Three New Grapes, Courtesy of Amanti Vino

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While we all love the convenience of ordering wine online, there is still something so fabulous about walking into a great wine shop, being greeted with a smile from its knowledgeable staff and then getting introduced to wines you’ve never tasted before.

Sharon Sevrens has one of those exact places.  She opened Amanti Vino in Montclair, NJ in 2005, after years of working on Wall Street.  “9/11 hit me hard.  My husband and I both worked and lived down there,” says Sevrens.

So they had enough.  They got the heck out and she decided to follow her passion.

Sevrens now is diploma-certified by Wine and Spirits Education Trust and the Sommelier Society of America.  And that MBA she has from Wharton doesn’t hurt either.

It’s probably why the store on 30 Church Street has survived the recession and is still going strong.

I think one of the best parts of the store, though, is that you’re probably not going to recognize 75% of the wine bottles.

That’s because she searches for artisan, biodynamic wines that we all should try before we die.  So listen below as I go through the three wines we tasted together, made from grapes I never heard of, with a maximum price of $20.

Really.

The wines we tasted:

Calabretta Cala Cala Rosso$18

Cala Cala means “Gulp, Gulp” so gulp it down because its so good.  Ha.

It’s 95% Nerello Mascalese, 5% Nerello Cappuccio.  The Nerello Mascalese is a dark-skinned grape that grows on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Nerello Cappuccio is also found there but rarely stands on its own as a single varietal.  It’s often used with Nerello Mascalese.

 

Domaine Rolet Pere & Fils – Arbois Poulsard Vieilles Vignes 2011$20

The Poulsard grape red grape is found in the Jura region of France — which is basically smack in the middle of the country all the way to the east, very close to Switzerland.

 

Domaine Gaujal de Saint Bon – Picpoul de Pinet Cuvée Dames 2014$12

Picpoul Blanc is one of the thirteen permitted varietals in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It’s generally used as a blending component to take advantage of its acidity. but it stands on its own here with its bright acidity, minerality, and clean lemony flavor.  I feel summer already.

 

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Photos taken at Amanti Vino, Montclair, NJ

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So try one of these wines and learn about a grape you never had before.  Then let me know what you think.

Cent’ Anni.