Collector’s Club – June 2017

2013 ANIMALE, Cabernet Franc — Matt Gubitosa has been making wine since 1991 in his home-based winery in Ballard, where he continues to produce about 200 cases a year—a true micro-producer. With two degrees in geology, he has an especially keen understating of vineyard dynamics and, working with select growers in the Yakima and Columbia valleys, he is able to find the best fruit possible to achieve the complexity he seeks in his wines. Matt’s 2013 Cab Franc is sourced from the McIntire Vineyard, near Sunnyside. He has blended it with 5% each Cab Sauv and Petit Verdot and aged 36% of it in neutral French oak for 15 months and 64% in stainless steel. 2013 was a relatively cool vintage in the Northwest and the wines are modest in alcohol and fresh in flavor. This one is medium bodied and aromatic, with soft red fruit flavors, a hint of slate, and inviting depth. Matt made only 45 cases of this one. $25

2016 Palazzo Malgara, Inzolia — We’ve featured several wines from this winery in the past, including a previous vintage of this one. Palazzo Malgara was founded in 1990 by two Italian winemakers who wanted to produce wines from southern Italian grape varietals that reflected their unique regional terroir. They work in both Puglia and Sicily, where this wine comes from. Inzolia is found primarily in western Sicily, where it thrives in the hot, dry summers, poor soil, and hilly terrain. It typically has herbal, nutty aromas and fresh citrus notes and this one is no exception. It is very Mediterranean in feel, with a nice touch of richness and complexity. Perfect for seafood, especially grilled fish or prawns. $11

2013 Tritón, Mencia — This wine is brought to us via the portfolio of Jorge Ordoñez, who works closely with select wineries throughout his native Spain to bring the very best examples of Spanish wines to the U.S., his adopted home since 1987. It comes from Bierzo, in northwest Spain, and is 100% Mencia (pronounced “men-thia” locally), sourced from two vineyards, planted in 1935 and 1942. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged ten months in old Burgundy and Bordeaux barrels. In the cool Bierzo region, Mencia can range from rather lean and restrained, to quite plush and this one is definitely in the latter camp: it is soft and juicy, with rich, dark fruit aromas and flavors and a nice touch of peppery spice. It’s ready to enjoy anytime, with grilled lamb, roasted vegetables, or burgers off the grill. $13

2015 Parker Station, Pinot Noir — Parker Station wines are made by Fess Parker—a winery established in 1988 by the actor best known for playing Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone on TV. The winery has evolved a great deal since then and today the wines are made by Blair Fox who brought with him experience in California, Australia, and the Rhône Valley. The Pinot Noir he makes under the Parker Station label is sourced from cooler areas of the Central Coast: 54% Monterey, 29% San Luis Obispo, and 17% Santa Barbara counties. It is juicy and supple, with notes of dark red fruit, a touch of earth and spice, and a hint of oak. Easy to enjoy anytime, with pizza, minestrone soup, or a nice grilled salmon. $15

2015 Eladio Piñeiro, Envidia Cochina, Albariño — The Spanish grape Albariño, from the northwest coastal region of Rías Biaxas, typically makes fresh, food-friendly white wines, often with a touch of salinity making them perfect for seafood. This one is all that, but just looking at the bottle, you know there’s more going on here. It is made by long-time Albariño producer, Eladio Pineiro, who had to sell his winery in 2003 to care for his ailing wife (who thankfully recovered) but kept his best vineyards. Today, with a new outlook on life, he is determined to make his wines exactly as he wants, for people seeking wines with meaning and soul. He farms biodynamically, making only small amounts, in a slow, meticulous process that includes lees aging and the addition of juice from previous vintages, as in the solera method used for making Sherry. The result is everything you’d expect in an Albariño, with fascinating depth and complexity. $19.75

2014 Vignerones Propriétés Associés, Crozes-Hermitage — The vineyards of the northern Rhône region are planted along the banks of the narrow Rhône River valley. It is much smaller than the southern Rhône region, and has a continental climate, rather than Mediterranean. The main grape here (and the only red grape) is Syrah. This one comes from the relatively large Crozes-Hermitage appellation, which lies on the flatter areas around the steep, tiny, and highly revered hillside vineyards of Hermitage. Syrahs from the flatlands tend to be softer and fruitier than their vastly more expensive neighbor. Made by a cooperative of dedicated winemakers committed to organic farming, this wine is smooth and inviting, with dark fruit flavors and subtle, smoky rustic notes. We suggest decanting to help open up those flavors. It’s perfect for herb roast poultry, cassoulet, or French onion soup. And it’s a great value for a northern Rhône Syrah. $19.75