Collector’s Club – December 2014

2012 Cadence, Coda — Ben Smith makes some of the most elegant, complex, and ageworthy wines in the state. In 2012, his Camerata was poured at the White House holiday dinner and Seattle Magazine named him Winemaker of the Year. His Bordeaux-style blends, which highlight specific vineyard sites, are simply stunning, but are definitely built for cellaring. Happily he also produces this Coda, at about half the price, and ready to drink much sooner (though a good decant is always recommended). Made from barrels that did not end up in his vineyard blends, Ben describes this vintage (roughly a third each Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, and Merlot, with about 10% Petit Verdot) as having savory aromas of spice and warm earth, with dark fruit flavors of cherries and plums. Always perfect for pork tenderloin, or a hearty risotto. $25 (Ben will be in the shop Saturday, January 31 from 3 to 5:00 to pour his current releases!)

2012 Podere Ruggeri Corsini, Dolcetto d’Alba — This relatively young winery was founded in 1995 by two friends who were fortunate enough to be able to purchase a small farm in Monforte d’Alba in Northern Italy’s Langhe region of Piedmont. Up until then the farm had sold off all of its grapes to negociants, but the pair soon began producing their own wines from the fruit. And though they have branched out over the years, they have not lost sight of their original focus on classic Langhe wines such as this Dolcetto d’Alba, a grape characterized by its fragrance and freshness. This one is aromatic and elegant, with light tannins and balancing acidity. It is not meant for aging, although a quick decant really brings out its charms. Enjoy it with roasted vegetables, meat dishes, legume-based soups, or risotto. $15

2012 Lavau, Côtes-du-Rhône — In 1964 the Lavau family relocated from their home in Bordeaux to the Rhône Valley where they began making wine from purchased grapes. When the parents retired in 2000, sons Benoit and Frédéric took over, but over time they decided make some changes. They purchased some of their own vineyards and also began to bottle wine under their own label. Today they are technically somewhere between a negociant and an independent producer, with the result being they are making some very tasty wines at remarkably reasonable prices. This Côtes du Rhône, a Grenache/Syrah blend, is medium bodied, with rich red fruit flavors and notes of pepper and black licorice. Perfect for grilled or roasted meats or vegetables, poached fish, or tomato-based pasta dishes. $15

2012 Salida, Albariño — Winemaker Doug McCrea has long been known for his fabulous Rhône-style wines, produced for his eponymous McCrea Cellars. But he has had another project going for a while now featuring wines from grapes of Spanish origin, which bear the Salida label. We’ve already put two vintages of his delicious Salida Tempranillo in the club. Now we’re excited to share his Albariño, a white grape that makes wonderful seafood-friendly wines in the Atlantic coast Rias Baixas region of Spain. Although Doug’s version is sourced far from the sea, in Yakima Valley, it exhibits the characteristic aromas and flavors of the grape, with a rich, inviting texture, balanced by a bright, mouthwatering crispness that begs for another sip. Aside from seafood, try it with Asian fare or tapas. $16

2013 Waitsburg Cellars, “Three” White — For years Paul Gregutt made his living as a wine writer. But he is now several years into a new venture in his adopted home of Waitsburg (near Walla Walla), producing his own wines. We featured his Pinot Gris in a past club and have carried his two deliciously contrasting Chenin Blancs in the shop. He recently tasted us on this new white: a blend of southern-Rhône grapes, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and a touch of Picpoul, from the highly coveted Boushey Vineyard (the same fruit source Doug McCrea has used for his wines over the years). This blend is aromatic and beautifully complex, with notes of peach and refreshing citrus, and just the right touch of creamy texture to tie it all together. A lovely and versatile food wine. $18

2012 Domaine Pradelle, Crozes-Hermitage — While Hermitage may be one of the most famous and prestigious of France’s northern Rhône appellations, the wines are very limited and, of course, pricy. But it is surrounded by the much larger appellation of Crozes-Hermitage which also produces almost exclusively red wines, made from Syrah. Given its size, Crozes wines vary greatly in quality, and we’re always excited when we find one we like. This small estate is run by brothers Jean-Louis and Antoine Pradelle. Their fruit grows on the rocky clay soil typical of the region, which tends to produce soft wines with rich fruit flavors. This one is rustic, yet elegant and richly textured, with broad dark flavors and aromas. Enjoy it now or over the next three to five years, with lamb, game, or hearty pasta dishes. $18