Collector’s Club – May 2018

2015 Château de Ségriès, Lirac Cuvée Réservée — This estate is based in the southern Rhône appellation of Lirac and currently has about 100 acres of older vines located there, as well as in Tavel and the Côtes du Rhône. Their Cuvée Réservée comes from their Lirac plantings and is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% each Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. Their wines have always represented great value, especially given their excellent fruit sources. Last March we featured the 2012 vintage, which we got an excellent deal on as they were moving on to the next vintage. This year it has happened again with the 2015. It is dark and expressive, with notes of spice, black pepper, and earthy garrigue. We recommend a quick decanting, then enjoy with grilled meat, game, or aged cheese over the next four to five years. $22

2016 Tranche Cellars, Pinot Gris — By now Tranche needs little introduction. It is the sister label of Corliss, producer of some of the top wines in the state. The Tranche line explores varietals and styles beyond the more focused scope of the Corliss offerings. They are also quite a bit more affordable. This month we present the current vintage of their Pinot Gris. It is sourced from Lawrence Vineyard, located at 1675 feet elevation on the Royal Slope in the Columbia Valley. It is a relatively cool site, where the grapes are able to ripen slowly and develop full flavors while still maintaining good acidity. It is fermented with native yeast in neutral French oak barrels and concrete egg. Regular lees stirring added a lovely aromatic richness, depth, and complexity to this wine, perfectly balancing its inherent natural acidity. $18

2016 Elena Walch, Pinot Bianco — Elena Walch was an architect three decades ago when she met her future husband, Werner Walch, who oversaw his family’s winery and its prime vineyards in Termeno, in northern Italy’s Alto Adige. After she relocated to join him, she began to take up an interest in winemaking herself. Wilhelm was content to carry on the family tradition, blending their own fruit with purchased grapes, but Elena wanted to produce wines exclusively from their stunning estate fruit. Working alongside her husband she began producing her own wines, which have since achieved international acclaim. Her Pinot Bianco grows on steep, high elevation vineyards. Stainless steel fermentation preserves its fresh acidity and stony minerality, while several months’ lees aging adds elegance, richness and aromatics. Enjoy over the next 3 to 5 years, with fish or poultry, or Alsatian fare, like onion tarts or soft cheeses. $17

2017 Bonny Doon, Clos de Gilroy — Randall Grahm founded Bonny Doon in 1981 and crushed his first Grenache in 1982. At that time the grape was mostly used in jug wine. But Grahm, after an aborted plan to focus on Pinot Noir, realized the potential of Rhône grapes in California and that became his primary focus. In fact he appeared on the cover of the Wine Spectator in 1989, complete with cowboy hat, Zorro mask, and wine bottles in his holster, and the moniker, “Rhône Ranger,” heralding an important new wine trend. Grenache is a major component of his Châteuneuf-du-Pape-inspired “Le Cigare Volant,” first released in 1986 and still his flagship wine. It’s also the featured grape (with 12% Mourvèdre) in this wine. It is light-bodied, with all of the spicy, red fruit and black pepper flavors characteristic of the grape, plus a nice hint of earthiness. They suggest serving with a slight chill, with a peppered ahi tuna steak. $15

2012 Bodegas Lan, D-12 — Lan was founded in 1972 in Spain’s northern Rioja region. Their D-12 is mostly Tempranillo, with 2% Mazuelo (aka Carignan), hand selected from two plots in Haro (Rioja Alta) and two in Laguardia (Rioja Alavesa). In the winery, they manage every tank individually, depending on its intended purpose. This wine, which takes its name from “Deposit 12,” comes exclusively from their tank 12 and is produced each year as homage to the workers at the winery who believe this tank always produces the most outstanding wines. This one is aged 12 months in new American (from the Appalchians) and French oak. It is soft and juicy, with red fruit flavors and a hint of black pepper and licorice. Decanting will help open it up. Then enjoy it with grilled meats or vegetables, barbecues, Mexican fare, or polenta. $18

2013 Stephen Vincent, Crimson — Bob Goyette has been making wine in Sonoma for over five decades. He’s worked with a number of producers and today has his own winery. Under his Stephen Vincent label he crafts youthful, fruit-forward wines “made to be enjoyed young and often.” His Crimson, a blend of 72% Petite Sirah with Syrah, Zinfandel, Cab Sauv, Malbec and Merlot, was a huge hit at a recent California tasting so we put it in the club even though we’d already committed to a (very different) Cal red. Crimson is a lush, bold blend with “no other mission than to just taste yummy.” With its soft tannins, modest alcohol, and balanced acidity it’s perfect for prime rib, pasta Bolognese, or wood-fired pizza. $13