2013 Aalto, Ribera del Duero, $55
Winery info: Created in 1999 as a joint project between Mariano García, winemaking director at Vega Sicilia for 30 years, and Javier Zaccagnini, former head of Ribera del Duero’s regulatory body, Consejo Regulador. Their goal was to create wine from their region on par with the best wines in the world with their combined assets of excellent soil and microclimate, exceptional Tempranillo clones that have adapted to that terroir, and an enormous depth of winemaking talent and experience.
Winemaker: Mariano García
Grapes: 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) from 40- to 80-year-old vines.
Vineyard: Sourced from vineyards in seven villages in the province of Burgos, with some younger vines from vineyards in Valladolid. Aged 20 months in new and used French and American oak.
Flavor Profile: Complex, elegant, and smooth-textured, with dark fruit flavors and savory notes of spice and well-integrated oak.
Availability: The winery is now onto the 2015 vintage
Drinkability: Enjoy anytime between 2020 to 2025.
Food Pairing: Pork tenderloin, grilled meat dishes, chorizo sausage
2012 Domaine du Collier, Saumur Blanc, $42.25
Winery info: Founded in 1999 by then 26-year-old Antoine Foucault and his wife Caroline Boireau in Saumur, in France’s central Loire Valley. Their small, seven-hectare estate is planted two-thirds to Chenin Blanc, grown on the limestone-rich soils of the Brézé hills. Antoine farms organically, using wild yeast fermentation and extended aging (24 to 36 months), and has gained a reputation for his powerful, complex, terroir-driven wines.
Winemaker: Antoine Foucault, who first learned winemaking from his father and uncle, Charlie and Nadi Foucalut at the family’s legendary estate, Clos Rougeard in Saumur-Champigny.
Grapes: 100% Chenin Blanc
Vineyard: From low-yielding, older vines, between 20 and 75 years in age, planted on clay and limestone soils.
Flavor Profile: Focused and clean, with beautiful citrus and floral aromas, amazing minerality, and perfectly balanced acidity. It is powerful, yet delicate, and very expressive of the Brézé terroir.
Availability: There may still be a tiny bit left with the distributor but it is extremely limited.
Drinkability: While it is very complex while young, it will continue to evolve, up to about 2020.
Food Pairing: Lobster or other crustaceans, bacon and onion tart, or with chèvre.