Posts Tagged ‘Provence’


Our wine buyers’ top picks for the holidays! La Cigarrera Amontillado VOR, 2012 Domaine Comte Abbatucci “Cuvee Faustine” Rouge, 2005 CUNE “Contino” Rioja Reserva, and 1979 Kopke Colheita Port


The holiday season is upon us, and once again this year we’ve asked our wine buyers at both shops to recommend the wines they’re most excited about gifting this year. These are not every day wines, but rather special bottles that you will want to gift or sip with loved ones. If any of these wines strike your fancy let us know so we can set a bottle (or more) aside for you, as some of them are rare and available in very limited quantities.


La Cigarrera Amontillado VOR
Julie Cappellano, Wine Buyer at Formaggio Kitchen South End

Ignacio Hildago, is the ninth generation of his family to make sherry in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This extremely rare Amontillado comes from the family’s Sacrista, where their oldest wines are kept. Here Ignacio, upon receiving permission from his family, recently tapped a single barrel of Amontillado Viejo that was a part of his grandmother’s dowry. The average age of the wine from this solera is 100 years. We were lucky to receive ½ of a case out of the 50 cases of 375mL bottles that made their way to the United States. This ancient, bronze elixir, rich with hazelnut aromas and flavors, should be served at cool room temperature. This wine can be served with a simple goat’s milk cheese like Garrotxa or Garcia de Paredes, but when I open my bottle I’ll be sipping it on its own to inhale and taste every flavor nuance to the fullest.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen South End, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge with one day’s notice.


2012 Domaine Comte Abbatucci “Cuvee Faustine” Rouge 
James Hull, Wine Buyer at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

If undeniable character, quality and a little romance are what your wine-lover craves, this standout from Jean-Charles Abbatucci brims with everything the island of Corsica can throw at it. History buffs know Jean-Charles Abbatucci as a heroic general and brother-in-arms to Napoleon, but the current Jean-Charles has become a modern-day hero by expressing Corsica’s unique grapes and terroir with passion and skill. He grows his grapes with a religious commitment to biodynamics and a good dose of eccentricity (he drives his tractor around the vines blaring traditional songs of the island because he believes they’re part of the terroir and keep the vines happy!). The aromas jumping from the glass will make you a believer—layers of wild herbs, juicy cherries and rocky mineral notes swirl around your senses and ignite the imagination. Savor it with Corsican cheese like Corsu Vecchiu, a hunk of salami and the album “Corsica” by Petru Guelfucci.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen South End with one day’s notice. 


2005 CUNE “Contino” Rioja Reserva
Stephen Meuse, Wine Buyer at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

Not many wine estates can boast a winery designed by Gustaf Eiffel (of tower fame) and CUNE (kew-nay) is truly an exceptional property in many ways. Located in Haro, at the very heart of La Rioja, Spain, this winery has long enjoyed a reputation for taking a forward-thinking approach while maintaining traditional values—and this elegant wine is a case in point. In a region known for the artful blending of wines from many vineyards, CUNE breeds Contino from the grapes of a single privileged site, established in 1974. Mainly Tempranillo, it benefits from small amounts of Graciano, Mazuelo, and Garnacha Tinta. It is fermented in stainless steel then matured for two years in French and American oak. It sees extended bottle aging before release. Contino shows all the stately charm of mature Rioja, with an abundance of dark red fruits and notes of spruce forest. Tannins are beautifully conditioned and the wine is table-ready. A truly splendid holiday gift for the wine aficionado on your list.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen South End with one day’s notice. 


1979 Kopke Colheita Port
Marianne Staniunas, Formaggio Kitchen South End Wine Department

A Colheita Port is an aged Tawny Port, made from the grapes of a single vintage, aged in wooden casks and released by the winemaker only when it is at its peak—and ready to be relished. Traditionally, a Colheita must be aged for at least seven years, but many winemakers age them for much longer. This year, we were thrilled to receive a limited quantity of a 1979 Colheita from Portugal’s first and oldest Port House—established in Oporto in 1638 by the Kopke family. For any lover of Port, this wine is a must-have once-in-a-lifetime gift.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen South End, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge with one day’s notice. 

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Ihsan and Valerie visiting Brigitte of Lo Brusc

On an early visit to Lo Brusc (L-R): Brigitte, Sarah (Formaggio employee), Valerie and Ihsan

In the early 90s, Ihsan and Valerie were invited by one of our customers to stay at a lovely château in Provence while on a food sourcing trip. Located near the town of Abt, about halfway between Toulouse and the Atlantic Ocean, the surroundings were picturesque and, as Ihsan recalls, “breathtaking.” The villa served as a wonderful base from which to explore the region and led to some of Ihsan and Valerie’s earliest finds – ones that have stood the test of time – like Durand chocolates and miellerie: Lo Brusc. (more…)

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