2009 Castello Romitorio, Brunello di Montalcino, $60
Winery info: Based at and named for the Romatorio Castle, a 12-century fortress in Montalcino, Tuscany. The estate is owned by the artist Sandro Chia who purchased the property in 1984. He restored the buildings and the vineyards that had been abandoned for decades and began producing wine from the exceptional fruit, assisted by oenologist Franco Martini. Martini’s son Stefano now makes the wines and Sandro’s son Filippo oversees the winery. The estate is particularly renowned for their Brunello di Montalcino, their flagship wine. Each label features artwork by Sandro Chia.
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese Grosso, fermented in stainless steel and aged in oak for about 24 months, with a further year of bottle age in their cellars before release.
Vineyard: Their 15-hectare Castello Romitorio plot in the northwest part of the Montalcino DOC, with an excellent micro-climate for growing rich, well-structured, ageable Sangiovese.
Flavor Profile: Bold and powerful, with great body and structure. It has aromas and flavors of dark fruit, earth, and spice, with hints of leather and a touch of vanilla. The wine continues to open and evolve in the glass, showing further complexity and ending with a long, beautiful finish.
Availability: There are just a few cases left of this vintage.
Drinkability: With a decade of age already, you can enjoy this one now through 2023.
Food Pairing: Dark game meats, beef, or aged cheeses.
2016 Upchurch Vineyard, Southwest Facing Sauvignon Blanc, $35
Winery info: Chris Upchurch is the founding partner and winemaker of DeLille Cellars, which was launched back in 1992. Over the years he has crafted some of the most award-winning wines in the state and he continues there as executive winemaker. In 2007 he started his own winery, Upchurch Vineyard, with a goal of creating “a culture of excellence that expresses the authenticity of the plot and the passion of those that are involved.” This is the inaugural vintage of this wine.
Grapes: 100% Sauvignon Blanc, aged on its lees for 18 months in concrete egg
Vineyard: A single plot of Sauvignon Blanc from renowned Washington winegrower Dick Boushey’s County Line Road Vineyard in Grandview, which Chris and Dick began collaborating on in 2001.
Flavor Profile: The extended lees aging produced a very complex and unique Sauv Blanc with rich, ripe texture and exotic yet elegant aromas of pear and stone fruit, and bright, balancing citrus notes.
Availability: 200 cases produced. It is still available, but is in limited supply.
Drinkability: This Sauv Blanc has some aging potential. Enjoy now or up to 2025 (not too chilled so that the complex flavors can fully open up in the glass).
Food Pairing: A crisp green salad with a tart, rich goat cheese. Or with baked white fish and artichokes.