Specialty Club – July 2009

2007 Le Vieux Donjon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Thanks to Robert Parker, the reputation of the 2007 vintage in the southern Rhone valley is soaring. However, some have questioned the aging potential of these wines, since they show so much fruit and alcohol. But both Parker and his critics can agree that, of the Châteauneufs released so far, this one is clearly the star of the vintage. (Parker gave it a 96, if you’re counting.) Vieux Donjon is one of the most traditionally run estates there, so it’s not surprising that proprietors Marie José and Lucien Michel have resisted the current fashion for producing special high-end cuvées, instead putting all their best barrels into this wine. The main components are old vine Grenache from the sandy soils of the estate, full-bodied Syrah from the Pialons vineyard, and quite a bit of Mourvèdre. The wine has a dense purple color, a gorgeous bouquet of licorice and smoked meat, and is chewy and beautifully layered. It will need at least four or five more years in the cellar, and will continue to evolve for another 10 to 15 years after that. It costs $65 and we have a tiny bit more available.

2007 Pichler-Krutzler, Grüner Veltliner Loibner Klostersatz
In our humble opinion, FX Pichler is the greatest wine producer in Austria. Look on the feature shelf in our shop, behind the 50-year old port, and you’ll see a whole row of his fabulous wines. The biodynamic Grüner Veltliners, Rieslings, and Sauvignon Blancs from his family’s 100-year-old estate, encompassing some of the best vineyards in the Wachau valley, are some of the most stunning white wines that anyone produces, anywhere in the world. Now he has joined forces with the Slovenian winemaker Eric Krutzler (also his brother-in-law) to make a very accessible new Grüner from one of the Pichler Family’s best vineyards, Loibner Klostersatz. It has a bright, citrusy acidity, but underneath you’ll find darker, brooding flavors and aromas of black pepper, grilled asparagus, exotic flowers and fruit. Only a few hundred cases were made, and only a fraction of that made it to this country. Try it with asparagus, delicate white fish, shellfish (either raw or cooked) or sashimi. It is ready to drink, although it will continue to develop for another five years. The cost is $33 and we do have more available to us.