Collector’s Club – March 2011

2009 Frontaura, Nexus, Ribera del Duero, Cosecha — This wine comes from Bodega del Palacio de los Frontaura y Victoria, a family-owned winery located in the western Spanish province of Zamora. They own 120 hectares of Tempranillo vines registered in the Toro, but they also have begun producing a line of Ribera del Duero wines from their property in that region, the first of which is this 100% Tempranillo, Nexus. Inside this stunning bottle, which has won several design awards, is a lush, elegant wine, with beautiful balance and structure. Intense, yet refined, it maintains a liveliness that speaks of the region and its terroir. With its gentle tannins, it is a no-brainer for lamb or grilled vegetables. It is $19.75.

2009 Cave du Lugny, Les Charmes, Macon-Lugny — We’ve always had a soft spot in our hearts for the white wines of the Mâcon, in the southern reaches of Burgundy. And this 100% Chardonnay is no exception. Cave du Lugny is a rather large cooperative in the region, but the fruit for this wine comes from one vineyard: Les Charmes. This vineyard is mostly planted to an older Chardonnay clone which they call “Musk Chardonnay,” so named for the grape’s rich, spicy, Muscat-like aromas. The wine sees no oak, so it remains fresh and crisp, but lees aging provides a creaminess which some have compared to Meursault (but at a fraction of the price). At a mere $14, this wine would be perfect on its own, as an aperitif, or with chicken dishes, seafood, or soft cheeses. It is lovely now, but will hold for several years.

2009 Esporão, Reserva Branco — Long known throughout the world primarily for its Ports, in recent years Portugal has been getting much deserved attention for its fabulous table wines. So far, most of these have come from two regions: the Douro Valley, in north central Portugal, and the Dão, just to the south. Less known is the southern Alentejo region, the hub of Portugal’s cork industry. Wine production here has had its ups and downs over the past century but, since the early 1980s, quality has been skyrocketing. And Esporão is one of the wineries leading the way, thanks to the winemaking talent of former Aussie, David Baverstock, named Portuguese winemaker of the year in 1999. His reserva white is made from the indigenous grapes, Arinto, Roupeiro, and Antão Vaz, and is full-bodied, intense, and elegant. It could be mistaken for a Rhône white, with its floral, subtly oaked palate. Ready to drink now, it is $16 and would be perfect with fried codfish, grilled white meats, or duck.

2005 Forgeron, Syrah – We’ve always loved the wines made by the delightful Marie-Eve Gilla of Forgeron Cellars. Even more, when they are super value-priced. This delicious Syrah had been $30, but when we learned that it was marked down to $19.75, we knew we wanted to share the joy and pass the savings on to our club members. An added plus: it has some nice bottle-aging included! Now sold out at the winery, the 2005 Syrah is made from mostly Boushey Vineyard fruit (Yakima Valley), and Walla Walla Valley’s Les Collines Vineyard. It is dark and elegant, with good acidity and a silky finish. Marie suggests decanting it for an hour or two, before enjoying it with grilled spring lamb seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic, or with a charcuterie plate of artisan sausage.

2007 Elevation, Cabernet Sauvignon — The winemaking world is always in flux. Over the years, wineries come and wineries go; winemakers appear on the scene, then often, for whatever reason, move on to a new winery or project. It is (ahem) a fluid business. Take Elevation Cellars. It was formerly known as Arlington Road, until it was purchased by Steve Stuart and Patricia Atkinson and reopened under their new name in February 2009. Steve is the winemaker, in collaboration with Matt Loso, best known as the founder and winemaker for Matthew Cellars (he is no longer there). We found their 2007 Cab Sauv to be dark and elegant, with a nice, softly tannic finish. It’s built to be drunk young, but will continue to intensify over the next seven to nine years. It’s $19.75 and would be great with steak or a gourmet burger.

2008 Perazzeta, Sara — The Perazzeta family of wines are like old friends around here; named after the winemaker’s wife, Rita; his father, Erio; and of course, his daughter, Sara. We recently realized it’s been far too long since we’ve had Sara around, so we decided to put her (the wine, that is) in the club this month. The shy, charming, Alessandro Bocci (who we were delighted to host in the shop last year), makes his wine in Montecucco, just south of the Tuscan commune of Montalcino, home to those fabulous Brunellos. His Sara, which hits the shelf at $12, is mostly Sangiovese, with 10% Ciliegiolo. It’s a great everyday wine: fresh, fruity, ready to drink, and very versatile, pairing well with a wide variety of foods.