Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

Read about the wines in this tasting

Read what our customers thought

This Week's Tasting

More Exotic Summer Wines
June 6, 2018

Tonight, two whites and four reds that are drinking this season. For the most part, they lean towards a pretty, nuanced expression, rather than power. We were very impressed by all six.

Cherry Blossoms



Peter will not approve of our first white. He feels that you shouldn't drink North American whites made from Italian grapes. Fortunately, Dan Petroski the winemaker at Napa Valley's Larkmead Vineyard, did not feel the same way. Assembling rare California plantings of Ribolla Gialla for spice, Tocai Friulano for depth, and the apostate Chardonnay for midmouth, he crafted a delightful Napa Valley life compounded of herbs and flowers.

            Albino Rocca is well known as a top producer of Barbaresco, and we always have some of that in the store. They also make a fantastic white which we can only get occasionally. The 2016 Albino Rocca La Rocca Cortese has just arrived. Cortese is the grape variety that is used to make the justly famous Piedmont white Gavi di Gavi. The La Rocca Cortese vineyard is in Barbaresco, a location which gives this white more depth and finesse. The Italian wine guide Gambero Rosso calls the Albino Rocca Cortese “one of the finest Piedmont whites.” This is from a single vineyard of about 40 year old vines. The soil is clay and limestone.


           Frappato is grown in the Vittoria region of Sicily where it produces a delicate and fragrant red. It is used as a blending grape to produce, along with Nero d’Avola, the DOCG Ceresuolo di Vittoria. Quite a few producers also botlle it on its own as well. Which brings us to the 2016 Gurrieri Frappato di Vittoria. Giovanni Gurrieri runs the estate which consists of acre after acre of table grapes. Small select vineyard parcels are planted to Frappato, Nero d’Avola and Grillo. The Frappato vineyard is on sandy soil which gives the wine an elegant quality.

The island of Corsica is French in dominion, but many feel it is much Italian in spirit and culture. Certainly the Sciaccarellu grape of the 2016 Clos Fornelli La Robe d'Ange has its origins in Italy. This gracefully flowing wine comes in "an angel's dress" with a purity and expressiveness that is more than kin to the modern style of Italian wines. It has the weighty style of a Cru Bourgoise with the addition of an herbal Italian spice. Delicious. Drink oh-so-lightly chilled.

           Lagrein is a red grape variety grown in the Sudtirol region of Alto Adige. It is stylistically similar to Syrah with rich, spicy dark fruit and ample tannin. Those who discover it become fans for life. Glassier is a winery in Sudtirol dating back to 1663. The 2014 Glassier Lagrein Riserva is a classic example. Stefan and Linda Vaja are the 9thgeneration of the family to run the place. The vines are very old and planted on the hills canopy style. The farming is organic.

There are many really good still wines coming out of Portugal these days. The 2014 Quinta de Ventozelo Douro Reserva is one we really like. This is a blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouchet and Sousao and is a selection of the best grapes in the top vineyards. The Quinta was established in 1569 by Cistercian monks. It’s a little more modern now. The wine is very interesting and complex and all the components contribute their own flash of spice.



2016 Massican Annia; Aroma: heady clean rather herbal, dusty fine, ; Mouth: bright clean rather fine acid, herbal, fine e rather nutty sweet, fruit, lively, clean finish, long; c40; Mixed Case, 36; Case, 34 limited quantity

2016 Albino Rocca La Rocca Cortese: Straw with green highlights. Deeply textural with notes of pear, peach and orange oil. Displays a kind of electric richness with a chalky zesty finish. Excellent  31/bottle 27.90/mixed case 26.35/case


2016 Gurrieri Frappato di Vittoria: Bright ruby. Delicate, flavorful red berry and roses with notes of clove and white pepper. Long soft balanced finish with gentle structure. Very Good Plus Plus 21/bottle 18.90/mixed case 17.85/case

2016 Clos Fornelli La Robe d'Ange Organic; Color: light red with an orange tint; Aroma: lightly minty, lightly minty, rather clean, ; Mouth: bright black cherry. fine texture, medium bodied, spicy acidity, clean forward, juicy, fine light tannins; Very Good Plus19.99; Mixed Case, 17.99; Case, 16.99

2014 Glassier Lagrein Riserva Organic: Deep red. Plum, blackberry, black pepper, cinnamon and leather. Chewy texture, full bodied but not heavy with a nice mineral edge. Very Good Plus to Excellent  27/bottle 24.30/mixed case 22.95/case

2014 Quinta de Ventozelo Douro Reserva: Dark red. Plum and red berries with a balsamic floral character. Vanilla, spice and white pepper with smooth tannin in the finish. Needs to breath. Very Good Plus to Excellent   21/bottle 18.90/mixed case 17.85/case


Exotic Summer Case: Special, two each of the above wines - $273

Exotic Summer Pack: Special, one each of the above wines - $144

 (may incur delivery charge)

Or you can mix

 any six bottles of the above for a 10% discount

 any twelve bottles of the above for a 15% discount


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