On Friday night I was itching for a wine tasting so I looked up what would be going on close to me on LocalWineEvents.com. I found one only 8 miles away – Andover Liquors and Classic Wines. They have a great wine selection and often invite producers and distributors in to offer tastings to their customers. This Friday was the kickoff to their wine weekend of events. The owner of OZ Wine Imports was pouring several fun and summer friendly wines. I always recommend trying to attend these events. It encourages the store owners to host them more often and it is an awesome free opportunity to swirl more wine and learn what you like, aaannnddd, the people pouring usually know a lot about their wines. Andrew Bishop from OZ poured an organic white from the Beiras region of Portugal, a white Bordeaux, a rosé from the Loire region of France, a fun organic sweet sparkling red, a Tuscan Chianti, and a Rhone blend. It was a great mix with something for virtually everyone’s taste. The Wine Manager of Andover Liquors, Andrea DiFiore was very friendly and handing out free wine totes. A representative from Naragannsett Beer was pouring samples of their summer beers as well, contributing to a festive atmosphere. Of course I walked out with a full tote (smart marketing Andrea!). I also got to meet in person one of my Twitter friends, Lindsey Rudolph, the Assistant Wine Manager. You should get to know the people who work in or own your favorite wine shop. They are a wealth of information and if you patronize them often enough they will get to know your tastes and be able to make better recommendations for you. They love adventurous people who are interested in trying new things.
So, not only did I buy several of the wines from the tasting but I found a new wine from a favorite producer of mine, Peter Lehman, from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. I’ve referred to his wines a couple of times in posts. I enjoy the pride of place they convey on every bottle. It is different from the French concept of terroir. The way I see it the French terroir has a little of that “ha, we have the best place to grow wine grapes, and you don’t” and the Australian’s seem to celebrate the people who work the land and coax the grapes out of the land. I fell in love with Peter Lehman wines by reading the little story on the back label of their Seven Surveys old vine blend. When I saw Layers and the five little grapes on the label out of the corner of my eye and I recognized the producer. The bottle looked promising. The retail was $16.99. The five grapes represent the five varietals that were blended (Rhone styles blends are famous in Australia), Shiraz 46%, Mourvèdre 20%,Grenache 15%, Tempranillo 17% and Carignane 2%. This is a powerful combination and Layers is a very accurate name for this wine. You get the spice of the Shiraz, the soft berry of the Grenache, the bouncy fruit of the Tempranillo, and the depth and structure from the Mouvedre. The Carignane at only 2% contributes to the depth and color. You really do experience the different flavors evolving in your mouth from first sip to the long, lucious finish. According to the winemaker’s notes, each of the varietals are fermented separated and aged in oak for seven months prior to bottling. You first taste the plum and dark berries and with each sip something new comes out, but in a slow slideshow kind of way, not a burst or pow. I did not get the black olive from the winemaker’s notes but I did taste some earthiness, like stone, not soil. It is a soft feel on the palate, velvety tannins. I like this wine with meat dishes, probably more winter meat preparations like roasts rather than grilled meats, but in general I like this wine to sip all by itself. Oh, and another interesting point made on the label of this meat compatible wine is that is Vegan Friendly. I think it’s great when the producers tell you this stuff on the label. I guess if I had to give it a numerical rating from 1 – 10 I would give it a 7. I like dit but it doesn’t beat Seven Surveys.