Collector’s Club – May 2019

2016 Bodega Garzón, Marselan Reserva — South America is well known for its Argentinean Malbecs and Carménères from Chile. But the small country of Uruguay, on the Atlantic coast, is gaining a solid reputation for its wines, too, especially from serious producers such as Bodega Garzón. Their vineyards are planted on hillside slopes about ten miles from the ocean where the stony soil and maritime breezes provide perfect conditions for producing elegant, complex wines. While Uruguay is best known for wines made from the red grape Tannat, this wine is 100% Marselan, a cross between Cabernet and Grenache, developed in 1961 in the French town of Marseillan. Aged six to 12 months on the lees in French oak barrels and casks, it is a rich, smooth, expressive wine with red fruit flavors and great minerality. Enjoy it with roasted meats with Provençal vegetables, or pork dishes. $19.75

2016 Simpatico Cellars, Malbec — Back in 2012 we had an amazing intern from the wine program at South Seattle College, who helped us out in a myriad of ways. Cassie Wistrom’s main interest was wine production but she (wisely) wanted to learn about all aspects of the wine business. After graduating, she interned at Napa’s highly acclaimed Lewis Cellars and later worked with Bob Betz, one of Washington’s most respected winemakers. Along the way she became an excellent winemaker herself and now has her own winery, Simpatico, along with two classmates from the Wine Academy. Her Malbec is sourced from Scooteney Flats Vineyard on Red Mountain and is aged two years in barrel (25% new) before release. It is smooth and silky with a bit of spice and a balancing touch of Red Mountain tannins on the finish. $25

2017 Kentia, Albariño — Rías Baixas is the leading wine zone in northwest Spain’s Galicia region and its most important grape is Albariño, which occupies more than 90% of the region’s vineyard area. While most other regions in Spain are famed for their red wines, this cool, rainy, coastal area is known for its clean, refreshing whites. The soils here are mostly granite, with some chalk and clay, providing a great mineral component to the wines. Albariño is a quintessential wine for fish and shellfish and this one is no exception. It is fruity, crisp, and aromatic, with mouthwatering acidity and enticing herbaceous notes, and the older vines add complexity and texture. Perfect to pair with shellfish, octopus, or any seafood. $15

2017 Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto — Lugana is a small DOC in north central Italy, south of Lake Garda, straddling the provinces of Lombardy and Veneto. It’s a region of gentle hills with a mild climate thanks to the proximity of the lake. The white wines here are based on Trebbiano, generally a rather uninspiring grape, but the local variety, Trebbiano di Lugana, is considered a big exception, producing the most interesting, nuanced versions of the grape. In 1960, Sergio Zenato recognized the potential of the Trebbiano in his region and decided to focus on preserving the varietal. This one is sourced from his San Benedetto parcel, with its clay/loam soils. Aged four to five months in stainless steel, it is a refreshing, aromatic wine, with inviting texture, a touch of richness, and balancing citrus notes. It’s the ideal partner for fresh trout from Lake Garda, although you’d need to enjoy that in person—not a bad idea at all! $16

2015 La Sorda, Rioja Alavesa — This family winery is located in Rioja Alavesa, the smallest of the three sub-regions in Rioja, Spain. They own several vineyard parcels near their village of Lapuebla de Labarca, one of the region’s warmer sites. This blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Graciano (a dark, aromatic grape sometimes blended with Tempranillo), and 5% Mazuelo (aka Carignan) is aged in used American oak for nine months, followed by nine more in tank before bottling. It is elegant and a touch rustic with juicy, savory flavors of red fruit and spice. A quick decant will help open it all up. Fun fact: their vineyard once belonged to an aunt who was hard of hearing, hence the name La Sorda or “the deaf woman.” $17

2013 Weingut Felsner, Zweigelt Gedersdorfer Weitgasse — Austria is best known for its white wines, in particular Grüner Veltliner. But it also produces some delightful reds, from Blaufränkisch, St-Laurent, and Zweigelt—a crossing of those two grapes created in 1922 and now Austria’s most widely-planted red variety. Manfred Felsner has 15 hectares of vineyards in some of the best sites in the Kremstal region. This Zweigelt comes from his Weitgasse vineyard, where the chalk/humus soils are perfectly suited for the grape and the cool, dry winds, keep the fruit healthy late into fall, allowing full development of color and flavor. It is fermented traditionally in the family’s 450-year-old gravity-flow cellar and aged in large Austrian casks, producing a fruity, juicy wine with expressive notes of ripe red and black fruit. With its soft tannins and silky texture, it’s a great wine for pasta, roast chicken, game, duck, or burgers. $15