Specialty Club – November 2007

2004 Bodega Catena Zapata Alta Malbec
It’s no exaggeration to say that Malbec has become a “hot” grape here in Washington. Not only are we seeing better and more diverse Malbecs from Argentina, but also quite a few Washington winemakers are producing high quality examples. So we were overjoyed when Billington Imports offered us enough of the highest rated Malbec in the world to put in this club. Bodega Catena Zapata was founded by Italian immigrant Nicola Catena in 1898, and he was the first one to plant Malbec in the Mendoza region. In 1994, his grandson Nicolás started making Catena Alta from his very best vineyard sites, 5 small high-altitude lots. The 2004 vintage is characteristically dark in color, full and supple, with wonderful dark berry fruits. While drinking beautifully now, particularly if decanted and served with steak, this powerhouse will continue to age for another decade. It costs $60.00 and we do have a little bit more available.

2005 Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Les Frionnes
As those who attended our Burgundy tasting can attest, the white Burgundies are easily justifying the claim that 2005 was the vintage of the century. Here’s one of Bear’s favorites, and it was only $38, probably because it’s from the village of Saint-Aubin, and not pricier digs like its neighbors Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. The premier cru vineyard Les Frionnes is east-facing and cool, so the wines tend to retain their fresh citrus fruit character and lovely minerality. Balanced and soft with fruit-lifting acidity, this top Chardonnay is ready to drink but will definitely benefit from a couple of years in the cellar. A perfect partner for roasted vegetables, chicken, and shrimp, particularly if prepared with lemon or other citrus oils. Alas, like so many of the best 2005 Burgs, it is completely sold out – we were fortunate to get enough for the club.