Collector’s Club – November 2007

2005 Lost River, Wahluke Slope Nebbiolo — If you attended the Lost River tasting back in July, you will definitely remember this wine. Winemaker John Morgan calls it his “first baby Barolo,” the first product of Nebbiolo vines planted in 2002 in the Wahluke Slope. This soft and ripe wine, aged in older French oak barrels, is light and delicate, more reminiscent of Pinot Noir than the hearty wines of the Piedmont. John recommends drinking it soon with veal, turkey, or pork dishes, particularly if truffles or wild mushrooms are present. Since he made only 75 cases, even the winery is completely sold out. The little bit left is $22 and only available at West Seattle Cellars.

2005 Claudio Alario, Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba Montagrillo — We had the privilege of meeting Claudio Alario at his first tasting in America last February. While his gnarled hands spoke of a lifetime of hard work in the vineyard, his wines sang of the soil of his native Piedmont. This complex Dolcetto has a rich and expansive aroma and tastes of smoke, earth, tar, violets, mint and black cherries. Although drinking beautifully now, this is the one Dolcetto we’d like to try again in another 4 years. Try it with your favorite meat-based pasta dish. It was $16 and we might be able to get a little more, although only 25 cases came to the Northwest.

2006 Syncline, Subduction White — This was a no-brainer. When Poppie Mantone brought in their new “holiday” white for us to taste, we were hooked immediately. Rich and ripe Chardonnay fruit from the Columbia Gorge is harmoniously married to elegant floral Viognier from the Horse Heaven Hills and Wahluke Slope with the precision and delicacy James brings to all his wines. Dungeness crab, anyone? Like the ever-popular Subduction Red, the white is $18 and should be in good supply through the holidays.

2006 Moulin de Gassac Vin de Pays de l’Herault Guilhem — This wine is a blend of organically farmed Sauvignon Blanc, Clairette, and Grenache Blanc from the Mediterranean shore of Languedoc. It was vinified at the famous estate Mas de Daumas Gassac, created by Aimé and Veronique Guibert in 1970 in the department of Herault, an area not previously known for world class wine. The Guiberts produced this crisp aromatic white from grapes provided by the neighboring cooperative in Sete and named it after St. Guilhelm, the local patron saint. Low in alcohol, with lively acidity and good minerality, it’s a great pairing for seafood or oysters. It is $14 and in decent supply.

2001 Vina Salceda Rioja Reserva — This hearty Rioja is made by Julián Chivite, whose Grenache rosé was in the Collector’s Club back in May. It’s a complex wine, with a big, potent nose, that nicely integrates very traditional Rioja grapes (small amounts of Graciano and Mazuelo are added to the Tempranillo) with the coffee, toast and spice notes provided by American oak barrels. Great on its own or with spicy meat dishes, it’s $19.75 and readily available.

2006 Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Costières de Nîmes Rosé — Although all of the wines this month could have a place at your Thanksgiving table, our secret tip is: rosé! So we have saved for the club enough of this delicious, minerally rosé, which we tasted at the Robert Kacher Selections tasting back in June. Its silky mouth feel, nice red berry fruit, good acidity and a touch of white pepper make it a good match for your Thanksgiving turkey and cranberries. Like all the Kacher rosés, it’s $9.75 and we do have a bit left.