2006 Cantina Terlano, Quarz Sauvignon
Little known in the United States, Cantina Terlano in the Alto Adige’s Dolomite Mountains is one of the most respected and acclaimed cooperatives in Italy. Founded in 1893 by both Italian and German speaking grape-growers, the cooperative has trained its 100 or so members in natural viticulture. The site is extraordinary. The south facing slopes of the vineyards allow the grapes to ripen fully while the porphyry rocks accumulate warmth and the porous soil allows the water to drain, keeping the soil dry around the roots of the vines. And the wines are equally extraordinary. Winemaker Rudi Kofler has won 14 three-glass awards from the acclaimed Gambero Rosso, the Slow Food guide, and Terlano averages six two-glass wines every year. This Sauvignon Blanc is classic Terlano, showing off their distinct style of austerity, pleasing drinkability, and longevity. Very aromatic and incredibly complex, this is one of the great Sauvignons of the world, worthy of comparison with the wines of the late Didier Dagueneau. Perfect with spicy seafood dishes, goat cheese, spring peas, asparagus or anything with ginger, it will continue to develop for another two to five years. We put all we could get into the club at $55.
2005 Ridge, Lytton West Syrah
Most club members are familiar with the Ridge label, since their wonderful Zinfandels have graced our shelves since we bought the shop in 2000. However, you may not know that Ridge is one of the oldest wineries in California, founded in 1885, and one of its most acclaimed. The Ridge 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet won the famous Judgment of Paris tasting in 1976 that brought California wines to an international audience. Ten years ago, legendary winemaker Paul Draper turned his attention to Syrah and planted three acres in the Lytton Springs vineyard. After years of experimentation, Draper combined grapes from six lots into this release, their third commercial vintage but the first one available outside of the winery. Co-fermented with Viognier, this Syrah is soft and spicy, full-bodied without being overpowering, with dark berry fruit and well-integrated notes of chocolate and coffee. A good match for hearty meat dishes, It should be at its best in two or three years, although it could develop for another ten after that. It is $37 and very limited in availability.