Specialty Club – September 2015

This month features one of the best dry Rieslings we have ever tasted, and a nicely aged Aglianico as well. Both wineries have been featured in previous clubs. The 2009 Ostertag Muenchberg Pinot Gris was in our July 2012 Specialty Club, and Molettieri’s 2008 “Cinque Querce” Aglianico was in our October 2014 Collector’s Club.

2012 Domaine Ostertag, Muenchberg Grand Cru Riesling, $60

Winemaker: Andre Ostertag, considered a revolutionary in Alsace for applying Burgundian practices to Alsatian wine and for focusing more on specific sites than on varietals.

Winery info: After Andre returned from his apprenticeship in Burgundy in 1997, he converted his family’s fourteen hectares of vines into a completely biodynamic estate, the first in Alsace.

Grapes: 100% Riesling, fermented and aged in 100% stainless steel.

Vineyard source: His top site, the 1.7 hectare Muenchberg vineyard, a hill that rises about 1,000 feet above the commune of Nothalten. The vines are all older than 35 years and the soil is a mixture of volcanic sediment and pink sandstone, with a touch of limestone. Originally planted by Cistercian monks in the 11th century.

Flavor profile: Elegant and yet still rich and opulent – dry Riesling at its very best.

Availability: A few cases are still available through the distributor, and the price was reduced by about $10 to make way for the next vintage.

Drinkability: Delicious now, but will be magnificent in another ten or even twenty years.

Food Pairing: Fish, shellfish, poultry, white meat – save it for a special meal or occasion.

2007 Salvatore Molettieri, Taurasi, Vigna Cinque Querce, $47

Winery info: A tiny, family-run estate, founded in 1983 in the Montemarano sub-region of Taurasi, the wine region on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius in Campania.

Winemaker: Salvatore Molettieri and his sons do all the viticulture and all the winemaking.

Grapes: 100% Aglianico, fermented half in wood tanks and half in steel vats, and then aged in large French oak casks for 36 months.

Vineyard source: The Vigna Cinque Querce vineyard is 1600 feet in elevation and named for five oak trees that dominate the landscape. It features clay soils with lots of calcium and faces southeast, which provides enough sunshine to ripen the grapes at this very high altitude.

Flavor profile: Intense, rich, and soft, with aromas of dried plums, cocoa and tobacco.

Availability: In decent supply.

Drinkability: Drinking very well now, but decanting is recommended to tame the strong tannins.

Food Pairing: Grilled red meat, roasts, game, and aged cheeses.