie Siadou Valençay (2020)

Mary Taylor seeks wine producers who have not been discovered by the import market. She seeks sustainable wines that speak of the region. Pascal Biotteau Anjou Blanc (2020) is 100% Chenin Blanc grown in Anjou region where a chalky limestone gives a lighter expression for Chenin Blanc. Sophie Siadou Valencay (2020) is a blend of Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Côt (or a French Malbec grape.) Valencay is a region known for its goat cheese so Ron has included a delicious salmon stuffed with goat cheese in his wine notes.

Mary Taylor, Pascal Biotteau Anjou Blanc (2020) $15

This a lovely young example of Chenin Blanc. The bouquet is bright and nicely high-toned in personality out of the blocks, wafting from the glass in a mix of apple, sweet quince, chalky soil tones, a touch of bee pollen and a top note of white lilies. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and rock solid at the core, with excellent transparency and cut, zesty acids and a long, complex and beautifully balanced finish.  Alcohol: 12%

Mary Taylor, Sophie Siadou Valençay (2020) $17

This blend is 30% Pinot Noir, 35% Côt (Malbec), 35% Gamay. Expressing all the lightness and elegance of its high percentage of Pinot Noir, plus a wonderful floral quality, it also reveals its leaner, more structured “Malbec” side, expressed through a sturdy wash of tannins that balance its succulent flavors of raspberries, blackcurrant, and spice. A must to drink with wonderful Valencay goat cheese. Alcohol: 13.5%

November Featured Wines – Chateau La Freynelle & Chateau La Grange Clinet, Bordeaux, France

Our November wines are from Bordeaux, France. Both wines have been on our shelf for awhile but have not been introduced to the wine club. Bordeaux wines – both wine and red – are mostly blends of 2 to 3 grapes. The white grapes used are Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon with other grapes added in small percentages. These grapes offer a full range of dry and sweet wines. 90% of red Bordeaux blends are various combinations of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot are often used in small amounts. The quality of wines from Bordeaux make it one of the world’s most important wine regions.

2020 Chateau La Freynelle, Bordeaux, France $14

This blend has a lovely fruity nose of white peaches, citrus fruits, and beeswax. Elegant, charming palate with good fruit flavors and a smooth buttery finish. Serve chilled with seafood, pasta, chicken, veal, and pork. It is great to pair with oysters. Alcohol: 13.0%

2018 Chateau La Grange Clinet, Bordeaux, France $18

With its rich and jammy black-fruited Merlot, this wine, from a vineyard just outside the city of Bordeaux, is generous. Young, dense tannins complement the full, black fruits. It has firm tannins and fine acidity. It’s developing into a warm, ripe wine. Alcohol: 14.5%