Specialty Club – February 2007

2001 Il Colle, Brunello di Montalcino
Brunello fans at West Seattle Cellars may remember from a couple of years ago an amazing vertical of 9ninevintages of Brunello (1978 through 1990) from an obscure estate, Il Colle. Alberto Carli founded the winery in 1972, and hired legendary winemaker Giulio Gambelli to make wines worthy of long-term development from the outstanding vineyards that Carli had purchased. Carli insisted on not releasing his wines until they were ready to drink and so he kept his winery a secret from everyone, even his family, until he was in ailing health. Before he passed away in 2003, he informed his wife of her inheritance and the wines were eventually released to the public. Now Small Vineyards has obtained a miniscule amount (600 bottles) of the last vintage that Carli and Gambelli made together, this spectacular 2001. Given that the 1978 is just starting to fade, and the 1980 is still quite young, this wine calls for long-term cellaring. It is $78.75, and we have put all that we could get into this club.

2005 Thomas-Labaille, Sancerre “Les Monts Damnes”
There is general agreement among experts on Sancerre that the steep slopes of Montes Damnes are the finest vineyard sites in Sancerre. While a few other winemakers have property on this hill (including the great Henri Bourgeois), only Pascal Cotat and this winery, Domaine Thomas-Labaille, continue to make wine in the traditional style. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes grow on very old vines, are harvested by hand, aged in concrete vats, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. While Jean-Paul Labaille has taken over winemaking from his father-in-law, Claude Thomas, the wines are still among the most respected in Sancerre. This rich, fat, round and layered cuvee is delightful now but can continue to develop for a few more years as well. It pairs well with the traditional foods of Sancerre: goat cheese, seafood, ham, or spicy chicken dishes. We have more at only $19.75 per bottle, since we managed to obtain five cases of the 50 that came into the United States.