T ypical summertime weather. It wouldn’t be Augusta if an afternoon thunderstorm didn’t pop up when you were trying your best to get somewhere. I didn’t get too wet getting from my car into Wine World for their First Friday tasting. The wet weather didn’t seem to have dissuaded the tasting crowd from showing.
Andrew Benjamin was at the white table welcoming everyone and pouring as usual. The first white, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie “Gneiss de Bel Abord.” , is not light on taste. This makes an excellent seafood wine. I tried to pick out what fruit flavors I was tasting but couldn’t. This wine will take more time to explore.
The second white Banfi La Pettegola Vermentino is a much more crisp summer sipper. This wine was featured at Wine World’s Banfi tasting seminar back in March of this year. And the good news is that it has a better price point. At $16.99 this is a nice wine to try. This is a good sipper and food wine.
Last white was the Mirabello Prosecco. This sparkler is nice and fizzy with a hint of sweetness. This is not a dry sparkler. It has some mouthfeel that many European sparklers lack. I enjoyed this one.
Over at the red table I found some surprises. This month all of the wines are from Europe (France, Italy and Spain). The Domaine de Verquière is a Grenache/Syrah blend. The Grenache’s acidity is balanced by the Syrah. Dark fruits and peppery come to mind. A bit spicy on the finish.
I was glad to see the Feudo Zirtari Nero d’Avola/Syrah as I have wanted to try more wines that use Nero d’Avola grapes. These Sicilian grapes make some interesting wine. This was one of my favorite of the night as well as for some other tasters as it has some spiciness to it.
The last red, Honoro Vera Cabernet Sauvignon was not what I was expecting. This is a lighter color that most Cabs. Slightly red in color. Very fruit forward. One taster, Lindsey, described it as more of a dessert wine. If I were to have this wine at a blind tasting I would not pick this out as a cab. Despite it’s super fruit forward flavors there were flavors that tend to mellow out fruity wines. I picked up on the tobacco and vanilla flavors mentioned in the evening’s wine notes. I didn’t pick up the cracked pepper flavors mentioned in the notes. This could be one of those introduction wines for those who moving away from sweeter wines to more traditional darker wines like a cab. I am also surprised by this being from Spain. Most cabs I’ve had from Spain are a bit more mineraly and drier. I could serve this in the summer, even slightly chilled.
At the cheese table one of my favorite people, Anna Sheets, was serving Castello Creamy Havarti, Karst Cave-Aged cheese and El Greco Manchego.
Next up for Wine World is Third Thursday tasting on August 17th.
Where: Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, SC

When: Friday, August 4, 2017, 5 to 8 pm
Cost: $5, with rebate on the purchase of 1 bottle of the featured wines
Here are the wines presented (click to see more):

  1. Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie “Gneiss de Bel Abord” 2016
  2. Banfi La Pettegola Vermentino 2016
  3. Mirabello Prosecco NV
  4. Domaine de Verquière 2015
  5. Feudo Zirtari Nero d’Avola/Syrah 2012
  6. Honoro Vera Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Here are the detailed wine notes:
Banfi La Pettegola Vermentino 2016 | Tuscany, Italy
Pale yellow. Delightfully fresh with an intense fruit forward bouquet of dried papaya and green apple. Fresh, crisp with well-balanced acidity and a bright finish. Seafood, Salads, Sandwiches and Green Vegetable dishes. Website
Mirabello Prosecco NV | Veneto, Italy
Fresh and gently fruity fizz from northeast Italy (Veneto) with citrus and green apple aromas. Delicate and lively on the palate with ripe, lightly grapey fruit, zesty acidity and a clean, refreshing finish. Frittata, Sushi, Prawn Toasts.
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie “Gneiss de Bel Abord” 2016 | Loire, France
Golden yellow, intense and brilliant. Complex nose combining white fruits (quince, peach) well walls and delicate floral notes. The palate is rich and long, well balanced between fresh and beautiful chiseled minerality and intense ripe fruit. Seafood, white meat, fish.
Feudo Zirtari Nero d’Avola/Syrah 2012 | Sicily, Italy
Deep ruby red in color, it offers perfumes of fresh red fruits and a delicate but appealing spiciness., On the palate, it is elegant yet full-flavored, with a supple and pleasantly refreshing texture. Grilled meats, roasts, pasta and rice dishes, mature cheeses. Website
Domaine de Verquière 2015 | AOC Côtes du Rhône, France
Grenache: 80% Syrah: 20% With a strong beautiful red colour, alive with round, fresh with tart black fruits, peppery notes, and background spice. Dark layered fruit with some floral notes from the Grenache are balanced by spicy, peppery notes from the Syrah and the finish is long and lingering. Rabbit, Lamb, Mediterranean cuisine. Website
Honoro Vera Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 | Jumilla, Spain
Deep ruby, Perfumed scents of cassis, blackberry and cedary oak carry subtle tobacco and vanilla overtones. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering dark berry, bitter cherry and cracked pepper flavors that unfold slowly. Dusty tannins add shape and grip to the smoky finish, which hangs on with good spicy tenacity. Braised Beef Short Ribs, Zucchini Gratin with Tomato Confit, Point Reyes Blue Cheese Crostini. Website


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