Collector’s Club – April 2008

2005 Abeja, Cabernet Sauvignon — This is the third April in a row that we’ve featured the Abeja Cab in our Collector’s Club. How can we not? Winemaker extraordinaire John Abbott has done it again with his elegant, superbly balanced, and just plain stunning 2005 Cabernet. John is a meticulous craftsman and it shows in all of his wines, if you can get a hold of them that is—they’re excruciatingly limited. We have just a few bottles of this one left, at $39.75. At our club tasting, this wine was showing heavenly already; definitely the hit of the evening. But it could certainly age for another five to ten years. John suggests pairing this Cab with grilled rib-eye steak (with roasted pepper salsa), chili, or pot roast. It would be superb with hearty vegetarian fare as well. We couldn’t fit the Abeja Chardonnay into the club this year, but we do have some in stock, at $38. It too is stunning—even if you think you’re not a Chardonnay drinker.

2006 Lucien Albrecht, Pinot Blanc “Cuvée Balthazar” —The Albrecht family are truly viticultural pioneers in Alsace: their history as winemakers dates back to the 15th century. Pinot Blanc is the workhorse grape in Alsace, where it typically produces creamy, medium bodied wines. New oak is rarely used, in order to put all the focus on the pure fruit flavors of the wine. This unoaked 100% Pinot Blanc is soft and elegant, with wonderful pear and peach notes. It is $11.50, it’s ready to drink now, and, thankfully, it is in good supply. Lightly chilled, this would be a perfect aperitif, or it would pair with classic Alsatian dishes, or spicy Indian or Thai food. This cuvée was named for Balthazar Albrecht who, in 1698, relocated to Orschwihr, home of the Lucien Albrecht estate to this day.

2005 Château Buisson-Redon, Bordeaux — In spite of the effect of the sinking dollar on most imports from Europe, we still manage to fine excellent wines at remarkable prices. This Bordeaux comes in at only $9, yet is full of soft, full flavor. A typical right-bank blend, this wine gets its nice round mouth feel from the Merlot, with a bit of spicy backbone and soft tannins from the Cabernet Franc. It’s drinking well right now, or you could hang on to it for a few years, then have it with roast beef, lamb or hearty vegetarian dishes. We should be able to keep it in stock for a while.

2007 Viña Cono Sur, Cabernet Sauvignon/Carménère — What a perfect time to be featuring a wine from a winery whose philosophy is “drink green.” Viña Cono Sur voluntarily participates in a carbon neutral project and has succeeded in offsetting the environmental effect of producing and shipping its wines by investing in carbon offset projects around the world. Plus, they employ eco-friendly practices in every aspect of their winemaking at home. What about the wines, you ask? Well, many of our customers have already fallen in love with their Carménère (only $9, when we can keep it in stock). Now we are excited to bring in this Cabernet–Carménère, the first of their 100 percent organically-grown wines. This blend is clean and crisp, yet wonderfully earthy and spicy and there’s a good supply of it around. Enjoy it now or over the next three or four years. It would easily stand up to spicy sauces, strong condiments, most hearty dishes, or strong-flavored cheeses. All this for only $13.00!

2006 Château Guiraud Bordeaux Blanc Sec — Affectionately dubbed simply “G,” this is a great little white Bordeaux blend (Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon) from an estate in Sauternes well known for its superb sweet wines. This wine combines the refreshing crispness of the Sauvignon Blanc, with the creamy mouth feel of the Semillon into a golden, aromatic wine with good acidity and lots of fresh, clean fruit. It would make an excellent aperitif, or it would go well with a cheese and walnut salad, light soups, or fish. It should be available for a while and it’s a steal at $16.

2006 Bodegas Atteca, Garnacha de Fuego — Last, but not least: yet another great value wine in this month’s club. This one is 100% old vine Grenache (Garnacha) from the Calatayud, a wine region in northeast Spain, and it’s packed with loads of cherry, licorice, and spice. Have it with tapas, pasta, or your mid-week pizza. We sold out of every extra bottle we had on hand at our club tasting, but we can get more and it should be in good supply for the foreseeable future. For flavor and value you can’t beat the $8 price tag. Like the flames on its label, this one’s hot!