Collector’s Club – March 2008

2005 Lost River Winery, Cedarosa — We’re big fans of John Morgan’s wines, which he makes at his winery tucked away in Mazama, in the Methow Valley. His Cedarosa is a right bank, Bordeaux-style blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc. With notes of blackberry, currant, and licorice and its wonderful structure, this wine would be a perfect partner for lamb dishes, osso bucco or a hearty risotto. John suggests giving this wine a year or so of cellaring, then enjoying it within the next four or five years. He made only 225 cases and, at $26.00, we might be able to get a little more.

2006 Ghislaine et Jean-Hugues Goisot, Saint-Bris, Sauvignon — What would our club be without a curveball thrown in every month? If you’ve ventured at all into the world of Burgundy, you know that all red Burgundy is Pinot Noir and all white Burgundy is Chardonnay. Right? Well, usually. But here’s a fabulous little exception to the rule: a Sauvignon Blanc, from the extreme north of Burgundy near Chablis. Located in the village of Saint-Bris, the Domaine Goisot has existed since the 15th century. The Goisots practice organic viticulture and have worked hard to get appellation status for Saint-Bris, where the terroir is perfectly suited to Sauvignon, despite its proximity to Chablis, where Chardonnay flourishes. Their Sauvignon is aromatic, with a rich, round mouth feel, brilliant minerality, and a nice long finish. It was $19.75 and there is no more left.

2006 Fontanafredda, Barbera Briccotonda — From Piedmont, comes this tasty Barbera, the “other Piemontese grape” (Nebbiolo is the grape found in the great northern Italian Barolos and Barbarescos that get so much attention). This Barbera is medium bodied and is soft and approachable, yet still has plenty of succulent, dark fruit, chocolate, and a wonderful long finish. It was the clear crowd favorite at our Thursday tasting; its mere $12.00 cost makes it all the more appealing. Barbera can accompany a wide variety of foods, from pizza and spaghetti, to cheese and meat dishes. Only 100 cases came into the Seattle market and, because it garnered a spot on a certain top 100 list, it is pretty limited. We’ve got a bit more in the shop, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. Enjoy it now, or over the next year or two.

2006 Domaine Lafond, Côtes-du-Rhône — We were thrilled to discover the wines of Jean-Pierre and Pascal Lafond, who make beautiful Rhône wines at their family-run estate located in Tavel, not far from Nice in the Rhône valley. Not only are their wines consistently well-made, well-structured, and well… just plain good; they are also great values. This one, at $12.00, is 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah and has all the dark fruit, spiciness and garrigue that you’d expect from a more expensive Côtes-du-Rhône. Enjoy it over the next 2–3 years, with pork, grilled or roasted poultry, pasta, or a hearty bowl of bean soup (or, if you’re ambitious, cassoulet!). They also produce some fabulous—and affordable—white Rhônes that are definitely worth a try.

2005 Bodegas Balbas, Ribera del Duero — We featured the 2004 vintage in our April 2007 Club. Bodegas Balbas has a history of over 200 years of winemaking in the Ribera del Duero region, which lies about 80 miles north of Madrid. Like the 2004, the 2005 vintage is 100% Tinta del País (Tempranillo). And, like the previous vintage, this one is full-bodied, juicy, and drinking well now. Wines from this region are natural partners for lamb, which is one of the traditional dishes of the region. It would also pair well with tapas, soups or fowl. It’s still in decent supply, at $14.00.

2006 Domaine Talmard, Mâcon-Uchizy — Wow, This is a mighty fine little white Burgundy for a sweet little price. Two white Burgundies in the same month, you ask? Yes, but we found the contrast fascinating. The Saint-Bris, above, comes from the north, and is made from Sauvignon Blanc while this one, 100% Chardonnay, hails from the Mâconnais region in Burgundy’s far south. Only $12.00, this unoaked Chardonnay has lots of crisp, clean flavor, great body, and a long, peachy finish. It’s in good supply and is drinking great now.