Collector’s Club – July 2008

2006 Cadence, Coda — We’re huge fans of Ben Smith’s wines. An alum of the Boeing Wine and Beer Makers Club, Ben is now one of the most respected winemakers in the state. He made his first Coda blend in 2002, using declassified barrels that didn’t make it into his single-vineyard wines. At $25, this is a fabulous introduction to Ben’s higher end wines, which we’ve featured in the Washington Wine Club. This year’s blend is 32% Petit Verdot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc and 14% Merlot, from Tapteil, Ciel du Cheval and, for the first time, their own Cara Mia vineyards. Ben suggests decanting, if you plan to drink it soon, or holding onto it for a few years. It definitely opens up and develops once it’s been open for an hour or so. Then enjoy with meat dishes, or hearty fare. (Don’t delay—this one won’t last long.)

2005 Bodega Don Olegario, Albariño, Rías Baixas — Rías Baixas is the leading wine zone in Galicia, located on the Atlantic coast of Spain, just north of Portugal, and its reputation is primarily based on one grape: Albariño. Aromatic, elegant, vibrant, and seductive, Albariño is one of most sought-after Spanish dry white wines and this one, from Bodega Don Olegario, is a beautiful example. It sees no oak, and is a refreshing combination of bright fruit, a soft, honey mouthfeel and good acidity. A great alternative when you want something besides the same-old, same-old white wine. At $19.75, it’s in good supply, is ready to drink now, and is a perfect match for fish or chicken, or a seafood paella.

NV Trevisol, Prosecco Frizzante — This Prosecco comes from the Trevisol family, via our friends at Small Vineyards. We’ve always carried their regular “spumante” Prosecco, in both white and Rosé, but this is the first time we’ve brought in their traditional frizzante-style version. Light and dry, with small, delicate bubbles, this Prosecco is clean and refreshing—perfect for sipping on warm afternoons, or to pair with light summer fare, such as oysters, chicken, or fresh fruit. At $13 it’s easy to love, but don’t get too attached; it’s one of Small Vineyards’ direct imports, so it may be somewhat limited. Enjoy it this summer.

2006 Le Rote, Chianti Colli Senesi — Here’s another new direct import from Small Vineyards. The Le Rote estate is located in the town of San Gimignano in Tuscany and their Vernaccia has long been one of our core wines. As the region’s mainstay varietal, much of the local land is devoted to this white grape. But the Scottis, recognizing that their terroir is very similar to that of nearby Chianti Classico, are determined to produce Sangiovese-based wines that rival those of the more famous DOC next door. This Chianti Colli Senesi is evidence that they’re well on their way to success. Made from 90% Sangiovese with Canaiolo and Malvasia Nero, this wine is dark and smooth, with good tannins, and a nice, clean finish. It was a big hit at our Thursday club tasting. They made only 585 cases, and we have a decent supply, at $14.

2007 Château Grande Cassagne, Costières de Nîmes Rosé — Our calendar says it’s summer, the thermometer is finally agreeing, and our stockroom is filled with the annual shipment of Bobby Kacher Rosés so it’s time to put one in the club! This month we’re featuring the Château Grande Cassagne Rosé. Located in the Costières de Nîmes, on the western edge of the Rhône valley, the Grande Cassagne vineyards are planted on an ancient riverbed filled with cailloux, the rounded, weathered stones that characterize the vineyards in this region. This year’s blend is 60% Syrah, 35% Grenache, and 5% Mourvèdre, and we have lots left, at $11. Wonderfully concentrated and bone dry, it’s a great summer quaffer, with or without food.

2005 Doña Paula, Cabernet Sauvignon — Here’s another great wine value from Argentina. The Mendoza region, in the foothills of the Andes, produces wines of great balance, concentration and flavor. The high altitude, thin air, intense sunlight, and cool evenings, combine to ripen the grapes slowly and completely, without over-ripening. This Cabernet Sauvignon, from Doña Paula, is made from grapes grown at 3300 feet, in the Luján de Cuyo region, in the upper Mendoza valley. It’s $13 and would be a great match for roasts, hearty casseroles, pasta, cheese dishes, or couscous.