Specialty Club – January 2012

2006 Bodegas y Viñedos Maurodos, San Roman, Toro
Oddly enough, wines from the Toro region have been conspicuously absent from this Club for as far back as we have records. Maybe that’s because Toro wines are known mostly for their power, and all of us here at the shop, Matt Mabus, and then Bear, and now Tom and Jan, have preferred the more subtle and complex pleasures of Ribera del Duero or Rioja or even Priorat. The local clone of Tempranillo, Tinta de Toro, is known for its thick skin, small berries, dark color, massive tannins, and high alcohol content. It’s only in the last fifteen years or so that the wineries in the region have been able to produce less rustic and more interesting wines. So we were very pleasantly surprised to taste this wine, which, in addition to the expected bold dark ripe fruit, offers complex aromas, a fine level of balance and fresh, savory flavors. The winery was founded in 1998 by Mariano Garcia after he had retired as winemaker at the famed Vega Sicilia. He and his two sons own 55 hectares in two villages in the Toro region, and this wine comes from the stony soils of the village of San Roman. They prune the vines to grow as small bushes and keep yields low to get more concentrated flavors. The wine is aged for two years in French and American oak, and then bottled unfiltered. While very tasty now, another three to eight years in the cellar will give the new oak flavors of vanilla and espresso time to integrate better into the wine. It’s $52, a great wine for steak, and in good supply.

2009 Pichler-Krutzler, Riesling Loibenberg
In our humble opinion, FX Pichler is the greatest wine producer in Austria. And we back that up by buying the lion’s share of the few cases of his wine that actually get to Seattle. The biodynamic Grüner Veltliners, Rieslings, and Sauvignon Blancs from his family’s 100-year-old estate, encompassing some of the best vineyards in the Wachau valley, are some of the most stunning white wines that anyone produces, anywhere in the world. In the last few years he has joined forces with his daughter Elisabeth and her husband Eric Krutzler (who also makes some of Slovenia’s best wines) to make some wonderful wines from a selection of the Pichler Family’s best vineyards at prices a bit lower than the rest of the Pichler portfolio. Two years ago we were able to grab enough of the 2007 Loibner Klostersatz Grüner Veltliner for this club, and now we have been able to get one of the five available cases of this dry Riesling. It is incredibly clean, pure and lively, with a long finish and a perfect balance between fruit and acid. It does not emulate the showy, exuberant style of the FX Pichler wines, but rather showcases layers of minerality reflective of the fine loess soil of the Loibenberg vineyard. Try it with trout or perhaps something like lemon-thyme chicken. It is ready to drink, although it will continue to develop for at least another three years or so. The cost is $49.75 and we do have a few bottles left.