Could you tell the difference?

Being a sommelier and known as a “wine guy,” people often ask me if you could really tell the difference between a $100 bottle of wine and a $10 bottle of wine. I usually tell them “It depends.” There are so many factors that go into that question. Let’s assume that the price above for each bottle is the actual cost and not discounted. Let’s also assume that the comparison is between two bottles from the same or similar regions. The reason for this is if your comparing a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  to a Bordeaux they are very different wines. If you have the Napa Valley first, these wines typically have more alcohol and are more fruit forward with bombastic personalities. Following up with the Bordeaux would make it seem too rustic and simply overpowers the wine. Having the Bordeaux first has the opposite effect. A Bordeaux, typically with lower alcohol and more finesse, makes the Napa Valley Cabernet too alcoholic and flabby. So you really need an equal comparison. The last factor is it depends on the taster. If you have someone that doesn’t have that much experience tasting wine try the two bottles they probably aren’t going to see a difference. So the answer would be no. Unless you enjoy wine, I would not advocate spending that much money on a bottle of wine.

So let’s say that the conditions above are met. Now what? Well I believe that there are good bottles of wine at every price point. So there are nice bottles to be had for $10 and there are some bad bottles to be had at $100. So if you picked out your best $10 could it beat a bad $100 bottle? While it’s certainly possible it’s still a long shot. When a winery is making a bottle costing $100, they are aiming for a very high quality level. To bring the 100 point wine rating scale into the picture for a moment, someone buying a $100 bottle may be expecting at least a wine rating of 95 points. Anything below that may be a disappointment. But for a $10 bottle, a really high quality one may get 90 points. So although that may be a nice bottle, especially for the money, it might not be enough to say it is better than the $100 even though it may not reach that 95 point threshold. No don’t get me wrong, there are some bottles that cost $100 that aren’t even hitting that 90 point mark.

My general feeling is that someone who does enjoy wine will be able to tell the difference. They don’t have to be a wine expert either! They really just need to enjoy wine. Well this past weekend I did a little experiment. I have a friend who I get together with every so often and he too loves wine. So of course we crack a few bottles when we get together, typically some really nice stuff. The past couple of times we have been tasting blind. Now if you don’t know what that means there are two different definitions. Single blind means you don’t know the wine but you may know the region, the grape or the vintage. Double blind means you know nothing at all. So for the wines we cracked, we only knew the grape: Cabernet Sauvignon. He said to bring your “A game” so we both picked out two really nice bottles. I then decided to make it interesting by throwing in a $20 bottle I recently had. The $20 bottle was excellent and I thought it would make it difficult to identify in a blind tasting. All wines were decanted for 1 hour. Here are the results:

Wine 1

We both agreed the aromas on this were closed, meaning it was not giving up much. What I did get was some plum and iron. After sitting in the glass for a while the nose started to open up. Tasting this wine was a different story. It had some nice plum, cherry and iron flavors. It certainly had some complexity to it but my friend and I then argued over the finish. I said it lasted about 30 seconds, which to me is long. My friend argued that 30 seconds was not a long finish and it was shorter than the other wines. Overall I gave this wine 92 points and my friend scored it a 90. Interestingly enough, my friend called this out as the ringer before even tasting the other wine!. Since I had it a week or two before, it was pretty easy for my to identify it immediately as well.

Wine 2

This was a much bigger wine than the first one. The nose exploded out of the glass with aromas of blackberry, black cherry and roses. It was much more intense and very much from Napa Valley. The color on this was a very dark red, somewhat similar to wine 1. Drinking this was sheer joy! Favors of blackberry, currant, vanilla and a touch of iron dance across your palate. This was not just a monster wine though. It was beautifully put together that balanced power and elegance. The finish lasted about 45-50 seconds, clearly longer than the first wine. My friend’s impressions were similar to mine. I gave it a 96 and he gave it a 98.

Wine 3

An important distinction between this wine and the other wines was the color. As a red wine ages it gets lighter in color and this one was starting to show some bricking around the rim, a clear sign of age that my friend quickly pointed out. The nose on this also exploded out of the glass with sweet cherry and plum but also showing some more mature aromas of mushroom. Similarly on the palate it had some nice flavors of plum, cherry and blackberry but started showing mature notes mingled in with earth. The finish on this was about as long as wine 2. My friend and I both gave this 96 points.

The Wines

Wine 1 – 2014 Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Washington Release Price $20

Wine 2 – 2012 Lail Cabernet Sauvignon J Daniel Cuvee Napa Valley Release Price $225

Wine 3 – 2004 Opus One Propriety Red Napa Valley Release Price $180

Overall

Tasting the Intrinsic on it’s own was one thing but tasting it next to two high end wines was another. It first got my attention by getting 92 from Wine Spectator. On it’s own it’s a fantastic wine for only $20 and could probably sell for three times it’s price if it came from Napa Valley. My friend is a more experienced taster and it was easy for him to pick this out without even trying the other wines. He actually used deductive reasoning to pick out his wine as well. Since he guessed wine 1 was the ringer and he knew that he didn’t bring an older wine (wine 3), he concluded wine 2 was his. The Lail received a perfect score, 100 points, from Robert Parker. Opus One, when the 1979 vintage was released, was the most expensive wine from Napa Valley at the time. It’s had its ups and downs over the years but the 2004 recently got a 96 from Robert Parker.

Conclusions

This certainly wasn’t highly scientific but it was fun to put the above theory to the test. The less expensive bottle definitely stood out compared to the other two wines. I’d like to do this again but with a larger sample size. It’s pretty safe to say though that on this day the less expensive wine was identified as inferior to the other wines.

Nebbiolo: An Unsung Hero

Four times a year I belong to a wine club that gets together to have a blind tasting. For those unfamiliar with this, it’s where you taste wines blind.  In our case, we brown bag all the bottles and take turns pouring the wines. Sometimes everyone just brings whatever they want or we have a theme. We score all the wines using the 100 point scale. At the end we tally all the scores and then remove the bags to reveal what was poured. This past weekend we got together and the theme was the Nebbiolo grape, our first time having a dedicated meeting to wines made from this grape.

For those of you unfamiliar with the grape, let me fill you in. Nebbiolo was made famous in the Piedmont region of Italy. Although not the most widely planted grape in the region (the workhorse Barbara grape has that claim), it is by far the most famous. It makes the distinctive wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, which some people actually think are the grape names but they would be wrong. Unlike the United States, old world grape producing countries like France, Italy and Spain categorize their wines by region instead of the grape. So a Red Bordeaux from France, for example, could be Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc or any other grapes used to make red wine. The Barolo and Barbaresco regions are only allowed to make red wines from Nebbiolo, so we always know what the grape is. The same can’t be said for the rest of the Piedmont region though. The grape is grown in other regions outside of Italy but unlike other grapes that have found popularity in other parts of the world, this one has not.

The Nebbiolo grape produces very distinct wines. These red wines are typically lighter in color but get more orange as they age. Nebbiolo has a very pronounced tar scent and flavor, which evolves as it ages. Typically they don’t even start getting good until about 10 years of age but these are some of the longest lived red wines in the world because they can be very tannic. Drinking a 30 year old Barolo is an unforgettable experience because there really is nothing out there like it because Nebbiolo is so distinctive. It is often compared to Burgundy but not because of the aromas or flavors but because of structure of the wine and the region.

Now that I’ve given you some background information onto the wines! We tasted 5 wines that night. All wines below are in the order tasted.

nebbiolo-wine-tasting-042316

Wine 1 – 1998 Vallana Gattinara – Off to a good start. For an 18 year old wine this wasn’t showing any obvious signs of aging. The nose on this was very nice with the classic tar aroma along with roses and cherry. For flavors, this had some nice raspberry, tar, tomato and tobacco with again no real signs of aging. Had a lot of fruit but a tad more elegant than the other wines that night. Maybe that was a sign? The wines ended with a nice finish of about 25 seconds that played on the fruit and tar theme. Tannins were there but not overwhelming, probably because I decanted this for 4 hours. Yes this was the wine I brought and Gattinara is located in Northern Piedmont. I gave it 92 points and it finished tied for last place.

Wine 2 – 2009 Villadoria Barolo – This wine’s nose was a touch bigger than the last wine and more complex. Had some nice aromas of cherry (more intense than the last wine), tomato leaf, roses and earth. I found this to be more tannic than Wine 1 but was still showing quite nicely. Flavors of earth, tobacco and cherry really stood out here. Like the first wine, the finish was about 25 seconds. I gave this an extra point because the nose was a touch more complex. So 93 points and it finished tied for last.

Wine 3 – 2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco – What immediately struck me about this wine was the biggest nose yet. A big aroma of cherry just jumped out of the glass with secondary aromas of lavender and cedar. The funny thing on this was besides the big blast of cherry, Wine 2 still had the more complex nose for me. Once tasted, it was easy to see that this wine was just a baby. Flavors of tar, cherry earth and a touch of spice danced across my palate. My wife brought this wine and it was also decanted for 4 hours. Definitely tasted good but only just starting to realize its potential. I gave it 92 points and it finished in 3rd on the night.

Wine 4 – 2005 Cascina Bruciata Barbaresco – This wine changed things up a bit on the nose with a very prominent matchstick aroma but familiar cherry, tar and roses. It’s tough when you have all the same grape and basically the same region because they share a lot of similarities. You could tell that this was starting to tie things together on the palate with again cherry and tar but more raspberry flavors as well as game mixed in. It ended with a 30 second finish that just eclipsed all the other wines. This was well structured and edges the other wines out along with Wine 2 as my favorites of the night. I gave this 93 points and it finished tied for 1st.

Wine 5 – 2010 Massolino Barolo – The final wine of the night was another strong showing. More aromas of cherry, tar, game and roses danced across the nose. Similar to the last wine, this had some nice cherry, raspberry, game and tar flavors. The finish was a touch shorter than Wine 4 but this was a excellent wine. Massolino is a very strong name in Barolo and it’s not surprising to see this wine finish strong. 2010 was one of the best vintages in probably the last 15 years in Barolo. The other 4 wines were all over the place in other members scores but this wine was consistent which is why it finished tied for 1st. I gave it 92 points.

Overall, this was one of our strongest meetings in recent memory. Typically we usually have one wine that shines above the rest with a few outliers people don’t like as much. The average score for each wine was over 90 points and I can’t remember that ever happening. Nebbiolo tends to be on the more expensive side with the average price to entry around $30, which is more expensive than most other grapes. On the flip side, for $50-$75 you can really get some top wines from the grape/region where you would be spending well over $100 or even $200 in places like Napa Valley or Bordeaux. If you have never had a chance to try this grape now is the time with a lot of 2010’s still widely available and if you see anything older make sure to jump on it.

For Wine, Temperature is Everything

You’ve just selected that delicious special occasion bottle out at one of your favorite restaurants. The bottle is going to go perfectly with the appetizers you’ve selected. You have had this bottle before so your no stranger to it. The server comes by with the bottle, runs through the usual ceremony of presenting the bottle and let’s you try the wine to insure it is sound. You quickly give the glass a quick swirl and test the nose but your not getting anything. Not usual but by no means a sign of a flawed wine. You then take a sip. The big lively flavors of this California Chardonnay seem sound but muted. The wine is not exploding on your mouth with the pineapple, mango and marshmallow that you’ve had in the past. Your left scratching your head as to what is wrong. Finally, the last few sips it starts tasting like how you remembered it.

Has anyone had this happen to them? Then you are a victim of someone serving you a wine at the wrong temperature. Unfortunately this is something that happens all too often and a lot of people don’t realize what the problem is. Temperature in wine might seem like a trivial thing, but if you spend good money on a bottle of wine you don’t want anything but an enjoyable wine drinking experience when you open it.

I have especially found this issue to be the case with Chardonnay where wine drinkers commonly drink it too cold. Now the unoaked versions are ok to drink colder. They typically aren’t as fat as their oaked counterparts and they have a lighter body. So if they are served a little colder it doesn’t effect the wine. But oaked Chardonnay needs that warmer temperature to really express itself. When served colder the nose can shut down and the flavors can be muted.  On the flip side, the wine served too warm can seem flabby and more alcoholic. So you can see how important it is to get temperature right.

Now if your at home and cognizant of the issue, the problem is an easy fix. Either stick the bottle in the fridge or give it time to warm up. If your a dedicated wine drinker, you can look to invest in something like this. But let’s say your getting wine by the glass in a restaurant. Then you have a problem. Everyone wants an optimal glass of wine when your suppose to be enjoying yourself. A step to the prevent this is just simple awareness on the restaurants part. The easy solution to the problem is keeping different coolers at different temperatures. The last resort is pouring any wine that needs to warm up first and letting it sit while getting other things for the table. It would be similar if the wine needs a chill to bring the temperature down.

Here is some guidelines from my experience for the most popular grapes:

White
Riesling 43°-47°
Sparkling Wine 45°
Sauvignon Blanc 47°-52° Unoaked versions I like closer to 47°, oaked versions 52°.
Chardonnay 50°-55° Unoaked versions I like closer to 50°, oaked versions 55°.

Red
Pinot Noir  55°-61° Almost always on the warmer side of this range but a nice chill can be refreshing in the Summer.
Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 63°-64°
Syrah 64°

A tool I use at home and find helpful is a digital thermometer. Here is a link to one that I have used before that is inexpensive.

Finally, these are typically the norm but everyone has there personal preferences. While you can’t make everyone happy, sticking to the above guidelines should cater to most wine drinkers.

Champagne for the New Year!

Everyone always thinks of Champagne for celebrations. Weddings, birthdays, promotions, but New Year’s Eve is where everyone can get in on the action! We always stock a nice selection of sparkling wine to meet any of your needs. We also offer it chilled for your convenience! Here are 5 great selections we have in house that are perfect for New Year’s Eve!

Segura Viudas Cava

NV Sigura Viudas Brut Cava $9.99

One of the best values for sparkling wine comes from Spain! Cava is the Spanish equivalent of Champagne but it’s typically a fraction of the cost! This cava offers some delicious flavors for only $9.99! Quality like this in Champagne would start at $40! We have been stocking this for years and it never disappoints! Find out why!

Korbe; Champagne Extra Dry

NV Korbel California Sparkling Wine Extra Dry or Brut $12.99 (Connecticut Bottle Minimum)

Always reliable, Korbel is typically widely available and we have it for the CT bottom min, meaning you can’t find it any cheaper than this in Connecticut by state law. If your looking for something that tastes good, is easy drinking, affordable and not have to think too much about, this is the wine for you!

Mumm Brut Prestige Napa Valley

NV Mumm Brut Prestige Napa Valley $19.99

Mumm does an excellent job in their Napa Valley venture of providing a delicious and complex sparkling wine. This is consistently a favorite of Wine Spectator and appeared on their Top 100 Wines of 2014.

Wine Spectator 91 Points

“Packs in a lot of complexity, with aromas of apple, fresh ginger and rubber that lead to crisp and layered flavors of raspberry and spice. Drink now.”

Vollereaux Champagne Brut

NV Vollereaux Champagne Brut $31.99

When Champagne is done right there is really no better sparkling wine in the world. The Vollereaux is something we have stocked for years and is always on the money. Costs less than both Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot but is better than both in my opinion. Here’s the last time is was reviewed in Wine Spectator.

Wine Spectator 92 points

“Rich and refined, with layers of pear pastry, black cherry, hazelnut, lemon cream, honey and floral notes. A spicy thread of minerality winds through this wine, as does the precise and seamlessly integrated acidity.”

2002 Dom Perignon

2002 Dom Perignon Champagne Brut $189.99

For those looking for a New Year’s splurge, look no further than the 2002 Dom Perignon. I’ve had this wine several times and it is just an unbelievable Champagne, truthfully one of the best I’ve ever had. 2002 was an excellent year and this one is going to go down as one of the all time greats for Dom Perignon. Other vintages are available. Call for pricing and availability.

Wine Spectator 95 Points

“A rich and smoky Champagne in a graceful package, with a beautiful, fine-grained texture to it and layers of flavor—biscuit, candied lemon peel, coffee liqueur, chamomile, pine, crystallized honey and wood smoke. This is the haute couture of the Champagne world—all about elegance, texture and attention to detail.”

Wine Advocate 96 Points

“The 2002 Dom Perignon is at first intensely floral, with perfumed jasmine that dominates the bouquet. With time in the glass the wine gains richness as the flavors turn decidedly riper and almost tropical. Apricots, passion fruit and peaches emerge from this flashy, opulent Dom Perignon. The wine’s volume makes it approachable today, but readers in search of more complexity will want to cellar this for at least a few years to allow for some of the baby fat to drop off. Geoffroy describes the vintage as very ripe and adds that some of the Chardonnay showed the ill-effects of the hot growing season in the somewhat burned, dehydrated fruit that came in that year.”

That Perfect Bottle of Wine for the Holidays!

Oxford Liquor Shoppe can’t take the stress out of the holidays. But we can take the stress out of finding that perfect bottle of wine. Whether a gift for someone special, something to compliment dinner or just something to sip on, Oxford Liquor Shoppe has what your looking for. Here are some great inexpensive bottles of red wine and one white we have in stock that are great for the holidays! We even tells you what it pairs with!

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2013 Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills (H3) Cabernet Sauvignon $13.99

A perennial favorite, The H3 packs big, juicy Cabernet flavors into a fantastic price point. Bottles like this from California cost three times what this costs. A real steal for the money!

Wine Spectator 91 Points

“Supple, focused and distinctive, with a core of ripe plum, currant, sage and floral flavors, mingling effectively and harmoniously on the long, expressive finish. The tannins are nicely shaped. Drink now through 2020.”

Pairs with Steak, Venison, Aged Cheddar Cheese, Lamb

Cabernet

2013 Columbia Winery Cabernet Sauvignon $13.99

Not to be confused with Columbia Crest, Columbia Winery also hails from Washington but presents a different Cabernet Sauvignon. While the H3 has that big upfront fruit, this shows more balance and is made in a more classical style. While still having nice fruit, earthy flavors balance it out to present a nice contrast to the H3.

Wine Spectator 90 Points

“This dense and focused red plays its coffee and mineral-accented blackberry flavors against a blanket of fine tannins, coming together smoothly on the purposeful finish. Best from 2016 through 2019.”

Pairs with Steak, Venison, Aged Cheddar Cheese, Lamb

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2013 Meiomi Pinot Noir Monterey-Sonoma-Santa Barbara Counties $19.99

Year in and year out the Meiomi delivers the goods and the 2013 may be the best yet! Big, rich, pure Pinot flavors dance across your palate and are mesmerizing. One of the easiest bottles to drink because the tannins are so soft and it goes down so easy. Unless your an old school idealist, your going to love the Meiomi!

Wine Spectator 92 Points / #20 on Top 100 Wines of 2015

“Rich yet medium-weight, offering an exciting interplay of berry, oak, earth and spice notes, with subtle edges to the blueberry, raspberry, mocha and fresh-turned earth flavors. Ends with an aftertaste of melted black licorice. Drink now through 2020.”

Pairs with Pork, Roast Chicken, Turkey, Salmon

2010-Bodega-Classica-Hacienda-Lopez-de-Haro-Crianza

2010 Bodega Classica Hacienda Lopez de Haro Crianza $9.99

Speaking of old world wines, this is classic old world style Rioja! Not the fruit driven wine like the H3, this mixes more mature red fruits with more earthy flavors for a elegant, nuanced wine.

Wine Advocate 91 Points

“The 2010 Hacienda Lopez de Haro Crianza feels quite classical in its style, lightly-colored, with clean red spicy fruit, a touch of leather and a polished, soft palate that makes it very pleasant and easy to drink. At this price level this wine is a steal! Drink 2014-2018.”

Pairs with Pizza, Bolognese Sauce, Parmesan Cheese and Pork

2013 Byron Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

2013 Byron Chardonnay Santa Barbara County $14.99

The list would not be complete without a white wine and figured we should stick to the most popular white grape: Chardonnay. Byron has always turned out beautiful Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but they introduced the Santa Barbara County line a few years ago and it presents a nice entry level price point. This Chardonnay is a great value and if this came from Napa or Sonoma it would cost twice as much! Displaying classic Chardonnay flavors, this uses the right amount of oak to please the people that like it and the people that don’t.

Wine Advocate 90 Points

“A smoking value that’s made in serious quantities, the 2013 Chardonnay Santa Barbara County has classic stone fruits, white peach, white flowers and classy oak/vanilla notes in a medium-bodied, supple, elegant and fruit-forward style. Fermented and aged half in tank and half in neutral barrel, it’s a no-brainer Chardonnay to enjoy over the coming couple of years.”

Pairs with Lobster, Roast Chicken, Brei and Salmon

Stop by the store at 19 Oxford Rd in Oxford, CT to see these and other great selections. Our in house Sommelier can tailor something to your specific needs so come by and say hello!

Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2015 Available at Oxford Liquor Shoppe!

At the end of every year, Wine Spectator comes out with their Top 100 Wines of the Year. Once the wines are announced, there typically is a mad dash to obtain these wines. The Wine of the Year instantly becomes very hard to find and goes up in value. Some people say it might be a little over-hyped and there are plenty of good wines not on the list but one thing that can’t be denied is the wines on the list are all high quality wines.  The list contains a nice variety of red wine, white wine, sparkling wine and dessert wine as well as a good balance between imported wine and domestic, including selections outside of California. Oxford Liquor Shoppe has done a good job over the years bringing in these wines, most of the time we have these in stock before the list is announced.  For the last few years we have been posting what wines we have in stock from the current year’s list as well as wines we may have from a previous years list.

Top 100 Wines of 2015

#16 2009 Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Port Score 93 Price $22.99

“Dense and rich, with amply spiced flavors of ripe dark plum and cherry compote. Mineral notes emerge midpalate, leading to a lush, chocolate-filled finish. A fresh and engaging style. Drink now.”

#20 2013 Meiomi Pinot Noir Score 92 Price $19.99

“Rich yet medium-weight, offering an exciting interplay of berry, oak, earth and spice notes, with subtle edges to the blueberry, raspberry, mocha and fresh-turned earth flavors. Ends with an aftertaste of melted black licorice. Drink now through 2020.”

#21 2014 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Score 93 Price $29.99

“Stylish and generous, exhibiting a complex array of flavors, from white grapefruit and lemon curd to candied ginger, lemon verbena, honeysuckle and lime zest. Achieves elegance, power and refreshment in lovely harmony. Drink now.”

#29 2014 Tenshen White Santa Barbara County Score 92 Price $19.99

“This is lush and powerful, offering fleshy peach and apricot flavors at the core, with plenty of aromatic highlights, including orange blossom and honeysuckle. The texture is appealingly smooth and mouthwatering, with the complex details gaining momentum on the finish, where this reveals hints of dried spice and matcha green tea. Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Chardonnay. Drink now through 2020.”

#35 2013 Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros Score 93 Price $38.99

“A creamy-textured, charming style that’s easy to drink yet is deceptively complex and layered, with a mix of vanilla-scented oak and vibrant peach, nectarine, honeydew and apricot flavors. Long on the finish. Drink now.”

#36 2013 Bodegas Godeval Valdeorras Viña Godeval Cepas Vellas Score 92 Price $17.99

“This alluring white delivers a broad range of flavors in a pillowy texture, while crisp, well-integrated acidity maintains the focus. Melon, coconut, spice and smoke flavors mingle harmoniously on the plush palate. The mineral element is fresh and long. Godello. Drink now through 2018.”

#38 2012 Solena Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Grand Cuvee Score 92 Price $24.99

“Sleek, lithe and inviting, with juicy cherry, black cherry and gentle spice flavors that glide quickly over polished tannins into a long and vivid finish. This has presence, harmony, depth and persistence. Best from 2016 through 2022.”

#78 2012 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Score 91 Price $29.99

“Exhibits ripe and juicy yet firm flavors of currant and blackberry amid a gravelly earthiness before finding focus on the finish, where the tannins are chewy, revealing a licorice touch. Drink now through 2025.”

Past Glories Still Available

Top 100 Wines of 2014

#16 2012 Two Hands Shiraz Bella’s Garden Score 95 Price $79.99

“Utterly seamless, focused, powerful and elegant, layered with cherry, boysenberry and red plum fruit, revealing glints of coffee, jasmine and cardamom that add extra nuances. Delivers complexity without extra weight. The finish won’t quit. Drink now through 2022.”

#43 2013 Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling Score 91 Price $12.99

“Crisp and sleek, with juicy, expansive nectarine and peach flavors that play against citrusy acidity, finishing with zing and a sense of softness that lets the finish keep singing. Drink now through 2020. 128,806 cases made.

#54 N.V. Mumm Napa Brut Napa Valley Prestige Score 91 Price $22.99

“Packs in a lot of complexity, with aromas of apple, fresh ginger and rubber that lead to crisp and layered flavors of raspberry and spice. Drink now. 173,000 cases made.

#78 2012 Acrobat Pinot Noir Score 90 Price $18.99

“The crisp tannins and sleek structure give the up-front blackberry, currant and floral spice flavors good lift, coming together smoothly on the persistent finish. Drink now through 2016. 38,000 cases made.”

Top 100 Wines of 2008

#65 Bodegas Muga 2004 Rioja Reserva Score 91 Points Price $39.99

“Focused and balanced, this vivacious red delivers black cherry, mineral, mint and citrus peel flavors, with firm but well-integrated tannins and a fresh, floral finish. Drink now through 2012. 4,000 cases imported.”

Top 100 Wines of 2007


#7 Robert Mondavi 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve Score 95 Points Price $102.99

“Weaves together a complex array of ripe, rich currant, anise, smoky oak and black cherry. Dense, concentrated and persistent, with great depth and focus. Ends with an amazingly long, richly flavored finish. Best from 2008 through 2018.”

Top 100 Wines of 2002

#37 Rosemont 1999 Syrah McLaren Vale Balmoral Score 93 Points Price $32.99

“A bit more aristocratic than most Aussie Shirazes, this one strikes a beautiful chord of rich blackberry and currant fruit, hinting at anise and pepper. Has a fleshy frame, with sweet spicy notes darting in and out through the long, harmonious finish. Drink now through 2010. 10,000 cases made.”

Great Wines for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around food. Easter has the Easter Bunny, Valentine’s Day has romance and Christmas has Santa Claus of course but Thanksgiving is about that turkey. And that turkey is only going in one place! In the store, we get more questions about what pairs with this meal more than any other holiday. Come Christmas time, it is typically about getting a special bottle as a gift. Luckily, Oxford Liquor Shoppe has just what you’re looking for with four great recommendations to pair with your turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes.

Turkey is a rather neutral white meat. It’s not too fatty and pairs with a wide selection of wines. Here are four wines, in stock, that won’t over-complicate things starting from the lightest to heaviest.

1. Mumm Napa N.V. Brut Napa Valley Prestige $19.99

This is Mumm’s Napa Valley operation and it is turning out fabulous, affordable sparkling wines. We have carried this wine for many years and it never disappoints. Sparkling wines are great to pair with foods because they are very versatile so they pair with a wide variety of things. Here the flavors of raspberry and spice pair nicely with the sweeter dishes like candied yams, but compliment a blander meat like turkey just as well.

2. Dr. Loosen 2014 Dr. L Riesling $10.99

This German Riesling is a mainstay for us, and also one of Dave’s favorites. An incredible value for only $10.99, think of this wine similar to what cranberry sauce brings out in that turkey dinner. That mixture of sweetness to stick out between the turnips, mashed potatoes and turkey. The great thing about the Dr. L is it’s amazing consistency throughout the years. Count on flavors of apple and peach but wait for that kick of mineral on the finish, a feature other regions of the world have found hard to replicate in their Rieslings.

3. Byron 2013 Chardonnay Santa Barbara County $14.99

This selection just arrived a month ago. Santa Barbara is quickly becoming the go-to region for delicious affordable California Chardonnays. Byron’s is heavy enough to go perfectly with that turkey, complimenting the meat with flavors of stone fruits and vanilla. The wine is aged half in tank and half in neutral oak barrels, so that the oak doesn’t overpower this wine, thereby wiping out the turkey.

4. Solena 2012 Pinot Noir Grande Cuvee $24.99

I’ve always said that it’s tough to find a good Pinot Noir under $20. The Solena 2012 Grande Curvee Pinot Noir is a little over that, but will deliver on its premium pricing if you’re willing to splurge. Pinot Noir is not a tannic wine, making it one of the only red wines that pair well with lighter white meats. The Solena is juicy with jammy cherry and spice flavors that sing over the more moderate Thanksgiving palette. Oregon is a very hot right now because it is a nice middle ground for lovers of Burgundy and California Pinot Noir.

Oxford Lions Club Wine, Beer and Food Fest Coming September 19th!

Oxford Lions Club

Wine, Beer & Food Fest

September 21, 2013 / 5:00-8:00PM

Oxford Lions Club Pavilion at Jackson Cover Park

26 Jackson Cover Road, Oxford, CT 06478

Ticket $10.00 per person – Purchased in Advance / $15.00 at the Door

Oxford Liquor Shoppe will be participating in a Wine, Beer and Food Fest on September 19th. The event details are contained in the flier above for anyone interested. Dave (the owner), Oxford Liquor’s own Sommelier, Matthew Slywka, and representatives from our local distributors will be on hand to pour and discuss wines at the event. There will be a live band as well as two food trucks and 1 dessert truck. Come out to support this fun night!

For additional info and to purchase tickets contact Bill Lund or any Oxford Lions Club Member:

Tel: (203) 881-5572

Email: wlund@firstworld.com

 

Tasting Notes of 4 Wines from our Summer Wine Club Meeting

SEYMOUR WINE CLUB MEETING 8/8/15

The theme for our Summer meeting was Summer whites. Some pretty affordable, delicious, easy drinking wines that are sure to please in the warmer weather. All wines tasted blind and listed in order.

  • NV Vollereaux Champagne Brut – France, Champagne
    Tasted blind. Aromas of toast, cream, slate and mineral led to flavors of toast, cream and lime. Compared to Moet Imperial or Veuve Clicquot, this is a much better wine in my opinion and cheaper. Ended with a mineral driven finish. This wine won wine of the night. (92 pts.) In Stock
  • 2013 Viña Godeval Valdeorras – Spain, Galicia, Valdeorras
    Tasted blind. This wine was a little perplexing to me blind. Took me a while to get my head around. Aromas of pear, peach and mineral on the nose led to flavors of peach, sour apple and starfruit. Had a tropical fruit thing going on. I finally decided on Spain but I thought it might have been a blend. (91 pts.) In Stock
  • 2013 Domaine Daniel Pollier Pouilly-Fuissé Les Perrières – France, Burgundy, Mâconnais, Pouilly-Fuissé
    Tasted blind. Nose had aromas of mineral, grass and wet stone. Palate had flavors of lemon, mineral and starfruit. This struck me as very French. Thought I had this pegged as a French Sauvignon Blanc. I was a little off. (90 pts.)
  • 2013 Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Bernkasteler Badstube am Doctorberg Riesling Spätlese – Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    Tasted blind. A big contrast from the first 3 wines since it was sweet. Nose of apple, wet stone and mineral. Apple was really prominent though. The palate had apple, pear, mineral and a touch of tangerine. Ended with a very nice finish of about 20-25 seconds. (92 pts.)

Interesting to see 4 different mineral themes running through 4 very different wines. Starting to realize I really prefer my sweet German wines with age on them. For me, it really integrates better and adds nuance to the wines. Overall, a very enjoyable meeting. __________________

Tasting Notes on 4 Wines from our Wine Club Meeting

SEYMOUR WINE CLUB MEETING 5/30/15

Our Spring meeting was an open meeting so members could bring whatever food and wine that they wanted. Turned out to be quite an interesting spread. For food, I brought some Fried Calamari, then we had grilled steak and elk, smoked salmon and some cheese and crackers. The wines were all good, although nothing really stood above the pack.

  • 2014 Montinore Estate Pinot Gris – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Tasted blind. This was the first wine served and I was convinced it was a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Aromas of grapefruit, kiwi and lime led to a strong flavors of grapefruit on the palate. A nice wine but kid of a one trick pony with the dominant grapefruit flavor. This was also served way too warm. Didn’t have a complexity to merit a higher score although to say some people liked this more than me is an understatement since it won wine of the night and it came in forth for me. (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Philippe Leclerc Bourgogne Les Bons Bâtons – France, Burgundy, Bourgogne
    Tasted blind. I brought this an immediately knew what it was. Decanted it for 2 hours. This had aromas of tea, cherry, raspberry and a hint of earth. Got some more tea with flavors of cherry, earth and mushroom on the palate. Ended with a decent cherry, mineral and earth finish. Seemed kind of tight still but had some the next day and it had not budged. Would be curious to see where this goes in a few years. (89 pts.)
  • 2008 Castello della Paneretta Chianti Classico Riserva – Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
    Tasted blind. Tried this and identified it as a Chianti so I was pretty proud of myself. Aromas of dried cherry, leather, raspberry and rose petal on the nose. This had flavors of cherry, black olive, earth and tar that ended with a nice 20 second finish. My favorite wine of the night. I thought this was really drinking great for what it was. (91 pts.)
  • 2013 William Fèvre Chablis Champs Royaux – France, Burgundy, Chablis
    Tasted blind. The last wine tasted and maybe the most intriguing. Aromas of slate, pear and apple on the nose. I got some sweeter fruit on the nose but the palate was just the opposite. Flavors of starfruit, hint of pear, mineral and slate. Bone dry. I was kind of thinking Riesling but not really. Perplexed. Seem to have trouble identifying these lately. When the bag came off it all made sense. This is really nice for the money. (90 pts.)