Specialty Club – November 2014

2010 Chateau Duhart Milon, Moulin de Duhart, Pauillac
From a review of our records, it doesn’t appear that we’ve ever been able to put a wine in this club that was from one of the estates in Bordeaux that were included in the original classification of 1855. Although these “Grand Cru Classé” wines are some of the great wines of the world, they have been just too expensive for the club. And that was particularly true for the fine vintage of 2010, when enthusiasm in the Asian market drove the prices up almost 250%. So we were delighted when one of our local distributors was able to get the 2010 vintage of the second wine of a Fourth Growth estate at a reasonable price. While Duhart-Milon is a historic property, the vineyards fell into a state of disarray until the Rothschilds of Lafite-Rothschild bought the property in 1962. As a result, the vines are on average much younger than the other classified growths, and both the Grand Vin (their top wine) and this second wine are known for vibrancy and freshness. Since the reboot of the estate, the house style has been to produce wines of balanced elegance and finesse, as opposed to the big bruising style more prevalent in Margaux or the tannic wines of St.-Estèphe. This Moulin is 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 49% Merlot, and is aged in second year oak barrels for ten months. The nose is quite floral, a mark of Cabernet from Pauillac, and the wine is fresh and full-bodied, with nice ripe dark fruits. We’d recommend giving it another three or four years in your cellar. While the Grand Vin from Duhart Moulin usually costs between $100 and $130, this wine is only $58 and still in pretty decent supply.

2013 Abeja, Chardonnay
The Abeja Chard is always one of the most interesting and complex white wines you can find in the state of Washington. The grapes are sourced from four stellar vineyards: Celilo in the Columbia Gorge, known for high acidity, Conner Lee Vineyard, renowned for its minerality, Kestrel, a good source of exuberant fruit, and Gamache, known for softer, pleasant whites. John Abbott uses traditional Burgundian techniques to make the wine, notably barrel fermentation in larger, tight-grained French oak casks (half new, half one-year old), complete malolactic fermentation and aging sur lie. As a result, the wine is rich and full-bodied, yet it retains bright acidity and that feel of freshly sliced apples that is characteristic of Chardonnay. For food pairings, John recommends steamer clams, fish, chicken, pumpkin soup and even eggs scrambled with feta cheese and chives. Although tasty now, it would develop even more complexity in a year or so. It costs $38 and is in pretty limited supply.