2005 Berry’s Bridge, Pyrenees Shiraz
This estate was one of the first elite Australian producers to sign up with Seattle importer Epicurean Wines and is a favorite wine of Robert Parker. Proprietors Jane Holt and Roger Milner fled the busy urban life of Melbourne to pursue winemaking in the rural Pyrenees region of Western Victoria. Jane became the winemaker and viticulturalist while Roger took on management of both the winery and the vineyards. Vines were first planted in 1990 and consist of 16 acres of vineyards that produce Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Soils in this area are deep, consisting of red duplex clay that produces rich, deeply flavored wines. Berry’s Bridge wines are hand pruned from dry-grown vines. The fruit is fermented in small batches to ensure optimal quality control, and a quarter of the barrels were new oak. As you might expect, it’s a massive wine, with strong well-integrated tannins and intense berry flavors. Decant it to drink now, or follow Parker’s advice and give it another seven to ten years. It’s $47.25 and there is a bit more still available from the importer.
2006 Capitain Gagnerot, Ladoix 1er Cru, Les Grechons et Foutrieres
Sometimes you just gotta know the right people. This stunning wine is made from 50-year-old Chardonnay vines in two tiny vineyards owned by one of our favorite Burgundy producers, Capitain Gagnerot in Ladoix-Serrigny at the northern tip of the Côte de Beaune. Since these old vines don’t yield very much, Patrice Capitain could make only seven barrels of the wine, about 175 cases. After much begging and pleading, our good friend William Woodruff of Chloe Wines here in Seattle was able to import five cases into the United States, and of course we grabbed one. The wine has a beautiful floral nose, and features racy citrus and passion fruit flavors. Its minerality reflects the ancient fossilized seashells in the soil of the vineyards, and not surprisingly it would be a tremendous match for baked shellfish. It’s ready to drink, $45, and we might have just a bottle or two left.