Collector’s Club – September 2011

2007 Jean-Yves Devevey, Hautes Côtes de Beaune, Champs Perdrix Bourgogne Blanc — The high slopes, or Hautes Côtes, of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or, (as in Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Hautes Côtes de Nuits) are generally considered the poor cousins of their famed namesake sites below. But there are exceptions, and when a skilled winemaker, such as Jean-Yves Devevey, sources from some of the top vineyard sites in even this humble area, the result can be outstanding. Les Champs Perdrix is one of these sites, with its stony soil and excellent exposure. Jean-Yves oversees his entire operation with the meticulous care usually reserved for premier or grand crus, producing some of the top wines in the region. This $22 Chardonnay is rich and earthy on the nose, followed by amazing minerality and body. It can be drunk now, with seafood, chicken, or pasta dishes, or could also age a bit longer.

2009 Edi Simcic, Rebula Rubikon — This Small Vineyards direct import is 100% Rebula, from the Goriska Brda region of Slovenia. Small Vineyards in Slovenia? Actually, the winery is only about 500 meters across the Italian border from Friuli, and Edi Simcic is one of the finest producers in the country (some would say, in all of eastern Europe). Rebula (known as Ribolla Gialla in Italy) is bright and fresh, with great minerality, backed by beguiling aromatics and earthiness. Simcic’s yield is miniscule, about 1/2 bottle per plant, and he ages his wines in French oak, giving them their trademark depth and character. HIs Rebula Rubikon would be perfect for hearty seafood dishes, whether fresh- or saltwater. He made only 180 cases, and it is $19.75. Lovely now, it will develop even deeper character as it ages.

2010 (X) Marcel Lapierre, Raisins Gaulois — Until his untimely death last October, Beaujolais winemaker Marcel LaPierre was an uncompromising producer of authentically-styled and traditionally-made wines. He was part of a small group of Beaulolais winemakers (which some called the “gang of four”) who eschewed the use of chemicals and artificial methods, as well as the growing craze for the mass-produced Beaujolais nouveau. Fortunately Marcel’s son, Mathieu, who worked alongside him, is continuing in his father’s footsteps. We’ll be putting his heavenly Lapierre Morgon in an upcoming Specialty Club. But they also produced a fresh and fruity 100% Gamay, the Raisins Gaulois, made with the same care and conviction but in a lighter style, and made to be drunk young. Enjoy this refreshing, affordable ($13) wine slightly chilled, with salmon, burgers, pasta, or as is.

2008 Le Rote, Chianti Colli Senesi — There’s a reason we feature this wine in the club year after year. Le Rote, located in the Tuscan town of San Gimignano, is one of the few estates in the region to plant much of their land to red varietals, given the high demand for the area’s mainstay grape, Vernaccia. But Lara and Massimo Scotti find that their particular terroir and microclimate produce a spectacular Chianti, and they devote much care and effort to this wine, even aging it a remarkable year and a half in the bottle before release. Made from 90% Sangiovese, with 5% each Malvasia Nera and Canaiolo, it is dark, smooth, earthy, and a beautiful food wine. Still only $15, it’s ready to pair with your favorite Tuscan dish.

2009 Château Pesquié, Terrasse Rouge — Château Pesquié is a family estate located at the foot of Mont Ventoux in the southern Rhône Valley. The mountain slopes provide a perfect microclimate for the vines. The Grenache (from 60-year-old vines) and Syrah (from 30-year-old-vines) in this blend grow on clay and limestone gravel soil, giving the wine an intense, spicy nose, and elegant flavors of black berries, spice and garrigue. Jancis Robinson calls Pesquié a “seriously excellent producer,” adding, “If you like southern Rhône reds but don’t like tough tannins or the price of the most famous Châteauneufs, you should seriously consider this great value and pleasure.” Great value indeed, at $15. Enjoy it over the next three to five years with lamb chops, grilled meats, or simpler dishes like roasted vegetables or kebabs.

2007 Gamache Vintners, Merlot — In 1982, back when the Washington wine industry was still in its infancy, fourth generation Yakima Valley farmers, Bob and Roger Gamache, decided to plant vineyards on their property north of Pasco (near Bacchus and Conner Lee). Over the years they provided fruit to a number of large Washington wine enterprises, as well as smaller wineries such as Abeja, Bergevin Lane, and Boudreaux. But in 2002 they decided to launch their own label to showcase their highly-acclaimed fruit. They enlisted friend and client Charlie Hoppes, of Fidelitas fame, and the rest is winemaking history. Gamache wines have been a mainstay of our shop pretty much since day one. This very expressive Merlot is warm, rich, and velvety, but with enough power to stand up to a juicy steak or roast. It was $25, but it’s been reduced to $19.75, an amazing value for this wine.