Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

Read about the wines in this tasting

Read our notes

Two Tastings, One Low Price - Free

.... The heavens roared. The leaden skies flashed electric white. Rain streamed, a deluge. But naught deter loyal Federalistas. Rain soaked, wind driven, they were drawn by the wines' promise and came in their multitudes.
August 2, 2017

They found solace and reward in the twelve wines. Last Week's Tastings: 


Our Front Cellar: France
Bon Soiree sans Bonjour


            We promised Chris Bonjour, but he was felled by an internal lightning bolt, to a nerve in his back (he has recovered nicely) His importer Joe Nardone ably took his place. Joe presented three pairs of wines:

            Sancerre from Alphonse Mellot  appeared in two renditions, the more usual white from Sauvignon Blanc and the deliciously less usual rose from Pinot Noir. Both were from the assertive 2016 vintage, which favored the rose for easy accessibility. The white, a vigorous, powerful wine, needs to be with food which was not at the tasting. Try it with any seafood from oysters to cod.

            The next pair drew lots of love. A white burgundy, the 2014 Decelle Villa Meursault was powerful in itself with assertive acids bolstered by generous oak and the piquancy to make it unmistakably Meursault. It grew and expanded more and more through the tasting, which promises a good life ahead of it.

             The 2009 Ch. Jean Faure St. Emilion was instantly gratifying upon opening. It plants itself smoothly in the more modern style of Bordeaux, with no hard edges and  sleek richness on the palate. Tasters particularly liked the well integrated cinnamon and pipe tobacco notes  from its dominant Cabernet Franc.

             The two Mas Amiel wines were the surprise. The white 2012 Mas Amiel Altair, made mostly from Grenache's more sensuous Gris clone, was rather hard at the beginning of the tasting, but came together very nicely more toward the end. It delighted a wine-loving friend to whom I brought the bottle that night. 2012 is the current vintage. It's long evolution once opened shows an age-worthiness like that of more famous southern whites like Hermitage or Ch. Simone. at $30, it's a bargain compared to them.

             The 2010 Mas Amiel Maury Reserve attracted the largest buys of the tasting. It is Grenache lightly fortified and aged into a wine much like Banyuls or a tawny port, but not so heavy or sweet. Many second tastes and orders followed from people who will drink it it as aperitif or with soda over ice. Don't tell Chris Bonjour I said that last.



2016 Alphonse Mellot Sancerre La Moussiere; Aroma: heady rather dense mineral,  clean acidity ; Mouth: fleshy  full, fat ripe fruit ripe lemon grapefruit, rich, a melon note, good drive; Very Good - Excellent 32; Mixed Case, 28.8; Case, 27.2

2014 Decelle-Villa Meursault Nose, pears and baking spice, nice underlying wood. Mouth: Pear again with strong wood notes, creamy texture, a nice combination of richness and verve, balanced and complete Very Good - Excellent  $55; Mixed Case, 49.5; Case, 46.75

2012 Mas Amiel Altair Blanc Bettane & Desseauve: "A remarkable success which reflects the spice and  honey notes of the Maccabeu grape but with power, foundation and length. This is exactly the sort of wine that makes us optimistic about the appellation." $32; Mixed Case, 28.8; Case, 27.2



2016 Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Moussiere Rose; Color: very pale orange pink; Aroma: light fresh clean , very pretty fine,  finely elegant rather rich; Mouth: subdued ripe notes, rather full,  pretty & fine,  satisfying  ripe dark fruit focussed structure; Very Good Plus 27.99; Mixed Case, 25.19; Case, 23.79



2009 Ch. Jean Faure Bettane "Black fruit embellished with floral touches, elegant and fresh in the mouth,very much in the Cheval Blanc style."

Robert Parker "Roasted herbs that remind me of Provence intermixed with sweet kirsch, damp earth, spice box and a hint of background oak jump from the glass of this dense, plum/ruby/purple-colored wine. Ripe, low in acidity, nicely textured and round, this is another wine to drink over the next decade."

$59; Mixed Case, 53.10; Case, 50.15



2010 Mas Amiel Maury Reserve  " Cassis, forest floor and tobacco evoke an almost Bordeaux-Cabernet nose. The mouth also invokes cigar, very smoky a little drawing founded in beautiful equilibrium of oriental spices. This is excellent Maury." 

$39; Mixed Case, 35.10; Case, 33.15

The Mellot wines are in stock. Meursault, Jean Faure and Mas Amiel will arrive toward the end of the week


In Our Back Cellar:  Italy
Negro Lorenzo Tasting

Peter writes,

             Tasters found out last week that Lorenzo Negro is very serious about producing fine wine the right way. Daniele, his friend and associate, explained the wines and the winery in perfect English.

             We began with the 2011 Negro Lorenzo Roero Arneis Spumante, a new concept for the Roero region. The wine is champagne method sparkling wine made with Arneis grapes. People who drink sparkling wine really liked it. People who do not quickly moved on. The next wine was the perfectly ready to drink 2015 Negro Lorenzo Roero Arneis. Many commented on the  luxurious mix of fruit flavors balanced by nutty acidity.

             We began the reds with the 2015 Negro Lorenzo Langhe Dolcetto. Everyone seemed to like this one. This is good because my efforts to promote Dolcetto seem to be gaining some traction. Not every taster is like Michael E, who says he approaches Dolcetto with a Will Rogers attitude; “I never met a Dolcetto I didn’t like”. Daniele explained that this is the “everyday” wine of Piedmont so it has to be very versatile and very likable. The 2009 Negro Lorenzo Barbera d’Alba Superiore La Nanda  was really well appreciated by the Barbera enthusiasts in the group. It showed ready to drink now and with plenty of life left. Daniele commented that Lorenzo is very keen on getting the fruit/acidity balance just right. Success.

            The 2009 Negro Lorenzo Bonarda/Nebbiolo Riserva L’Arbesca was a challenge as it is principally made with Bonarda, a grape no one had ever tasted before. Most who went back for  a second taste came away liking this one a lot. The nutty black pepper character was pretty dramatic. The 2009 Negro Lorenzo Roero Nebbiolo Riserva San Francesco. As usual, with Nebbiolo vs other grape varietals, this became the favorite. There were numerous comments about the complexity and balance and even more about the value.

             We would like to thank Daniele for joining us and leading such a fine tasting. 



2015 Negro Lorenzo Roero Arneis:  Deep straw, gold highlights. Aromas and flavors of ripe pear, apple, apricot and almond with a jazz note of citrus.  Very Good Plus  21; Mixed Case, 18.9; Case, 17.85 



2011 Negro Lorenzo Roero Arneis Spumante:  Bright straw. Pear and lime dominate with crisp balancing acidity and dried flowers. Persistent small bubbles and clean finish.  Very Good Plus Plus  32/bottle



2015 Negro Lorenzo Langhe Dolcetto: Deep ruby, purple highlights. Juicy and earthy aromas and flavors with a touch of very pleasant bitterness in the finish with moderate tannin.  Very Good Plus  21; Mixed Case, 18.9; Case, 17.85

2009 Negro Lorenzo Barbera d’Alba Superiore La Nanda:  Deep ruby. Rich plum fruit, moderate spice and bright acidity. Full body with layered texture and balanced finish. Very Very Good Plus  26.99; Mixed Case, 24.29; Case, 22.94 

2009 Negro Lorenzo Bonarda/Nebbiolo Riserva l’Arbesca: Bright ruby. Violets, cherries and spice with an overlay of white flowers, black pepper and sweet almond. Medium to full body and long finish.  Very Good Plus Plus   26.99; Mixed Case, 24.29; Case, 22.94

2009 Negro Lorenzo Roero Nebbiolo  Riserva San Lorenzo: Bright ruby. Classic aromas of roses, dark cherry and spice with a pleasant deep silky tannin structure. Very long balanced finish. Ready now and will continue to age well.  Very Good to Excellent  29.99; Mixed Case, 26.99; Case, 25.49


All wines from both tastings assort for 15% off on 12 bottles or more, 10% off on 6 to 11


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