Collector’s Club – October 2007

2005 Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair, Côte de Nuits-Villages — Have you heard? 2005 is THE vintage for Burgundy. Bear has been making sure we’re stocked with plenty of the highly-coveted wines from some of the best Burgundian producers. But, alas, many of them have breath-taking prices to match. We’ve tried to make sure we bring in some more affordable representations of this great vintage as well. This one (Pinot Noir, like almost all red Burgundies) is still a bit shy, with the grip and intensity characteristic of wines from the Côte du Nuits. Bear suggests definitely putting this one away and forgetting about it for a few years to let it evolve, (or “reveal its personality” as the winemaker suggests) then pair it with boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, or other such dishes with wine sauce. It was $26.50 and we may be able to get a bit more.

2004 Pascal Janvier, Jasnières — This was a no-brainer. When our rep brought this wine in he guaranteed we’d never heard of this Loire appellation — he hadn’t; his boss hadn’t; even Bear hadn’t. We were immediately intrigued by the nose of this Chenin Blanc from one of the most northerly Loire appellations, barely 130 acres in size. The flavor is reminiscent of the silex soil it comes from but with a nice full body to balance the crisp minerality. Totally unique! Only about 10 cases came into the state, and we grabbed half of them so we could share the discovery with our Collector’s Club members. At our Thursday tasting, a variety of food pairings were suggested: chicken dishes, mushroom risotto, cheeses, or even on its own. It was $19 and we probably can’t get much more.

2003 Domaine de Triennes, St. Auguste — This winery was created in Provence in 1989 by two Burgundian winemakers: Jacques Seysses, of Domaine Dujac and Aubert de Villaine of the legendary Domaine de la Romanée Conti (that’s “DRC” to those who know). Provence is quite a leap from their respective homes in Burgundy but they have been producing some powerful, yet elegant wines in their new terroir. The St. Auguste, made from mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, plus Syrah and Merlot is quite New World in style. We got a great deal on these, which we are delighted to pass along to our club members at $17.50. It’s drinking well now, and we’re unlikely to get any more.

2005 College Cellars, Governor’s Red — We love to promote the wines from College Cellars, the teaching winery at Walla Walla Community College. They work in conjunction with some of the best folks in the business (this IS Walla Walla, after all) and make some outstanding wines. The 2005 Governor’s Red is loaded with flavor and complexity. Perfect as a party sipper, or with meat or cheese dishes. It’s ready to go now and, at only $13.50, is the best bargain on our red blend shelf.

2004 Waimea Estates, Nelson Pinot Noir — This estate is located in the Nelson region of New Zealand (not in Hawaii, as many have asked), the South Island’s most northerly wine region. Their Pinot Noir has a big, spicy nose, and is packed with cherry and raspberry flavors. Quite an interesting contrast with the Old World Burgundian Pinot from Fougeray de Beauclair (above). This one is ready to enjoy (with red meat, mushroom-based sauces, or rich game dishes) or could be cellared for a few years to develop even more complexity. It’s $15 and we should be able to get more.

2006 Bodegas Naia, Las Brisas — This was a big hit at our Thursday Collector’s Club tasting. Light- to medium bodied, and crisp, with a nice balance of fruit, this zesty blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo and Viura comes from the Rueda region in north central Spain. It goes down like a refreshing summer sipper, but it would be perfect any time, with appetizers or any kind of seafood dish. At $9.75, it’s ready to drink, easy to like, and in decent supply.