Specialty Club – March 2011

2007 Meroi Chardonnay
This wine is a legend in West Seattle Cellars history. The 2003 vintage was Bear’s favorite non-Burgundian Chardonnay, and many of our customers felt the same way. It’s another of those fabulous cult wines imported in tiny quantities by Small Vineyards, like Bocelli or Miani. Paolo Meroi owns one of the best, albeit smallest, restaurants in Colli Orientali del Friuli, the eastern hills of Friuli, Trattoria Al Parco, complete with a gorgeous, round, open-hearth fireplace in the center. He sells about 700 cases of his wine per year in his restaurant, and the remaining 200 are sold primarily to collectors in Europe and the United States. Paolo makes only monovarietal, classic wines in an age-worthy process of barrel fermentation and excruciatingly low yields. Like the 2003 vintage, the 2007 Chardonnay is a big wine, though quite elegant and not oaky or heavy-bodied. It’s a powerhouse wine, well worth trying with roast chicken or halibut. It’ll hold in your cellar for another five years, and we have about a case left at $55. Thanks to our friends at Small Vineyards, we were able to get two of the three cases that made it to Seattle. Enjoy, and don’t forget to raise a glass in Bear’s memory.

2006 Perez Cruz Liguai
Although we have put wines from Argentina in this club, we can’t remember the last time we picked a Chilean wine. It’s definitely time, as we have seen the Chilean wine industry finally reach maturity in the last couple of years. Although there have always been a few top producers, like Concha y Toro and Lapostolle, we are finally seeing a critical mass of winemakers able to make reds without those green pepper flavors that have dogged Chilean wine. Viña Perez Cruz, founded in 2002, is one of those young wineries that are beginning to receive plenty of international attention and acclaim. They are situated in the high altitude Alto-Maipo region, and their vineyards are adjacent to Chile’s top vineyard, Clos Apalta. The Liguai is their flagship wine, a rich and intense blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Syrah. Characteristically Chilean, there are herbal notes on both nose and palate, but they are well integrated with the dark, black cherry fruits, the spicy, peppery taste of the land, and the toasty, liquorice notes of the oak. It’s lovely now, but will definitely develop over the next five years. Try it with venison or steak. It’s $45, and there is a bit more available, although only a few cases made it to Seattle.