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The wines of Louis/Dressner are widely available in the Triangle's independently owned wine shops. We asked some local retailers to suggest a few:
April Schlanger, Owner: "Bera Moscato d' Asti ($22.50) is not only a customer favorite, it is a personal favorite too. Organically farmed, this bubbly Moscato is not overly sweet; it is elegant and fragrant with aromas of apricot, flowers and fine minerals. The palate is viscous with peach and herbal qualities. The alcohol is low (only 5 percent), and the finish has a touch of sweetness. It's the best wine to drink at any celebration."
Jay Murrie, Owner: "Francois Cazin's Cour-Cheverny 2008 ($16.99) is a typical Dressner wine in the best sense. It pressed the reset button on my preconceptions of possible quality in its region. The wines I used to drink from his peers suddenly seemed tired, flat, soulless in comparison. Cour-Cheverny is a tiny sub-appellation on the southern side of the Loire River east of Tours. The AOC exists only for wines made of Romorantin [a grape apparently grown nowhere else on earth]. The terroir has unpredictable rains and real vintage variation: This is not an easy place to grow grapes. Cazin's wine is a compelling story of persistence and skill. Cazin tends vines of considerable age, handpicks the fruit and harvests yields well below the regional average. This diligence leads to remarkable concentration of flavor. This wine is vibrant and fresh, intense and fruit-driven."
Laura Collier, Wine Department: "One of our favorite Dressner wines in stock here is Domaine Thomas-Labaille Sancerre 'Les Monts Damnés' 2010 ($25.99). This is an elegant, classical, richer style of Sauvignon Blanc, full and round with notes of stone fruit and a refreshingly brisk finish."
Craig Heffley, Owner: "Domaine Oratoire St. Martin, Cairanne 'Réserve des Seigneurs' 2009 ($21.99). Cairanne is a village in the southern Rhône Valley, not far from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This wine is a blend of 60 percent Mourvedre and 20 percent each of Grenache and Syrah. The aromatics are herbes-de-Provence and garrigue [a warm, brambly, inviting scent named after the region's wild undergrowth]. The palate is all dark berries. It's a rich wine, good with grilled meats and hearty winter stews.
I visited Oratoire St. Martin back in 1999 and always liked their wines. At one point, they bounced around among importers, and when Dressner took them on it forced me to reconsider Dressner a little. I had generally associated Dressner with Northern French wines. I appreciated that they were willing to pick up a good southern wine that needed a home in the U.S."
Jeff Bramwell, Co-owner: "Joe Dressner was all about honest wines. We think the Roagna Dolcetto ($17.99) is a great example, a pure expression of the grape and the land on which it's farmed: pretty aromatics, fresh and vibrant on the palate, and incredibly food-friendly—especially fall-weather food."
Jay Holland, Wine Buyer/ Manager: "Occhipinti 'Tami' Frappato 2009, Sicily ($16.99). This Frappato is like fresh-picked berries, with hints of lavender and herbs on the smooth, spicy finish. Like Beaujolais, it is best served with a slight chill, making it perfect for picnics or BBQs. With lower alcohol and refreshingly juicy berry flavors, it also makes a pleasant apéritif. It is a favorite of Seaboard Wine Warehouse staffers."