Collector’s Club – January 2017

2015 Domaine Pierre Vessigaud, Mâcon-Fuissé “Le Haut de Fuissé” — France’s Mâcon region lies at the southern end of Burgundy and produces primarily white wines made from Chardonnay. This single-vineyard offering comes from a small family estate in the commune of Fuissé in the highly regarded Pouilly-Fuissé appellation. The vines average 30 years in age and are farmed organically on the local clay and limestone soil. This wine is fresh and clean with excellent minerality, and 12 months aging in wooden casks adds inviting depth and complexity. The winery suggests enjoying it anytime over the next eight years, paired with seafood, oysters, goat cheese, or poultry with a creamy sauce. $23

2015 Fincas Don Martino, Old Vine Malbec — We taste a lot of Argentinean Malbecs, many of them quite good, but this one really stood out from the pack when we first tried it recently. It hails from Agrelo, a sub-district within the Luján de Cuyo appellation of Mendoza. The high elevation of the vineyards here (3,850 feet) allows the grapes to ripen slowly, developing wonderful concentration. The importer writes, “This is without question, one of our favorite Malbec bottlings in terms of authenticity, character, and depth. If you ever wanted to know what Agrelo Malbec tastes like at its best, let this be your lesson.” It is rich and tasty, with enticing dark fruit aromas and flavors, a bit of spice, and a long, lingering finish. Very elegant and perfect for roasts or other hearty fare. $19

2015 La Quercia, Tesoro — This Small Vineyards estate hardly needs any introduction. It is located in the Abruzzo region on the rugged east coast of Italy and we have featured their Montepulcianos regularly in the club. But this is a brand new offering from winemaker Antonio Lamona, who also happens to own a vineyard in Puglia, from which this wine is sourced. It is half Montepulciano, with 40% Primitivo and 10% Aglianico, 10% of which is dried, appassimento style, adding amazing richness and concentration. The importer notes that the Sirocco winds from North Africa carry red sands all the way to Puglia “creating a cauldron, or ‘pirate’s chest,’ of exotic spice aromas in the wine.” Thus Lamona named it Tesoro, or “treasure.” It would be great with lamb, osso bucco, or grilled meats. $14

2014 Les Pentes de Barène, Tursan Blanc — We loved the last vintage of this wine, which we put in a previous club, and we think this new vintage might be even tastier. It comes from the tiny appellation of Tursan in southwest France, just north of the Pyrénées. The whites from Tursan are based on the once nearly extinct grape, Baroque. This one is made by one of the smallest producers in the region and it is the only wine they make. It is about half Baroque, blended with Gros Manseng, Sauv Blanc and a touch of Petit Manseng, all grown on their high-elevation, terraced vineyards on steep, south-facing slopes where the fruit ripens fully, developing beautiful, concentrated flavors. Its rich, nutty flavor is balanced by a fresh, clean minerality. They make only about 300 cases a year and our Portland importer is the only one bringing it into the U.S. so it’s quite a rarity. Enjoy it with seafood or light pasta dishes. $15

2012 Weingut Prechtl, Zweigelt — Austria is best known for its stunning white wines, in particular Grüner Veltliner. But it also produces some delightful reds, from the grapes Blaufränkisch, St. Laurent, and a crossing of the two created in 1922 by Dr. Zweigelt, for whom the grape is named. Zweigelt is now Austria’s most widely grown red grape, producing fresh, medium-bodied, fruity wines. This one hails from the northern Weinviertel region from an estate established in 1839 and still run by the original family. They farm sustainably and their vines, some of which are now up to 25 years old with deep roots burrowing into the local soil, produce particularly complex wines. This 100% Zweigelt is bright, flavorful, and food friendly, with soft tannins and a bit of spice. You could even chill it a bit. Great with roast chicken or burgers. $15

2015 Folk Machine, Parts & Labor — Folk Machine is a line of wines produced under up-and-coming California winemaker Kenny Likitprakong’s Hobo Wine Company. He created the second label to produce more esoteric, yet affordable wines. This one, named “Parts & Labor,” is sourced from a number of older California vineyards and is a blend of 44% Syrah (from the biodynamically farmed Vecino Vineyard in Potter Valley), 30% Carignane (from 100-year-old vines farmed organically in Redwood Valley), 12% Grenache from Arroyo Seco, and 10% Barbera from Mendocino. This unique blend produces what they describe as a California bistro wine: “light on its feet, great with food, fun and easy to drink, and affordable.” (And “not more complicated than it needs to be to get the job done!”). We thought it was pretty darn tasty and, at only about 13% alcohol, pretty easy to enjoy anytime. $16