Collector’s Club – June 2018

NV Forgeron Cellars, Walldeaux Smithie — Marie-Eve Gilla studied and trained in her native France, then came to the U.S. to further her winemaking experience. After working at several Washington wineries, she founded Forgeron Cellars in 2001, where she crafts wines “with just a hint of French accent.” The name Forgeron comes from the French for “blacksmith,” so chosen because the winery is housed in an old blacksmith shop. Walldeaux Smithie plays on this theme, and also the connection between Walla Walla and Bordeaux. Meant to be an easy-drinking, everyday wine, it is typically a blend of several vintages, and always Merlot-based. This one is fresh, juicy, and well structured, with full flavors of fruit and spice. Great on its own, or with backyard barbecue, mac and cheese, or rotisserie chicken. $18

2017 T2 Cellar, Roussanne-Marsanne-Viognier — You can’t get much more local than T2 Cellar. It was founded by Todd Threlkeld and Anne Stevens, our neighbors, long-time customers, and club members. They began making wine in 2011 and launched T2 with the 2016 harvest. Todd trained extensively in the wine production program at the Northwest Wine Academy at South Seattle College and is currently the cellar master for the Academy’s wines. Todd and Anne partner with outstanding vineyards in eastern Washington to produce their elegant, food-friendly wines. This blend of 43% Roussanne, and 28% each Marsanne and Viognier is bottled unfiltered and is fresh and inviting with a lovely aromatic profile. A great accompaniment for light summer meals or lightly spiced foods, such as Thai or Indian cuisine. $18

2016 Domaine Philémon, Perlé Nature — This wine comes from the Gaillac appellation in southwest France, northeast of Toulouse. It is made from the rather obscure white grape, Loin d’Oeil (or Len de l’El in the local Occitan dialect), which means “far from the eye,” so named they say because the fruit clusters have long stalks and grow farther from the bud (the “eye”) than most other varieties. Usually encountered as part of a blend, here’s a rare chance to experience it on its own. The Vieules family have been farming in the small village of Villeneuve-sur-Vere since 1804. Today Mathieu Vieules has 20 hectares of vines, many over 50 years old, planted almost exclusively to traditional Gaillac grape varietals. He farms organically, keeps yields low, and does all his harvesting by hand. This wine is fresh and lively, with nice richness and concentration. Great for seafood (pan fried trout or grilled shrimp) or grilled vegetables. $13

2015 Domaine du Somail, “Vin de Plume” Minervois — This wine comes from the Minervois appellation in southern France’s Languedoc region, where soil dating back to the Eocene era covers the stony, limestone slopes. Domaine du Somail began as a project by four passionate people from diverse backgrounds with a shared love of wine plus a commitment to biodynamic viticulture and respect for the land. From the beginning they have aimed for authenticity, elegance, and finesse in all of their wines. Their “Vin de Plume” is a full-bodied, complex blend of 80% Mourvèdre and 20% Syrah, with peppery, savory flavors of ripe fruit, dried herbs, and a hint of garrigue. Enjoy it now or over the next five years with charcuterie, roasted lamb, game, or cassoulet. $15

2015 Akutain, Rioja Cosecha — Decades ago, then engineer Juan Peñagaricano Akutain developed close relationships with a number of top Rioja producers. In 1975 he planted his first vineyard in the heart of Rioja. His goal was to produce classically-styled wines that reflected the terroir of Rioja Alta, a region perfect for growing Tempranillo with its moderately high elevation, clay-calcareous soil, and continental climate influenced by both the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Today he has four distinct vineyard plots in this prized subzone, with vines ranging from 25 to 40 years in age. His son Jon now assists him in his work of producing traditionally styled Riojas — low in alcohol, aromatic, and beautifully nuanced. This one is mostly Tempranillo with a bit of Garnacha and is fresh, juicy, and medium bodied. Great with tapas. $16

2015 Peachy Canyon, Westside Zinfandel — Peachy Canyon was founded in 1988 by Doug and Nancy Beckett in Paso Robles, on California’s central coast. They are still at the helm, now assisted by their sons Jake and Josh, and their focus continues to be on Zinfandel, their flagship varietal. This one is sourced from select vineyards on the west side of the Paso Robles appellation and is blended with 8% Petite Sirah, 7% Primitivo, and 6% Alicante Bouschet. It is bold and juicy with ripe, dark, brambly fruit flavors, white pepper, and notes of baking spice and dried herbs. Aged 16 months in 30% new oak, it has a hint of vanilla and smooth, silky tannins that add structure to the blend. Enjoy it now through 2022, perhaps with a peppercorn-crusted steak. $22