Collector’s Club – July 2007

2005 Felsina, Chianti Classico — Winemaker Giuseppi Mazzocolin began his career as a classics teacher. But in 1976, he put down his Latin and Greek texts, married into the Poggialli family and took over the helm of Fattoria di Felsina, helping transform it into the respected Tuscan estate it is today. The 2005 Chianti Classico is still somewhat tight and could use some time or air before drinking. Or hang onto it for 3 or 4 years. With its spicy red fruit (almost floral), medium-body and great balance this wine begs for food, perhaps a nice steak or similarly hearty fare. It’s $21.00 and we may be able to get more. One of Bear’s fave Tuscan wineries!

2004 Lo Triolet, Valle d’Aosta Pinot Gris — The Valle d’Aosta is Italy’s smallest wine region, in the extreme northwest, bordering France and Switzerland. Think Alps and you can imagine the steep, rocky terrain here, where winemaking has been described as nothing short of heroic. We were excited to discover this Pinot Gris from a producer, deep in the Introd Mountains (not far from where the Pope spends his summer holidays). It has lovely minerality, hints of lemon zest and a nice, long finish. It would pair perfectly with creamy seafood and pasta dishes. It’s $29.75, drinking beautifully now and we have a few bottles left. Drink me now!

2004 Domaine de Couron, Côtes du Rhône Villages — Domaine de Couron is situated in a village in the Ardèche, between the northern and southern Rhône regions. Near the Gorges de l’Ardèche, their vines benefit from the Mediterranean climate. The hot, dry summers, and the harsh Mistral winds help mature and concentrate the grapes giving this blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre its distinct personality — with hints of raspberry, pomegranate and cocoa. We can get plenty more and, at $12.00, you can enjoy it anytime. Try it with your next barbeque.

2005 Domaine Lafond, Lirac Roc-Epine — Here’s another producer of Provençal wines. Lirac is a large appellation on the right bank of the southern Rhône, across the river from Châteaneuf-du-Pape. Mostly known for reds and rosés it also produces some excellent whites, such as this Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne blend from Domaine Lafond. This wine is lush and accessible and meant to be enjoyed young. At $17.00, it should drink quite nicely for 1 or 2 years. It’s creamy and floral, and would be great with food (perhaps garlic shrimp?) or on its own. We have some left and can probably get a bit more.

2006 Château Grande Cassagne, Costières de Nîmes Rosé — It’s officially summer and that means rosé! The arrival of the Bobby Kacher Imports rosé shipment each spring is becoming one of the highlights of our year, and this year we welcomed back five familiar faces, all 2006 and all $9.75. We opened them up at a tasting last month and found each to be surprisingly unique, even though they all hail from roughly the same region. The addition of Mourvèdre to this rosé from Château Grande Cassagne gives it a bit of oomph and a decidedly herbal quality, along with strawberries and watermelon and a bright acidity. Sip it on its own, or try it with grilled chicken. Best this summer. We’ve got plenty more. A great Salmon wine!

2005 Bodegas Castaño, Monastrell — This Spanish number was a big hit at our club tasting. Sure, it’s a great price ($8.00) but it’s also got a lot going on, with lots of big, black fruit and some tasty coffee and cocoa on the finish. It hails from the Yecla region, in southeast Spain, where Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre) is the predominant grape and Bodegas Castaño is one of the most prominent and innovative producers. This is another one to enjoy relatively soon. It would be great with chorizo or other spicy dishes. We can get more.