234 Nassua Street - Princeton, NJ
Varsity Liquors

December 2003


Domaine De Baillaury Collioure 2000

Domaine De Baillaury is located in the extreme south of France near the Mediterranean Sea.  The wine is a blend of 60% Grenache Noir and Mourvedre, which makes it very Rhone in style, but not as earthy.  The wine has huge raspberry aromas with hints of blackberry and cherry in the nose and palate.  A very easy to drink wine with forward fruit and a slight hint of tannins in the finish, great with stews or roasted meats.


Quinta do Crasto Douro Red

This wine is from the Douro region in Portugal, an area more known for Port than great table reds.  The grapes in the wine just roll off the tip of your tongue, Tinto Rouriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional.  The wine is quite vibrant in style with big red cherry, plum and berry flavors.  The wine has great structure with supple tannins and a long lingering finish of coffee and spice. 


Brocard Bourgogne Chardonnay en Sol Kimmeridigien 2001

Jean-Marc Brocard is at very best a true minimalist in producing his wines, his wines are manually made and no use of oak.  This property falls 15 feet out of the boundary for Chablis.  The wine resembles very good Chablis however; it has that bright floral nose with lemony citrus notes and the intense mineral character that Chablis is known for. The wine goes well with cream styled cheeses and also with poultry.



November 2003


Sipino Pinot Noir Williamette Valley Pinot Noir 2001

Sipino is produced at Yamhill Valley Vineyards in the heart of the Williamette Valley in Oregon, a region becoming known for Pinot Noir.  Years ago we featured a Pinot Gris from Yamhill that set our wine of the month sales record until recently, when it was topped by Old Bull Red.  Sipino is a bit brighter in style with plenty of earth to balance the wine, and has a bit less acidity than most Oregon Pinot Noir.  A great food wine that stands up to everything from salmon to turkey and not too shabby by itself.


Domaine Saint-Jaume Carignan 2002

This is a fruit bomb with plenty of rich ripe red fruit, a hint of spice, low level tannins, and tough not to enjoy.  Carignan is one of the 13 grapes permissible in Chateauneuf du Pape.  It is planted widely in Southern France and is used primarily as a blending grape.  As you can see with this wine, it is plenty good not being blended.  The wine pairs well with hot and spicy foods and gamier types of meat


Palacio de Fefinanes Albarino 2000

Fefinanes is the most historic winery and perhaps the best in the Galicia area of Spain.  Galicia is an area known for very short summers with as much rainfall as parts of Scotland.  The 2000 vintage was a very small vintage, but in this case a very good one.  The wine is loaded with exotic fruits and not the razor like acidity that a lot of Spanish whites tend to have.  This wine also finishes with a slightly sweet character, which makes it pair well with fish and creamier style cheese.



October 2003


Dievole Rinascimento 2000

The Dievole estate is located in the Chianti Classico zone in central Tuscany.  Dievole’s style is very international, cutting-edge and modern, but also respects its’ 1000 year old Estruscan ancestry.  Rinascimento blends the unique grapes of Canaiolo and Malvasia Nera.  The Italian “Governo” method of drying some of the grapes first is employed: This produces a full-bodied, rich, slightly smoky, black cherries style with a touch of oak.  Magnifico!!


Andretti Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast 2001

The winery is owned by the famed race car driver Mario Andretti and the wine is made by Robert Pepi, longtime winery owner and one of the first Cabernet gurus in Napa.  They source their grapes from some of the finest spots in both Sonoma and Napa Valley and produce a wine that is full-bodied, silky smooth and loaded with cherry and vanilla tastes.  The wine pairs well with any beef type dish or it is delicious by itself.


Manta Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley 2002

This is our surprise wine of the month.  A salesman came in and told us we must try this because it is so good, and boy was he right.  The wine is quite intense and very aromatic, combing the zesty citrus fruits found in many of the New Zealand sauvignon blancs and  the herbaceous characteristics found in French wines.  The wine has plenty of acidity balanced by lively citrus fruit with a long lengthy finish.  The ideal wine to use as an aperitif for your next event.


September 2003


Turnbull Old Bull Red 2000 Napa Valley

We kind of reached into our little bag of tricks on this one, a somewhat large wine that is a total fruit bomb.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Primitivo, Petite Sirah and Nebbiolo, the wine features huge tastes of sweet cherries and vanilla with a fair amount of oak.  The finish is rather long with tons of fruit.  The Old Bull Red is perhaps the best wine for that last great cookout of the season.


Cape Mentelle Semillion Sauvignon Blanc Margaret River

Produced by the same wine maker as Cloudy Bay (the daddy of Sauvignon Blanc from the Southern hemisphere), but the wine is vastly different in style.  The wine shows a little more roundness and not the big grapefruit nose that New Zealand wines tend to show.  The wine also sees some barrel ageing.  More in a style of a Bordeaux Blanc with lemony notes and a softer finish.  The wine has a nice long finish that is both very clean and refreshing.  The wine  pairs perfectly with meatier types of fish.


Alvear’s Cream Sherry Montilla

It has been a very long time since we featured any type of dessert wine, but we tried this sherry and fell in love with it.  Produced from the famed Pedro Ximenez grapes in the town of Montilla in the heart of Andalusia, the region of Spain known for flamenco and Sherry. Alvear’s Cream is Amber in color, with a bright nose and hints of roasted nuts and maple syrup.  The wine is medium sweet and nutty, with pleasant acidity, somewhat reminiscent of a yeasty port.  Goes well in front of the fireplace with your spouse/date.  Don’t pass this one up!


August 2003


Mazzocco Vineyards Zinfandel Stone Ranch 1997

With the Barbeque season coming to an end, we picked a wine that will end the season with a bang.  The winery is located in the heart of Dry Creek in Sonoma, home of the best Zins from California.  This wine is not over the top, as so many Zins tend to be.  The wine is loaded with bright cherries, raspberries and chocolate with a long subtle finish.  Great wine to go with any meat cooked on the grill.


Brampton Unoaked Chardonnay South Africa 2002

Please pardon the expression, but this Brampton does come alive with rich, bright citrus fruits.  Some would say this wine is a fruit bomb with hints of white peaches, melons and pineapple, but the wine is complex and thoroughly enjoyable.  This wine sees no oak and is fermented in stainless steel vats and aged for 6 months in those vats.  The Brampton chardonnay goes well with chicken, fish and any other white meat or not too shabby by itself.


Septima Malbec Argentina 2002

Septima is a relatively new, state of the art winery in Mendoza.  The winery is owned by the Codorniu Group, a company that is becoming huge in the fine wine business, a couple of months ago we featured Artessa Winery, another one of their wineries.  Septima is a great value, a big nose of plums and blackberries and vanilla jump out of the glass.  The wine is soft and very balanced with a long lasting finish.  We tried Septima with Mexican food, and it is a perfect match.


July 2003


Owen-Sullivan Muscat 2000 Washington State

Owen-Sullivan wines are made in Tacoma from grapes grown in eastern Washington.  They source grapes from some of the finest vineyards in Washington and produce some of the best wines in Washington.  We selected the most off-the-wall wine that they produce, Muscat.  Very different from any other Muscat that I have ever had, because it is bone dry without any residual sugar. Most tend to be a little bit sweet.  The wine has an outrageous nose of nectarine, peach, honey, lime and a bit of anise, very floral!  However, the nose doesn’t match the wine since the wine shows no sweetness. Muscat is one of the greatest wines in the world for shellfish or it matches well with creamier styled cheeses.


Chateau Pesquie Quintessence Cotes Du Ventoux 1999

About a year and a half ago we featured the winery’s Les Terrasses label, which was a huge hit.  This time we’ve gone two steps above the Terrasses and are featuring the Quintessence label.  Quintessence is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, making the wine dense and chewy with flavors of blackberries, cherries and licorice, and a long lingering spicy finish.  This is the ideal wine for roasts that are cooked on the grill.


Capestrano Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2001 Italy

Our biggest selling Italian reds in the store are the wines of Cataldi Madonna; this is also one of their wines.  This wine tends to be more fruit forward and accessible then the other wines that they produce.  The wine is very soft with mellow tannins and great acidity and notes of plum and chocolate.  When you don’t feel like cooking this summer and go to your local Pizzeria, bring this one along.


June 2003


Claude Courtois “Les Cailloux-le Paradis” Racines 1998

There has always been the question of whether Courtis’s property is a nature sanctuary or a winery; lets just say it is both.  There are plenty of thickets, trees, streams and wildlife present along with a complete holistic approach to making wine.  Located in the Loire Valley, the wine is a blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, cot, gamay, chaudenay and freaux.  The wine has a beautiful stinky nose with rich, vibrant anise, coffee and herbal qualities.  The wine cries out for barbecued foods.


Vinum Cellars  Pointe Blanc California

We really think that the people at Vinum Cellars know their stuff.  They have long-term contracts with several growers and source their best grapes.  We have done well in the past with their Chenin Blanc and Petite Sirah, now we hope to do equally as well with the Pointe Blanc, which is a blend of Chenin blanc, viognier and rousssanne.  The wine opens up with a substantial vanilla nose and hints of nuts, with ripe tastes of melon, vanilla and spice, and ends with along clean finish.  The perfect white wine for picnics, if we ever get nice weather, seafood or grilled chicken.


Onix Priorat Spain

The Priorat region is located 100 miles southwest of Barcelona, the region is extremely rocky, hilly and very difficult to farm.  However, the region produces some of the finest wines out of Spain.  A blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Carignane gives the wine hints of plums, blackberries, cherries and a real spicy finish with soft tannins.  Onix goes great with lamb and pork as well as by itself.



May 2003


Enate Tinto Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Spain 2000

We usually try to stay away from close outs for various reasons, poor storage conditions, bad year, stained labels etc., no continuity etc., however this time it was just too good of a deal to pass up.  The wine has aromas of black currant and blackberries with a touch of violet and vanilla.  An unbelievably smooth, well rounded palate with ripe tanins and a slightly toasty finish.  Drinking beautifully right now, and goes great with those first barbecues of the year.


Miner Family Viognier California 2001

When you try as many wines as we do, they are certain qualities that are consistent, for this example the California vintage of 2001, a vintage that equals and perhaps surpasses the great 1997’s.  The Miner Viognier  is the daddy of all the Viognier we have tried from California, it has a youthful vibrancy, a beautiful honeysuckle and citrus nose, with tastes to match.  It makes one think of a tropical paradise.  If you can remember when we had the Yalumba Viognier we featured 6 months ago, that is the Volkswagen and Miner Family is the Porsche.  A wine that accompanies seafood with the best of them, especially Sushi.


Andre Brunel & Laurence Feraud Image du Sud France 1998

This wine is a project of two great Chateauneuf du Pape producers, Brunel is known for Les Cailloux and Ferraud is known for Pegau.  Basically this is a declassified Chateauneuf du Pape , some of the grapes that were sourced just out of the Chateauneuf region.  This wine could a little more time, but is loaded with rich berried fruit and a long, long spicy finish and a bit of earth.  A tremendous food wine that goes well with anything cooked on the grill or with any type of game.


April 2003


234 Nassau Street, Princeton NJ 08542.......609.924.0836