Collector’s Club – January 2016

2012 Salida, Tempranillo — We’ve been long-time fans of winemaker Doug McCrea’s Rhône-style wines, produced under his eponymous McCrea Cellars label. And now that he’s turned his talents to his new winery, Salida, focusing on Spanish varietals, we’ve found ourselves equally excited about those. Which should be obvious, since this is the third vintage of his Tempranillo that we’ve featured in the club, in addition to his Albariño. Sourced from the Yakima Valley’s Two Coyote Vineyard, it is a beautiful expression of this Spanish grape: rich and complex, with a bit of dark spice and gentle tannins on the long finish. Perfect to pair with herb-marinated pork loin, rack of lamb, spicy chorizo, or a New Orleans gumbo. It is delicious now, but could also age another five to eight years. $19.75

2014 Jubliee, Pinot Blanc — Jubiläumskellerei has been making wine in northern Italy since 1906. (Thankfully, it goes by the abbreviated name, Jubilee.) It hails from Lake Kaltern, located in the heart of Alto Adige not far from the Austrian border, in a site so Edenic, notes importer Small Vineyards, “you’d swear you’re in a fairy tale.” This Pinot Blanc (known locally as Weissburgunder) is made by several small growers, averaging about one to two hectares each. A bit of skin contact gives a delightful, soft texture to this clean, fresh wine with its “whistling bright acidity” and fruit basket of aromas. Perfect for seafood or light appetizers. $15

2014 Weingut Frank, Grüner Veltliner — The Frank family has been producing wine in northern Austria’s Weinviertel region for ten generations. This area is covered with deep layers of loess: clay, and silt sediment, up to 15 meters in some places. It’s a perfect site for growing that country’s most important and widely planted grape, Grüner Veltliner. This one, brought to us by Small Vineyards, has all the qualities we look for in a classic Grü-V. It is crisp and clean, with notes of crushed rock, spicy white pepper, and a touch of brininess from the loam soil. We love Grüner Veltliner for many reasons, not the least of which is its versatility, pairing well with a wide variety of foods, even those hard-to-match vegetables. It’s also great with Wiener schnitzel, fried chicken, or Asian food. $15

2014 Mas de Daumas, Moulin de Gassac, Pinot Noir — When we think of French Pinot Noir, we usually picture cooler regions, such as Burgundy or the Loire. So we were surprised to find this offering from down south, in the warm Languedoc region. Mas de Daumas Gassac is a highly-regarded producer in the region situated on a site that had been farmed using traditional and natural methods for generations. It was purchased by the Guibert family in 1974 who have continued that commitment to organic farming. They launched a second label, Moulin de Gassac, a few years back to produce “fun, full-flavored wines” that reflect the terroir of their Mediterranean region. This Pinot comes from 25-50 year-old vines grown on rich clay and limestone soil, just a few kilometers from the Mediterranean. It is delicate and mouthwatering, with fresh fruit flavors and an amazing stoniness. It’s ready to drink now and very food friendly. $18

2011 Domaine La Ligière, Beaumes-de-Venise — This small estate is located in the southern Rhône, in the charming village of Beaumes-de-Venise. For five generations the Bernard family sold all their fruit to local cooperatives. But in 2008, their son Philippe and his wife Elizabeth decided to use their fruit to produce their own wines, which were reflective of their unique local terroir. They transitioned to organic viticulture, modernized their cellars and, in a few short years, have already begun garnering much attention and accolades. This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, from 30-year-old vines grown on the local sandy clay and limestone soil and aged in concrete tanks. It is rich and smooth, with inviting notes of stone, licorice, and cocoa powder. Perfect for lamb or cassoulet. $19.75

2013 Tenute Rubino, Oltremé, Susumaniello — Susumaniello, once widely grown in Italy’s boot heel region of Puglia, was long valued for adding rich color, lively fruit flavor, and aromatic intensity to wines. But it fell out of favor, mostly due to the fact that the vines are not very long-lived and, over time, most of the vines were torn out and the grape was nearly forgotten. But in recent years there’s been a renewed interest in this fascinating traditional varietal, thanks to producers like Tenute Rubino. They have even begun a “Susumaniello project” to promote the grape and keep it in production. Their vineyards are planted on the Adriatic coast, just north of Brindisi, where the grape grows well. Their “Oltremé,” 100% Susumaniello, is fruity, and aromatic with bright freshness. It is a perfect wine to pair with savory dishes, stuffed eggplant, grilled meats, or risotto with earthy mushrooms. $14