Specialty Club – January 2013

2007 Poderi Elia, Barbaresco Serracapelli
This stunningly elegant wine is yet another in a continuing series of gems directly imported by our friends at Small Vineyards Imports right here in West Seattle. This is very comparable in quality to the 2004 edition, which received very high scores in all the top wine publications, both in the US and Italy. The Stella family has been making wine in the commune of Neive in the heart of the Barbaresco area since 1890, but they didn’t start exporting their wines until Josh Hanson of Small Vineyards convinced them that Americans could truly appreciate them. With a fine bouquet of red currant and Morello cherry, this 100% Nebbiolo is full bodied, rich and lightly garnished with a layer of toasty-oak flavors. It was a big hit at the last tasting of 2012, but it could also develop for another five to ten years in your cellar. It’s a great match with meat, game or fowl. It’s $49.75, and there is a small amount still available. And we still have a few bottles left of the 2004, so you can get a preview of what the wine might become in a few years.

2010 Yves Leccia, Biancu Gentile
For the second time in the last year, we turn to the island of Corsica for an elite wine for this club. Although politically part of France, Corsica is both culturally and viticulturally part of Italy. Given its position in the Mediterranean north of Sardinia and just off the Tuscan coast, it’s not surprising that it is mostly known for its crisp whites made from Vermentino. The grape Biancu Gentile is cultivated only in Corsica and was long thought to be extinct, but it was reintroduced into commercial production in the 1990’s, primarily by the winemakers Antonio Arena and Yves Leccia. Like Arena (whose Sangiovese we put in the club in September, 2011), Leccia grew up on a modest family farm in the Patrimonio region at the northern tip of the island, and was inspired by the local independence movement of the seventies to try to recover Corsica’s indigenous wine heritage. (He’s also a member of a proudly nationalistic Corsican polyphonic singing group!) The Leccia family estate, “E Croce,” sits on a layer of thin chalk soil above a thick bedrock of pure schist overlooking the Gulf of St. Florent. While the sea breezes and chalk soil impart a stony minerality, the small, intensely colored grapes of the varietal produce a rich, full-bodied wine, redolent of lemon and chamomile, with flavors of pear and flowers on the palate. Although “Leccia” means oak in Corsican, Yves himself owns no oak barrels, practices completely organic viticulture and does not even allow the wine to undergo malolactic fermentation. It’s an amazingly beautiful wine, a nice match now for roast chicken or even suckling pig, but also capable of aging for another five to ten years. It is $42 and we have a few extra bottles still available.