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The Cellar: Late Summer Values

Friday, August 29, 2014



While this week saw some fantastic weather there is no getting around the fact that cooler weather is on the horizon. If you are anything like me, however, you are still hanging on to every little bit of sunshine. The following are reviews of three fantastic and refreshing wines that I have been sampling lately. All the wines are from regions I believe represent some of today’s best values.

Vinho Verde, Portugal

One of the best values in white wine is from Portugal; more specifically from the region Vinho Verde located in the northwestern corner of the country. There, some the world’s most refreshing white wines are made from a dozen or so indigenous grape varieties including Alvarinho, Arinto and Loureiro. It used to be that the Vinho Verdes available here in the US were all light and simple – you know ‘everyday’ type wines. Today, you can remove the first two descriptors as quality has gone up significantly with prices remaining almost the same. A great example is this week’s feature: the newly released 2013 Grande Escolha from Casa de Vilacetinho; an estate once owned by the medieval Alpendurada Monastery. Vilacetinho’s wines have a long and proud history having been served to Royalty, Heads of States and celebrities for more than 60 years. Made from Avesso, Arinto, Azal and Loureiro the 2013 vintage is as rich in flavor and full in body as the 2012. The wine is brimming with exotic ripe fruits on the nose. On the palate the wine displays delicious apples, peaches and lemons with a refreshing splash of effervescence.

Côtes-du-Rhône, France


Other great values can be found in France’s Rhone Valley. More specifically the wines from ‘Côtes-du-Rhône’, which can be white, red, as well as rosé. The grapes for these wines, which are primarily blends made from Grenache Noir and Syrah (for reds and rosés) and Clairette and Grenache Gris (for whites), can be sourced from the more than 200.000 acres that make up this huge appellation. This week’s featured Côtes-du-Rhône is a rosé from Michel Chapoutier - one of the most highly respected winemakers in France. Since taking over the family business in 1990, Michel has transformed the Estate into one of the leading Rhône Valley producers. Their 2013 rosé is a blend made primarily from Grenache Noir with Cinsault and Syrah. The grapes were pressed directly into the tanks without any extended skin contact (maceration). The wine was then aged in the vats for a few months and bottled at the end of this past winter. On the nose I detect lovely red apples and bright red cherries. On the palate the wine is very easy-drinking, soft and round with ripe red raspberries and a splash of citrus.

Prosecco, Italy


The last wine I want to highlight for late summer value is a Prosecco – always a good and economic source of great bubbly fun. Historically, the word ‘Prosecco’ referred to the name of a village as well as the principle grape variety that made the wine. Due to much confusion however, authorities have since separated the terms so that Prosecco when written on the label now refers to the DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata) – i.e. the geographical area where the grapes are grown, as well as the rules and regulations surrounding how the wine is made. The grape is now referred to as ‘Glera’ but is essentially the same grape that has been making this fantastic wine for hundreds of years. This week’s featured Prosecco is made by Valdo, which has been specializing in bubbles since 1926. Hints of candied apples and baking spices appear on the nose. On the palate the candy is removed. The wine is well-made, clean and crisp with ripe yellow apples, green pears and peaches alongside a splash of slightly sweetened citrus on the finish.


Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question or learn about wine in person by signing up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.


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Newport Vineyards

Newport Vineyards is the perfect Rhode Island destination for wine lovers year round. Visit the winery this weekend for tastings and tours, featuring an array of award winning wines.

909 E Main Road, Middletown, RI. (401) 848-5161.

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Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineya

Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton is much more than just a winery—it is a place to get away from the stresses of life and indulge your senses, a place to try new things, a place to focus on you. The vineyard is open every day, and invites you to come for a tasting and tour. Try their Petite Red, Vidal Blanc, and many more of their distinctive wines.

162 W Main Road, Little Compton, RI. (401) 635-8486.

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Greenvale Vineyards

Visit Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth to sample their estate grown and produced wine, made in small batches. While at the estate, try seven different wines and keep the wine glass for only $12. While you are tasting, take in the gorgeous views of both the vineyard and river. Besides tasting the wines, Greenvale also invites customers to tour the winery and learn about the history and process of winemaking at the vineyard.

582 Wapping Road, Portsmouth, RI. (401) 847-3777.

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Maugle Sierra Vineyards

For a trip to a vineyard that includes much more than just wine, hop over the border to Ledyard, CT, to check out Maugle Sierra Vineyards. The vineyard hosts live music on Fridays and Sundays to compliment your wine tasting experience. Pack a dinner or light fare and enjoy a tasting session in the Sierra Room while you take in the sunset.

825 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard, CT. (860) 464-2987.

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Nickle Creek Vineyards

Nickle Creek Vineyard is a family owned and operated Rhode Island wine treasure. The winery, located in Foster, makes it their mission to handcraft the most unique, high quality wines in the business. All wines are created in small batches, giving them a distinctly unique taste. This weekend, visit their tasting room to try their variety of wines. On your way out, be sure to pick up a bottle of Foster Nights to get you through those chilly New England evenings.

12 King Road, Foster, RI. (401) 369-3694.

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Nashoba Valley Winery

Take the bite off the winter chill this weekend and take a drive to Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton. The winery hosts tasting events everyday from 10am-4:30pm For $5, receive a free tasting glass and samples of up to five different wines. Some favorites include Strawberry Rhubarb Wine, Holiday Special Cranberry Apple (a new release in November 2013), and New English Cider. If you are in the mood for something other than wine (if that’s possible), check out their beer selection as well!

100 Wattaquadock Hill Road, Bolton, MA. (978) 779-5521.

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Bishop’s Orchards Winery

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1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CT. (203) 453-2338.

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Diamond Hill Vineyards

For a cool twist on classic wine labels, look no further than Diamond Hill Vineyard in Cumberland. At Diamond Hill, you can get custom designed wine labels perfect for any occasion. If you’re interested in tasting the wines, visit their elegant tasting room for samples of their high quality wines such as Cranberry Apple, Estate Pinot Noir, or Blackberry.

3145 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI. (401) 333-2751.

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Westport Rivers

Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery

Tucked away on the southern coast of Massachusetts, Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery, located about an hour’s drive from Worcester, is worth the trip. For only $10, you can take home a special edition etched wine glass and enjoy a tasting of up to six of their award-winning wines. While the tasting room is open Monday-Saturday, free winery tours are also offered to the public every Saturday from 1-3pm.

417 Hixbridge Rd, Westport, MA. (508) 636-3423.

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Travessia Winery

Found on the southern Massachusetts coast about 30 minutes outside of Providence, is Travessia Winery in New Bedford. This micro-winery puts a twist on traditional wine culture with its cool urban flair. Travessia is open for sales and tastings Wednesday-Sunday, and invites customers to come in and enjoy their unique variety of wines.

760 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA. (774) 929-6534.


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