Federal Wine & Spirits

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This Week's Tasting

The Pleasures of Blending
April 24, 2019

Four continents and twenty-four grapes.


Valley vista



South Africa:

2017 Stark Condé Field Blend

Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Verdelho 

Stark Conde is beautifully perched in a high cool valley above Stellenbosch. You can see Cape Town’s Table Mountain on the western horizon (on the right of the picture above). Their un-wooded Field Blend pleases with counterpoint. Bright peachy Chenin Blanc glides over the lower herbal tones of Roussanne and Viognier and is given backing substance by Verdelho.  One taste intrigues and demands another.


2017 Stark Conde Field Blend; Aroma: Very floral, fine edge, nutty rather herbal, fragrant melon;        Mouth: Clean sweet fruit rather dense pretty, rich textured, with low citrus & melon notes;Very Good Plus 21; Mixed Case, 18.9; Case, 17.85

2017 Marcel Deiss Alsace

Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, Riesling & more

Jean Michel Deiss, unlike most of his Alsatian peers, feels that complantation– mixing different varieties in one vineyard makes for a better, more complex wine that expresses the soil. Critics agree, ranking his domaine one of the best of the region.  From his $100 bottles down, the whole range is organic. This generic Alsace comes from all over the estate and includes 13 varieties. Soft and spicy, it bears opening ahead and not overchilling.


2017 Marcel Deiss Alsace;OrganicAroma: rather deep, closed, lightly herbal, a hint of sweetness  Mouth: fleshy rather sweet bright clean, fine acid, rounded juicy, finishes with a touch of lime sweetness, long; Very Good Plus26.99; Mixed Case, 24.29; Case, 22.94




2016 Musar Jeune

Cinsault, Cabernet, Syrah

Marc Hochar of the family of the world renown Ch. Musar thinks of  Cinsault as the Pinot Noir of their estate. That might be a bit of a stretch, but they ferment it in a more fruit-forward style for this wine. Syrah adds thrust, Cabernet structure to make an elegant subtly spicy wine that is light on the palate but long in the mouth.


2016 Musar Jeune RedOrganic, Color: very dark purple opaque; Aroma: deep very dense, sweet full, heady low toned garrigue; Mouth: clean rather full, bright acid, low rich tones, fine tannins, long fine acid, rich; Very Good Plus24.99; Mixed Case, 22.49; Case, 21.24


South Africa

2018 Ashbourne Pinotage/Cinsault

Anthony Hamilton-Russell has headed in a new direction with this blend of grapes, this time not from his Walker Bay home base, but from old vine grapes in warmer Swartland. The wine has an unexpected freshness, with both Pinotage and Cinsault more balletic than their customary rugby selves on the palate. The wine has poise and grace, like a cru Beaujolais, but with an exotic herbal grace note.


2018 Ashbourne Pinotage/ Cinsault; Color: Light purple; Aroma: Fresh clean rather easy, freshly fruity, pretty forward; Mouth: Clean rather herbal, nutty,  Beaujolais like with a fruity rather spicy clean long rounded fruit finish; Very Good Plus 21; Mixed Case, 18.9; Case, 17.85



2015 Ch. Pesquie Ventoux Quintessence

Syrah, Grenache

A very modern interpretation of the classic southern French grape pairing. Ventoux is in the Rhone but its cooler mountain vineyards are not truly of it. Pesquie is one of the best of the region, Grenache rounds out Syrah’s dark thrust. The Quintessence is exquisitely balanced. Lightly accented with oak,  its four years of bottle age have softened the tannins into a nicely mellow spring weight red.


2015 Ch. Pesquie Ventoux Quintessence; Color: very deep; Aroma: wood accented, heady very dense, herbal, light clean; Mouth: clean rather fine elegant smooth, lean, bright, very appetizing, clean fine, rather long, wood accented finish; Very Good - Excellent24.99; Mixed Case, 22.49; Case, 21.24


      Paso Robles, California

2016 Rabble Red Wine

Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel 

Rabble, based in California’s Central Coast, likes to make wines with quirky personalities. Their Red Wine is one of the more mainstream. From a single higher altitude vineyard, it uses Syrah and Zinfandel to give added spice to the richness of Merlot, Weighty and full, it is very nicely done.


2016 Rabble Red Wine; Color: very dark; Aroma: rather dense, a good drive, blueberry plum note nicely dense; Mouth: juicy round, rather clean fine acid, big in the center of the mouth, bright acid finish; Very Good Plus 15.99; Mixed Case, 14.39; Case, 13.59


4-24 Blends Case: Special, two each of the above wines - $230

Instore only 4-24 Blends Pack: Special, one each of the above wines - $122

mix any 6- 11 in stock wines for 10% off

any 12 or more for 15% off


Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: order@federalwine.com

Please pass this on to any friends who are wine enthusiasts!


           - Len Rothenberg