Collector’s Club – June 2014

2011 Ogier, Syrah d’Ogier — For years, northern Rhône Côte-Rôtie producer, Ogier, sold all of their fruit and wines to the large negociant, Guigal. But in the 1980s Michel Ogier began producing his own wine, later joined by his son, Stéphane, after his enology studies in Burgundy. Michel has since retired, and now Stéphane is taking the winery to new heights, expanding the original vineyard holdings, improving the cellars, and introducing exquisite cuvées from his various Côte-Rôtie parcels. And while those tend to fetch triple-digit prices, he has just introduced this “entry level” Syrah, at a fraction of the cost, as it is sourced from the broader Collines-Rhodaniennes IGP. Like his higher end wines, it is rich, complex, and expressive, but this one is ready to drink now, with lamb or poultry dishes. $19.75

2013 Viñedos y Bodega Pardevalles, Albarín Blanco— A year ago we’d never heard of the grape Albarín Blanco (surprisingly, no relation to Albariño). But we loved it, and so did you, so we now present the new vintage of this wine, made by a small, family-owned winery in the Tierra de León region of northern Spain’s central plateau. The estate is dedicated to cultivating the native varietals of the region and is one of the only producers making a 100% version of this grape, once on the verge of extinction. Grown on stone and alluvial clay soil at about 2700 feet elevation, this Albarín is fresh and medium-bodied with exotic aromatic notes that continually evolve in the glass. Enjoy it over the next two years with any seafood dish, but if you want more act fast: the distributor is already sold out of it. $18

2013 Syncline, Grüner Veltliner — Syncline hardly needs any introduction around here. They have long been shop favorites, particularly for their stunning Rhône-inspired wines (and for being some of the nicest people in the biz). But they’re not all about southern France, and this Grüner Veltliner is one of their delightful exceptions. Originally an Austrian grape, this one is grown in a sheltered, alpine site on Underwood Mountain in the Columbia Gorge and this is Syncline’s sixth Grü-V vintage. Always amazingly focused, complex, and full of mouthwatering, food-friendly acidity, this one is as fresh and vibrant as ever and perfect for fish, Asian fare (especially sushi), or just about anything. $19.75

2009 Palazzo Malgara, Cannonau di Sardegna — The island of Sardinia is located off the west coast of Italy’s mainland. Sunny and dry, with hilly terrain, volcanic soil, and plenty of warm Mediterranean breezes, it is a perfect place for viticulture which, research shows, dates back nearly 3000 years here. The Cannonau grape (aka Grenache) is grown all over the island and produces aromatic wines with excellent structure. Palazzo Malgara was founded here in 1990 by two already-established Italian winemakers with a passion to produce wines from southern Italian grape varietals that reflected the unique regional terroir. Their 100% Cannonau is warm and inviting, with soft red fruit flavors and a nice rustic feel expressive of that local terroir. Perfect with grilled meats or vegetables, or barbeque. $15

2013 Porcupine Ridge, Syrah — Like the Ogier above, this wine is 100% Syrah, but it hails from South Africa’s highly respected Boekenhoutskloof winery, located in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley just inland from Cape Town. Boekenhoutskloof has several side labels (including the popular Wolftrap wines) and this one is from their Porcupine Ridge line, named after the local Crested Porcupine (in addition to other conservation work, the winery is currently sponsoring a research project to study and protect the species). Fermented using select Rhône yeast strains and French oak, this Syrah has a northern Rhône feel to it, yet it also has that signature rich, smoky flavor that is all South African. Its dark, roasty flavors and notes of black pepper make it a great wine for your summer barbeques. $12

2010 Broken Earth Winery, Quadrant, Red Table Wine — We’re always happy when we find well-made (and well-priced) California wines and this one, out of the expansive Paso Robles region on California’s central coast, fit the bill. It is a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Petite Sirah, loaded with rich, dark fruit flavors and hints of cocoa and licorice. It’s full-bodied and amply textured, yet nicely balanced and relatively low in alcohol at 13.7%. So while it can be enjoyed on its own, it would also pair with a variety of food, from tapas or grilled veggies, to full flavored beef dishes. A note: just after we picked this wine for the club, the local distributor went out of business, so it’s unclear if we’ll be able to get more, at least in the near future. Stay tuned. $16