Specialty Club – June 2009

2004 Duckhorn Vineyards, Howell Mountain Napa Valley Red Wine
The Duckhorn Wine Company needs little introduction to club members, as it has been the premiere producer of elite California Merlot almost since its first releases in 1978. Founder Dan Duckhorn admired the soft, luscious reds of St. Emilion and Pomerol and, like Leonetti’s Gary Figgins, thought Merlot was underappreciated in America. While Duckhorn has seven different estate vineyards throughout Napa Valley, this wine comes from their most elite property on the rugged, steep slopes of Howell Mountain. It’s 91% Merlot, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and tiny amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. In a recent tasting of Duckhorn’s line-up, it was clearly the star wine, displaying excellent structure, strong but pleasant tannins, and a complex undercurrent of earthy minerality. Robust but well balanced, it was aged for 20 months in large 60-gallon barrels of new French oak. It definitely needs another three years in bottle, but could age for an additional five years beyond that. With its spicy, dark chocolate nose, and lots of mouth-filling dark fruit flavors, it would pair really well with porcini mushrooms or roasted pork in soy sauce. Alas, no more is available, as we were able to obtain the last case in Seattle. It was $77, which put us over the limit, so we rang the club up at $90 even plus tax. Enjoy!

2007 Pedralonga, Albariño
This wine first appeared in our shop at a Spanish tasting in February. Since Cordon Selections didn’t have any other white wines available for the tasting, we decided to pour this Albariño, even though at $29 it was the most expensive Albariño we’ve ever seen in the market. Much to our delight, we sold out that night, and we’ve sold quite a few cases since. This wine comes from the rainy Rias Baixas area on the coast of northwest Spain, and from a biodynamic producer known for his use of indigenous yeasts. It has a wonderful nose, with scents of baked apple and orange blossoms, and is lively and elegant, with the minerally and salty notes characteristic of this varietal. Enjoy it this summer with raw oysters and clams, grilled shrimp or fragrant seafood paella. It’s a wonderfully versatile warm-season wine that can hold its own against all kinds of seafood. We have quite a bit in the shop and can get even more.