Collector’s Club – November 2014

2008 Zephros, Cabernet Sauvignon Sheridan Vineyard — Zephros was founded by Richard Freeman, an eastern Washington native whose career in finance led him to Tokyo where he lived and worked for a number of years. Eventually his interest in wine and the dream of having his own world-class winery brought him back to his home state. He chose Greg Powers, a friend from his college days, as his winemaker who, along with his highly-respected winemaking experience, brought with him access to some of the most coveted vineyards in the state. This 2008 Cab, Zephros’ second vintage, comes from Yakima Valley’s Sheridan Vineyard, prized for its deep, powerful Cabernet fruit. They produced just 97 cases and it is wonderfully inviting and approachable, with dark fruit flavors and aromas. $25

2012 Buil & Giné, “Giné Giné” Priorat — Spain’s northeastern Priorat region is known for its intense, hugely structured red wines sourced from vines grown on the local llicorella soils. This old, decaying slate imparts a unique flavor profile to the wines, which are typically very expensive. So we’re excited to find good value from the region. Joan Giné was a grower here long ago. His grandson, Xavi Buil, started Buil & Giné hoping to make affordable wines that express the character of the region. This blend of 40% Garnacha and 60% Cariñena (aka Samsó) is named in honor of his grandfather. With dark intense fruit notes and earthy minerality from the licorrella, it’s a great introduction to Priorat wine, and would pair beautifully with foods with aromatic herbs or balsamic flavors. Perhaps a nice mushroom risotto. $21

2013 Eyrie Vineyards, Pinot Gris — Oregon is well known for its world class Pinot Noirs, but it also produces excellent Pinot Gris, and Eyrie’s is one of our favorites. We featured the previous vintage of this wine in the club last year, explaining how Eyrie founder David Lett not only planted the first Pinot Noir grapes in the Willamette Valley but also the first Pinot Gris in the United States. Now made by David’s very capable son Jason, all of their wines come from estate-grown fruit using natural practices and minimal intervention and are characterized by their pure varietal flavors and expression of place. This new vintage is beautifully balanced, with layers of texture and flavor from the old-vine fruit, neutral oak aging, and malolactic fermentation. Enjoy it anytime, with chicken or seafood dishes. $19.75

2011 Donati, Claret — Here’s another new vintage of a wine we featured last year. It comes from Paicines, California, a region east of Monterey that was once widely planted with the Mission grape. Later Almaden took over the site to grow fruit for their bulk wines. But in 1998 Ron Donati purchased property here and replanted it, after carefully identifying which sites were best suited to which grapes. Still one of the only wineries located there, Donati continues to help establish this AVA as a top growing region, capable of producing wines rich in character and nuance. This new vintage of their Claret is 45% Cab Sauv, 40% Merlot, plus Malbec, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot. Coming from the slightly cooler 2011 growing season, it is fruit forward and easy drinking, yet elegant and ready to enjoy anytime. $15

2011 Diren, Karmena Red — Archaeological evidence shows that Turkish winemaking dates back at least 6000 years. The Diren estate was founded in the northern Anatolia region in 1958 with a focus on producing wine from indigenous grape varietals. This wine is a blend of two such grapes, Öküzgözü and Bogazkere (the “g” is silent), with Syrah, Cab Sauv, and Merlot. The fruit is grown on glaciated alluvial soil and decomposed granite, vinified in stainless steel, then aged in French oak for 12 months. The Öküzgözü provides rich red fruit flavors, while Bogazkere adds soft tannic structure. Further body and spice come from the international grapes for an overall juicy, balanced red. It needs a good decanting to fully open up, then you can enjoy it with grilled meat and vegetables, kebabs, or lamb dishes. $13

2009 Château de la Bigotière, Muscadet — Seattle is a perfect place to enjoy Muscadet, given our abundance of excellent seafood, and the fact that Muscadet is a perfect wine for any and all such fare (did someone say oysters?). Muscadet comes from the westernmost part of the Loire Valley and is made from the white grape, Melon de Bourgogne. This one is from an estate that has been in the same family for three generations. It comes from older vines, planted on east-facing slopes of gneiss, the soil type on which some of the best vineyards in this vast and varied region are planted. The superior terroir, along with lees aging, adds complex character to the clean, crisp, stone fruit flavors of the wine. We grabbed most of what the distributor had left of this one but the next vintage will be arriving in the spring. $11