2011 Bodegas Ostatu, Rioja Gran Reserva, $60
Winery info: Located in the Rioja Alavesa sub-region of Rioja in northern Spain. The winery dates back over two hundred and fifty years and until recently made all of their wine using carbonic maceration (the process used in Beaujolais). But a top Bordeaux producer and consultant was so impressed with their vineyards he convinced them to collaborate on a special project, using traditional fermentation and lower yields. The resulting wines are now some of the top in the region.
Grapes: 85% Tempranillo and 15% Graciano from vines over 70 years in age. Aged 24 months, half in new French oak and half in one- to two-year-old 225-liter oak barrels. Then blended in 4,000-liter foudres and aged a further five months. It is aged over three years in the bottle before release.
Vineyard: El Rincón, a south-facing vineyard at 600 meters elevation, originally planted in 1945. The site has poor clay calcareous and stone soil and is situated at the foot of the Sierra de Cantabria range, creating a perfect micro climate for growing Tempranillo.
Flavor Profile: Deep and concentrated, with amazing structure and intensity. It is aromatic and elegant with red fruit flavors, and notes of spice and toast. All balanced with fresh, firm acidity.
Availability: There may be a tiny bit of this wine left.
Drinkability: Anytime over the next five to seven years
Food Pairing: Beef or veal meatballs, or hangar steak with seasonal wild mushrooms
2014 Tranche Cellars, Estate Chardonnay, $45
Winery info: Since their founding in 2001, Corliss Estates has been producing some of the most stunning and sought after wines in the state, thanks to ample resources, excellent vineyard sites, and meticulous winemaking. Tranche is their “sister label.” Their wines focus on different varietals, but are made with the same impeccable care by Perth native Andrew Trio who worked in New Zealand, California, the Mosel, and Australia before arriving in Walla Walla.
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay, aged for 11 months in new and used French oak barriques and concrete egg-shaped fermenters. Aged on its lees for eleven months before bottling.
Vineyard: Celilo, their highest elevation estate vineyard, in the cool-climate Columbia Gorge AVA.
Flavor Profile: Opens with delicate aromas of peach and Asian pear, and notes of toasty brioche, followed by deep flavors of white stone fruit, backed by food-friendly acidity. A very pretty chard with beautiful power, structure, and balance.
Availability: They made only 415 cases of this wine but it is still available at the moment.
Drinkability: Drinking well now, it should be at its best in the next year or so. Enjoy by 2023.
Food Pairing: Baked fish, such as halibut or cod, shellfish, polenta, or with roast chicken or pork.