Decatur Wine and Spirits The Vintage Voice

Volume 2, Issue 7 — August, 2007


In This Issue
Editor's Note


The Whiter Side of France

Have Smoke, Will Travel

Featured Product


Calendar of Events

Wine Club Selections

Club Cigar

Drink Recipe: Limoncello Cooldown

Upcoming Events
Aug 10: Selective Singles Wine Tasting at Cabaret Piano Bar, Atlanta

Aug 11: Small Plates Dinner with Wines from around the World, Beechwood Inn, Clayton

Aug 12, 19, 26: 5th Annual Regional Artisan Cheese Month and Vineyard Luncheon Buffet, Wolf Mountain Vineyards, Dahlonega

Aug 14: Wine Dinner, Food 101, Atlanta

Aug 14: Wines of the World: Sonoma-Carneros, Muss & Turner's, Smyrna

Aug 16: Sunset Sippers, Wolf Mountain Vineyards, Dahlonega

Aug 18: Atlanta Beer August Meetup, The Vortex, Atlanta

Aug 18: The Jesters concert, Chateau Elan, Braselton

Aug 22: BBQ Wines, Atlanta Wine School, Roswell

Aug 23: Wine Lovers Beer Primer, Muss & Turner's, Smyrna

Aug 23: Sunset Sippers, Wolf Mountain Vineyards, Dahlonega

Aug 24: Wine and Spirit Education Trust Intermediate Certificate, Eno Restaurant, Atlanta

Aug 24, 25: Corks & Forks - A Fine Food and Wine Event, Grant Park Conservancy, Atlanta

Aug 26: Vineyard Fest, Chateau Elan, Braselton

Aug 28: Wines of the World: North Central Coast, Muss & Turner's, Smyrna

Sep 1: Labor Day Picnic and Live Music, Beechwood Inn, Clayton

Sep 2: Swingin' Medallions concert, Chateau Elan, Braselton

Sep 3: Labor Day

Sep 5: Babette's Mini Wine Feast: Laetitia Vineyards, Babette's Cafe, Atlanta

Featured Product
imperiaCrisma Caribbean Rum Cream
Crisma Caribbean Rum Cream is the brainchild of a descendant from the Caribbean pirates and well-known rum maker by the name of Basil Cole.

Derived from the Latin word “Crisma," or ‘The Cream of Creams', Crisma basically is a combination of aged Barbados rum and fresh cream blended with some age old secret herbs and spices.

Like most rums, Crisma can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It is great on the rocks or in coffee. It is also wonderful on ice-cream and cake, and it can be used to make uniquely interesting coladas and daiquiris.

One of the more intriguing recipes is a cocktail shooter using coffee liqueur, Crisma, and Grand Marnier.

Either way, the Caribbean Rum Cream is an unforgettable pleasure. But don't take our word for it. Taste it. As the makers say, "even then you may not believe" how good it really is. Our price: $14.99

Wine Club Selections
2006 La Posta del Viñatero Malbec Pizzella Vineyard (Argentina)
Paula and Pablo Pizzella are relative newcomers to Mendoza Province, but their early success growing cool-climate Malbec grapes is quickly drawing attention.

Don't be concerned if you find yourself inhaling deeply from your glass, over and is just your nose's way of telling you that it wants more!

This is a medium-bodied and well-structured wine that is incredibly full of life and a perfect wine to be enjoyed with good food and friends. It goes well with everything from hamburgers and chicken to pizza and mild cheeses.

A beautiful red/purple color, it features aromas of red cherries, red raspberries, dark chocolate and baker's spice. On the palate, it has fresh, vibrant red berry flavor along with hints of sandalwood, spice, and violets in the finish. It is an awesome value as well and a wine that you would not want to miss, especially if you favor Malbecs.

Country: Argentina
Variety: Malbec
Appellation: Altamira, La Consulta, San Carlos (Mendoza)
Total Case Production: 1200 cases
Our price: $18.99

Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Zinfandel
Peachy Canyon Winery is a premium Paso Robles California winemaker that consistently produces some of California's best premium wines.

The Consumer Reports #10 on its list of "Great Wines at a Great Price," the Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Zinfandel is is a crowd-pleaser that would be perfect for an outdoor party or picnic. The aroma is almost pure berries and the flavor is a tart cherry with notes of blackberry, some oak and mild acidity in the finish. It’s medium bodied, and not really a big or complex Zin. But its fruit-forward nature appeals to a wider audience, making it a great selection for any occasion.

State: California
Appellation: Paso Robles
Variety: Zinfandel
Our Price: $15.49

Chateau de Sancerre, Sancerre
This is the only wine that can be sold under the name Chateau de Sancerre, the 10th century mansion built next to the hilltop town overlooking the Loire River in the province of Sancerre.

The area was once known for the production of the Pinot Noir grape until the 20th century, when the Sancerre area was devastated by phylloxera. The vineyards were later replanted in Sauvignon Blanc and in 1936, the Sancerre white was given AOC status, or a controlled label of origin.

This classic Sancerre is completely stainless steel fermented and kept on lees in order to preserve its freshness. The vineyard is south facing and includes clay, limestone and flint. The 2005 vintage is a little bit softer than 2004, according to the experts. But the wine has a great pale gold brilliant color and nice fluid texture. On the nose, it is intense with notes of fresh flowers, peach and melon. At the palate, it is sharp, vibrant, clean and fresh. The finish is long and reminiscent of oranges.

A prefect compliment to shellfish, white fish and other light summer fare. Best enjoyed... Right away!

Region: Sancerre, Cher, France
Appellation: Sancerre
Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Our price: $24.49

Club Cigar
Romeo & Julieta Bully
Handmade in La Romana, Dominican Republic, Romeo & Julieta is the Dominican incarnation of one of the world's most famous brands of cigars. Romeo & Julieta originated in Cuba during the 1800s and moved to the Dominican Republic following the U.S. Cuban trade embargo. At $4.99 a cigar, this is an excellent value smoke. It offers a medium to full flavor with a mellow, non-bitter finish.

Manufacturer: Romeo y Julieta
Filler: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Sumatra
Binder: Conn. Shade-Grown
Size: 5 " x 50
Our price: $4.99


Editor’s Note
First, we want to apologize for our recent lapse in publication. Summer typically is a lazy time of year. But we truthfully fell victim to a number of exciting changes soon to be announced.

If you haven't visited us recently, you will also find a variety of new products at the store, including but not limited to rums, tequilas, old-world liquors, beers, bourbons, cognacs and cigars.

But more importantly, we are getting back on track and we promise to continue with our regular publication of the Vintage Voice.

In this issue, we explore the white wines of France and alternatives for traveling with your favorite cigars.

As always, you will also find a coupon for the monthly selections at the bottom of the newsletter.

As for the wine tastings, we are still committed to setting up a regular wine tasting. But unfortunately, we need further guidance from our regulators prior to starting.

In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you at the store and we truly hope that you will find our causal musings entertaining, enticing and informative.

The Whiter Side of France
When thinking about summer white wines, Bordeaux and Burgundy rarely arise as primary candidates. After all, aren't Bordeaux and Burgundy necessarily red wines?

That is a common misconception. Bordeaux along with Burgundy are just as respected for thier white wines as are the Loire Valley and Alsace. In fact, some of the world's best white wines are made in Burgundy and Bordeaux.

But when it comes to French white wines, it would still be fair to assume that Alsace and the Loire Valley wines remain some of the better values.

The Best of the Best
Unlike Bordeaux and Burgundy, Alsace and the Loire Valley are better known for their white wines because these two regions specialize in growing white grapes.

Both regions are located in northern France, where the cooler climate and a shorter growing season are better suited for white grapes.

In Alsace, the primary grapes include the Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. The highest quality wines are the Rieslings, which also account for the most grapes planted.

The Loire Valley, in turn, is best known for the Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc grapes. But unlike Alsace wines, Loire Valley wines are classified by style and include some of the country's best known styles.

From Pouilly Fumé to Vouvray
The four main styles of Loire Valley wines are Pouilly-Fumé, the Muscadet, Sancerre and Vouvray.

The Pouilly-Fumé is a dry, fully bodied wine that is made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The Muscadet is light, dry wine made from Melon grapes.

The town of Sancerre, and surrounding vineyards

In contrast, the Sancerre is a balance between the fulled bodied Pouilly-Fumé and light bodied Muscadet made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. And the Vourvray, made from Chenin blanc grapes, is the most versatile style and can be either dry, semisweet, or sweet.

Latest Trends and Best Values
Of all the Loire Valley white wines, the most known style once was the Pouilly-Fumé. But over the last few years, the Poulilly-Fumé has been overtaken by the Sancerre (though both have a similar style and the Sancerre tends to be more expensive).

But despite the growing intrest in the Sancerre, one of the best values remains the Muscadet. Unlike the Sancerre, the Muscadet remains an affordable style that has undergone a similar remarkable increase in quality without the accompanying increase in price.

The Whites of Bordeaux and Burgundy
Along with the growth in Sancerre wines, another significant shift in French wines has been the growth in Bordeaux white wines.

These wines are classified by the name of the chateau, or vineyard, that produced the wine. As always, the type of soil and direction of slope are the primary factors affecting the quality.

The levels of quality are the village wine, or wine that bears the name of the village; Premier Cru, or a specific vineyard with special characteristics; and Gran Cru, a specific vineyard with especially good soil and growing conditions.

Banking on Burgundy
Out of Bordeaux and Burgundy appleations, the best known vineyards are in Burgundy, whose white wines are among the world's most renowned.

These wines include the Chablis, the Côte De Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise, and Mâconnais.

Of those wines, the most famous is the Chablis, whose name unfortunately has become associated with some very undistinguished wines due to the lack of “copyright” protection. However, the French are serious about their Chablis wines, which use the same classifications for quality as Bordeaux wines, and a French Chablis is assuredly very different wine than the generic “Chablis” wines.

Choosing the Right White
Choosing the right white really is just a matter of taste. If anything, experts say the quality of French white wines has gotten significantly better in recent years, resulting in a wider selection of good French white wines.

The most important factor therefore will be the grape variety. And as with most wines, the best way to learn which variety has the most personal appeal is through experimentation. In other words… cheers!

Have Smoke, Will Travel
Nothing is better than a good cigar while on vacation. But when traveling, cigars need an extra measure of protection from both physical damage, including but not limited to drying.

What's the best way to protect that cigar?

The Travel Humidor
The cigar could be slipped into a makeshift humidor, using plastic bags. But the ideal solution really is to invest in a travel humidor.

Choosing the right humidor simply requires reviewing several factors.

First, the humidor should be large enough to accomidate the size and shape of the cigars you smoked most often. Next, the humidor should be durable enough to withstand significant jostling (after all, you might find yourself constantly opeing the case for inspectors.) And finally, the humidification unit should be solidly installed so that it doesn't fall off when sprinting for a flight, taxi or being jammed into an overhead compartment.

Travel humidors typically resemble small cigar boxes and can be purchased at most smoke shops. The majority are made of wood and can accomodate between 10 to 25 cigars.

Humidor vs. Tubes
Sometimes, though, a travel humidor will be too big. In those cases, you can also use tubes or leather cases.

The largest drawback to tubes and leather cases is that they carry a limited supply of cigars and they rarely can keep the cigar for longer than two to three days. In addition, cigars that are packed in tubes are just a so-called "one-at-a-time" solution.

The Compromise
A compromise between the tubes and travel humidors are the finger cases, which essentially are tubes that can upto five cigars.

These finger cases often are adjustable and can fit cigars of several different sizes. These are called "open cases" and they typically come in plastic, leather or silver.

The leather and silver cases are by far the most elegant. However, when buying a leather case, it is imperative to ensure that the case is lined so that the cigar will not take on a "leathery" flavor.

Think Accessory
Selecting the right case can take time. Yet, it pays to choose carefully.

The right cigar case is not only functional, it is also an accessory. As such, it will either distinguish you as a "person of taste" or "tasteless person."

Therefore, it might be worthwhile to invest in a variety of travel cases. In the end, a "wardrobe" of cases is not only an investment in protection-- it will also be a statement of taste. 

Recipe: Limoncello Cooldown
Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur which some people find to be almost too strong. But simply adding some ice and soda turns it into a brilliantly refreshing drink that brings a lemon chill to the hottest summer day.

2 oz Limoncello (or to taste)
Club soda

Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour Limoncello over the ice. Fill the rest of the galss with club soda, stir, and serve.

Other liqueurs make great refreshers too. Try Chambord, Campari, or any other sweet, strong liqueur. You'll find that the soda brings out flavors which normally are not easily appreciated against the full strength liqueur.

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