The Cellar: 3 Finds From The ‘New’ Campus Fine Wines
Friday, November 30, 2012
Campus Fine Wines
, located on Brook St. in Providence’s Fox Point neighborhood, has recently undergone a change in ownership. The new owners, Andrea Sloan and Howard Mahady, are industry veterans boasting more than 30 years of combined experience in the wine business. Since taking over in July, the two (with help from their spouses and the other great staff members) have quietly revitalized the old neighborhood favorite with an updated selection of fine wines, craft beers and alternative spirits, as well as knick-knacks for the home bar. Part of what sets the new Campus Fine Wines apart is their commitment to producers who make wine with respect for the land, the grape and the people who drink their wines. They specialize in small production and hard-to-find wines from small family-owned producers. If you think that translates into expensive wines, think again. Campus has a great selection across many popular price points with a friendly and knowledgeable staff to boot.
This week’s first wine is a great example of what’s on the shelf at this cool neighborhood wine merchant. After spending years working in wineries throughout Spain, young winemaker Frédéric Sigonneau, a native of
France’s Loire Valley, has since returned to his hometown of Chinon and started to tend to his grandfather’s old vines. His Domaine De L’R, 2011 Canal des Grands Piéces is one of the first efforts under his own label. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc. Frédéric Sigonneau only made 1.000 cases of this $20 wine but at Campus they’ve got it! This is an extremely bright and juicy example of a Cabernet Franc. Upon popping the cork I could hear residual co2 seep out, like opening a can of soda. The first sip even had a slight spritz to it. After settling down, the wine displayed delicious sour cherries, ripe black current, a hint of an herbal component alongside mouthwatering acidity and lingering minerality.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is Italy’s most widely exported red wine and I think it’s fair to say that no good Italian wine selection is complete without at least a few examples. Obviously, Campus Fine Wines carries this
popular category but in keeping with their approach to limited, small production wines, I was recommended the 2010 Ancilla Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Giuseppe Ciavolich’s Estate. This family winery dates back to 1853. They currently have about 110 acres under vine averaging 25 years of age. As the title hints Montepulciano d’Abruzzo’s is a Montepulciano based wine made in Italy’s Central Eastern wine region of Abruzzo. The Ancilla is made from 100% hand harvested Montepulciano, a grape known for making very approachable spicy wines filled with blackberries and cherries, with low tannin and moderate acidity levels. Ciavolich Estate only made 2.100 cases of this great $15 wine, which has tremendous depth, displaying several layers of dark fruit with nice acidity running throughout. It ends nice and dry with lingering smoke and spice.
Since taking over Campus, Andrea and Howard have increased their selection of wine across many price categories. They felt they kind of had to, as they cater to a diverse group of customers that include graduate
students, university faculty, neighborhood locals, as well as the many people that come to Fox Point daily to explore the many great BYOB restaurants. While the most important price points remain the $10 and the under $20, the $30+ category is growing as more and more people start realizing the excitement and quality one can get for just $10 more. A good example of this; a wine you won’t find just anywhere, is the 2011 Syrah from Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet ($30). Think you know what a Syrah is ‘supposed’ to act and taste like – well think again. This is not your traditional big Syrah from California or the Northern Rhone, and nothing like your everyday over-the-top Australian Shiraz. This 100% Syrah only saw neutral oak and only for 8 months. The result is a much more lean, less tannic and bright Syrah with flowery and red berries, instead of the usual dark fruit and spice notes. They only made 3.000 bottles of this delicious and unusual stuff.
Campus Fine Wine offers weekly wine tasting: Fridays from 4pm-7pm and Saturdays from 2pm-5pm. Beer tastings are held Saturdays from 4pm-6pm. They are located at 127 Brook St. in Providence, Rhode Island. (401) 621-9650.
Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at [email protected]. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook and sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.
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