Specialty Club – September 2010

2008 Dominio de Pingus, Ribera del Duero, Psi
You did read that right; it did say Dominio de Pingus. With apologies to Vega Sicilia (and our friends at Lopez de Heredia), Pingus is the most famous and most expensive wine in Spain. Last year, only six bottles came to Seattle, and the price for each was well over $500.

Peter Sisseck, the winemaker at Pingus, is probably the single most influential individual in the Spanish wine trade. In 2006, Peter decided to create a new, relatively inexpensive wine that he would make in cooperation with local growers, teaching them the fundamentals of organic and biodynamic viticulture. For the project’s name, he chose the Greek letter Ψ (”Psi”). The problem that Peter is trying to correct is that most growers in the Ribera del Duero are trapped in a cycle of relying on chemicals to keep their vines productive. He feels that this more modern style of agriculture will restore the soil and help break down the gap in quality between the top estates and the everyday wines of the area.

In addition to biodynamic viticulture, the wine also benefits from a long, gentle cold maceration and almost no new oak, producing a polished and refined wine that is both intense and fresh. It is 100% Tempranillo and a perfect match for anything from the grill. Lovely now, its various layers will integrate even better if given another three to four years in the cellar. And the price? No, not $500,
only $36 and still in good supply.

2008 Kistler, Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay, Les Noisetiers
One of Bear’s favorites and indisputably one of the finest and most consistent producers of American Chardonnay. Only twice before have we been able to get enough for the club of this very limited bottling, a blend of Kistler’s top single vineyard wines. Its $62.25 and marvelous, rich and silky, with honeyed citrus and baked apple flavors, rounded out by toasty vanilla bean notes from the oak. Try it with smoked lobster. It’s pretty much ready to go, although up to five more years in the bottle certainly won’t hurt it! Since 15 cases came to Seattle, we actually can get more of it for a change.