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Les Cretes Les Abeilles 2006

Muscat from Valle d'Aosta, Italy
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Winemaker Notes

Brilliant golden yellow hue. Fruit (dried apricots, jam), spice and a hint of acacia flower honey on the nose. Complex palate with sweet, soft, mineral undertones. Long, fresh finish.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 91
The Wine Advocate

The 2006 Les Abeilles is a late-harvest wine made from Muscat and Petit Grain. Peaches, cantaloupe spices, lime peel, pears and minerals emerge from this focused yet generous sweet wine. There is gorgeous balance and overall poise here, yet this remains a somewhat understated linear style. The wine is best paired with cheeses that aren’t too aged.

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Les Cretes

Les Cretes

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Les Cretes, , Italy
Les Cretes
Founded in 1989 by Costantino Charrere and Jolanda Plat, Les Cretes is one of only a few commercial wineries in the quaint region of Valle D'Aosta. The winery is located in Aymavilles with the cellar lying one mile from Monte Bianco tunnel. Comprised of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah, as well as the indigenous varieties of Petit Rouge, Fumin, Petite Arvine and Gros Rouge, thirteen hectares of vineyard in five communes along the river Dora Baltea. The hills of Coteau La Tour are the most precious single vineyard of the winery, and one of the most beautiful in all of Valle d’Aosta. Their most famous wine is the rich barrel-fermented Chardonnay Cuvee Bois, with the 2002 vintage having recieved the Tre Bicchieri,Duemila Vini 5 Grappoli, and the Cinque Bottiglie awards. Untill recently, their entire anual production of a few thousand cases was sold entirely within Italy.

California

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Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

DWED0275_06_200_2006 Item# 121309

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