Collector’s Club – November 2016

2015 Bocelli, Tenor Red — The Bocelli family has been producing wines on their small farm in Tuscany for over 150 years and our friends at Small Vineyards have been bringing them to us since 2004. Their wines, crafted by Alberto Bocelli along with his wife Cinzia, are crafted in a classic, yet modern style, with serious structure, body, and focus. It doesn’t hurt their estate’s reputation that Alberto’s brother is the world-renowned opera tenor, Andrea Bocelli, and it is in his honor that this wine is made. The two brothers collaborated on this smooth, tasty Supertuscan-style blend of 34% Cabernet, 33% Sangiovese, and 33% Merlot that bursts with bright red fruit and underlying notes of cocoa and spice. It’s a great food wine, perfect for antipasti, cioppino, steak au poivre, or anything with tomato sauce. $18

2013 Domaine Mattes-Sabran, “Le Viala” Corbières — The estate of Mattes-Sabran is located in the heart of the Corbières region of southern France, on the Mediterranean coast. The estate, once the seat of the Duke of Narbonne, is now a quiet, welcoming winery with vineyards situated on steep, terraced vineyards with stony soil similar to that of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This blend takes its name from a word in the local dialect meaning a community, or group of people living and working together. It is 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre, sourced from 30- to 50-year-old vines grown high in hills on gravel-rich soil. Juicy and full-bodied, with dark fruit flavors and food-friendly acidity, it is a classic wine for grilled red meat or game, or Mediterranean dishes, especially those flavored with black olives. $17

2014 Montague, Malbec — Winemaker Charlie Hoppes is a busy man. He has worked at numerous wineries over the years and even after founding his own, Fidelitas, in 2000, he has continued to consult and make wines for various wineries in the region. Along with his years of experience, come wide connections to some of the top vineyards in the state. Montague is his latest venture. It is a label created exclusively for one of our local distributors, which typically results in the happy combination of top-notch winemaking, great fruit sources, and excellent value. This Malbec is a perfect example. It is made from Gamache Vineyard fruit (Charlie also makes the wines for Gamache Vintners), an excellent source for Malbec fruit. You probably won’t mistake this one for an Argentinean Malbec, with its big, bold, ripe flavor, but it’s guaranteed to warm you up on a cold evening. $19.75

2015 Ashbourne, Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay — Anthony Hamilton Russell founded his eponymous winery, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, in 1981 in South Africa’s Hemel en Aarde Valley in Walker Bay. It is now one of the most respected wineries in the country for its award-winning Burgundy-inspired wines. He has gone on to launch several other ventures, including Ashbourne (named for his great, great grandfather, Lord Ashbourne, Lord Chancellor of Ireland in the late 1800s) recently listed by The Wine Spectator as one of South Africa’s four “producers on the cutting edge.” This wine is 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% unoaked Chardonnay, a relatively unusual blend, but the soft, clean Chard adds a balancing touch of richness and depth to the crisp, grassy Sauvignon Blanc. Altogether, it is fresh and vibrant with a hint of gooseberry and lovely aromatic complexity. 2015 was their first organic harvest. $18

2015 Domaine Massiac, Viognier — This estate has a long history dating all the way back to the Roman Empire. During the French Revolution, the château was burned to the ground. Much more recently, the domain was revived and replanted and it now has about 21 certified organic hectares of vines planted on the gently sloping foothills of the Massif Centrale not far from the Mediterranean coast. They produce two white wines, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, both of which are harvested in the cool early morning to maintain freshness. Their Viognier is surprisingly fresh and minerally while still expressing the pretty, complex aromatics that the grape is known for. Enjoy it with seafood, pork dishes, or Asian fare. $15

2013 Alcesti, Syrah, Admeto — The volcanic island of Sicily off the toe of Italy is well known for Marsala, but it also has a long history of still wine production that is in the midst of welcome modernization. Nero d’Avola is the most commonly planted red grape but Syrah, a similar variety in many respects, is being planted more and more and is producing some exciting wines. Alcesti is a small, family-owned winery near Marsala. They still employ traditional winemaking practices, which they now combine with state-of-the-art-techniques to produce wines reflective of their volcanic origin. This 100% Syrah (we featured their Nero d’Avola in June 2015) is grown in their hillside vineyards under the hot Sicilian sun. Full of deep, rich flavor, with hints of pepper and spice, it’s ready to drink now, with red meat, game, or strong cheeses. $15