2012 Guardian Cellars, Angel, Sauvignon Blanc — Jerry Reiner’s red blends bear names like “Gun Metal,” “Chalk Line,” “The Rookie,” and “The Informant.” If that sounds a bit CSI there’s a reason: Jerry is a cop by day, and a winemaker the rest of the time. What began as a check on a “suspicious” Woodinville warehouse, actually Matthews Cellars, turned into a second career, first at Mark Ryan Winery, and then on his own, beginning in 2007. When Jerry was in for a Saturday tasting recently, we got to taste his Guardian Angel Sauv Blanc and were totally smitten. The only white wine he makes, Angel is $19.75 and has the bright, fresh fruit flavors one expects from a Sauv Blanc, plus complex herbal notes and an unexpected silky richness thanks to some time in oak. Great on its own or paired with a chicken salad or summer appetizers.
2007 Perrin & Fils, Vacqueyras Les Christins — This wine hails from the southern Rhône village of Vacqueyras. The village was awarded Côtes du Rhône appellation status in 1990 and the rules there are similar to those of Châteauneuf-du-Pape (although only half of the grapes in Vacqueyras red wines are required to be Grenache). The wine is made by one of the top Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers, the Perrin family, longtime proprietors of the renowned Château de Beaucastel. This wine is made from vineyards leased by the family and managed by Beaucastel. The vines average 50 years in age and this blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, has a wonderfully rustic, earthy nose, and is intense and concentrated on the palate, with dark fruit flavors and excellent structure. The 2007 vintage is $19.75 and is drinking great now and, while it could still age a bit, no doubt, you can enjoy it anytime, with roast meats, or other hearty fare.
2012 Antonio Sanguinetti, Vermentino — Tuscan winemaker Antonio Sanguinetti is a familiar face in our clubs, on our shelves, and sometimes even in our shop, when he’s not listening to opera, racing cars, or making wine at home in Italy. And while we are more familiar with his reds in the shop, we couldn’t resist sharing with you his rendition of the classic Italian white grape, Vermentino. It is a mere $13 and, while zesty and refreshing, it is also aromatic, with an appealing touch of richness. Being a coastal grape, Vermentino has great affinity for seafood of any sort, such as scampi, or your favorite pasta or risotto dish. Antonio says, “A truly great wine slows life down just a bit—and allows us to enjoy it more.” We hope you enjoy this one!
2009 La Quercia, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva — Here’s another Small Vineyards offering, this time from the Abruzzo region, on the other side of the Italian peninsula from Sanguinetti, and probably best known for the grape, Montepulciano. We’ve enjoyed their “basic” Montepulciano for years and it’s always been a popular wine and a great value in the shop. This is the first time Small Vineyards has brought in his Riserva, and it is amazing. It is produced from 40-year-old vines, all organically grown on windy, hillside vineyards overlooking the Adriatic Sea, with a miniscule yield of about two-thirds of a bottle per plant. At $18.50, it is a few steps up in price from the basic, but its elegance and character are worth every penny. Perfect for tapenade, pork dishes, or chicken kebabs.
2012 Mas des Bressades, Rosé — Every summer we put one of our favorite Rosés in the club and this year we’re actually putting in the new vintage of last year’s Rosé—it’s just too good not to. Mas des Bressades is considered one of the top estates in the Costières de Nîmes, located on the western side of the Rhône, about 35 miles southwest of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. As we said before, the estate is run by Cyril Marès, whose wife runs the winery next door where she produces another popular Rosé, Mas Carlot. This one is a blend of older vine Grenache, with Syrah and Cinsault, all of which are grown specifically for their Rosé (in other words, it’s not an afterthought made from leftover fruit). It is made in the saignée method, giving the wine it’s lovely color and aromatics and bright, yet elegant notes of fruit and spice. Great on its own (you supply the patio and deck chairs), or with summer meals, like grilled chicken or fish. It is $15.
2010 For a Song, Cabernet Sauvignon — For a Song was created to showcase fruit from some of the best appellations in our region. The man behind the Washington offerings is Kyle Johnson, who has made wines for both Chateau Ste. Michelle and Olsen Estates and who has his own label, Purple Star. What we love about For a Song is that they deliver outstanding wines, meticulously crafted from some of the most coveted vineyard sites, all…well, for a song (in this case, $14). This Cab is sourced from the Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain, and the Columbia Valley. Given its pedigree and youth, it really needs some time, either in the bottle, or decanting, to open up, (something we rarely say about wines in this price range!) to show it’s dark, layered complexity. Then enjoy with barbeque ribs, meatloaf, or grilled steak.