Charlie Opines About Wine

In my search for interesting wines to serve to guests at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast, I attend many planned and impromptu wine tastings. I am happy to share my experiences with you. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Pino I Still Love

Charlie’s Weekly Wine-ings

For my blog followers, you may know that I have been missing the formal weekly Wednesday wine tastings in Sandwich. Good news is they are starting up again in a few weeks. Since we are still in town and still having guests, I need new wines now to serve at our bed and breakfast. I am taking advantage of less formal tasting opportunities and creating some of my own by revisiting wines I have liked it the past. 

A wine loving friend gave me a Papapietro Perry 2000 Peters Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir for Christmas. My good friends know I love Papapietro Perry, which I discovered on our great 2006 wine odyssey when we put 13,000 miles on our then new Winnebago Aspect. We went across country on US I 10 and stopped when we hit the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara, CA. We worked our way north on Highway 1, also known as Pacific Coast Highway, and ended up in Healdsburg in the heart of the Sonoma Valley.

An old high school friend from forty years ago introduced me to Bruce Perry at his tasting room in newly renovated buildings that originally was a sun-dried tomato process farm. My friend knew Bruce and his winemaking friend Ben Papapietro in San Francisco, where they used to drink home made wine from Ben’s garage. They have come a long way from that garage.

That day we also met Ben and barrel tasted the just harvested 2005 vintage. I fell in love with their Pinot Noirs. It was not surprising that I had not heard of Papapietro Perry since at that time they were not widely distributed outside of Sonoma. Even before we made it home, awareness of this wine was raised when the next issue of the Wine Spectator reviewed all the wines I had tasted giving them all 90+-point ratings. The next year, The Pinot Report named Ben Papapietro the #1 Master Vintner of 2006. Their success continues with most of their 2008 releases still scoring in the 90+ ranges. Not only did I think the wine was great, but so do a lot of the industry experts.

I joined their wine club and now look forward to my semi-annual shipment that I hoard for special occasions. I enjoyed the 2000 with friends, sort of an informal tasting, and if you visit us at our Sandwich Inn, I just may be serving one of my cellared Papapietro Perry wines.   
 Happy Wine-ing
Charlie Preus, the Innkeeper’s Assistant and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod Massachusetts

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Last Wine Tasting of 2011

Charlie’s Weekly Wine-ing

So what do I do when the formal weekly tastings are over? The Belfry is closed for the month of January and the Cellar 55 team has gone off to their other business, Cruz, in the US Virgin Islands. I still need to keep looking for wine to serve guests who stay at our inn, so I take advantage of less formal opportunities.

Luckily, right before Cellar 55 closed, I got a call for one last impromptu tasting when Polly, from Classic Wine Imports, stopped by with a special treat. At a recent Belfry tasting, Polly had presented some delicious Cline Vineyards wines from their Ancient Vines collection. That night we enjoyed the 2009 Carignane, the 2010 Cashmere, and a great 2010 Zinfandel. After these three nice wines, Polly said that one she did not bring to the tasting was even better, the Ancient Vines Mourvèdre.

Mourvèdre is one of the thirteen grapes permited in the making of Chateauneuf-du-Pape in France’s Southern Rhone Appellation. It is seldem bottled as a single varietal, even in the United States it is more often blended with other Rhone grapes. Most of Cline’s Ancient vines, including the Mourvèdre, are between 80 and 120 years old, giving this wine a unique character that only comes with age. Polly was right, it was an exceptional bottle and I am very pleased that she shared it with us.

This impromptu tasting happened on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, and it was the perfect way to end the old year, with good friends and a great wine. For a number of reasons we have not yet left for our annual RV trip and, since we here, our Sandwich Inn is open and we would love to have you visit us. We can sit around the fire and have an impromptu tasting of our own.

Happy Wine-ing

Charlie Preus, the Innkeeper’s Assistant and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod Massachusetts