Collector’s Club – March 2016

2013 Cousiño-Macul, Isidora Sauvignon Gris — Here’s a new vintage of a wine we’ve featured in the past. It comes from Cousiño-Macul, a Chilean winery founded in 1856 and still run by the original founding family. The wine is 100% Sauvignon Gris, a close relative of the much more familiar Sauvignon Blanc, produced from vines the family imported from the Graves region of Bordeaux in the mid-19th century. The grape grows well in Chile’s Maipo Valley. Its pinkish skin gives it a bit more color and complexity and a richer texture than Sauv Blanc. It has the elegance and well-balanced acidity typical of Cousiño-Macul whites, and is fresh and zesty with notes of white stone fruit—perfect with salads or seafood, especially crab, oysters, mussels, or clams. Also tasty: it’s gone down in price since we last featured it! $15

2011 Bodegas y Viñedos Godelia, Mencia — Mencia (pronounced menthia) is widely grown in northwest Spain, especially in and around the Bierzo region. Here, over the last few decades, a new generation of producers has been reclaiming older, forgotten vineyards, and producing serious wines with great concentration and complexity. This one is a good example. It comes from a relatively young winery with vineyards on three different sites, including some of the best rocky, high elevation slopes in the region. Sourced from 40- to 80-year-old vines, grown on different soil types it is, they say, a “perfect expression of Mencia from Bierzo.” Elegant and rich, with great minerality and freshness, it’s a very versatile food wine and could pair with anything from Portobello mushroom chops to pepper steak or spicier fare like chicken fajitas or tacos. Enjoy it over the next five to ten years. $19.75

2010 Kana Winery, Old Vines, Reserve — Lemberger is another name for Austria’s most widely planted red grape, Blaufränkisch. (We’ve featured one in the club from Hungary, where it is known as Kékfrankos). Whatever it’s called, we think this is a great grape to get to know. A small amount has been grown in Washington since the 1960s. Some of the earliest plantings were in the highly-renowned Champoux Vineyard, and this wine was sourced from old blocks there dating back to 1972. Made by Yakima-based Kana Winery and now with some nice bottle age, it shows the juicy, refreshing, peppery flavors Lemberger is known for, along with the ripe fruit flavors and great texture that the grape can offer. Pair it with anything from roasted lamb, to grilled veggies or pizza. They produced only 320 cases and it’s almost gone. $18

2014 Waitsburg Cellars, Chevray — Waitsburg Cellars was founded by long-time Seattle-based wine writer Paul Gregutt. As a wine producer, Paul is working with varietals that have “fallen out of favor.” One of those is Chenin Blanc. He makes two versions: one reminiscent of the Savennières of the central Loire Valley, and this one, styled after the softer wines of Vouvray. The 2014 vintage, with its cool nights and warm days, yielded plenty of fruit with well-balanced flavor, acidity, and sugar levels. Paul’s 2014 Chevray, sourced from Upland Vineyard on Snipes Mountain, is lush, ripe, and aromatic, with notes of peach and apricot. Immediately appealing, silky and long, the winery website notes, “it has the yum factor in spades.” Enjoy it over the next four to six years, on its own or with white fish, chicken dishes, or Asian fare. $18

2014 Villa Ligi, Vernaculum Pergola Rosso — Villa Ligi is based in Pergola in the Marche region on Italy’s central eastern coast and has been in the Tonelli family for generations. Current proprietor Francesco Tonelli searched for vines of the rare old varietal, Vernaccia Rossa, an Aleatico clone once widely-grown in the area but which was on the verge of being forgotten. He reproduced the old plantings until he had enough to plant a small vineyard and was instrumental in helping to establish the tiny Pergola appellation, currently with just three producers. Today, with the fruit he helped save, he produces this delightfully aromatic, light-bodied red wine, reminiscent of a Beaujolais. It is meant to be drunk young and is delicious paired with salumi, prosciutto, light pasta dishes with truffle and mushrooms, or fish stew. Ethereal and delicate, it’s a perfect wine for spring and could even be served a bit chilled. $14

2012 Château Lafond, Canon Fronsac — Though once highly esteemed, in recent history, the small Right Bank Bordeaux appellation of Canon-Fronsac has been in the shadow of its much more famous neighbors to the east, Pomerol and St. Emilion. That is changing though as the appellation gains more attention and producers invest more in the region. For now though, wines from this area can be excellent values. Château Lafond is the second label of Château Mazeris, a historic property established in 1769, and their wines are made from the estate’s younger vines. This blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cab Franc is smooth and soft with inviting spice and pepper notes. Perfect for charcuterie, roast beef, or poultry. $18