Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

Read about the wines in this tasting

Read our notes

Uncommon Grapes, Far Away Places

Customers and visiting growers alike comment that tasting in our cellar is much like tasting in a winery's. Not only are we as unadorned, but especially in winter somewhat cold. That affected the progress of last week's tasting.
January 31, 2018


To begin with the white Jura was a favorite of nearly everybody. Rich and spicy, it satisfied the universal desire for fruit, but had enough zingy acidity to complement many a seafood dish.

        The 2014 Domaine des Terrisses Gaillac Terres Originelles, a blend all of Braucol and Malbec -like Prunelart was multidimensional and complex, with mood-accented flavors that gave it a great degree of complexity for its price. it completely overshadowed the single variety Prunelart.

Close behind came the tannat-dominant Irouleguy .it took a long time to open, but then showed a lot of rich depth, Of albeit with less complexity then the Gaillac.

           The two Italian wines 2015 Di Francesco Gasperi Fumin Vallee d’Aoste,  and2013 Azienda Agricole Reale Cardamone showed themselves more lithe and with greater finesse then the French wines. Both had a higher toned sweet cherry fruit with the Cardamone being a little bit richer and fuller. In the early part of the tasting they were overshadowed by the heavier French wines but later on opened up and withstood the cold much better. End-of-tasting tasters much preferred them.


Jurançon; Gros and Petit Manseng, Petit Courbu

Linsey writes,

        Jurançon in the foothills of the Pyrenees has made wine since the Roman era with its golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries. Although its sweeter wines are cult favorites, Jurançon's dry whites are spectacular; with briny saltiness, lemony acidity, and notes of stone fruit and flowers.

This bottling blends 2/3 Gros Manseng along with Petit Manseng and a small amount of Petit Courbu. It's not a simple, demure, cookie-cutter wine; this is your perfect food wine, your companion wine, the wine you'll open when you want to close your eyes and travel somewhere far away. Like a seaside town with your lover, or best friend, while eating oysters or fresh seafood, risotto or a melange of cheeses.

        It's no wonder some of the best oyster bars in the city are pouring this by the glass. Do not miss this boat, your daydreamer will thank you.

2016 Camin Larredya Jurançon La Parte Davant Sec layered and lightly textured, balanced ripe fruit without being cloying, orange peel and orange oil, salty and mineral, light quince Very Good Plus 25.99; Mixed Case, 23.39; Case, 22.09


Vallee d'Aoste; Fumin


        The Vallee d’Aoste is a wild alpine region in Italy hard by the Swiss border. Viticulture combines mountain climbing and winemaking. Di Francesco Gasperi is a small winery run by two families with very steep terraced vineyards. The main red variety is Fumin, historically known for producing spicy and very tannic wines. These days however Fumin wines are starting to become better behaved. Still, because of the cool climate here there is real vintage variation. The 2015 Di Francasco Gasperi Fumin Vallee d’Aoste is on the more elegant style with dark fruit, the tannin and spice in great balance.

2015 Di Francesco Gasperi Fumin Vallee d’Aoste: Ruby with purple highlights. Full and spicy flavors with savory dark fruits and firm tannic structure.  Very Good to Excellent 34/bottle 30.60/mixed case 28.99/case

Gaillac; Prunelart


        Gaillac is a small region above Toulouse in southwest France's Massif Central. Last November we had a visit from Alain & Brigitte Cazottes, seventh generation owners of Domaine des Terrisses there. They brought an impressive range of wines, among which was a rare single variety Prunelart. Only 32 acres exist, all in the region.

        Prunelart is an aboriginal grape, father or mother to Malbec, but its wines, at least the one we tasted, are bigger, heartier, fuller and richer than most Malbecs. More hearty than elegant, this is good company for steak.

2015 Domaine des Terrisses Gaillac l'Oree Prunelart; Aroma: heady earthy, rather dense, full, sweetly ripe fresh; Mouth: dense rather fine herbal, clean sweet rich, lots of character, very fine tannins on the finish; Very Good Plus 21.99; Mixed Case, 19.79; Case, 18.69

Gaillac; Braucol, Prunelart

One good turn of grape deserves another. Terres Originelles is a Terrisses flagship. Prunelart, supplies a Merlot-like roundness is the supporting actor to three parts Braucol. That grape, also known as Fer Servadou, is cousin to Cabernet Franc and parent to Carmenere. It has cabernet's finesse and power. The resulting wine is surprisingly elegant for a country wine, precise and flavorful with intriguing herbal notes.

2014 Domaine des Terrisses Gaillac Terres Originelles; Color: dark Aroma: fruity, marked by oak, rather dense, fresh, very pretty, ; Mouth: clean fresh, very hearty base rather dense, lightly clean pretty layered, elegant and ripe, fine tannins tight clean, firm; Very Good - Excellent 23.99; Mixed Case, 21.59; Case, 20.39

Amalfi Coast: Piedirosso & Tintore


        To get to Azienda Agricole Reale you start on the Amalfi coast and go up the mountain on a narrow road with more twists and turns than an Italian opera. There 500m up you arrive in the village of Tramonti. Here brothers Gigino and Gaetano Reale operate an Osteria, a B&B, and this amazing winery. The vines here are free standing and look like trees. The average age of the vines is over 100 years. Because of the ancient volcanic soil they are all prephylloxera as well. The two grape varieties are Tintore and Piedirosso. Piedirosso makes wines that are medium bodied with dark fruit and high acidity to match well with food. Tintore adds spice and tannin. The 2013 Azienda Agricole Reale Cardamone is perfect with tomato based cuisine.

2013 Azienda Agricole Reale Cardamone: Deep ruby. Blackberry and bramble with bright acidity and smooth tannin. Complex spicy finish. Very Good to Excellent 23.99/bottle 21.59/mixed case 20.39/case

Irouleguy: Tannat


        Irouleguy is in Basque country higher up in the Pyrenees southwest of Jurançon. The Brana family is well known in France for their elegant and powerful Cabernet Francs. In this wine that grape softens (!) the hard tannins of Tannat which is four fifths of the blend.

        You may have heard that Tannat is the grape highest in anti-oxidant resveratrol and good for your heart. We do not make any medical claim but can say with confidence that drinking this wine is certainly more pleasurable than taking a pill. It will go wonderfully with dishes from simple grilled meats to a rich cassoulet.

2014 Brana Irouleguy Ohitza; Color: very dark opaque, very dense; Aroma: sweet intense varietal notes, very full, very rich, heady very ripe; Mouth: smooth, very rich dense low acid, very full, thick rich, fine tannins deep good acidity; Very Good Plus 26.99; Mixed Case, 24.29; Case, 22.94

1-31 Uncommon Case: Special, two each of the above wines - $268

Instore only 1-31 Uncommon Pack: Special, one each of the above wines - $142


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. 2018