Collector’s Club – October 2017

2015 Domaine les Ondines, Vacqueyras — This domain, owned by the Onde family, is located in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône appellation of Vacqueyras. While they have grown grapes for many generations, son Jérémy Onde is the first to make and bottle wine at the estate. He has been following organic practices since 2008. Vacqueyras is known for its powerful, yet rustic wines, which follow similar rules to those of Gigondas (and thus, Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The Onde’s Vacqueyras vineyard is situated on the “plateau des Garrigues,” an alluvial plateau filled with gravel and pebbles. This blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault is full of dark fruit with notes of garrigue—perfect for roast lamb or beef. $24

2015 Château Bourbon la Chapelle, Médoc —This estate is the second property of Château Castera, located in the Médoc region of Bordeaux, on the left bank of the Gironde River. Château Castera is one of the oldest castles in the region, dating back to the 14th century, with some of the oldest vineyards in the Medoc. Their second wine, which gets its name from a chapel built on the property in the 17th century, is a blend of 60% Cab Sauv and 40% Merlot, sourced from the same vineyards as their flagship wine. It is aged in oak for six months, giving it a subtle touch of wood. Smooth and elegant with dark fruit flavors and soft herbal notes, it is approachable now with decanting, or you could cellar it for another year or two. $15

2016 Adegas Morgadío, Legado del Conde, Albariño — By now, club members are no strangers to Albariño—the white grape grown in Spain’s northwest Rías Baixas region. Wines from this Atlantic coast area are fresh and clean, with a bracing touch of salinity, making them perfect for seafood. This offering comes from Condado do Tea, the most inland of the three main sub districts, situated on the north bank of the Miño River, with a southern exposure, a relatively benign climate, and granite sand soils. The site tends to produce Albariños with excellent concentration and depth. This one is made in a softer, more floral style, with its fresh, stony citrus notes, balanced by nice body and complexity. Perfect, of course, for seafood, especially richer fare. $15

2015 Frantz Chagnoleau, Mâcon Villages, Clos Saint-Pancras — Burgundy stretches from Chablis, in the north, to Mâcon in the southern (technically, it includes Beaujolais as well). Throughout the region white wines are produced almost exclusively from Chardonnay. This one comes from a small estate in the Mâconnais, run by Frantz Chagnoleau and his wife Caroline Gon. Carolyn is also winemaker at Héritiers du Comte Lafon, a Mâconnais domain founded by the legendary Burgundian producer, Dominique Lafon. The couple has learned much from their friend and mentor: they are certified organic, practice minimal intervention, and use only indigenous yeast, all to best express the nuances of their terroir. Their wines are beautifully mineral driven with notes of crushed stone and citrus. A minimum of nine months lees aging adds gorgeous texture. Enjoy this elegant Chard any time, with richer fish dishes, pork, or chicken. $19.75

2015, Podere Ruggeri Corsini, Langhe Rosso “Matot” — Ruggeri Corsini was founded in 1995 by a couple trained in viticulture and enology who were fortunate enough to be able to purchase a small farm in Monforte d’Alba in northern Italy’s Langhe region of Piedmont. The farm had previously sold off all of its grapes to negociants, but they soon began producing their own wines from their fruit. And though they have branched out over the years, they have not lost sight of their original focus on classic Langhe wines. Matot, their one blended wine, combines Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo. It has red fruit flavors, a touch of earth, and a big influence, this vintage from the Nebbiolo. Decant and enjoy with pizza or pasta. $13

2014 Forgeron Cellars, Blacksmith Merlot — We’re long-time fans of the wines made by the delightful Marie-Eve Gilla. Trained in France, she has been making wines in Washington since the 1990s and has seamlessly adapted her French winemaking experience to the terroir of her adopted home. As she states on her website: “Washington grapes. French roots.” In addition to her higher end wines under the Forgeron label, she also produces her Blacksmith line (forgeron is French for blacksmith), which gives us a taste of her winemaking style at a more budget-friendly price. Her Blacksmith Merlot is sourced from Charbonneau Vineyard in the Columbia Valley and Birch Creek, in the Walla Walla Valley, aged in neutral French and American oak. It is a great example of what Washington Merlot can be, with notes of black pepper and red fruit, and flavors of dark chocolate and spice. Beautifully balanced and complex, it’s perfect anytime. $15