Specialty Club – February 2012

2007 G.B. Burlotto, Barolo, Vigneto Cannubi
The 2007 Barolos are just beginning to come into the market, and it looks like that year’s relatively warm weather in the Mediterranean is going to produce an impressive vintage in Piedmont. Among the wines we’ve tried so far, this single-vineyard Barolo is the star by far. Giovan Battista Burlotto was one of the star winemakers of the early twentieth century, as famous as Vega Sicilia in Spain or Biondi-Santi in Tuscany. After his death in 1927, the winery’s reputation faded, until it was revived in the last decade by his great-great-grandson Fabio Alessandria. Fabio uses some old-fashioned techniques to express the uniqueness of the Cannubi vineyard, one of the most elite in Barolo. All the grapes are crushed by foot, then macerated on the skins for two full months, and then laid down in giant wooden barrels called botte. The result is a wine of powerful structure but an ethereally delicate mouth feel. It’s traditional Barolo, made for the long-haul, but the fruit is still intense and vibrant. This wine could live and develop for another twenty years, but it be a pleasure to drink it at any point during the journey. Try it with smoked lamb. It is $68.75, and we still have a small amount available.

2008 Tranche Cellars, Slice of Pape Blanc
Club members may remember the Tranche Roussanne-Viognier blend that we put in the club back in the summer of 2010. This is the next vintage of the wine, still made by the winemaking team at Corliss Estates in Walla Walla, but renamed to show their love for the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It’s still a blend of Roussanne (58%) and Viognier (42%) and still one of the best white Rhone blends we have ever tasted from Washington. It has an absolutely vibrant acidity, with nice peach and apricot flavors. The Viognier grapes came from the cool Evergreen Vineyard in the Ancient Lakes, while the plush Roussanne comes from Sagemoor Vineyard. Although Viognier is the minority partner, its floral and mineral notes dominate the nose, relegating the almond aromas from the Roussanne into the background. It is $29.75 and would be a great match for almond chicken or any white fish. Corliss wines are at this time sold mostly through their mailing list and in only a handful of Seattle wine shops, so we are very grateful to our friends at Corliss for keeping us on the list.