Collector’s Club – July 2014

2013 Cantina Altarocca, Arcosesto Orvieto Classico — You may recognize this wine, as this is the third vintage we’ve featured in the club. Imported by Small Vineyards, Cantina Altarocco is located at 350 meters above sea level in the heart of Orvieto, the most important DOC in Umbria. This wine is a blend of the classic Orvieto varietals, 50% Grechetto, 30% Procanico (a clone of Trebbiano), and 20% Malvasia Bianca. Because they are grown in one of the highest vineyards in the area (Altarocca means “high rock”), the grapes ripen slowly, developing added complexity and aromatics. This Orvieto sees no oak aging, but 18 hours of skin contact adds a touch of richness to this fresh, balanced wine. It’s ready to drink anytime, with sea bass, steamed clams, or homemade pasta with grilled vegetables. $16

2010 La Quercia, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva — The La Quercia “basic” Montepulciano, also from our friends at Small Vineyards, has been a shop favorite for years, always full of flavor and an amazing value. Last year Small Vineyards brought in their riserva level of this wine for the first time and we were delighted to feature it in the club. Now we bring you the new vintage, made by Antonio Lamona in the Abruzzo region on the central coast of Italy. The wine is produced from 40-year-old vines, organically grown on wind-blown, hillside vineyards overlooking the Adriatic Sea, with miniscule yields of about two-thirds of a bottle per plant! The result is a softly spicy wine with great elegance and character, perfect for pork chops, olive tapenade, or fresh fare off the grill. $19

2009 Château d’Anglès, La Clape, Classique — This estate was founded by Eric Fabre who spent eight years as winemaker at Château Lafitte Rothschild. But his dream to own a vineyard on the Mediterranean led him to La Clape, a beautiful site in the Languedoc region overlooking the sea. His son Vianney visited the shop in March to introduce us to his wines. Their fruit ripens slowly in the warm, dry region with its cool nights and this wine, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, was a big hit at a recent Thursday tasting. It is quite elegant and complex, with hints of the surrounding garrigue (pine, thyme, rosemary, and juniper) giving it a distinctly Mediterranean flavor. Very inviting and approachable now, enjoy it with, as the label suggests, cold cuts, grilled meat, or other everyday foods. $12

 2006 Castillo Perelada, 5 Fincas — Castillo Perelada is located in Spain’s northeast Empordà region. Situated between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, it is an area of intense sunshine, low rainfall, strong winds, and a wide variety of soil types: slate, sandy clay, granite gravel, and allluvial sediment. This wine is sourced from five very distinct vineyards (fincas), listed on the back of the bottle, interestingly, before the grapes, in this case, Merlot, Garnatxa, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Samsó (Carignan). Each of the soil types contributes unique characteristics to the wine, and the overall blend is amazingly complex and nuanced, with the added influence of 21 months of oak ageing. We immediately thought of pulled pork when we tasted it, but it would pair well with a wide variety of foods. $17

2011 Viña Salida, Tempranillo — We’ve been hoping to get this wine back in the club for quite a while. You may recall that Salida is the other label of Doug McCrea, winemaker for the wonderful Rhône-inspired McCrea wines, but with a focus on Spanish grapes. This is Doug’s sixth vintage of this wine, sourced entirely from Yakima Valley’s Two Coyote Vineyard. Once again, it is a beautiful expression of the Tempranillo grape: soft, warm, and spicy, with a lusciously smooth mouth feel. Doug suggests pairing it with herb-marinated pork loin, or paprika-sage rack of lamb. Or with paella, New Orleans gumbo, or a rich bouillabaisse. You may need a few more bottles to try all the possibilities! Luckily, though delicious now, it could also age in the bottle for eight to ten years. $19.75

2012 Burgáns, Albariño — Last month it was Albarín, no relation to Albariño—this month it is Albariño! This one is made by Luciano Almoeda, one of the most important advocates for Albariño in Spain, and not only a founder of the Rías Baixas appellation (where Albariño is the major grape) but also the first leader of that DO, established in 1988. So you know he takes the grape seriously! This single-vineyard, unoaked Albariño is particularly rich and round, with a supple mouthfeel, yet plenty of fresh fruit flavor and clean acidity to make it a perfect pairing for seafood, shellfish, or poultry dishes. The front label calls Albariño a “mythical grape,” but this one is real, in fact it’s even in show business: in the movie Somm, a bottle of it is sitting in the background as the sommeliers study for their Master Sommelier exam! $17