Friday Winedown – Eric Solomon Selections

Eric Solomon is a Charlotte-based importer of wines primarily from Spain and France.  He has been named “Importer of the Year” by Food and Wine magazine and famed wine writer/critic Robert Parker has called Eric “one of the top wine personalities in the US”.  Needless to say, this guy kind of knows what he’s doing, and we’re proud to stock his wines.

Tasting through Eric’s portfolio of wines, one immediately recognizes that he has a great taste for Grenache, whether it be from Spain or France and whether it be value priced or expensive.  Thus, many of the red wines we’ll be sampling are primarily composed of Grenache/Garnacha.  Don’t worry, we’ll have an incredible sparkling wine and a couple of whites too!

The tasting is scheduled for Friday, August 17 from 4 to 7 p.m., and Mike Kolker from Freedom Distributors will join us to pour 8 fabulous wines.  The cost is $5/person or it’s free if you’re a Grape Nut.

1. 2008 Gramona Grand Cuvée Cava Brut – Composed of equal parts Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Chardonnay, this is basically the equivalent of a grower sparkling wine in Spain.  A low dosage is based on a solera system going back to 1870, and the wine exhibits crisp, minerally notes intermixed with hints of orange rind, brioche and lemon zest, light to medium body, and a chalky character.

2. 2011 Sitios de Bodega Con Class Rueda Blanco – A blend of 60% Verdejo, 25% Viura and 15% Sauvignon Blanc aged on its lees in stainless steel, this is as refreshing and thirst quenching as white wine gets.  Farming is all organic at this estate, and the wine is bracing and racy with notes of gooseberry, grapefruit, passion fruit and mineral.

3. 2010 Domaine Lafage Cote Est – This is consistently ranked one of the top white wine values in the world, and the 2010 is no exception.  A blend of 50% Grenache Blanc, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Marsanne, it is exotic, juicy and super delicious.

4. 2011 Gramona Gessami – Gramona is best known for their incredible Cavas (see wine #1), but they also make this freak of a white wine that is composed of Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat and Gewurztraminer.  We invite you to enjoy this exotic, floral accented, dry white wine as you fly your freak flag high!  Absolutely delicious!

5. 2011 Chateau Pesquie Cotes du Ventoux “Cuvée des Terrasses” – Some of you might remember the 2010 version of this wine, which we pre-sold with no problem after Parker rated it 94 points.  Vintage 2011 is another really good one in the southern Rhone, and I’m of the opinion that this will garner great marks again.  70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, this wine wreaks of smoky raspberry, black cherry, meat juice and smoke notes.  It tastes like Chateauneuf du Pape, but costs 1/3 of the price!

6. 2010 Chateau Puech-Haut Coteaux de Languedoc Prestige – Parker reviewed the 2009 of this wine at 93 points, but we like the 2010 even more.  A blend of 55% Grenache (from 60- to 75-year-old vines) and 45% Syrah (from 40-year-old vines), this remarkable offering is a naked expression of the vivid terroir and excellent fruit found in this region. The incredible aromatics consist of forest floor, spring flowers, sweet black currants, raspberries, licorice, and incense.

7. 2009 Black Slate Priorat “Gratallops” – The Black Slate line of wines will have to go down in history as one of the greatest importer/independent producer projects in the history of wine.  Many of our regulars all ready love the Black Slate wines, but they haven’t had this one yet………it’s a blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot and it comes from the glorious 2009 vintage in Spain’s Priorat region.  It’s one of those wines, with all of its lushness and richness, that we think is a no brainer.

8. 2008 Benjamin Romeo Predicador – Want your Rioja to be a bit darker, bigger and chewier?  Try Benjamin Romeo’s rendition!  A blend of primarily Tempranillo, with tiny amounts of Grenache and Viura aged for 16 months in second use French oak. Fragrant notes of smoke, spice box, incense, tobacco, and assorted red and black fruits inform the nose of this relatively forward, savory, well-proportioned, lengthy effort.

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