Collector’s Club – October 2015

2014 Domaine Maestracci, Clos Reginu, Corse Calvi — Over the past year or so we’ve been seeing a growing interest in wines from Corsica, that Mediterranean island north of Sardinia and just off the Tuscan coast that is politically part of France but more Italian both culturally and viticulturally. Wine importer Kermit Lynch says flat out: “Corsica is the most exciting wine region in France.” This one comes from Reginu, a granite plateau with hot, dry days and cool nights, tempered by the nearby sea. It is a blend of two major Corsican red grapes, Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu, with the southern French grapes Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. It is ripe and smooth in flavor and texture, with rustic hints of leather and some intriguing notes of game in the background. Sourced mostly from younger vines, it is made to be enjoyed while young and it would be a perfect accompaniment for grilled meats, lamb dishes, or even goat! $15

2012 Castelfeder, Vigneti Dolomiti, Lahn, Kerner — While the Coriscan wine above is a French wine with an Italian soul, here’s an Italian wine that is Germanic at heart. Alto Adige is the northernmost wine region in Italy, bordering the Austrian Tyrol. In fact its inhabitants, mostly German speakers, call it the Südtirol, or south Tyrol. Nestled in the Alps, it has some of the steepest vineyards in the world and microclimates perfect for growing cooler-climate grapes. No surprise then that one grape that grows particularly well here is Kerner, a cross of the German grapes Trollinger and Riesling. Here Kerner is able to fully develop its incredible aromatics and character. This one is rich and complex, with fresh, balancing acidity and a finish that goes on forever. Perfect for the foods of fall, Asian fare, or for Thanksgiving. $19

2012 Pelassa, Bricco Enrichetta — Here’s another wine from northern Italy, but this one is Italian through and through. It hails from the Roero area of Piedmont where, as a youth, Mario Pelassa once pedaled around on his bicycle selling wines to the locals to help his family make ends meet. Much later, as an adult and still drawn to the world of wine, he was able to buy his first five acres of vineyards. Today his sons Davide and Daniele make the wines at his eponymous estate, where they concentrate on cultivating three varieties that suit the local terroir: the white grape Arneis, and the reds, Nebbiolo and Barbera. This wine is a 50/50 blend of the latter two, and the combination is delightful. With its elegant, ripe flavor, and hints of smooth spice, it is a perfect wine for cured meats, aged cheeses, or pasta with tomato-based sauce. $17

2013 Vignoble Guillaume, Franche-Comté Chardonnay — A while back we featured the Pinot Noir from this winery. It is located in a region of northeast France known as Franche-Comté, located on the country’s border with Switzerland. It was once part of the Kingdom of Burgundy until it separated in the 15th Century (and renamed “free county”). Here the Guillaume family owns one of the largest vine nurseries in the world with clones from top producers throughout the country. When they began their own winery about 50 years ago, they were able to use those coveted vines for their own wines. As Franche-Comté is a bit cooler and more mountainous than Burgundy, wines from this region are typically fresh and clean with wonderful minerality and this Chard is a beautiful example. Its rich color hints at the layered, complex flavors to come. Wonderfully food-friendly and reminiscent of a white Burgundy, but without the price tag. $15.50

2012 Los Vascos, Gran Reserve Carmenère — Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), of Bordeaux fame, acquired the Chilean estate of Los Vascos in 1988, after a long search for a site that met their exacting criteria, where they could produce top wines from Chile. They completely renovated the property and now have over 2,200 hectares of vineyards where they produce “estate grown, hand picked, hand sorted, estate bottled” wines. This Carmenère, aged in second-use Lafite barrels, is rich and smooth, with flavors of dark cherry, chocolate, and a bit of bramble, with a smooth, silky texture. It is a hearty wine for sipping, or to enjoy with anything from robust soups to steak or roasts. $17

2012 Agnès de Cervera, “La Petite Agnès” — This wine hails from northeast Spain’s Priorat region, famed for its unique black slate and quartz soil known as llicorella. Llicorella soil imparts a distinctive character to the wines from this tiny region (surrounded by the larger Montsant) and is what makes them so coveted, and often quite pricy. This wine is a typical blend for the region, 85% Garnacha and 15% Cariñena, sourced from vines at least 25 years in age grown on the slopes and terraces surrounding this family-owned estate. It is full of dark red fruit flavors, spice, and subtle oak notes from three months of barrel aging. Intense, but balanced, with a wonderfully long finish, it would be excellent paired with lamb, ossobuco, or a hearty white bean stew with chorizo. It represents a great value for a Priorat. $18