Specialty Club – September 2012

2009 Justin, Isosceles
Longtime club members might remember that Justin was Bear’s favorite California Central Coast winery, and some of you may still have in your cellar the wonderful 2001-2003 vintages of the Isosceles that he put in this club, or the beautiful 2007 we put in two years ago. Justin and Deborah Baldwin first planted 72 acres of grapes in Paso Robles in 1981, and their first harvest was in 1987. Over the years, the power and weight of the Isosceles demonstrated that Napa Valley hardly has a stranglehold on blockbuster wines. Unfortunately, the wine became almost impossible to get here in Seattle, particularly after a horrible fire in a Vallejo warehouse that destroyed most of the excellent 2005, and our annual allocation was only a few bottles. This year we made an extra effort to get enough of the 2009 for the club, since the last three vintages clearly mark a return to the glory days of the early part of the decade. It’s a rich, full-bodied mix of cherry flavors and ripe black fruits, with notes of vanilla, spices, cocoa and tobacco. The Isosceles is enjoyable now with an hour’s decanting, but would very much be worth holding for at least another five years and it will continue to develop another five years beyond that. It’s $56 and very limited, since only 28 cases came to Seattle. However, we can definitely get more allocated to us from the winery, whose local representative helped us overcome various trials and tribulations with the wholesale distributor.

2010 Do Ferreiro, Albariño, Cepas Vellas
We first tasted this wine at last month’s De Maison Selections Spanish tasting, when the importer had some left in a bottle she had been showing to customers during the day’s rounds. We’re really glad she did! The wine comes from a one-hectare vineyard site on a hillside in the rainy Rias Baixas area on the coast of northwest Spain. These vines are actually over 200 years old, the oldest in the region, and survived the phylloxera epidemic of the late nineteenth century due to their unique soil. Unlike most Albariños, which are grown in the sandy coastal areas, the completely organic Cepas Vellas vineyard consists of broken granite, and you can taste that steeliness in the wine. It’s fermented with indigenous yeasts and then spends 12 months on its lees in stainless steel, which gives it very intense stone fruit flavors as well as a wonderful minerality. It’s the perfect wine for a seafood feast, and can even age for another three years or so. Although De Maison wines are usually pretty limited, we can get more. It’s $42.