Collector’s Club – May 2007

2005 Abeja, Chardonnay — Last month it was the Cabernet, this month we present: The Chard. No need to rhapsodize further about Abeja’s wines, their winemaker or the winery. You all know how we feel. But we can tell you that the 2005 Chardonnay is yet another fine example of the awesome finesse and craftsmanship we’ve come to expect from winemaker John Abbott. This classically-made Chardonnay has gentle hints of white peach, soft floral notes and a lovely minerality. At $33.75, we were able to get just enough for our club members although we may be able to get a tiny bit more.

2005 Bodegas Julián Chivite, Gran Feudo Rosé — This wine is 100% Garnacha (Grenache) and hails from the Navarra region in northeast Spain, where Garnacha is the by far the most widely planted grape variety. Here, this grape lends itself particularly well to dry Rosés, which are typically light and fruity in style. This one is true to type. It’s racy and bright, with hints of strawberry and raspberry and gentle spice notes. Great on its own, with a picnic, or by the pool. It’s $12.00 and is still around.

2005 Caposaldo, Pinot Grigio — Here’s another great little wine to sip on a warm, sunny day on the patio. This fresh, vibrant white wine from the Veneto region in northeast Italy is well-balanced, with bright acidity and a clean fresh finish. A perfect match for light pasta dishes, seafood or cheese. Because it’s such a tasty, versatile wine, it’s on bottle pour at a number of Italian restaurants around town. Our bottles are $11.00 and we can get more.

2005 Michele Chiarlo, Le Monache Monferato Rosso — Call it a “Super-Piedmont” if you like. More and more winemakers in this northern region of Italy are experimenting with Barbera-based blends and we were exited to find this one. Starting with the Barbera grape — Piedmont’s most widely planted variety which, on its own, produces full-bodied, deep ruby colored wines with few tannins — Chiarlo has added Merlot (20%) and Cabernet (10%). The result is an elegant, fruit-forward wine, with a pleasant, round finish. Because this wine sees no oak, all you taste is the fruit and it’s a great food wine, suited to a wide variety of foods from meats and fish to pasta or tapas. “The Nuns” (Le Monache) is $15 and there’s plenty around.

2004 Domaine Des Escaravailles, Les Antimagnes Côtes du Rhône — In the 17th century, this property was nicknamed “Domaine des Escaravailles” by the local residents to describe the hooded, black-robed monks who appeared to resemble scarab beetles scurrying around on the hillside above the village. Thus the little scarab (escaravaille) on the label. This winery practices organic production and hand harvesting and they bottle without filtration. Les Antimagnes is 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah and has aromas of blackberry and truffle with nice herbaceous notes. Give it 30 minutes or so to breathe after you open it. It really opens ups and shows its earthy minerals and silky tannins. Supplies are limited. $14.

2003 Brian Carter, Abracadabra — If you’ve tried any of Brian Carter’s wines, you know he’s a wizard when it comes to blending. When he brought his wines to our Thursday night tasting last year, we were all wowed by his stunning European-style blends. They vanished in short order, even though wines this good don’t come cheaply. Luckily for all of us, he has just conjured up a red table wine that uses the same carefully selected vineyard sources, but can be enjoyed for a mere $17.25. Now that’s magic!