Wine Wednesday: Hey-ey-ey, Txakolina! Edition


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Two of my go-to sources for wine information in town are Will Motley at Woodland Wine Merchant and Paul Patel and his crew of "cork dorks" at Midtown Wine and Spirits. So when I noticed that both of them had suggested the same couple of wines recently, I knew I'd better check them out.

The first intersection between their Venn diagrams was a really nice inexpensive red wine from Portugal called Quinta do Cabriz Dao Red. At about 10 bucks a bottle, this wine has quickly become one of the house reds in Casa de Chamberlain. Much bolder and well-developed than the price tag might indicate, the Quinta do Cabriz has plenty of berry flavor to nicely counteract the tannins that contribute its backbone. The terroir of the Dão region of Portugal is heavily influenced by the vast amounts of granite in the soil, and the minerality definitely shows through in this wine.

It's cheap enough to buy by the case for home use, but also interesting enough to share with friends or take along as a gift to the hosts of a party. (Providing of course that the hosts don't read Bites and realize that you're giving them such a cheap bottle.)

The second wine that both Will and Paul pointed me to was the 2009 Ameztoi Txakolina, a unique white wine from the Basque region of Spain.

The light and crisp wine Txakoli (possibly pronounced something like "cha-co-lee") is traditional in the region. It's bottled with some residual carbonation, which provides a delightful bit of effervescence to the sip. The primary grape is Hondarribi Zurri, an indigenous variety that I don't believe I've ever had the chance to experience before. It's truly a locals' wine, and you can imagine happy Spaniards sipping on Ameztoi Txakolina in a seaside bar while they enjoy plate after plate of delicious tapas and seafood dishes. This wine is bottled jealousy.

Flowery on the nose and with a mild taste of citrus and honeysuckle, Ameztoi Txakolina will only get better as the weather gets warmer. At about $20 per bottle, it's not exactly a cheap "pool pounder," but it will an excellent addition to any summer party. Stock up now.

Speaking of Will and Woodland, he has recently started up a new Woodland Wine Club. Each month Will and his staff will choose two wines that they are excited about, which they describe as "wines we want you to try, wines you might not grab on your own but that we think you’ll love." Through the years, I've learned to trust their judgment and they have rarely if ever steered me wrong. Here are the details on the club:


It’s $49 per month (plus tax). For that price you get two bottles, tasting notes and recipes to pair with the wine. The bottles themselves are valued at least at $50 — often more. Buy in month-to-month, or give a gift of three, six or 12 months.

For March, we're kicking things off with a couple Italian reds.

Tenuta Monteti "Caburnio"
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Alicante Bouschet

Tenuta Monteti is one of the most exciting new properties in the Tuscan coastal region, the Maremma. If central Tuscany is an area bound to tradition, then the Maremma is its more free-wheeling counterpart, with many producers looking beyond Sangiovese and toward Bordeaux for inspiration. Tenuta Monteti is doing some very interesting things in Maremma. The entry-level Caburnio, a French oak-aged blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Alicante Bouschet, expresses plenty of the signature house style of richness woven in a gorgeous fabric of considerable elegance.

Montevertine "Pian del Ciampolo"
Sangiovese, Canaiolo

Montevertine sits in the heart of Chianti. The estate has been in existence since the 11th century, far longer than region's identity. Sergio Manetti, father of current proprietor Martino Manetti, purchased the 10-hectare property in 1967. Sergio left the Chianti consortium in 1981 because of his love for Sangiovese. He decided he didn't agree with the way Chianti was going (too much oak, too much fruit, too many non-native grapes being used), so he decided to simply label his wines as IGT, the generic designation for wines in Italy. Pian del Ciampolo is authentic Tuscan wine and reflects the classic Montevertine style of elegance and complexity.

Sign up now! Email by March 1. Packages will be ready for pickup on Friday, March 2.

Until next week, drink up!


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