Collector’s Club – March 2019

2015 Díaz Bayo, Ribera del Duero Crianza — The Díaz Bayo family have been making wine for about ten generations in Spain’s northern Ribero del Duero region. They are based in the village of Fuentelcésped, where viticulture dates back to the 1100s. Their vineyards are spread over a number of parcels, between 2,800 and 3,200 feet in elevation, with various soil types and vines ranging from 12 to 100 years in age. This wine is 100% Tempranillo, sourced from two vineyards: La Viñota, with vines over 60 years old grown at 3,100 feet elevation; and El Rubial, with 40-year-old vines grown at 3,000 feet. The wine was aged about 12 months in French oak barrels followed by 12 months in bottle, and is rich and balanced with dark fruit flavors, a hint of licorice, and a smooth, inviting texture. It was a big hit at our recent Spanish tasting. $19.75

2015 Fleur du Cap, Cabernet Sauvignon — This full-bodied, easy-drinking Cab Sauv comes from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. The fruit was sourced from several different blocks in Stellenbosch, predominantly from Stellenbosch Kloof, where the soils retain water, promoting well-balanced growth and even ripening. The wine was aged for 12 months in a combination of new and used French and American oak and has aromas of dark chocolate, black cherry, and plums. Plus the smoky overtones, characteristic of South African wines, which a bit of air or a quick decant will help integrate into the overall complexity of the wine. Enjoy it with spicy Mediterranean fare, osso buco, or barbeque. $13

2017 Domaine Léon Boesch, “Les Pierres Rouges” Sylvaner — The white grape, Silvaner, once Germany’s most popular varietal, has long been surpassed by Riesling. It is still grown in other places though, including Alsace, in northeast France (where it is spelled Sylvaner). It is here, in the commune of Westhalten, that Léon Boesch produces this delightful version. Boesch has about 14 hectares of vines, averaging about 30 years in age, grown on slopes of pink sandstone soil (hence the name “Pierres Rouges”) surrounding the village. They farm biodynamically and ferment and age their Sylvaner in large oak foudre, producing this expressive, refreshing wine with bright flavors of citrus, white flowers, ripe pear, and a touch of flinty minerality. Enjoy it as an aperitif, or with seafood, charcuterie, fondue, or raclette. $16

NV Domaine Pouillon, Black Dot — Winemaker Alexis Pouillon (he prefers the French term, vigneron) comes from “an obscure family of French nobility.” He worked for the Perrin family at Château de Beaucastel before moving to the states and, eventually, finding work in vineyards in Napa and Sonoma. In 2005 he and his wife Juiliet founded their small winery in Lyle, in the Columbia River Gorge, where today they produce about 2,500 cases of wine a year. Their focus was initially on Rhône varietals (they sourced many of the original vines in their estate vineyard from Beaucastel cuttings), but they have branched out a bit over the years. Case in point, this blend of 33% Zinfandel, 28% Syrah, 24% Cab Sauv, and 15% Dolcetto, sourced from McKinley Springs Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills. It’s a wacky combination, but it works! It is juicy and tasty, and very approachable, with inviting notes of bramble and spice. $16

2015 Château Cazal Viel, Saint Chinian Vieilles Vignes — Cazal Viel, in the Languedoc region of southern France, dates back to Roman times and ruins of ancient villas still stand on their property. It has been owned by the Miquel family since the French Revolution and they are the largest private producer in the Saint Chinian appellation where they are specialize in Syrah and Viognier. Their vineyards are planted on poor, stony soils with a Mediterranean climate, producing concentrated, complex wines. This wine is a classic blend of predominantly Syrah with Grenache and Mourvèdre from their estate vines up to 90 years in age. Aged partially in used oak for 12 months, it is dark, full-bodied, and complex, with notes of earth and spice and great minerality. Perfect for grilled meats, chicken dishes, or charcuterie. $17

2017 Antoine de La Farge, Menetou-Salon, “Première Lune” — Menetou-Salon is located in the eastern portion of France’s Loire Valley just west of Sancerre. It produces similar wines as its illustrious neighbor, often at better prices. Sauv Blanc is the star here, and this one is made by Antoine de la Farge, whose grandfather, Bernard Clément helped found the Menetou-Salon appellation in 1959. It is a delicious example of what Loire Sauv Blanc, grown on the local Kimmeridgian limestone soil dating back to the Jurassic period, can be. Sustainably farmed and aged six months on fine lees, it has aromas of citrus and herbaceous white flowers, and deep, expressive flavors of exotic fruit, with a vibrant and fresh minerality. As with Sancerre, it would be excellent paired with sautéed shrimp, sashimi, shellfish, or goat cheese. $24