Fred Dex offers a range of consulting, speaking and education services. His mission is to make the world a better place to drink and to rock your wine world!
Thought I’d share some of the tasting notes from the Rx Wine Lab POPUP’s we hosted at Blue Coffee Café. We poured a ton of really cool, tasting and most importantly accessible to your wallets! Some of these will reappear at the new POPUP we will be opening at the Golden Belt in a few weeks!
Special thanks to the distributors and importers that have embraced these great wines in NC! Remember to turn the label and look on the back for who imports and distributes the wines you buy!
Authentique Vin Thomas Meunier, DeMaison Selections, Haw River Wine Man, Diamond Imports, Rosenthal, Vinum, Sour Grapes, Proof Wines & Spirits, Charles Neal Selections, Dalla Terra, Country Vintner, Bordeaux Fine & Rare, Weygandt Selections, KW Wines, Michael Skurnik Wines, C&P Wines, Louis Dressner & Mouton Noir! I probably forgot some people but you get the idea here! Lot’s of great people and wines are out there! Go explore!
Cremant du Jura, “Brut Comté”, Hubert Clavelin, NV, France
Made from 100% Chardonnay grown in limestone soils just 30km east of Burgundy, this wines shows beautiful apple, yeasty and mineral flavors through and through. This wine drinks like just like Champagne and is “Simply Irresistible”!
Lambrusco Rosso, Lini 910, NV, Italy
Unique to Emilia-Romagna, this dry sparkling red made from the indigenous Lambrusco grape shows juicy notes of blueberry, raspberry, and pomegranate with a touch of earthy spice. Totally the “Dude Looks Like a Lady” of wines. Lambrusco is making a comeback as strong as Aerosmith in 87’… Now boarding all passengers!
Pinot Noir Rose Frizzante, “Prosa”, Meinklang, 2013, Burgenland, Austria
Certified Demeter Biodynamic. Fun, fresh and fizzy this 100% Pinot Noir is loaded with flavors of fresh strawberries, cranberries & herbs. Take this “Red Little Corvette” out for a palette warming spin!
Malvasia Dell’Emilia “Lunaris” Secco, La Collina, NV, Emilia-Romagna
Who needs drugs when you’ve got bubbles, right? This fresh and fruity sparkler is 100% Malvasia and produced at a cooperative operated by recovering addicts. Cheers to a legal drug-of-choice: wine!
Xinomavro Rose, “Akakies”, Kir-Yianni, NV, Amyndeon, Greece
The high altitude and poor sandy soils of the Amyndeon appellation are suited perfectly for cultivation of the native Xinomavro. Characteristic cherry and strawberry flavors are enhanced by the bread-like complexities that are achieved during a traditional secondary fermentation process.
Muscadet, “Comte Leloup”, Château de Chasseloir, 2009, Loire Valley, France
Century old, ungrafted Melon de Bourgogne vines. Luscious orchard fruit and creamy nutty aromas are further enriched by the silken texture that results from extended ‘lees’ aging. Nuanced with aromas of oyster shells & sea air this wine is absolutely “True” to it’s terroir.
Scheurebe-Kabinett, Geil, 2013, Rheinhessen, Germany
Pronounced SHOI-ray-beh, this German-engineered relative of Riesling benefits from a long, cool growing season. Slate soil results in a bright mineral tone that balances a touch of sugar with exotic spice, and dripping with sultry white fruits, you need to taste this one…for the very first time!
Bizkaiko-Txakoli, Gorrondona, 2013, Basque, Spain
Spritzy and bone-dry, this Basque specialty made from Hondarribi Zuri demands its own decanter! Citrus-driven with
ocean spray salinity, it doesn’t get any more refreshing than this. You’ll definitely want to “Party all the Time” when you see how we serve this wine up!
Assytiko/Athiri Blend, Domaine Sigalas, 2013, Santorini, Greece
Hailing from the volcanic Greek isle of Santorini, this unique blend brings together the ferocious acidity and minerality of Assyrtiko with the plush, round tropical fruit of Athiri.
Vouvray, “Silex”, Aubeisiere, 2013, Loire Valley, France
Named after the finely ground quartz one can find throughout the vineyards, this lovely offering from the Loire Valley shows flavors of fresh honeydew, Asian spice, and raw almond. A touch of honeysuckle and a clean mineral streak keeps the wine lively and bright.
Garnacha Blanca, Abadia de la Olivia, 2013, Navarra, Spain
Broad on the palate, yet stunningly refreshing, this gem from the oldest continuously operating winery in Spain is driven by aromas of fresh green apple, white peach, and sweet herbs.
Jurancon Sec, Clos Guiroihl, 2012, Southwest France
A truly unique gem from the southwest of France, this blend of 85% Gros Manseng and 15% Petit Courbu gets its rich texture and full body from a combination of a long growing season in clay calcareous soils, and maturation in 5 year old barrels. Tropical flavors layered with salty nuttiness and minerality.
Scheurebe Halbtrocken, Gysler, 2013, Rheinhessen, Germany
From Demeter-Certified Biodynamic vineyards planted on ancient red sandstone comes this juicy, slightly exotic German-engineered crossing. A touch of residual sugar adds opulence to the ripe starfruit, grapefruit, and white flower aromas. The grape’s naturally high acidity assures a refreshing experience.
Falanghina del Taburno, Fontanavecchia, 2012, Campania
A grape of Roman antiquity, Falanghina thrives best in the porous volcanic soil of Mt. Vesuvius and the warm Mediterranean climate of southern Italy. Fresh wildflowers, waxy yellow fruit, and melon flavors.
Bläufrankisch, Kobal, 2012, Slovenia
A rewarding journey off the beaten path! This signature Austrian grape seems quite comfortable in Slovenia, showing juicy black cherry and raspberry aromas, balanced by green tobacco and tomato leaf.
Saint-Chinian, “Travers de Marceau”, Domaine Rimbert, 2012, France
Bringing together old-vine Mourvedre, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault, this magnificent hidden secret from Schist soils in Southwest France erupts with aromas of red raspberry, plum, blueberry, and a slight savory note of worn leather.
Alentejano Tintio, Merques de Montemore, 2011, Portugal
A warm Mediterranean climate in the south of Portugal provides ample sunshine, leading to ripe scents of red and black fruit, earth, and spice. The blend is comprised of about equal parts Aragones (Tempranillo in Spain), Touriga Nacional, and Trincadeira.
Ribera del Duero Tinto, Viña Sastre, 2012, Spain
Classically bold and full-bodied, this 100% Tempranillo balances its firm structure with roasted red fruits, dry herbs, five spice, and a touch of cedar.
Contra Red Blend, Bonny Doon, 2011, Califonia
From the whimsical mind of Randall Grahm comes another fantastic effort by way of an old-vine Carignan blend. Rustic, complex, and brimming with flavors of sun-bathed blackberry and strawberry.
Aglianico del Taburno, Fontanavecchia, 2009, Campania, Italy
Showcasing a unique iron-like minerality, this monster of a red acquires its characteristic dark fruit and dry earth aromas from the porous soils around Mt. Vesuvius in southern Italy. fresh green apple, white peach, and sweet herbs
Beaujolais, Domaine du Vissoux, 2013, France
Dark granite soils provide a savory mineral characteristic for this otherwise fruit-driven flavor explosion. Boisterous aromas of black cherry, raspberry, and cola are further enlivened by a dual-fermentation process.
Ribeira Sacra, “Vina do Burato”, D. Ventura, 2013, Spain
Lively and fresh, this 100% Mencia from the slate soils of northwest Spain bursts with bright red fruits, fresh herbs, and gorgeous floral tones. Pretty swift and spritely for octogenarian vines!
Granatxa, “Altaroses”, Joan D’Anguera, 2012, Monsant, Spain
This traditional lighter style of Montsant is the first Biodynamic offering from the d’Anguera brothers. Crunchy red fruits and brisk forest aromas rest perfectly on the structure of just-firm-enough tannins and mouth-watering acidity.
Oltrepo Pavese, “Pezzalunga”, Vercesi del Castelazzo, 2010, Lombary, Italy
The wine’s name (Pezzalunga) refers to a specific subsection of a vineyard that’s planted on clay and marl and has a perfect southeast-facing aspect. An organic blend of both familiar and foreign varietals (Barbera, Croatina, Uva Rara, Pinot Nero, and Cab Sauv), it bursts with exuberant bright red fruits.
Rosso dell’Umbria ,Tabarrini, 2010, Umbria, Italy
Mostly Sangiovese, this robust and complex blend from the
“mad genius” benefits from the dark berry and earth notes of Sagrantino, Merlot, and Cabernet. A touch of oak spice and savory herb add further depth to this modern-meets- traditional offering.
“Azulado Tinto”, Quinta das Pancas, 2011, Lisboa, Portugal
Hailing from a winery started in the 15th century, this plush blend is equal parts Castelao, Cab Sauv, Aragonez (Tempranillo), with a splash of Touriga Nacional. Rich flavors of dark plum, licorice spice, and chocolate glide effortlessly across the palate.
Syrah, “Tous Cousins”, Le Vrille et le Papillon, 2012, Rhone Valley
Known for producing a leaner, more stalwart style of Syrah, this racy, minerally wine from the Ardeche region of the Rhone Valley displays classic notes of blackberry, raspberry, pepper, and smoked bacon.
Bonarda, Bodega Alto 3, 2009, Catamarca, Argentina
Sourced from one of the highest altitude vineyards in the world (5,000 ft), this organic offering is driven by blue fruits, vanilla, and warm spices. Bonarda is more or less the hipster grape; it was cool before Malbec had even heard of Argentina.
Cuvée del Andes, “Earthquake Blend”, 2010, Maule Valley, Chile
A blend of the only barrels that survived the devastating earthquake of 2010, this uncanny blend of Cab Sauv, Carmenere, Merlot, Zinfandel, Carignan, Pais, and Cinsault is the result of an effort to make exceptional exceptional Bordeaux blends with bold South American fruit by famed estate Chateau Leoville-Poyferre. Black currant, blueberry, plum, espresso,
Frappato, Tami, 2013, Sicily, Italy
Organic and fermented from native yeast, this boisterous strawberry-rhubarb delight is proof that not all natural wine is weird. Hints of lavender and cola add depth to another fantastic offering from young rockstar Arianna Occhipinti. We like to think of this wine as the ultimate “Heartbreaker”!
Savuto Rosso, Oduardi, 2009, Calabria, Italy
Full-bodied and bursting with smoky red fruit, this Gaglioppo-driven blend from southern Italy’s little-known DOC of Savuto (the toe that kicks Sicily) offers sultry aromas of truffle, tobacco, and bay leaf. A wild, funky blend that is “Super Freaky”!
”La Senda”, Bodegas Pinuaga, 2012, Castilla
The sustainably farmed Merlot vines thrive in clay-limestone soil, and benefit from an unusually high elevation in Spain. The resulting high acidity leads to fresh, ripe aromas of cherry and red plum, and the addition of 20% Tempranillo lends Asian spice. The rhythm of the sassy blend is definitely gonna get you…tonight!
“Axia”, Alpha Estate, 2010, Florina, Greece
It’s not all Greek to us, but sometimes we wish it was! 50/50 Syrah and Xinomavro, this deftly balances dark fruit tones of blackberry and currant with complex Mediterranean spices and subtle earthiness. This blend definitely gives “Everything She Wants”!
“A Proper Claret”, Bonny Doon, 2012, California
Anything but proper, this Cabernet-based wine is a first-of-its-kind for winemaker Randall Grahm. It offers both whimsy and precision, showing “proper” red and black fruit notes, as well as lovely violet notes and grippy tannins, by way of Petit Verdot and Tannat, respectively. A veritable Mötley Crüe…Grab your Wild Side and get Proper!
Bourgogne Rouge, Bader-Mimeur, 2011, Côte de Beaune, France
This producer is new to the scene here in NC. 100% Pinot Noir from Chassagne-Montrachet this wine is super fresh with flavors of bright cherries, raspberries and herbs. This is Pinot Noir dressed in cherry red spandex; lean, sexy and agile…go ahead and “Jump”!
Madiran, “Cuvée Charles de Batz”, Domaine Berthoumieu, 2010, Southwest France
Deemed the Heart Healthiest wine in the world, Madiran is made mostly from the monstrous Tannat grape variety, which is named for it’s thick skins & tannins. Lucky for us in the hands of Didier Berthoumieu this grape has been tamed into a big juicy bombastic hug of a wine. It’s “Bad Medicine” at it’s best…it’s what you need!
Last Saturday night my team from Rx Wine Lab hosted a POP-UP Wine Bar at the pioneering Blue Coffee Café. Blue Coffee has been in Durham for nearly ten years and is being forced to move due to new developments in their building. They took to Kickstarter to raise funds for their move on Church and Main. Here’s where we come in and why Durham is such an interesting city right now. We made a handshake agreement to host a one-off (hopefully more to come!) Wine Bar where we offered 50% of take for the night to their Kickstarter. Win-win for both of us as we raised $600 to their campaign and engaged our concept and who we are to nearly 100 people! Yes, 100 people showed up to drink wine at a Wine Bar that doesn’t technically exist yet! It was pretty incredible. Some of the questions/comments of the night were…
“How long have you guys been open?”
“The service here is great!”
“When can we take some classes?”
Pretty awesome to be able to make a POP-UP in a space that was foreign to all of us and wasn’t designed to be a bar emote such positivity amongst our new found wine loving friends.
We feel extremely proud of this accomplishment and feel even more stoked that we can contribute to Blue Coffee Café and help keep their community & staff going strong.
We couldn’t have done this without the assistance of some awesome forward thinking people here in Durham. I want to give BIG THANKS to those folks – Gwen, Fred & Cicely and the team from Blue Coffee; Sam from Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau; Molly and the crew at the American Underground; Proof, BFR & Haw River Wine Man for helping with the wines; my team Kory & Tristan; and ALL who came out to support this epic evening! Y’all ROCK!
Here are a few pics of the wines and some shots of the people who came out and supported Blue Coffee & Rx!
Thanks for reading!
Check out the Rx Wine Lab Social Media on Facebook & Twitter!
As this new website finally launches into existence I am super excited to announce my newest project! A one of a kind wine bar & education center called Rx Wine Lab! The plan is to open right in the heart of downtown Durham in a space on Parrish St. Parrish St. currently doesn’t have a whole lot going on but within the next two years it’s going to blow up with the arrival of 21C Hotel alongside other high end hotels and residential buildings. Rx the name is a nod to “City of Medicine” and a nod to it’s use in medicine throughout history. Our motto is “Wine is the Best Medicine”. Hippocrates himself thought so too!
Rx will have two concepts. The first is a full on wine bar with 12 bar seats and 30 dining seats. The second is a new concept to Durham in the form of a wine education and event space. The space will seat 20 students per class and 30 standing for events. The focus is community and creating a space with killer knowledgeable friendly service (my 2 partners are also excellent sommeliers). The wines will be sourced from our local wine importer friends and winemaker friends from around the globe. Food will be sourced from as many Durham farmers, cheese makers, bakers, butchers etc…as we can possibly work with. The design and buildout will employ as many local artists, builders, welders, and other artisans as we can mine out to help us with our vision.
As the only Master Sommelier in the state and in Durham I am very excited to have the opportunity to serve this community with the highest level of service we can offer. We also plan on having a damn good time doing so and want every one of our guests to have a great time while making their palates dance with fermented goodness.
Music will be a very important element to us and we will have popup themed music nights complete with recommended wine pairings. We aim to ROCK YOUR WINE WORLD on a nightly basis!
We have raised our initial funds and have started a Kickstarter campaign as well as looking for a few wine loving investors to complete the funding for this project.
Durham is a very happening city and we want to help make it even more happening with a place where everybody knows your name and there’s always something liquid for every taste and occasion!
Stay tuned on the website for more details, pictures and other progress on this awesome project!
Fred Dex MS