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Dave DeSimone

You survived Tax Day: Go ahead, you deserve to celebrate

Dave DeSimone
| Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The passing of another tax filing deadline creates a good opportunity to reflect. Make time to celebrate whether you paid extra or will receive a refund.

For celebrants, taking advantage of terrific wine deals makes the perfect way to mark the occasion. Steve Pollock, the PLCB's Chairman Selections buyer, has again accommodated with a wide swath of tasty bottles.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's Premium Collection stores generally offer most Chairman Selection wines. To find the availability of an individual wine or a premium store location, go to the “Product Search” tab under the “Consumers” section of the PLCB website at www.lcb.state.pa.us/PLCB. Then search with the wine's product code as noted in each recommendation below. Searching in advance saves time and fuel costs when tracking down wines. You might as well stretch that refund as far as possible, right?

Try the following:

Start celebrating with a tasty sparkling wine, the N.V. Juvé y Camps Cinta Púrpura Reserva, Cava, Spain (Luxury 32913; Chairman Selection, on sale: $11.99). This classic cava sparkling wine comes from native parellada, macabeo and xarel-lo grapes grown near Barcelona in the Penedès region.

In 1921, the family-owned Juvé y Camps estate pioneered the region's sparkling wine production. Today, the firm produces more than 3 million bottles annually while continuing to set high standards.

They use the método tradicional, similar to Champagne production, where secondary fermentation occurs directly in the bottle. This gives the wines finer, sparkling bubbles and an elegant, creamy texture.

The purple ribbon around the bottle neck gives the “Cinta Púrpura” its name. The grapes come from high-altitude vineyards where sunny days and chilly nights ensure fruit with tremendous freshness. After initial fermentation in stainless-steel tanks to capture freshness, secondary fermentation and aging in bottle takes place over 24 to 36 months.

The wine's vibrant, bubbly straw color offers peach and light flora aromas. Frothy peach and apricot flavors layer crisp acidity. The freshness balances a lingering finish featuring a light kiss of sweetness. Try it with blue cheeses. Recommended.

The 2013 Monchiero Carbone “ReCit” Roero Arneis, Italy (Luxury 33229; Chairman Selection, on sale: $13.99) comes from Arneis grapes grown in Piedmont's Roero subregion.

Roero lies across the Tanaro River just north of the more famous Barolo and Barbaresco red wine regions. White-wine grapes dominate in Roero's well tended hillsides consisting of limestone and clay interspersed with sandy areas. Vineyards share the terrain with chestnut trees and fruit orchards.

The fruit for the “ReCit” or “Little King” comes from Arneis vineyards spread over several villages in Roero. It offers a classic version of Arneis at its charming best.

The light, straw color unfolds apple, pear and light honeysuckle aromas. Round pear, apple and quince flavors blend with fresh acidity and engaging creaminess. The dry finish makes a perfect aperitif wine. Or, pair the wine with shellfish or creamy seafood dishes. Highly recommended.

The 2012 Bonny Doon Vineyard Contra Red Wine, Contra Costa County, California (luxury 33245; Chairman Selection, on sale: $9.99) represents PLCB buying power wielded at its price-busting best on a distinctive wine from an outstanding producer.

Respected wine-producer Randall Grahm probably made around 2,500 cases of this wine. Unlike the 2011 Contra Red Wine, which remains available for purchase on Bonny Doon Vineyard's online store, only a wine merchant in upstate New York and another merchant in California offer the wine at retail. Both reflect prices significantly higher.

One might logically conclude that the PLCB Chairman Selection program bought out the remaining inventory at a steep discount. All sides win.

Grahm receives cash flow upfront and avoids inventory carrying costs while going about his merry prankster ways in the “Dooniverse.” Pennsylvania wine drinkers have a shot at buying a terrific, terroir-driven wine at under 10 bucks. What a country.

The wine's carignan, syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and cinsault blend offers spicy dark berry aromas. Ripe dark berry and strawberry flavors with intriguing savory notes balance with soft tannins and good acidity. Pair it with grilled flank steak.Highly recommended.

Dave DeSimone writes about wine for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at ddesimone@tribweb.com.

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