Collector’s Club – July 2017

2012 Balboa Winery, BalBOA Constrictor — Tom Glase is winemaker at Beresan Winery. In 2005 he founded Balboa Winery to produce elegant, yet affordable and ready-to-drink Washington wines. This 60% Cab Sauv and 40% Syrah blend from the excellent 2012 vintage is sourced from his estate Eidolon Vineyard. Planted in 1999, Eidolon is located in the southeast corner of the Walla Walla Valley, in the coveted Rock’s District. The large cobblestone rocks here (resembling those of Châteauneuf-du-Pape) absorb heat during the day and radiate it back to the vines in the cool of the night, providing excellent and even ripening. This wine is smooth and tasty, with loads of dark fruit and balanced tannins. Perfect for barbecues or anytime sipping. The label that inspired the wine was drawn by Tom’s then nine-year-old daughter, Amelia Mary. He made only 448 cases, and they are now onto the next vintage. $19.75

2016 Domaine Labbé, Abymes Vins de Savoie — France’s Savoie region is located in the foothills of the Alps near the Swiss border, with vineyards situated along the Rhône River which flows from Geneva southward. There are 17 crus, one of which is Abymes (pronounced a-beam), from the French word abimé, or “broken,” referring to the layers of broken stones in the area left by avalanches. The Labbé estate, just south of Chambéry, was once a farmstead producing a variety of commodities. In 1975 they planted vines in the stony, clay and limestone soil. They take great care to ensure their fruit ripens fully in the harsh alpine conditions and to showcase the purity and vibrancy of the fruit in their wines. This one is 100% Jacquère, the mostly widely planted grape in the region. Fresh, complex, and low in alcohol, with brisk, stony minerality, it is perfect for shellfish and seafood or, of course, fondue or raclette. $13

2015 La Perdrix, Costières de Nîmes — Southern French blends are always popular around here. This one comes from the town of Bellegarde, located between Nîmes and Arles in the Costières de Nîmes. Perdrix means “partridge” in French. Apparantly King Louis IX of France used to go partridge shooting on the grounds of this estate, which dates back to the 13th century. The soil here is composed of sandstone cobbles, similar to the terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which retains temperature so that the vines ripen evenly. This wine is a blend of 45% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 20% Carignan, from older vines that are farmed sustainably. It is smooth and rich, with soft notes of fruit and spice and great minerality. Enjoy it anytime over the next four years, with grilled or roast pork, chicken, lamb, or sausage dishes. $13

2015 François Chidaine, Touraine — François Chidaine has been described as one of the most exciting winemakers in France’s Loire Valley today. He has vineyards in Vouvray, Montlouis, and in Touraine. This classically-styled Sauvignon Blanc comes from the latter, from his vines in Chissay-en-Touraine and Saint-Julien-de-Chédon. Chidaine farms biodynamically, on clay and limestone soils, without the use of chemical products. It is dry and crisp, with notes of citrus and fresh, pure minerality balanced by complexity from lees aging and native yeast fermentation. It is an excellent alternative to the pricier Sauv Blancs from the eastern Loire (think Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé). It would be a great accompaniment for shellfish, shrimp and avocado salad, goat cheese, or as an aperitif. $18

2013 Tenimenti Andreucci, Chianti Riserva “Costavecchia” — This small, family winery has managed a vineyard in Tuscany for four centuries. The label depicts a copy of a bill of sale from Napoleon Bonaparte, to whom they supplied wine in 1810. Nowadays, winemaker Flavio Andreucci incorporates modern technology to produce his distinctive wines. And although some have even been served at the White House, he remains a humble Tuscan farmer, still referred to locally by his childhood nickname, Chicco (or “grape”). Flavio’s Riserva Chianti is 100% Sangiovese, aged 27 months in oak. It is immediately inviting, bursting with cherry notes then mellowing with air to exhibit full, soft fruit flavors. With its lean, but juicy acidity it is, like all good Chiantis, a great food wine. Try it with ragù dishes, risotto, or grilled foods. $19.75

2013 Silvio Giamello, Langhe Nebbiolo “Villa Gentiana” — The Giamello estate, with holdings in the Langhe and Barbaresco appellations of northern Italy’s Piedmont region, dates back four generations. They produce a stunning Barbaresco from their Vincenziana vineyard. They also produce this Nebbiolo, sourced from the same site, but from declassified fruit, usually from the slightly cooler, lower part of the slope, with younger vines and less time in oak (about 10 months). So technically it, too, is a Barbaresco, but winemaker Silvio Giamello prefers to keep the two wines distinct. And we get a (“baby”) Barbaresco at a fraction of the cost! This is a wine you could lay down for a while and enjoy with a hearty meal. $18