2016 Lucien Crochet, “Le Chêne Marchand” Sancerre, $49.75
Winery info: Lucien Crochet is one of the top producers in the Sancerre region of France’s Loire Valley. The domain was created by marriage — combining the estate of André Crochet (Lucien’s father) with that of Lucien Picard (his father-in-law). Lucien has expanded the property over the years to its current size of 38 hectares where he now produces both white and red wines.
Grapes: 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
Vineyard: Sourced from vineyards in the village of Bué, mostly from the famed Clos du Chêne Marchand, a highly coveted lieu-dit (named site). The soil is a shallow, stony clay-limestone known as “caillottes” from the Oxfordian era.
Flavor Profile: Fruit from the Clos du Chêne Marchand, with its unique soils and excellent exposure to the sun, tends to produce elegant, finely-textured, silky wines with excellent minerality. This one gets a bit of richness and expression from extended lees aging which beautifully balances the vibrant citrus notes and refreshing acidity.
Availability: There is still a bit of this vintage left.
Drinkability: Ready to enjoy now, through 2022
Food Pairing: Any seafood or shellfish (especially oysters), perhaps prepared with citrus, tarragon, and butter. Or with fresh halibut with a lemon dill or tarragon buerre blanc.
2011 Vignalta, Gemola Colli Euganei Rosso, $45
Winery info: Vignalta was founded in 1980 by Lucio Gomiero in the Colli Euganei, a group of hills of volcanic origin on the Venetian plain in northern Italy. Lucio had always loved the Right Bank red wines of Bordeaux. Because he is located at roughly the same latitude, the same grapes thrive in his vineyards as well and he set out to produce his own wines from Bordeaux grapes. In the process, Lucio was instrumental in putting this region on the international map for growing Cab and Merlot. Gemola means “little jewel” and is his flagship wine. (We put the 2008 vintage of the wine in the club in 2017.)
Grapes: 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc
Vineyard: From Lucio’s Mount Gemola vineyard, formed by volcanic eruptions over 30 million years ago. The vineyard has a south/southeast exposure and soils of fractured volcanic rock.
Flavor Profile: 2011 was a warm vintage and produced a very rich, elegant wine with dark red fruit and spice flavors. It is smooth and rich, with excellent structure.
Availability: This vintage is still in decent supply.
Drinkability: This wine is ready to enjoy now or through about 2021.
Food Pairing: This wine calls for a hearty meat-based dish or charcuterie. Think osso bucco or braised meats.