Collector’s Club – June 2007

2005 Colvin Vineyards, Carmenère — We’ve always liked Mark Colvin’s wines and are delighted when we can fit one into the club. Carmenère is an old Bordeaux varietal, now widely grown in Chile, where it escaped the phylloxera louse that plagued it in the old country. Mark was the first winemaker in Washington to produce a 100% Carmenère. In fact, it was Mark who first brought the plants to our state from Berkeley. Now we can barely keep this wine in stock — when we can get it, that is. It has won accolades from far and wide, even in Carmenère’s adoptive home in Chile. Mark just released this one so it should be available for a while. It’s $25.00.

2003 Dama Wines, Walla Walla Valley Syrah — The “ma” of Dama is Mary Derby (with her business partner Dawn Kammer, the “da”). Mary was married to Devin Derby, winemaker for Spring Valley Vineyards, until his death two years ago. You may remember the stunning Syrah, “Devin,” which we carried a while back. It was created by eight Walla Walla winemakers in Devin’s honor, and all of the profits went to help Mary and her son get their lives back together. We’re glad to see that Mary is doing well. Now she has her own label and when she brought this Syrah in for us to taste recently we were wowed. In a wonderful circle of good deeds, Mary plans to donate part of the profits from her wines to aid nonprofit organizations. Her Syrah is $18.00 and should be around for a while. Enjoy it anytime.

2000 Il Conventino, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, Sassoalto — We all fell in love with this wine when we first tried it earlier this year. So much so, that we invited the importer, Nardone, to one of our Thursday night tastings last March. Included in the line-up was this big, elegant Sangiovese from Tuscany and it was a crowd favorite. Il Conventino is a family winery in Tuscany with excellent vineyard sites and a focus on organic production. Their Sassoalto is a great food wine, for all kinds of fare, and is drinking well now. The 2000 is almost gone, but if we can get any more, it’s $24.00.

NV Verget du Sud, Au Fil du Temps — From the Luberon comes this yummy quaffer, full of all the flavor and spice you’d expect from a southern French blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cabernet, with a good measure of rustic Provençal terroir thrown in. A great match for any barbecue, picnic or just plain summer sipping. All for a mere $9.75, though supplies are a bit limited. The name translates to “as time goes by,” and the time to enjoy this one is … just about any time! How about now!

2006 Tomero, Torrontes — In Mendoza, the tomero is the person in charge of the vineyard water supply. With his expert knowledge of the land and the climate, the tomero sees to it that everyone gets their fair share of this precious commodity. This Mendoza winery is named after that indispensable figure in the winemaking process which, of course, begins in the vineyard. You can read more about it on the pretty label. Perhaps while you’re enjoying this fresh, clean Torrontes. It’s $13.00 and we should be able to get more.

NV Lozano, Porto del Sol, Blanco — This fun little Spanish white was brought to our attention recently via a friendly retail source and we knew we just had to put it in the club. Not only is the price right ($8.00), but it is fresh and crisp and just the thing to transport you to the Spanish seaside on a hot, sunny afternoon. Equal parts Viura (or Macabeo) and Airén which, believe it or not, is Spain’s most planted grape variety, this wine is meant to be enjoyed young. However, since we (and our informants) pretty much bought up all that was in the market, you’ll probably just be enjoying it once.