Collector’s Club – August 2010

2006 Fall Line Winery, Aldercreek Vineyard — Tim Sorensen crafts his wines to showcase the exceptional qualities of his fruit and their specific vineyard sites, and they are always complex, layered, and elegant. When Tim was in for a tasting recently, we got to revisit his 2006 Aldercreek and discover how beautifully it has developed since its release. With new vintages on the way, Tim has reduced the price from $29.75 down to $19.75. Usually a Washington Club contender, we’re thrilled to be able to fit this the Collector’s Club! It is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, all from the Horse Heaven Hills. Lovely now, especially with decanting, it should continue to drink well over the next five to eight years. Enjoy it with anything from a gourmet burger, to prime rib.

2006 Dumas Station, Merlot — Dumas Station was founded in 2003 by Jay DeWitt and Doug Harvey, with a focus on Bordeaux style red wines made from estate-grown fruit. The original ranch dates back to 1897, when James Dumas established one of the state’s first commercial apple orchards, and freight trains hauled the crop out of Dumas Station. Now the packing shed has been converted to a winery and apples have been replaced by grapes, most of which come from their Minnick Hills Vineyard, just north of Walla Walla. They call this wine “A Cab drinker’s Merlot,” for its bold fruit and spicy tannins, underlying the Merlot’s warmth and velvet texture. Try it with substantial fare, like grilled sausages. They made only 210 cases, and they’ve reduced the price from $28 to $19.75 so they can make room for newer vintages. With two deep price reductions, we’ve managed to fit two great Washington wines into this month’s club!

2007 Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils, Bourgogne Blanc — Domaine Moreau is located in the Burgundian village of Chassagne-Montrachet, and their wines have been called some of the “purest and most thought-provoking in the appellation.” This Chardonnay, made from declassified Chassagne-Montrachet fruit, has beautiful depth and complexity, yet is light and fresh on the palate. It sees some oak, but gets its richness from lees aging and malolactic fermentation (which changes the tart, malic acid into soft, lactic acid). Unlike their vineyard-specific, appellation-denoted wines, this one is perfectly ready to drink now, and vastly more affordable, at only $25. Its delicacy could be overwhelmed by strong flavors, but it is a perfect accompaniment to lighter seafood dishes or just enjoyed on its own.

2008 Graham Beck, Gamekeeper’s Reserve Chenin Blanc — It’s a miracle this wine ever made it into the club! We first tried to feature it several years ago but the distributor was never able to bring enough in. This month we were assured it was on its way. The wine even managed to escape a “dock accident” in San Francisco (just the container of sparkling wine was destroyed), only to be involved in a truck accident here in Seattle. Luckily, they were able to salvage enough bottles to fill the club but, obviously, there is no more available now. This is a truly lovely Chenin Blanc from South Africa’s Graham Beck. It has an enticing, earthy nose, soft aromatics, and a clean, refreshing finish, all at a cool $15. It’s perfect now, on its own, or with grilled chicken or rich pasta dishes. We’ve always admired Graham Beck for their work towards preserving the indigenous South African flora and fauna. Now, if they can just protect their wine!

2008 Le Rote, Chianti Colli Senesi — This familiar face is the 100% Sangiovese Chianti Colli Senesi from Le Rote, Lara and Massimo Scotti’s estate, located in the Tuscan town of San Gimignano. They are one of only a few estates who produce a red varietal in this region where the white grape Vernaccia rules. But they have found that their microclimate rivals that of Chianti Classico nearby and they produce a superb Chianti, with chewy, dark fruit, a touch of oak, and a smooth, lovely finish. Plus 18 months of bottle aging before release, remarkable in this region. Also remarkable: it is the same price as last year: $15. They made less then 600 cases, six of which came to our shop. Try it with fresh pasta with salumi.

2007 Marchetti, Uve di Montepulciano — Maurizio Marchetti’s family has been making wine in the Marche region of Italy, on the sunny Adriatic coast, for over a century. His family was able to buy the land that is now their estate thanks to the success of his great, great grandfather, an exotic spice trader over 250 years ago, who traveled to the Far East. Today, Maurizio is fortunate to be able to create his wine just as he wishes. He can be extremely selective with his fruit, sometimes producing only half a bottle of wine per vine. He uses a specially-made, light press to crush the fruit, joking, “Butterflies crush my grapes as they fly by, with their wings.” His Montepulciano is soft and food-friendly, with ripe fruit flavors and just enough spiciness to pair perfectly with pizza, pasta or most any Italian fare. And it’s still only $11.