2011 Domaine de la Pépière, Clos des Briords Muscadet — The Muscadet region, at the western edge of the Loire valley on the Atlantic coast, produces fresh, clean, minerally wines from the grape, Melon de Bourgogne, that are quintessential partners for shellfish. And Marc Ollivier’s Muscadets are some of the most structured and complex around. Unlike most producers, he hand harvests, uses all natural yeasts, and extends lees contact until the wine is ready to bottle. He is also one of the only growers in the region whose vines are planted on original rootstock, not grafted. This bottling comes from some of his oldest vines, in a single vineyard with schist soils, as opposed to the granite that is more common in the area. With the concentration that comes with older vines, this Muscadet has added intensity and depth, with subtle notes of citrus and slate and the structure to develop even further, if you can wait. It is $17.
2010 François Chidane, Tres P Bullas — François Chidane, another Loire producer, is known for his stunning Vouvrays. But his family often vacationed in the south of Spain, and over the years they befriended a local vigneron in the southeastern Murcia region, Paco Francisco. When they decided to collaborate in producing wine, Paco, Pepe (his vineyard manager), and François (also nicknamed Paco), naturally called it “3P.” The wine is sourced from 40-year-old bush vines grown at 800 meters elevation, where the fruit ripens slowly and fully, providing excellent acidity and freshness to the wines. This blend of 40% Tempranillo and 60% Monastrell sees no oak, and is wonderfully rich and fresh, with inviting notes of garrigue and herbs. At $19, it is very approachable now, and is perfect for tapas, roast chicken, or ribs.
2010 ANIMALE, Dolcetto — Matt Gubitosa has been making wine since 1991, in his home-based winery in Ballard. With an annual production of only around 200 cases a year, he is a true micro-producer, working with fruit from select vineyards to produce wines inspired by the best wines of France and Italy. His two degrees in geology give him an especially keen understating of vineyard dynamics so that he can select the best fruit possible to achieve the complexity he seeks in his wines. Dolcetto is a soft, low-acid grape from northern Italy. Matt’s version comes from grapes grown on the Wahluke Slope, near Mattawa, and he produced a miniscule 24 cases, of which we got six for the club. It is dark, spicy, and intense and, as with all Matt’s wines, is very balanced, and shows true varietal character. It is $22 and perfect for rich Italian fare.
2010 Tenuta Curezza, Prine Rosso Salento — The name “Prine” was created for this unique blend of PRImitivo and NEgro Amaro, two of the major red grapes grown in the Italian boot-heel region of Puglia, from which it hails. The producer comes from a family that has been making wine up north in Verona for four generations. They named their southern estate Curezza (care, in Italian) because of the great care they always try to extend to the land and its bounty. Their goal is to produce high quality, elegant wines, that showcase the unique flavors of Puglia. The two grapes in this wine are co-fermented without any oak so that the wine can be a pure expression of the grapes. It is full-bodied, yet soft and elegant, with a nice spicy backbone. It is $13 and is great for pasta dishes, roasted meat, or aged cheeses. ”
2008 Hans Lang, Charta Riesling — This dry, yet delightfully aromatic Riesling comes from Germany’s Rheingau region, historically the most successful wine region in the country, and the one responsible for Germany’s reputation as the producer of some of the greatest white wines in the world. Hans Lang is located in Hattenheim, where the Rhine River reflects the heat of the sun, and moderates temperatures so that the grapes can ripen fully and evenly. The winery is a member of Charta, an organization of Rheingau producers dedicated to making a traditional style of dry Riesling and to following even stricter rules than those imposed by German wine law. This one has amazing character and complexity, with lovely notes of white stone fruit. It is $16 and would be perfect with Asian food, grilled fish, or even pork dishes.
2010 Ross Andrew Winery, Glaze Cabernet Sauvignon — Before he launched his own eponymous winery in 1999, Seattle native Ross Andrew Mickel worked with Bob Betz, one of our state’s most respected winemakers, for ten years. So when he struck out on his own, he had a pretty good idea what he was doing. And he has demonstrated that consistently over the years, thanks both to his skill as a winemaker, and the solid relationships he’s formed with some of the state’s top growers from whom he sources his fruit. His Glaze is a tasty and affordable ($15) blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, sourced from the central Columbia Valley and Horse Heaven Hills. Aromatic, flavorful, and just a bit spicy, it’s ready to drink now, with your mid-week burgers, but also perfect for special weekend meals.