Collector’s Club – September 2016

2011 Tranche Cellars, Tempranillo — We recently put the Tranche Pinot Gris in the club, and we’ve featured their Barbera several times as well. As you know by now, Tranche is the sister label of Corliss, producer of some of the top wines in the state. The Tranche line explores varietals and styles beyond the more focused scope of the Corliss wines. Corliss, they say, “is more timeless, Tranche more cutting edge and exploratory.” This month we present their Washington interpretation of the Spanish grape, Tempranillo, sourced from a small, single block of fruit grown at their Blackrock Estate Vineyard. This site tends to produce fruit with “wild and foxy” flavors, which complement the inherent savory earthiness of the Tempranillo. This one would be perfect with paella, game, or wild mushroom dishes. $25

NV Dowsett Wines, Two Magpies Red Wine — Chris Dowsett is the winemaker at Buty, another top Washington winery. He also has his own winery, Dowsett Family Wines. At a recent tasting in the shop, he poured wines from both labels and this one was a particular hit, both for its great balance and depth, and also for its value. It is a blend of roughly half each Mourvèdre, from Kiona’s Heart of the Hill Vineyard on Red Mountain, and Syrah, from Morrison Lane Vineyard just outside Walla Walla. It is a complex, but very approachable wine with flavors of dark fruit and spice. Chris explains on the back of the bottle, the story about the two Magpies on the label. He made only 59 cases of this wine so it won’t be around long. $18

2015 Domaine de la Pépière, Muscadet — Here is the new vintage from one of one of our favorite Muscadet producers. Muscadet is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape in the western Loire Valley. It is often made in mass quantities, producing rather non-descript wines. But in the hands of a serious, meticulous winemaker like Marc Ollivier, it rises to an entirely new level. His vines average 25 years in age and are planted on two coveted types of granite soil, Clisson and Château-Thébaud. His use of natural yeasts (most producers use “starter” yeasts to speed things up), extended lees aging, and slow, traditional processes is rare, but is the reason his are considered some of the top wines in the Muscadet AOC. He is currently in the process of transitioning to biodynamics. 2015 was an excellent vintage, and this wine combines citrus notes with superb minerality, making it utterly refreshing and perfect for shellfish. $14

2014 Ferreri, Catarratto — Catarratto is the second most widely planted grape variety in Italy, though it grows almost exclusively in western Sicily. Historically not a very highly regarded grape, much of it is blended into Marsala. But today some dedicated winemakers are trying to change that image. One of these is Ferreri. It was founded by three partners from long-time wine-producing families who wanted to combine traditional winemaking techniques with modern technology to craft wines of character and style that express the true essence of Sicily. They sourced fruit for this wine from their estate vineyards located at various elevations on different hillsides, each with its own microclimate. The result is a rich, complex, softly floral expression of Catarratto that would be perfect with vegetable or seafood dishes. $16

2010 Château Trillol, Corbières — The Sichel family has a long history in Bordeaux where their holdings include the esteemed Margaux estate, Château Palmer. In 1990 they branched out into the Corbières AOC and purchased Château Trillol, situated in the foothills of the French Pyrenees in the shadows of the historic Cathar castles. Since then they have been expanding and replanting the estate, which now has 40 hectares of vines in two distinct terroirs. The high elevation of their vineyards allows the grapes to ripen slowly, absorbing the spicy, peppery aromas of the surrounding garrigue scrubland. This blend is dark and expressive, with great depth and complexity. It is an excellent food wine and, now with a bit of age on it, it is drinking wonderfully, but you could also lay it down a few more years. $15

2015 Emilio Moro, Finca Resalso — Emilio Moro is one of the top producers in north central Spain’s Ribera del Duero region, where they have been producing wine for over 120 years. The family-owned winery owns 173 acres of vineyards in Pesquera del Duero, at relatively high altitude, with an average vine age of 10 to 25 years. The soil here is clay, with gravel and chalk and the climate is harsh, giving the wines from this region their signature character. They grow a single clone of Tinto Fino, the local variant of Tempranillo that has adapted well in the region. Their Finca Resalso is produced from younger vines and has less extraction and oak aging than their bigger, signature wines. We recommend decanting this one or giving it some good time to breathe. It’s even great the second day! Ripe and fruity with warm, spicy notes and a savory depth, it would be great with grilled Merguez sausage or spicy, smoky meats. $17