Collector’s Club – August 2007

2004 Matthews Cellars, Claret — Matt Loso, of Matthews Cellars has always focused on producing world class Bordeaux blends; including his limited production, age-worthy Red Wine and his Claret — a wine typically crafted from declassified lots that did not meet the rigorous standards of the Red. In the challenging 2004 vintage though, he felt that not enough of the available lots met the exacting standards for the Red, and he made the difficult decision to declassify all 40 barrels and put them into the 2004 Claret. The result is a spectacular table wine, dark, elegant, and velvety smooth. And more available (and affordable at $29.75) than the Red would have been. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Syrah. Enjoy it now through 2015 with any hearty meal.

2004 Fattoria Bibbiani, Poggio Vignoso, Chianti — They say size doesn’t matter, but if it’s a bottle, and it’s full of great Chianti, then we think bigger just might be better. When we first tasted this wine, we had to double-check: was it really $15.00? For a magnum? The answer was yes and the decision was made: this one’s going into the club, even if it doesn’t fit into the boxes. Tough! This wine comes from one of Chianti’s oldest and most prestigious producers. We’ve carried this Small Vineyards wine before, but this is the first time it’s been available in large format. We may not be able to get any more so enjoy this delightful food wine with just about anything, next time you’re expecting a crowd.

2005 Domaine Bott Frères, Pinot Blanc — Ah, there’s just no end to the choices for refreshing, summertime sipping. Now that we’ve all come to love Rosé and Riesling (did we ever not?), here’s another source of light, refreshing wines — Alsace. This Pinot Blanc comes from Bott Frères, an estate in Alsace that, over the generations, has preserved traditional methods (such as aging their wines in century-old casks), while judiciously incorporating modern winemaking technologies. This Pinot Blanc is a light, clean, flavorful wine with enough complexity to pair well with just about anything you throw at it (how about Thai, or Japanese?) Or, if you’re having meat and want a white wine, try this one. At $13.75 it should be in good supply for a while.

2006 La Quercia, Rosato — We tried this wine earlier this year before it was officially brought into the country. It has just arrived, through our good friends at Small Vineyards and we’re excited to share it with our club members. La Quercia is an organic estate in Abruzzo, and they make some of the best Montpulciano in southern Italy. They produced this Rosato from 85% Montepulciano D’Abruzzo and 15% Sangiovese, and it is clean and dry with a wonderful earthiness. We may be able to get more, at $11. August is typically the sunniest month of our summers. Here’s something to savor with the sunshine, with food or on its own.

2006 Château Saint-Jean-des-Graves, Graves Blanc — Château Saint-Jean-des-Graves is situated in the heart of the Graves region on Bordeaux’s left bank, and the estate has been in the same family since 1860. Graves is the only region in Bordeaux known for both its red and white wines. This white is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, which gives the wine its fresh, aromatic crispness; and Semillon, which provides weight and finesse. It sees no oak, so all you taste is the fruit, in all its complexity and depth. All this for $14! No need to even think twice; just open this one up with shellfish (or any fish dish) or enjoy it as an aperitif.

2004 Mas Carlot, “Les Enfants Terribles” — The Mas Carlot Rosé that came in on the Bobby Kacher Rosé parade last month was a huge hit and sold out quickly. With a healthy dose of Mourvèdre, it had a great earthiness and rich backbone, especially for a Rosé. Now we share with you a red from the same producer. “Les Enfants Terribles” is a 50/50 blend of Mourvèdre and Syrah and is full of dark fruit, yet still pretty, layered and smooth. Nothing “Terrible” about it. At $11, it’s in good supply and it will drink well now, or over the next couple of years, with hearty fare, or savory appetizers. Say the winemakers: “Like our children, the charm of this wine is found in its complexity.”