Collector’s Club – February 2018

2014 Darby Winery, “Livewire” Cabernet Franc — Darby English began making wine in 2001 and established his winery in the Woodinville warehouse district in 2005. With access to fruit from some of the best vineyards in the state and innate winemaking talent, he quickly gained the attention and respect of the local wine world and his wines just keep getting better and better. His latest Cab Franc is sourced from the steep Stillwater Creek Vineyard on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills, and Stone Tree, on the Wahluke Slope, just to the south. It is a soft and spicy Cab Franc, with rich, full dark fruit flavors and a lovely underlying elegance. With a nice touch of pepper and a lingering finish, it is a versatile food wine or you could enjoy it on its own, anytime over the next five to seven years. $25

2013 Elqui Wines, Red Blend — Danish-born Steffan Jorgensen was winemaker at Walla Walla’s Bergevin Lane Winery for six years. But in 2012 he relocated to his wife’s home in La Serena, Chile. She was also an experienced winemaker and their dream was to make their own wines together in this part of the world—the northernmost wine region in Chile, just south of the harsh Atacama Desert. Elqui is a transversal valley, at right angles to the Pacific Ocean and the Andes, and the vineyards are very much influenced by this geography. This red blend is 52% Syrah, 37% Carménère, and 11% Malbec, sourced from three separate vineyard sites and aged in new and used French oak. It is rich and supple, with loads of dark fruit flavors and balancing earthy, minerally notes. It was the star of our recent South American wine tasting and was thus, a no brainer for the club. Great with food, or on its own. $16

2015 Jean-Marc Brocard, Bourgogne Blanc “Kimméridgien” — Jean-Marc Brocard, originally from Burgundy’s Côte d’Or region, established an estate in Chablis in 1972 when he was given one hectare of vines as a wedding present. His holdings have since grown considerably and his wines have gained much respect both at home and abroad. His son Julien has joined him and has converted the estate to organic farming. They created this wine to highlight the soil type that gives the wines of this region (as well as Sancerre and Champagne) their singular character. Kimmeridgian soil consists of chalk, limestone, and fossilized shells from an ancient seabed, forced to the surface during the last ice age. This vibrant, fresh Chardonnay comes from his vineyards in Auxerrois, west of Chablis and is pure and delicate, with juicy citrus notes and a flinty minerality. Drink now or over the next two to five years. Perfect for oysters! $17

2015 Cellers Can Blau, Can Blau — This winery is part of the Gil Family Estates—a collection of small wineries throughout Spain committed to preserving their indigenous grape varieties and producing wines of character that reflect their local terroir. All while representing great value. Cellers Can Blau is based in Spain’s northeastern Montsant region. This wine, a longtime shop favorite, is a blend of Cariñena (aka Mazuelo), Syrah, and Garnacha, each planted in different soil types. The Garnacha is grown at around 2,000 feet elevation on slate soil; the Cariñena on sand and clay; and the Syrah on limestone. The result is a smooth, complex wine with dark fruit flavors of plum and black cherry with a touch of licorice and spice. Enjoy over the next four to five years with pasta, vegetable dishes, or heartier meat-based fare. $16

2015 Weingut Prechtl, Zweigelt — Austria is best known for its white wines, especially Grüner Veltliner. But it also produces some delightful reds, from the grapes Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, and from Zweigelt, a crossing of those two grapes created in 1922. Today Zweigelt is Austria’s most widely grown red grape, producing medium-bodied wines with good acidity and bright red fruit flavors. This one hails from the northern Weinviertel region, produced by an estate established in 1839 and still run by the original family. Their sustainably farmed vines are up to 25 years old with roots burrowing deep into the local sandy loess soil, resulting in particularly complex wines. This 100% Zweigelt is bright and juicy, with soft tannins and a bit of spice. Great with a wide range of foods. $15

2016 Château Cazal Viel, Grande Réserve Viognier — Cazal Viel, in the Languedoc region of southern France, dates back to Roman times and ruins of ancient villas can still be seen on their property. It has been a family-owned estate since the French Revolution and today they specialize in Syrah and Viognier. Their vineyards are planted on poor, stony soils with a Mediterranean climate, producing concentrated, complex wines. This elegant 100% Viognier, sourced from select parcels of older, low-yielding vines, is partially fermented in French oak and is loaded with character. It has aromas of white flowers, peach, and a hint of citrus, with balancing minerality. Enjoy now, with grilled fish, white meat, or Asian fare. $14