Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

Read about the wines in this tasting

Read our notes

The Joys of Blending

The two whites were like in weight but showed different degrees of brightness in the mouth. The 2017 Stark Condé Field Blend showed more textural and flavor complexity while the 2017 Marcel Deiss Alsace was a bit more focussed drive.
April 24, 2019


  The vote at our cash register was very close, but the Stark Conde very slightly edged out the Marcel Deiss. Both will show more of their stuff if they are not served refrigerator cold and allowed a half an hour or so to breathe before drinking.

         At the start of the tasting , the 2016 Musar unloaded a mouthful of raspberry-plum fruit on the palate, too undifferentiated for some tasters. Some of the fruit blew off in the course of the tasting. People who arrived later got a more complex and interesting balance of nice fruit, with some Cinsault and Cabernet austerity and structured balance. It is quite an interesting wine for the money.

         The 2018 Ashbourne Pinotage/Cinsault presented a parallel conundrum. The first bottle we opened was totally unlike what I had tasted at the winery, with a nose that showed a soft echo of the acetone that made traditionally-made pinotage infamous. A second bottle was pure and delicious, just like the notes below. When we revisited the first bottle aftere it had been open, the off note had blown off and it was as delicious as the first.

         The 2015 Ch. Pesquie Ventoux Quintessenceis a major wine, very deep and intense with rich well integrated oak. At four years old, it still has years to go. It was a more serious wine than the other two; thought very powerful at its price.

         It was not the fault 2016 Rabble Red Wine that it was not so appreciated as the others . It is quite good for a New world wine but was overshadowed by the more expensive wines that preceded it. It is quite good at its price.


South Africa:

2017 Stark Condé Field Blend

Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Verdelho

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-renowned 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 wines, this time not from his Walker Bay home base, but from old vine grapes from 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 Quintessenceis 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

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

any 12 or more for 15% off

This Week's Offers
Both Feudo Montodi Sicilian wines have sold out.

Some 2017 Bailly Revedry Sancerre is still available

Special case price good only until tomorrow


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           - Len Rothenberg