Collector’s Club – August 2008

2007 Owen Roe, Abbot’s Table — Our long-time customers will remember a phenomenon that occurred in our old shop every year around this time: our “New World room” suddenly sprouted a center island, made up entirely of cases of Abbot’s Table. Ever since we discovered this blend from Owen Roe, it’s been a shop favorite. What does change from year to year is the blend. In the 2007 version, the predominant grapes are Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, with Grenache, Syrah, Malbec, Petit Sirah, Cinsault, and a walloping 1% Pinot Noir (can you taste it?). As always, it’s knitted together into a complex, but utterly approachable wine that is ready to drink now or could age for several years (add it to your vertical!) With such a mix of grapes in the blend, it could be paired with almost anything relatively robust. You might want to stock up on this perennial crowd pleaser now while it’s in excellent supply, at $25.

2007 Domaine du Aubuisières, Cuvée de Silex Vouvray — Wow, was this ever a hit at our Thursday club tasting—even among those who claim they like only red wine. It’s simply gorgeous. Wines from Vouvray, in the Loire Valley, are 100% Chenin Blanc and can be vinified in many styles, from bone dry to quite sweet, or even as sparkling wines. This dry Vouvray comes from one of the most respected producers in the Loire, Bernard Fouquet, whose wines are all about the expression of terroir. The “Cuvée de Silex,” is a blend of grapes from three vineyards planted on flinty, siliceous silex soil. Somehow it manages to be delicately elegant and powerfully rich all at the same time. If you think Chenin Blanc is a simple, uncomplicated grape, you’re in for a treat. Beautiful as an aperitif, this wine would complement a wide variety of food, especially seafood or cheeses. Amazingly, it’s only $19 but very limited. We might be able to get a bit more.

2005, De Tarczal, Cabernet Franc — When you think of Cabernet Franc, perhaps northern Italy isn’t the first region that comes to mind but the grape actually has a rather established history there. This one is from the de Tarczal family, winemakers in the Alto Adige region for centuries. They focus on classic local varieties, and their production is extremely small: for this Cab Franc, five cases, of a total of 500 made, went into this month’s club. It’s eye-opening to try this grape grown in a different region: quite unlike the lighter-bodied Chinon of the Loire, or the bolder Cab Francs from Washington. This one is light, but with spice and earth notes that call out for hearty Italian fare or cheeses to complete the profile. As a direct import (only the amount pre-ordered was brought into the country), it is very limited. It was $17.

2006 Martorana, Colonna — Another Small Vineyards direct import, this wine hails from the southwest coast of Sicily and is made by Giuseppe Martorana. His small, self-contained estate is a rarity in a region in which most family-owned farms must sell their grapes to large co-ops, often controlled by the Mafia. The fact that he is the local police officer probably helps, but his real talent lies in his winemaking. His Colonna is a 50/50 blend of Nero d’Avola and Syrah, grown on his oceanfront property. It offers dark fruit and a rich, spicy earthiness. For a mere $13, it’s a no-brainer for seafood dishes or zesty Mediterranean fare but alas it, too, is in very limited supply.

2007 Domaine de Petite Cassagne, Costières de Nîmes Rosé — Here’s another great Rosé from the Bobby Kacher portfolio. Like the Château Grande Cassagne Rosé in last month’s club, this one hails from the Costières de Nîmes, but the blend is quite different: 50% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, and 15% Mourvèdre. It has great fresh strawberry fruit and a nice, dry finish with solid minerality. Winemaker Diane de Puymorin uses only organic farming methods, making it even easier to love. As we brought this in a while back, there’s not much left — just what is on the shelf, at $11. Enjoy it this summer and, when the supply runs out, try one of our other fabulous Rosés.

2007 Silver Point, Sauvignon Blanc — We were happy to find this bright, crisp white from New Zealand to contrast with the more serious Vouvray in this month’s club. The brand is new to us, but this Sauvignon Blanc is classic New Zealand in style: full of fresh, tropical fruit and racy acidity. This wine comes from the Auckland region, in the far north of the North Island. There is plenty available, at $11.50, and it’s a great summer quaffer. Enjoy it anytime, with chicken, fish, cheeses, appetizers, or salad.