Collector’s Club – January 2019

2016 Poderi Elia, “Padrun” Langhe Nebbiolo — Poderi Elia has been making wines in northern Italy’s Piedmont region since 1890, but they didn’t begin exporting them until Small Vineyards convinced them that Americans could truly appreciate them. Winemaker Federico Stella continually strives to make improvements, regardless of the cost. (He tried over 30 combinations of oak to find his perfect cooperage formula!) His family has produced one of the finest Barbarescos in the region for three generations, but his “Padrun” is their first “basic” Nebbiolo, the predominant grape in Barbaresco. Sourced from their old-vine fruit, grown in the highest-elevation estate in Barbaresco, it is fresh and bright, with vibrant flavors of cherry, raspberry and chocolate. Small Vineyards calls it “a connoisseur’s Piedmont for everyday enjoyment.” $22

2015 Perazzeta, Maremma Toscana Sangiovese — We’re long-time fans of the wines from this producer in the Maremma region, along southern Tuscany’s Mediterranean coast. Winemaker Alessandro Bocci is now assisted by his daughter Sara and their wines have never been better. This Maremma Rosso is 100% Sangiovese, aged in French oak for over two years. It is stylish and complex with bright, juicy, cherry flavors and aromas of sun-warmed herbs. It is very approachable now, and perfect to pair with pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil, pork chops, or a nice savory stew. $19.75

2017 François Chidaine, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc — Chidaine is a second-generation estate in Montlouis, an appellation in France’s central Loire Valley, located directly across the river from Vouvray. It is run by François and Manuéla Chidaine, leaders in the natural wine movement, who have farmed organically and biodynamically for decades. In addition to their single-parcel Vouvrays, they also produce a number of “entry-level” Touraine wines, such as this 100% Sauv Blanc, sourced from several biodynamically-grown parcels in the region. Grown on flinty, limestone-clay soil, it is clean, fresh and minerally, with delicate citrus notes and inviting fruit flavors. Enjoy it anytime over the next two to three years with grilled fish, crustaceans, goat cheese, or avocado salad. $18

2013 Valle Las Nencias, Mendoza Malbec Reserve — This Argentinean winery is located an astonishing 3,000 meters above sea level in the Andes Mountains. It is run by the Giol family, whose winemaking history dates back four generations making it one of the oldest grape growing families in Mendoza. The winery takes its name from the blue-purple “nencia” flowers that grow throughout the area. Their reserve level Malbec is sourced from their estate La Consulta Vineyard, located 1,000 feet above sea level, with warm days and cool nights and a variety of soil types that contribute complexity to the wines. Aged 20 months in second-use French oak, it is dark and juicy, with rich, alluring flavors and gentle tannins. Great for meat dishes, chicken, or pork. $13

2017 Odfjell Armador, Carmenère — This Chilean winery was founded by Dan Odfjell, a Norwegian ship owner (or armador) who first visited and fell in love with the region over 25 years ago. The winery is situated on a hill above their vineyards in the Maipo Valley. Its gravity flow design allows for gentle handling of the grapes and because it is carved into the slope, with over half of the winery underground, the temperature is naturally kept very stable for wine aging. This Carmenère, with 9% Malbec, is sourced from vineyards in the Maipo and Maule valleys. The Maipo is higher in elevation, with hot days and cold nights, while the Maule is much lower and more temperate. The combination of fruit from these two sites produced a rich, intense wine with flavors of dark fruit and licorice and hints of pepper and spice. $13

2017 Bodega Shaya, Rueda Verdejo — 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, while also representing great value. Shaya was founded in 2008 in the Rueda zone of north central Spain. The region is known for its white wines made from the Verdejo grape. Because the soil here is deep, sandy clay, it tends to resist phylloxera. This 100% Verdejo is sourced from older, ungrafted vines which allows it to express added richness and character. Partially fermented in barrel and aged on its lees for several months before bottling, it is aromatic, with a lovely, textured mouthfeel, notes of baking spices and herbs, and great minerality. It is ready to enjoy now, or over the next year or two, with seafood, poultry, or vegetable dishes. $16