Collector’s Club – September 2010

2008 Cadence, Coda — Selecting wines for our clubs can sometimes be a complex process, but some wines need no second thought whatsoever. One of those is the Coda, from Ben Smith’s Cadence Winery. Year after year, Ben makes some of the most elegant and complex Bordeaux blends in Washington. They are not necessarily inexpensive, but they are worth every penny. And worth the patience they typically demand to fully develop in the cellar. Lucky for us, his Coda blend is more affordable ($25, same as last year) and made to be ready to drink upon release. Ben says it is a good wine for carnivores (last year he recommended pork tenderloin with a Nebbiolo fig and hazelnut chutney). For our non meat-eating friends, he tells us this one would also be excellent with wild mushroom polenta or ragout.

2008 Perazzeta, Erio — We were delighted to be able to welcome Perazzeta winemaker, Alessandro Bocci, to our shop last June, to share his wines with our customers. Perhaps you were here and got to meet him. He doesn’t speak much English, and is rather shy, but it was nonetheless fun to meet the man who so lovingly names his fabulous wines after his family members. His Supertuscan, Erio, is named after his father (whose photo is on the back), and is a powerful, yet balanced blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot. We featured his previous vintage in last year’s club and his 2008 offering is still only $16. Ready to drink now, it’s a perfect wine to just sip and enjoy, or to pair with red meat or game. Allessandro made only 500 cases of this wine so it is fairly limited. (He also makes an award-winning olive oil, of which we will be getting a small amount in the fall.)

2009 Palama, Primitivo — Palama, located in Puglia, the boot heel of Italy, is a quintessential Small Vineyards winery. It is a small estate in a region full of big producers, which remains steadfastly dedicated to producing the highest quality “everyday” wines possible. To this end, their vineyards have some of the lowest yields in the entire appellation. They eschew new oak, in favor of pure, fresh, powerful fruit flavors. This 100% Primitivo is lush and intense while still bright and approachable and perfect for braised lamb or grilled food. It’s $13, and in very limited supply.

2008 Terre Margaritelli, Roccascossa Rosso dell’ Umbria — The Chioccia family own Terre Margaritelli, a biodynamic estate in Umbria. They grow over 18 grape varieties: not only classic Italian grapes, but German, Spanish, and French varietals as well. Their goal is to make the most inventive and exciting biodynamic wines in the world and this 85% Sangiovese/15% Cabernet Sauvignon blend (an “Umbrian Chianti”) is a delightful example. Medium-bodied, soft and fruity, this wine would be a great partner for pork sausage with bruschetta, tomato, and basil. It’s $12 and very limited as few shops have it.

2007 Tement, Weissburgunder — When we think of Austrian wines, we usually head straight for the northeast, to the Kamptal or Wachau regions, home of superb Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings. But there is a small wine region, Styria, near Austria’s southeast Alpine border, that also produces wonderful wines, most of which are rarely imported into the U.S. So we were excited when we found this Weissburgunder (aka Pinot Blanc) from Tement, a Styrian estate situated on a small plateau overlooking neighboring Slovenia. The winery itself is literally dug into the limestone remains of a coral reef which was formed here around 20 million years ago and is now the source of Styria’s characteristic terroir. This Weissburgunder is light and minerally, almost Sancerre-like, with lovely aromatics. It is $19.75, in limited supply around here, and ready to drink now, with vegetable dishes, or spicy foods. (Styria is also the source of Austria’s other best-kept secret: pumpkinseed oil. Made from a type of pumpkin unique to this area, it is rich and nutty and like nothing else. We are able to get some in the shop occasionally. It’s amazing!)

2007 Domaine de Lancyre, Roussanne — The château of Domaine de Lancyre was built in the 1500s, and records of winemaking there date back to 1550. In 1970 the château and its vineyards were bought by two families who immediately launched a major restoration of the estate. Lancyre is now considered one of the top producers in Pic Saint-Loup, one of the Languedoc’s best wine districts. Their Roussanne is just plain lovely; with a lush, rich mouthfeel and crisp, refreshing stone-fruit flavors. Perfect on its own, or with poultry, creamy pasta dishes, or fried calamari, it’s excellent now, but could cellar for a few more years. We got nearly all that was left of this vintage, and it is $18.