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A Look at the 2015 WHALE Event in New Bedford, MA

We had a chance to attend this year’s edition of WHALE the first Friday in October, an event which supports the Waterfront Historic Area LeaguE. WHALE is involved with historic preservation in New Bedford, and our hope was they had maintained the caliber of the event we enjoyed very much last year. They have.  This is a fun way to spend an evening, find some new wines, try some new foods from local restaurants and generally have a pretty good time. Let’s take a look.

First the weather was bad, and surprisingly did little to keep people away. We arrived

Great dessert bites from Jessica Marmelo at Cravings Cakery

Great dessert bites from Jessica Marmelo at Cravings Cakery

shortly after opening to find it already busy. There are almost as many food options here as wine. We sampled some great chowder, some quesadillas, a bit of Jambalaya from a giant pan prepared by Morton’s Fork Catering, oysters on the half shell and some beef tenderloin. The quahog chowder from Whaler’s Tavern was fantastic.  We went back for seconds.  Desserts were also abundant, and they were excellent. A major component of a great wine and food event is having enough food. They get that here.

Fireplace for the ladies

Fireplace for the ladies

They also get that it helps to give people a nice option when they have to visit the porta-johns. The ones they bring in are elegant, spacious, and the ladies restroom even had an electric fireplace! Once again we have to give props to Elegant Restrooms, who provided this service.

The wines were numerous, and the event was coordinated by Kristian Vasilev, owner and resident sommelier at Crush Fine Wine Boutique on Purchase Street in New Bedford. Kristian has been around the wine

Large paella pan!

Large paella pan!

scene for a long time, and he brings an eclectic approach to the variety and selection at his store. That same approach was evident at the event, where there were wines from all over the world and many out of the ordinary varieties. This is a great place to expand your wine horizons. Everything poured here is also available at Crush, so you can indulge on a few bottles you really loved. Also, nothing is super expensive. Here are some of our favorites from the evening.

2013 Laetitia Estate Pinot Noir – the first wine we tried remained one of our favorites from the night. Good fruit and a very elegant palate. Just under $20.whale24

2014 La Petit Perriere Sauvignon Blanc – from the Loire Valley, this is crisp and smooth with grapefruit and a little peach. $10

whale232014 Ceretto Arneis Langhe – from Piedmont, this is a white we have had before and loved. This vintage is no exception. It brings pear, apricot and tropical fruit flavors with a touch of effervescence. Around $20.

2014 Krueznacher Kronenberg Riesling Spatlese – very delicate white. I got lychee fruit, among others. A delicious easy drinking wine. Probably no more than $12.

Costa Rosa Sangue Di Guida Dell’Oltrepo Pavese – from the Lombardy area, this is pink, fizzy, 7% alcohol and just yummy. Sort of like a Brachetto, with beautiful fruit flavors.

2012 Temperamento Bobal – 100% Bobal, another beautiful fruit filled wine, this one with some tannins and a nice balance of acid. More red fruits for me. Very nice wine. Around $14.

Kopke 10 Year Tawny Port – an unbelievable bottle of tawny. It had been open whale9almost a month and you would never have known it. A pinky salmon color, not unlike the last 1977 Vintage port I opened, this is just smooth and rich and complex. Maybe the best ten year tawny I have ever tried. Better than several twenty year tawnies I have sampled. About $40, pricey for a ten year, but sooo good.

2014 Francis Blanchet Puilly Fume Vielles Vignes – this had a wonderful edge of pine sap, just a little, and the wine was clean and fresh. Would be a great food wine. Around $20.

2010 Domaine Eden Cabernet Sauvignon – there is some of all five of the whale11Bordeaux grapes in this. It’s long and rich, although surprisingly low in alcohol at 13.5%. The flavor profile is crazy complex, and I got a blast of nectarine at the very end, highly unusual in a Cabernet. We loved this. About $35.

whale12011 Marina Cvetic Montelpuciano D’Abruzzo – this is full throttled Montelpuciano, with a rich fruit profile that brings tannin and structure to the party. Some perfume notes lend it elegance. All in all a really good version of this style. Low $20 range.

2012 Casale del Giglio Merlot Lazio – a Italian Merlot from Lazio, this joins the growing ranks of really good Italian Merlots we’ve tried recently. It seemed to have a mix of red and black fruit, with noticeable tannins. Still smooth, it was very long. Good stuff. Somewhere near $15.

2011 Pali Riviera Pinot Noir – from the Riviera vineyard, this a silky smooth Pinot Noir with beautiful fruit. A long finish caps off a quality wine. Under $20.

Pierre Sparr Cremant D’Alsace Brut Reserve – so much fruit with a little toast on whale6the nose, this is clean and crisp. Bright fruit on the palate, with some lemon notes. A very high quality Cremant. Probably under $20 and a great value there.

2010 Mr. Riggs The Gaffer Shiraz – for the big red fruit bomb crowd, this wine delivers. It’s rich, but not overly jammy. At 14.5% it’s also not that high in alcohol. A very nice wine all around. Somewhere around $20.

whale72014 Ostatu Blanco – and maybe my favorite wine of the night, this is a white Rioja made with 90% Viura and 10% Malavasia. It’s different, with a great fruit driven palate and a super clean finish. It’s also somewhere around $15. Love this.

That’s a pretty broad selection of excellent quality wines to consider. We think you can’t miss with any of them. Overall the whites seemed to carry the day at WHALE, and there were some really good options we didn’t mention. Again, you can get all of these wines at Crush, so stop in and see Kristian. He might have a bottle of something open for you to try as well.

A votre santé!

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