Moving right along...

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There's no real theme for this week's Featured Wines, except that we're moving into the late summer/early autumn season here and leaning toward wines that go with hearty feasts and longer nights.

Cavicchioli Sparkling Wine (Modena, Italy) Regular Price $15.55/ Feature Price $13.22

Last week when we were Featuring pink wines, I introduced a lot of people to our Lambrusco Reggiano. Even those who don’t like “sweet wine” (like me) found it fun and refreshing. Now comes a new one from the same part of Italy. It’s made from 100% Malvasia grapes grown in the Emilian hills, has a bit of sparkle and a bit of sweetness, and would be great on a late summer afternoon with some of our Giacomo’s salami, a bit of hummus, some ripe cheeses...and, of course, a friendly crowd. And the festive, flowery bottle is enough to lift your spirits when the autumn rains set in.

Folonari Pinot Grigio (Veneto, Italy) 4-bottle bag-in-box, $24.85

We’re always looking for wine-in-a-box that’s not “box wine” (yuck!). Here’s a new addition...a rich, ripe Pinot Grigio that has enough crisp acidity to go with casual suppers, seafood or antipasto. The Folonari folks call the box a “Fresh Cask” because you can pour from it for up to 6 weeks...if it lasts that long.

Domaine Ostertag Pinot Blanc 2008 (Alsace, France) Regular Price $16.50/ Feature Price $14.02

We’ve carried André Ostertag’s turkey-friendly Sylvaner for the past several years at Thanksgiving. I was looking for that one when I found that it’s not available yet. But my supplier had some Ostertag 2008 Pinot Blanc that’s carrying a very good price, because it’s the end of that batch. Yvonne and I took a bottle home and found that it still drank very well with a chicken pot pie (from Whole Foods Market, of course). So the “Regular Price” is really a deal from the usual $20, and the Feature Price is a steal...while it lasts.

Sombras del Sol Carmenere (Colchagua Valley, Chile) Everyday price $9.75

We had a lot of fans of the Terra Andina Carmenere who were disappointed when that one went away. But now we have a new replacement, at only a little higher price. When I introduced the Terra Andina, I wrote: “The Carménère grape is a wine grape variety originally planted in the Médoc region of Bordeaux, France, where it was used to produce deep red wines and occasionally used for blending purposes. A member of the Cabernet family of grapes, the name "Carménère" originates from the French word for crimson (carmin) which refers to the brilliant crimson color of the autumn foliage prior to leaf-fall.” Very appropriate for the season.

La Posta Cocina Tinto 2010 (Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina) Regular Price $16.45/ Feature Price $13.98

This is another one that we used to carry, then they had production problems and the quality went way down, so I stopped selling it. Now they’ve got a new winemaker, and the 2009 vintage of this “kitchen blend” got 90 Pts from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. It’s a rich, dark blend of 60% Malbec, 20% Bonarda and 20% Syrah. The grapes are grown at an average elevation of 3,000 feet and are hand picked. The wine then spends 14 months in 70% French and 30% American oak barrels. All that winemaking and a moderate 13.5% alcohol level make this the perfect wine for the hearty cuisines of the coming cool weather.

Corte Majoli Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso (Verona, Italy) Regular Price $18.65/ Feature Price $15.85

A couple of weeks ago I (re)introduced Corte Majoli’s entry-level Valpolicella, a light, refreshing red wine for the end of summer. Now we bring in the next level. The Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso is poured over the lees of a previous batch of wine (“re-passed”) to add depth and substance. And it has that! This is a Valpolicella that will get us through the next couple of months until I introduce the Amarone della Valpolicella for Christmastide.