Collector’s Club – April 2016

2011 Saviah Cellars, Malbec — Rich Funk began Saviah Cellars in Walla Walla back in 2000 armed with a love of wine, a background in chemistry and microbiology, and a keen interest in soil science. He also happened to have enormous talent and access to excellent vineyard sources, which would explain why his wines have garnered so many accolades over the years. We love them for their great aromatics, deft fruit flavors, and judicious use of oak. This 100% Malbec is sourced from two vineyards: Weinbau, on the Wahluke Slope, and Summit View, one of the highest-elevation vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley. Aged for 17 months in French oak, 40% new, it is dark and savory and loaded with scents of blackberries and spice. The distributor needed to clear this vintage out to make room for the next one so we were able to get an excellent price on it, which we pass along to you. Enjoy it now or over the next few years. $23

2012 Domaine Catherine le Goeuil, Côtes du Rhône Village, Cairanne — The hilltop town of Cairanne is generally considered to be the best of the 18 Côtes du Rhône villages that are authorized to include their village name on the label. This wine is made by Catherine Le Goeuil who was born in the Congo to French parents. She moved to France in 1993 and bought a six-hectare estate which she now farms completely organically. Importer Kermit Lynch says that Catherine credits her healthy soil for giving her wines their finesse and approachability. This wine, about half Grenache, with Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, and Counoise, is silky and smooth, with aromas of Provençal herbs and a soft, rustic charm. It is perfect for lamb or fowl dishes, but could also do a mushroom risotto proud. $24

2013 Bodegas La Cartuja, Priorat — The Priorat is a small zone in northeast Spain, basically surrounded by the larger Montsant region. It is prized for its unique volcanic slate soil (licorella), which imparts an unmistakable minerality to the wines grown here. La Cartuja was founded in 2007 with the goal of producing wines that express the character of the region, are approachable even when young, and are affordable. We’re always excited to find well-made, value-priced Priorats and this one, 70% Garnacha and 30% Cariñena (Carignan) from organically-grown, estate-owned fruit, definitely fills the bill with its amazing minerality, expressive dark fruit flavors, and hints of smoky spice. Give it some air, then enjoy it with barbecue beef or pork brisket or a Cuban roast chicken. There is just a tiny bit left of this one. $15

2011 Villa Giada, Barbera d’Asti Superiore, La Quercia — The most widely-planted grape in northern Italy’s Piedmont region, Barbera is low in tannins and typically produces easy-drinking, food-friendly reds. The best come from Asti, Alba, and Monferrato. And while most of the ones we see are made in the classico style, there is also a superiore designation that requires a slightly higher minimum alcohol level (12.5%) and a minimum 14 months aging, at least six of which must be in wood. This gives the wines a darker, denser profile, with more heft and grip than one normally expects from Barbera. This one comes from an estate established in 1934 in a village midway between Asti and Alba. It is sourced from a single vineyard, La Quercia, and is lovely and rich with enough heft to stand up to heartier fare. $16

2014 Turasan, Emir — Although Turkish winemaking dates back 7000 years, most people are still pretty unfamiliar with the wines from this part of the world. That is changing, though, as wineries modernize and their wines improve in quality and become more available throughout the world. Local importer Vino Rai is helping to make this happen. They have already done several tastings in the shop and this wine, made from the grape Emir, has been a big hit. Emir is the primary native white grape of the central Anatolian region of Cappadocia, known for its other-worldly rock formations known as “fairy chimneys” and the hot air balloons soaring over them (hence the balloon on the label). Emir thrives in the local volcanic soils, producing bright and refreshing wines that pair wonderfully with seafood, salads, or grilled chicken. $15

2014 Montaribaldi, Roero Arneis “Capural” — About a year ago we did a tasting of wines from this northern Italian estate, joined by the owner Luciano Taliano. He recently paid us another visit to present some of his current releases and we were again reminded how wonderfully well-made they are. His family estate has vineyard holdings throughout the Piedmont region, all carefully managed to achieve maximum expression of terroir with minimum impact on the environment. We put the previous vintage of this wine in the club last year and are happy to present the newest offering. It is 100% Arneis, sourced from a hilly area with sandy clay soils in the heart of the Roero region. Delightfully fresh and floral, it has enough complexity to make it perfect on its own, or you could pair it with appetizers or fish dishes. $14.50