Specialty Club – July 2011

2006 Caparzo, Brunello di Montalcino
It’s been a few years since we’ve put a Brunello in this club, and that’s mostly due to the inconsistency of the vintages in the last decade. The truly great wines of 2001 and 2004 were, with just a couple of exceptions, too expensive for the club, and the other years were plagued with excessive rain (2002) and scorching heat (2003 and 2005). With the highly praised 2006 vintage, it seems that we will finally get some truly excellent Brunellos at reasonable prices.

It’s no surprise that the first fruit of this vintage is from Caparzo, the only producer to own estate vineyards on all five sides of the hill of Montalcino, and thus something of an “index” wine for Brunello. Founded in 1969, when Montalcino was something of a backwater, the rise of this winery in international esteem has paralleled the phenomenal ascent of Brunello to the highest ranks of the wine world. While their 2005 Brunello is pleasant and jammy, the 2006 is powerful, full-bodied and earthy, with a somewhat floral nose and notes of dried porcini. Give it at least another three years in your cellar, and then try it with venison, pork, or rich mushroom dishes. It is $49.75, and we also have some of the delightful 2005 Brunello at $45 while you wait for the 2006 to mature. It was a very limited import, but we do have a few more bottles available for club members.

2007 Chateau des Rontets, Pouilly-Fuissé, Les Birbettes
Perched high atop the Mâconnais village of Fuissé, Chateau des Rontets is a rarity among Burgundian domaines in that virtually all of their 15 acres are one walled-in vineyard, the magnificent Clos Varambon. The vineyard and modest chateau have been in the family of Claire Gazeau since 1850, and Claire and her husband Fabio took over the estate in the late 1990s. This wine is made from a section of their oldest Chardonnay vines, planted in 1910. Fermented in mostly older barrels, it’s opulent and concentrated, yet still delightfully fresh and elegant, with nice citrus notes and a touch of minerality. Very enjoyable now, it will be at its peak in the next two or three years. It would match very well with shellfish, white meats, and dry cheeses. Although only three cases came to Seattle, we have a bit more available at $46.