Collector’s Club – September 2015

2011 Château de Montfaucon, Baron Louis, Lirac — This estate dates back to the 11th century, when a castle was built on a strategic site on the banks of the Rhône River. A winery was added in the 1500s. When Rodolphe de Pins took over the estate in 1995 he rebuilt the winery, but the original 16th century cellars are still used for barrel aging. The vineyards, some over 90 years old, lie just across the Rhône from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This wine is a tribute to the Baron Louis de Montfaucon, a family ancestor who restored the castle at the end of the 19th century thus saving it from falling into ruins. It’s a blend of their finest lots of old vine Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, and Mourvèdre and is smooth and tasty, with loads of dark fruit, garrigue, and spice. The winery suggests pairing with any kind of meat: lamb, beef, game, or duck, and while it will age nicely for the next six to seven years, it’s also delicious now. $22

2012 Robert Ramsay Cellars, Mason’s Red — We’re big fans of the Rhône-inspired wines Bob Harris crafts at his boutique winery in the heart of the Woodinville warehouse district. He has access to some of the best fruit in the state and with it he creates some pretty stunning wines. Bob says blending his Mason’s Red is a “very personal, creative exercise.” The blend varies every year and the 2012 is almost half Cinsault, with Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Counoise. Not dissimilar to the Lirac blend above, but with a New World pedigree. Meant to be an anytime, food-friendly wine, it has spicy chocolate aromas and bright red fruit flavors and Bob suggests pairing it with a fresh harvest from the farmers market, oven-fired pizza, or creamy sauces “that demand a wine with a structure that cuts through with a pleasurable balance.” $18

2011 Château de Fontenille, Bordeaux Rouge — Last February we featured the white blend from this estate in the Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. And when we poured the red blend at a recent French tasting it was so popular we had to put it in the club, too. Records show that vines have been grown at the site of this estate, which lies between the Dordogne and Garonne rivers, since the 15th century. But it wasn’t until Stéphane Defraine bought the property in 1989 that the current winery really took shape, and he continues to renovate and convert to environmentally sustainable practices. His red is 80% Merlot and 20% Cab Sauv and it is wonderfully accessible now (or over the next five years), with soft, red fruit flavors, great balance and structure, and a long finish. Enjoy it with grilled meat, roasts, or poultry dishes. $14

2014 Marchetti, Tenuta del Cavaliere Verdicchio — It’s been a while, but once again we present the ever-popular “later harvest” Verdicchio from Small Vineyards. It is made by Maurizio Marchetti in Italy’s Marche region, near the Adriatic coast, an area that sees an average 200 days of sunshine a year. Marchetti’s family have been producing Verdicchio for generations and their “basic” Classico version is absolutely top notch, but for this wine, he leaves the fruit on the vine an extra month, adding inviting body, structure, and a soft richness to the wine. He makes just a tiny amount of it each year (only about 300 cases!) so it is not in Small Vineyards’ portfolio year round, and thus, quite limited. It is a perfect match for lightly seared scallops with lemon and olive oil, or calamari. $17

2012 Palazza Malgara, Inzolia — Palazzo Malgara was founded in 1990 by two established Italian winemakers with a desire to produce beautiful wines from southern Italian grape varietals that reflected their unique regional terroir. We featured their Cannonau de Sardegna back in June 2014. This month we present their Inzolia, a grape grown primarily in Sicily, with its hot, dry summers, poor soils, and hilly terrain. This wine reflects its Mediterranean origins. It has herbal, nutty aromas, a citrus notes, and lovely body. It has been a very popular wine in the shop and when we realized we should put it in the club, there was very little left of this vintage. So enjoy it now, and you can look forward to the 2013 which should be released in October. It’s a no-brainer for seafood, especially grilled fish or prawns. $13

2013 Bodegas Bleda, Pino Doncel, 12 Meses — Bodegas Bleda was founded in 1915 in the Jumilla region of central southern Spain. It is a large estate, with over 600 acres of vineyards, much of it planted to Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre), a grape that can withstand drought conditions and requires a warm climate to ripen fully and is thus perfectly suited to this region. This blend of Monastrell and Syrah is aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels, hence the name “12 Meses.” Rich and bold, with intense aromas and complex flavors of ripe red and black fruit and a hint of chocolate and spice. Very accessible now, it would pair well with hearty stews, rice dishes (think paella), and meat, especially goat, lamb, or beef. $18