Collector’s Club – September 2018

2008 López de Heredia, Viña Cubillo — López de Heredia is one of the oldest houses in northern Spain’s Rioja region and one of the most traditional. They produce all of their wines from their own fruit, with no filtration and using all natural yeasts. They eschew modern technology and are in no hurry to release their wines, sometimes letting them age 20 or more years before putting them on the market. Hence we are just now getting the 2008 vintage of their Viña Cubillo. It is a blend of 65% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacha, and 5% each Graciano and Mazuelo (aka Carignan) from a single vineyard, Cubillas. Aged three years in barrel with additional time in bottle, it has complex aromas and flavors of ripe, dark fruit and spice. An excellent introduction to what López de Heredia is all about. Perfect for meat dishes, tapas, or charcuterie. $24

2016 Va Piano Vineyards, Bruno’s Cabernet Sauvignon — Va Piano wines are made by the talented Justin Wylie. He created his value-oriented Bruno’s label to honor Father Bruno Segatta, his good friend and mentor whom he met in Tuscany while he was a student at Gonzaga University. The wines are made with the same attention to detail and excellent fruit sources as his higher end offerings, and the labels always feature artwork by Bruno. The 2016 Cab Sauv, blended with Merlot, and Cab Franc, is rich and full-bodied, with flavors of dark cherry and plum and a nice touch of spice. Great for hearty fall dishes. A portion of the proceeds from each bottle goes to one of Father Bruno’s charities around the world. $19.75

2015 Finca Torremilanos, Peñalba López Blanco — Created in 1903, Torremilanos is the second oldest winery in Ribera del Duero, in the Castilla y León region of northern Spain. It is situated about half a mile from the Duero River with vineyards, some of which are up to 180 years old, planted on the alluvial soils of the old riverbed. Their wines are imported by Bellingham’s Casaventura Imports and this white was a standout at their most recent Spanish tasting here in the shop. It is 40% Tempranillo Blanco (a white mutation of the important Spanish red grape) from vines over 80 years old, blended with 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% each Chardonnay and Viura. The Viura vines were planted in the 1830s, at over 3,200 feet elevation. Aged in French oak, this is an intriguing and inviting wine, rich and aromatic, with notes of ripe white fruit, honeysuckle, and almonds. Perfect for seafood, white meat, or fall root vegetable dishes. $19

2015 Fuso, Barbera — Fuso21 is a project begun by Italian importer, PortoVino. Their goal with this line is to craft authentic, local wines from “each of the 21 wine regions of Italy.” Their Barbera is made by Piedmont’s Walter Massa, the 2011 Gambero Rosso Wine Grower of the Year. Surprisingly, it comes from neither Asti nor Alba, the two famous Barbera regions of Piedmont. Rather, it is produced from fruit grown in the hills around Tortona, about 40 miles to the east of those regions, in the Colli Tortonesi DOC. The wine is totally natural: organically grown, unfined, unfiltered, and fermented with native yeast. It has a bit darker fruit than most Barberas, and is fresh, juicy and affordable. Perfect for any weekday meal—burgers, pizza, or spaghetti and meatballs. As they say on the label, you could even enjoy it chilled. $16

2013 Domaine de Couron, Côtes-du-Rhône Villages — Domaine de Couron is a small, family-run estate located north of Avignon, in France’s Ardèche region which lies between the northern and southern portions of the Rhône valley. We are long-time fans of their wines, which are always delicious and represent excellent value. This one is no exception and was very popular at our August French wine tasting. It is a blend of 40% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 35% Mourvèdre and has inviting flavors of cherries and blueberries, balanced by a light, toasty spice on the finish. It is very approachable and satisfying now and would be a great match for poultry, lamb, or cassoulet. $13

2016 Patient Cottat, Sauvignon Blanc Le Grand Caillou — Patient Cottat is located in the village of Verdigny, in the Sancerre region of France’s Loire Valley, where the Fournier family has been making wine for generations. They have vineyards there, as well as in Menetou-Salon and Pouilly-Fumé. This crisp, vibrant Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of fruit from all of those sites and thus does not carry a specific appellation desigination. As a Vin de France, it is much more affordable than a Sancerre or a Pouilly-Fumé, but in the hands of a talented winemaker with top fruit sources, it is a fantastic bargain. It is clean and fresh, with notes of citrus, great minerality and mouthwatering acidity. They ferment it in stainless steel to help retain that freshness, and age it four months on the lees, adding lovely texture and body. Enjoy it with oysters, seafood, goat cheese, or charcuterie. $13