Specialty Club – November 2015

At our first annual holiday tasting in October, customers fell in love with an outstanding red Burgundy, and we proceeded to buy all of it from the distributor. Although that used up most of the money allocated for the club, we were still able to find an unusual and interesting white as well.

2012 Camille Giroud, Gevrey-Chambertin, $67

Winery info: The Giroud family started making and selling wine in the late 1890’s, and over the years became well known for their tremendous cellar of aged wines, sort of a local repository for the history of Burgundian wine. However, their “house style” of tough, chewy, dense wines fell out of favor in the 1990’s, and in 2002 a group of American investors bought the company.

Winemaker: David Croix, a young winemaker who has presided over the modernizing of the winery. The press has lauded him for being very attentive to the nuances of particular vineyard sites.

Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir

Vineyard source: The fruit was purchased from various sites in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin in the Côtes de Nuits, a village known for muscular and full-bodied wines. The vines are 35 years old on average.

Flavor profile: While 2012 was a difficult vintage in Burgundy, with extensive hail, many of the wines are turning out to be classics. This Gevrey-Chambertin was so elegant and balanced that it brought tears to the eyes of one of the customers at the holiday tasting. Rich, soft black fruits, with some spices and hints of smoked meat.

Production/Availability: 200 cases, but only 3 cases came to Seattle. We bought all of them, and have a few bottles left.

Drinkability: Much debated at the holiday tasting, but the consensus was that it will hit its peak in 5-7 years.

Food Pairing: Chicken, salmon, pork, game birds or on its own.

2014 Leah Jorgensen Cellars, Blanc de Cabernet Franc, Mae’s Vineyard, $29.75

Winery info: Founded last year in Gaston, Leah Jorgensen Cellars seeks to make “pretty wines in the Pacific Northwest, one barrel at a time, 100% inspired by the wines of the Loire.”

Winemaker: Leah started her wine career at Erath in 2004, and then worked in marketing for various Oregon wineries while studying enology at the Northwest Viticulture Center in Salem. She assisted Drew Voit at Shea Wine Cellars before starting her own winery.

Grapes: 100% Cabernet Franc, gently pressed and immediately removed from the skins. Barrel-fermented, then aged on its lees in stainless steel. According to Leah, this is the first white Cab Franc made in America!

Vineyard source: Mae’s Vineyard is farmed by Herb Quady, from the family that owns the eponymous winery in California known for their dessert wines. However, Herb focusses on three grapes, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Viognier, and in fact we put his 2011 Quady North Cab Franc in our May Oregon Club. And, for the first time, the national wine press is beginning to take an interest in the very rural Applegate Valley in southern Oregon.

Flavor profile: Crisp and clean, like a Loire white, but with the distinctive berry flavors of the Cab Franc and a very long finish.

Production/Availability: One barrel, so about 25 cases and very limited.

Drinkability: Ready to drink

Food Pairing: A nice seafood wine, it was paired with Alaskan Halibut at a recent winemaker’s dinner.