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“Taste” is a complicated concept. The papillae on the tongue (commonly called taste buds) decipher sweet, salty, bitter and sour sensations. Each area of the tongue is responsible for registering one of the “tastes.” (NOTE: More and more, this “division of responsibility” is being questioned. Many experts now feel that all areas of the tongue are capable of detecting all elements of taste.)

The palate (the roof of the mouth) further identifies these four tastes. The flavor or flavors then travel up the throat into the nasal cavity where the
olfactory (smell) membrane sends the flavor signals to the hypothalamus in the brain. Here the final evaluation is made and the verdict is handed down. What you have in your mouth tastes good, bad, or lies somewhere
in between. That is the OLD version of how tasting is achieved.

Scientists have now identified a fifth flavor that they have dubbed “Umami.” Simply put, Umami is what defines a flavor as being savory, tasty or just plain yummy. It is a Japanese word translated as “pleasantsavory taste.” It’s actually an amino acid with receptors on the tongue.

While the other four tastes are easily identifiable, Umami is rather elusive. It is usually found in savory sauces, complex dishes and soy sauce — anything that you’d describe as rich, deep, intensely savory in taste. It occurs naturally in meats, fish, dairy products and veggies, and ripe tomatoes are particularly rich in Umami components. It takes a lot of exposure and patience to be able to detect the effect Umami has in enjoying the experience of tasting.

So how, you ask, does this relate to wine? Try this: taste any red wine, and concentrate on its flavor. After the taste sensation ceases, dissolve a pinch of salt in your mouth. It tastes, well, really salty! Now quickly sip that same red wine, taking note of the change. The flavor will be noticeably softer and longer in length. This is proof that many wines not only taste better when
enjoyed with food, but the marriage of certain foods and wines are more successful than others. Is that wine best with food that’s Sweet? Sour? Salty? Bitter? Umami? Experiment, experience, and enjoy!

LINTON’S PRIDE — CABERNET SAUVIGNON (Vintage 2012 Red) Country: South Africa Region: Cape of Good Hope (Wellington) Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon

The magnificent Linton’s Winery was founded by French Huguenot Louis Fourie in 1699. Situated on the slopes of Wellington, it is over 500m high and enjoys a unique terroir with higher rainfall, richer soils and more moderate summer temperatures than the surrounding areas. Its special micro-climate allows for extraordinary fruit flavors — from the most southwestern point of South Africa, to you in the comfort of your home. Linton’s Winery covers 294 hectares of which 100 hectares are planted with noble varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinotage, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The selection offered to you this
month is made of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grown in their vineyards on vines that are over 20 years old. Careful plant manipulation, controlled irrigation, innovative positioning and attention to detail at every
juncture means successful growing and extraordinary wine flavor.

The intense red color of this Cabernet Sauvignon is eye candy that matches the deep mocha/chocolate aromas and red berries on the nose. It’s full bodied, with a plumy pallet and a strawberry finish aftertaste. This is a well-balanced wine with outstanding quality. It is ready to be enjoyed now; however, with proper cellaring, will improve through 2017. Serve at room temperature with crown of lamb, pork chops, prime rib, and your favorite rich pasta dishes. Enjoy, compliments of your favorite Wine of the Month Club!

Linton’s Pride Cabernet Sauvignon: CABERNET SAUVIGNON GRAPES — Widely planted, this premium red grape is a prolific grower — small, dark, thick skinned and late-maturing. One of the world’s most widely recognized grape varieties, it is also one of the youngest, originating in the 17th century with the crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It produces tannic wines with black currant/cassis aroma and flavor. Flavors and characteristics vary with the region where it is grown. One of its most significant qualities is that it ages so well, sometimes successfully kept for decades. Also called simply Cabernet, it is best known for its affiliation with the Bordeaux region of France.

VINI CICCARIELLO — PINOT GRIGIO DEL LAZIO IGT (Vintage 2013, White) Country: Italy Region: Lazio Grape: Pinot Grigio

The Lazio Region is in central Italy; Rome is its capital as well as being the capital of the country as a whole. The region is primarily known for its white wine production due, in large part, to the volcanic composition of its soils which are particularly suited to white wine production for their contribution to the grapes’ acidity. In addition, the various cool microclimates from the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west coast and the Apennines Mountains also contribute.

Casa Vinicola Ciccariello is a state-of-the-art facility located in the hills of the Gulf of Gaeta, in the southwest of Lazio. Here the winery produces award-winning wines through dedication to quality and respect of winemaking traditions. A bright straw-colored wine of 100% Pinot Grigio, it boasts attractive aromas of melon sorbet, lemon soufflé, sweet cream and
faint anise. The wine has a supple, medium body. It is elegant and crisp with a soft texture and a pleasing piquancy — citrus and meringue and mossy mineral — accents the finish. Enjoy it now, chilled, as an aperitif or with light pasta, filet of Sole Meuniere, poached sea bass in garlic, or sauteed vegetables.

Vini Ciccariello Pinot Grigio Del Lazio IGT: PINOT GRIGIO GRAPES

Also identified with the names Pinot Gris and Rulander, this white grape with a hint of lavender is capable of producing rich, complex wines of superior quality. Its spiciness is seldom encountered in other varieties. This grape is responsible for many grand flavored, sweet fortified wines produced throughout the world with hues from white to slightly pink in color. The skin of this grape is more hued than most other whites, but be assured the grape is a true white. It originated in France as a mutation of Pinot Noir.

VINI CICCARIELLO — MERLOT DEL LAZIO IGT (Vintage 2013, Red) Country: Italy  Region: Lazio  Grapes: Merlot and Sangiovese

The Lazio Region is in central Italy; Rome is its capital as well as being the capital of the country. The  region is primarily known for its white wine production due, in large part, to the volcanic composition of its soils which are particularly suited to white wine production for their contribution to the grapes’ acidity. In addition, the various cool microclimates from the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west coast and the Apennines Mountains also contribute. However, the region has always produced red wines and in recent years, they have begun to make steady inroads. Red wine production is on the rise.

Casa Vinicola Ciccariello is a state-of-the-art facility located in the hills of the Gulf of Gaeta, in the southwest of Lazio. Here the winery produces award-winning wines through dedication to quality and respect of winemaking traditions.

Merlot was the first grape variety introduced to Italy from the Bordeaux region of France. A variety of average vigor and very balanced vegetation, it found its ideal climate in Lazio. This wine, 80% Merlot and 20% Sangiovese is a deep ruby red with aromas of cherry and plum, with characteristic herbal notes. Elegant and well-structured, it offers a soft palate and delicate flavors of wild berries. Enjoy it now, at room temperature or slightly chilled, with light pasta, grilled sausages or veggies, or pizza.

Vini Ciccariello Merlot Del Lazio IGT:

MERLOT GRAPES — Producing wines soft in fruit, grand in color, and rich in flavor, Merlot grapes are invaluable in fruity lusciousness and velvet quality.  Merlot grapes are key to wines that are fresh flavored and vibrant. France is home to some of the finest Merlot grapes grown worldwide, but of late, Italy is giving France stiff competition.

SANGIOVESE GRAPES — Without the Sangiovese grape, there would be no Chianti! In a pure varietal form it can have a nearly metallic finish with hidden fruit flavors. When yields are high, the resulting wine is light and fruity with an earthy element. Summers of very hot weather makes for wines of considerable weight, power and finesse.

CHATEAU LA BASTIDE — COTES DU MARMANDAIS AOP Vintage 2013, White) Country: France Region: Marmandais in SW France Grapes:

Sauvignon Blanc & Sauvignon Gris

Cotes du Marmandais is an Appellation d’Origine Protégée in Southwest France, around the commune of Marmande.  The region is just outside the borders of Bordeaux, southeast of Entre-Deux-Mers. It is here that the vineyards are located, on the hillsides along the banks of the Garonne River. Classified as VDQS in 1955, they became an AOC in 1990 and an AOP in 2012. Cave du Marmandais, the producers of Chateau La Bastide, represents 95% of the surface area of the appellation, with 2100 acres of vineyards.

The Chateau la Bastide is on the highest point in the village of Cocumont, originally built during the Hundred Year’s War in 1472. It was used as a refuge for the neighboring villagers. Destroyed by fire in 1721, it was rebuilt and used as a peasant/noble master residence until the Revolution of 1787. The history is amazing. Made of 95% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Sauvignon Gris, this Estate Bottled wine is pale yellow hued with golden sparkles in the glass. It has a fine nose with exotic fruit coupled with subtle nuances of oak. On the palate, it is fruity, round, silky and well-balanced. The finish is long and rewarding. The wine is ready to enjoy now. Serve chilled as an aperitif with canapes, or with lobster bisque, sauteed prawns, grilled chicken breasts, pan fried trout or Salmon in Hollandaise sauce and cream.

Chateau la Bastide Cotes du Marmandais AOP:

SAUVIGNON BLANC GRAPES — A white with very distinctive dusty character, high in acidity with up-front aromas and flavors. A climate-driven chameleon, Sauvignon Blanc wines may be fruity in character (ripe melon, fig, passion fruit), or vegetative and grassy. Mostly unoaked, the resulting wines are light to medium bodied and usually dry. They produce wines of different personalities, depending where they are grown.

SAUVIGNON GRIS GRAPES — This is a pink-berried less-fragrant clonal mutant of the Sauvignon Blanc. Perhaps the least known of the entire Bordeaux wine appellation, it was nearly lost to the historic Phylloxera epidemic.

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Tracie Burket
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