Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: Sampling the wares at Nashua's new wine shop
It's always good news when a new wine shop opens, and there is a new one in Nashua: Cava de Vino.
It's located on Canal Street at Railroad Square (sometimes referred to as the Cattlemen's building), in the same stretch of brick that now houses the Portland Pie Company.
Opened by Steve Williams and Sharie Webber, Cava de Vino and is home to an excellent variety of wines ranging in price from inexpensive, everyday-drinking wines to some hard-to-find wines of real distinction. Steve and Sharie taste every wine that comes into the shop, and so can give you a detailed profile.
In addition to their regular tastings, they offer something new: The ability to host private tasting events in your own home. Once you set it up, they will come to your home with five personally selected wines accompanied by local cheeses and chocolates.
The shop itself is smaller than many of the wine shops you will encounter here in New Hampshire, but it's a warm and comfortable place to browse among wines from the old world and the new.
A few weeks ago I attended one of their first tastings and found both Steve and Sharie to be knowledgeable and gracious hosts. It was a pretty extensive event, so I want to get right down to it with you. (They will host an all day pre-Valentine's Day tasting on Feb. 13.) Let's take a look at what they were pouring:Robert Young Chardonnay, $38. It was a predominantly red tasting, but I made sure to give this one a try as the actor's descendants have consistently been making wine of the highest quality for some time. Clear with deep intensity in the glass. It has a pronounced nose, developing, with fruits that run from red apple to pear and peach, and scents of vanilla and butterscotch. The palate is dry, with medium acidity, more than is typical for Chardonnay (this was a nice touch as the Chardonnay grape always runs the risk of producing a flabby wine — not the case with Robert Young), medium tannin that was well-integrated, medium alcohol and medium-plus body with fruit predominating and reflecting the nose along with some additional butterscotch toward the end; rich and pure red apple and pear were the dominant fruits. There were some light and pleasant oak hints along the way to the finish, which was quite long. Very good, with good balance, concentration, complexity and length. 93 points.Natale Verga Chianti Classico Reserve, $23.99. A red wine that was purple in the glass, with a medium-intensity nose, barnyardy at the first sniff, which in a good European wine is often something that promises glory shortly thereafter. Medium-plus tannins right and well integrated, medium-plus body and intense fruit flavors including the classic sour cherry, as well as black fruit and hints of red fruit. Outstanding in its structure, balance, concentration, complexity and typicity. 92 points.
And one more from the same maker: Natale Verga Barolo, $38.49. This is an exceptionally good price for a wine known in the north of Italy as "the king of wines and the wine of kings," made from the Nebbiolo grape which takes its name from the mists that rest between the hills of the Barolo region just south of Turin each morning during the growing season. Ruby colored with the nose of red fruit and hints of leather, classic for the varietal, dry on the palate, with high, mouthwatering acidity, medium-plus tannin. The flavors also were classic Barolo with red fruit, rose, and hints of leather over a long finish. There are relatively few Barolos of this caliber that you will find in this price range. 91 points.
Lastly for today, Lattanzio Pinot Noir, California, $41.99. Medium intensity purple in appearance, the rim is clear suggesting relative youth, though it is beginning to develop with fruit aromas that include very ripe raspberry and hints of forest floor. The wine is dry, with medium acidity, tannin, and body, the flavor intensity is in the medium-plus range with raspberry predominating as well as some vegetal notes in an overall silky presentation and a good long finish. This is one to open several hours before drinking, to get a time and a decanter to open up for you. You will find that it is worth the wait. 92 points.
Cava de Vino is located at 14B Railroad Square (on Canal Street next to Portland Pie), telephone 718-1086, and you can check out their website www.cavadevino.com.
Next week: The Easter Seals Winter Wine Spectacular has come and gone, but there were so many wines to try they couldn't possibly be included in one column. We'll take a look at a few more selections that you can find locally, including the 2009 Groth Cabernet Young, Oakville/Napa, and Banshee 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, also from Napa. And we will try to fit in some beer too.
Jim Beauregard is a local wine and beer writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.