Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

Read about the wines in this tasting

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January Red Bargains

Two Part Bargain Tasting
January 18, 2017


Certainly everyone loves a bargain and most of the wines from last week's tasting went like snowballs in July, not January. We have only a few bottles left of the Finca St. Martin Rioja and the Juxtapoz, and about a case and a half of the Mas des Volques.

The low -sulfur 2014 Clos Troteligotte K Pot' Cahors - Malbec started off very strong but faded toward the end of the tasting. Drink soon. The 2013 Liberated Pinot Noir Monterey was perceived as being stronger than in my notes below, certainly good avue, as was the Cabernet from the same producer.

Reliable Concept Wines

Wine producers like to exercise their creativity by coming out with wines they call "concept", sometimes even "high concept." My best guess is that concept has something to do with an artful graphics and/or clever verbiage on the back label, Modesto aspiring to Brooklyn. It is certain that high concept is worth at least an extra $10 in bottle price.

Prior to their moving our distributor found themselves graced with lots of brightly labeled wines, some of which I found well worth our reduced prices.

You can skip the prose morass on the back of the Liberated wines. It is aimed at the Me Me Me Me Millennial generation. Their web site invites the reader to flatter his or herself by donning one or another 'Liberated' avatar; inventor, urban dweller, adventurer etc. to experience one of their wines, descriptions focussed on the roles, not the wines.

Too bad, for under the paper and inside the glass there are some nice little wines well worth our prices. I liked two of their six, a pretty, lighter bodied Monterey Pinot Noir and a spritely fresh Sonoma Cabernet, which tastes like it has some premium Alexander Valley fruit blended in. Both are solid pleasing, easy drinking examples of their grape and region.

2013 Liberated Pinot Noir Monterey Very Good 10.99; Mixed Case, 9.89; Case, 9.34

2012 Liberated Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Very Good 10.99; Mixed Case, 9.89; Case, 9.34

2012 Juxtapoz is a blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, with three quarters from from Napa Valley. Take way the twin artistries of the label and the cleverly substituted Z, there is still the art of of a knowing blender. To my palate its Cabernet and Petite Sirah stand out in a solid mellowed and proportionate blend.

2012 Juxtapoz North Coast Very Good Plus Was $27, Now 19.99; Mixed Case, 17.99

Then there are the more adventuresome European Reds...

Sweet, Mellow Rioja

What can I say? mild and mellow , perfectly mature tempranillo, from a small farm pretty younger vines all Temprnillo estate grown in the higher altitude Rioja Alavesa

2011 Finca San Martin Riohja Crianza Was 15.99, now 13.99; Mixed Case, 12.59

An Ancient Wine from The Middle of Nowhere

The Massif Centrale, is the remnants of a an ancient matrix of volcanic activity between Languedoc and Bordeaux in southern France It is as nowhere as you can be in France with scrub vegetation relieved only by the occasional brightly painted fiberglass dinosaur, more incongruous here in what was more like their native habitat than they were on Rte 1 , from which sadly they are going extinct.

I digress. The volcanoes left the same sort of ashy tint to the soil and the wines that you get on Mt Etna and also the name of the winery and wine, Mas (Farm) des Volques (volcanoes) Volcae (ditto in Latin).

Robert Parker: "This is a side project of Clos St. Jean's oenologist, Nicolas Souchon. A blend of 40% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 30% Carignan, the 2012 Volcae IGP Duche d'Uzes-Cevennes displays rustic, beefy, animal-like notes intermixed with black raspberry and black cherry fruit. With fresh acids, medium body, and an elegant, Pinot Noir-like personality, this easy-going, finesse-styled 2012 can be enjoyed over the next several years."

Mas des Volques Volcae Very Good Plus Was $23, Now 16.99; Mixed Case, 15.29; Case, 14.44 2 cases only left

2014 Clos Troteligotte K Pot' Cahors - Malbec without protection

No.... "Without protection" doesn't mean that. It is sulfur that protects wine. Of course, sulfur's antibacterial qualities come at a price. Some people are allergic, and sulphur puts a lid on the flavor and texture of a wine. I tried this next to a wine that the maker considers to be a step up,. It had a fresh pillowy lushness that the 'better' wine did not. A simple sensuous pleasure.

Two caveats though. To you allergics, low sulfur does not mean no sulfur. No wine is sulfur-free. Some comes up naturally from the soil. Also, this is not a wine to lay down, particularly if you can not store at low temperature. Low sulfite wines are less stable. This is a pleasure to drink now, but don't save it

2014 Clos Troteligotte K Pot' Cahors - Malbec without protection Organic Very Good Plus Was $21 now 16.99 4 cases only left

1/18 Bargain Case: Special, two each of the above wines - $154

Instore only 1/18 Bargain Pack: Special, one each of the above wines - $81

1/18 Concept Case 4 each of the California wines $144

1/18 European Case 4 each of the Spanish & French wines $164


Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: Order@federalwine.com


Please pass this on to any friends who are wine enthusiasts!


           - Len Rothenberg


(c) Federal Wine and Spirits Inc. 2017