Friday, June 10. 2016
After an extended time away on the West Coast and subsequent period under the weather, I am now back on-line.
So, too, is the new the successor store to the Port of Wines. Called simply “The Port,” it is located in a new, not quite completed building. The address is 5485 Clyde Street on the corner of Clyde and Birmingham Streets. Being away, I missed the opening and finally made my first visit earlier this week.
The layout is bright, modern, with well-lit and easy to navigate displays. It is also far more spacious than the old Port of Wines and underground parking is available within the building as well as across the street at the new library.
As advertised, the total range of offerings has greatly expanded, combining store exclusives; products shared with NSLC specialty General Store network, as well as a list of premium General List selections. The new store’s impressive Nova Scotia selection is highlighted and includes a wide range of beers and spirits, with an emphasis on local craft brews, ciders and other local specialities. This is yet another indication of how far local products have come in the last few years.
The store’s tasting/presentation room is spacious and comfortably seats 30 people. An ongoing schedule of events is already under way.
I have barely touched the surface of The Port’s new selections, but here are three examples of wines exclusive to the store, together with one non-exclusive newcomer, widely available at NSLC stores around the Province.
Arnaldo Caprai Anima Umbra Grechetto 2014, IGT Umbria 12.5% $16.79 NSLC the Port. From star Umbria producer, Arnaldo Caprai, famous for putting Sagrantino Montefalco on the map, this is an example of Umbria’s fine white grape, Grechetto. It reveals floral scents that suggest Acacia together with bright yellow fruit on the nose. Very crisp, though pleasantly ripe apple and pear flavours come with a touch of stony mineral, finishing clean and very dry. ***
El Coto Crianza 2012, Rioja DOC 13% $18.80 NSLC the Port. 100% Tempranillo and aged 1 year in new oak barrels with additional bottle ageing before release, this elegant wine punches well above its weight. Warmly ripe, spicy and enticingly perfumed berry fruit backed by subtle oaky notes on the nose open the way for generous red berry flavours, with raspberry in the foreground. Acidity is judiciously balanced, with lightly firm tannins and harmoniously integrated fruit, a deft touch of oak and a splash of mocha on the finish. Polished, with authentic Rioja character. An exceptional value. ****
Chateau Blaignan 2010, Cru Bourgeois Médoc AC 13.5% $29.79 NSLC the Port. Piquant blackcurrant with bright green herbal scents, a whiff of clove, cinnamon and a trace of oak on the nose lead to blackcurrant, blackberry and dark cherry flavours in the mouth. Medium weight on the palate, the wine is well-structured, with sooty tannic grip, still youthful acidity and a lick of dark chocolate. Can be drunk now with food but should benefit from 3-5 years additional cellaring. ***1/2
Clos du Bois Chardonnay 2014, California 13.5% $18.99 NSLC (Wide Distribution). 30% of this stylish California Chardonnay was aged in French and American oak. Fruit came primarily from North Coast regions with additional quantities sourced on the Central Coast. Attractively smoky and toasty aromas over fresh lemon butter scents move to delicate lemon drop flavour supported by zesty acidity, a lick of mineral and lingering apple/pear notes on the finish. A delicious, finely balanced California Chardonnay with just the right touch of oak. ****
*Acceptable ordinary quality
**Good quality, everyday standard
** Very good quality in its price range
**** Exceptional quality, top 15% - 20%
**** The finest possible, top 5% - 10%