2012 Quintarelli, Primofiore, $66
Winery info: This iconic estate, founded by the late Giuseppe Quintarelli in the hills north of Verona in the Veneto, has been described as “mythical,” “legendary,” and “uncompromising.” Being one of northern Italy’s most important producers, their wines are highly allocated and high in demand.
Winemaker: Giuseppe’s daughter Fiorenza now supervises the winery.
Grapes: 50% Corvina (and Corvinone), and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Primofiori means “first press” or “first flower” because it uses the runoff juice of the first press of their Amarone which adds great depth and complexity. It is released much sooner than their other wines, which see very long aging, and is thus a chance to drink a younger (and more affordable) Quintarelli.
Vineyard: Sourced from vines averaging 30 years in age planted on limestone and basalt soil.
Flavor Profile: 2012 was a ripe, low-production vintage, producing expressive, weighty wines. This one is velvety and opulent, with substantial tannin and acidity and notes of wild berries and spice.
Availability: This one is gone, and the distributor is awaiting the next vintage.
Drinkability: Now through 2025
Food Pairing: Rack of lamb, salumi, porcini mushroom soup, pasta with red sauce
2013 Ashan Cellars, Chardonnay, Celilo Vineyard, $38
Winery info: Chris Gorman launched Gorman Winery in 2002, after many years in the marketing side of the wine business. Over the years he earned a solid reputation for his bold, powerful, yet carefully-crafted red wines. He created Ashan Cellars in 2012 to “produce Chardonnays with intense beauty and complexity,” using Old World traditions and fruit from some of the top vineyards in the state.
Winemaker: Chris Gorman
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay, all Wente clone, planted in 1973. The wine was barrel fermented in once-used French oak using native yeasts.
Vineyard: Celilo, located on a southeast-facing slope on Underwood Mountain in the Columbia Gorge. It is a cool climate site with large diurnal temperature swings and predominantly volcanic ash soil.
Flavor Profile: A lovely and inviting Chard, with amazing depth and complexity, smooth texture, and a touch of spice and biscuit, all balanced by sleek minerality.
Availability: Chris produced just eight barrels of this wine and is now onto the 2014 vintage.
Drinkability: This wine is ready to drink now
Food Pairing: Seared halibut, crab cakes, scallops, or corn soup with shiitake mushrooms.