Collector’s Club – August 2019

2016 Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo, “Agamium” — Cantalupo is a family-owned winery in the Ghemme DOCG, high in the Novara hills of northwest Italy’s Piedmont region. The Arlunno family has farmed here for several centuries, but only began their own winery in 1969, when the region was elevated to DOC status. Ghemme wines are based on the Nebbiolo grape, usually blended with other local varietals, such as Bonarda or Vespolina. The wines from this region tend to be less full and powerful than Nebbiolo-based Barolos and Barbarescos. The acidic, glacial soils of Ghemme produce clean, delicate wines with plenty of minerality. “Agamium” is 100% Nebbiolo, sourced from three estate vineyards and aged twelve months in stainless steel plus another twelve in large Slavonian oak barrels. It has aromas and flavors of red fruit and spice, and stony minerality, with enough complexity and flavor to pair with a wide range of foods. $19.75

2016 Simpatico Cellars, The Bos — When we put the Simpatico Malbec in our May club we explained that it was made by Cassie Wistrom, who interned at the shop back in 2012 while she was a student in the wine program at South Seattle College. After graduating she worked at a number of top wineries, including with Bob Betz, one of Washington’s most respected winemakers, before founding her own winery along with several classmates. This wine pays homage to their instructor and longtime veteran in the Washington wine industry, Peter Bos who, they say, was “a master at managing misfit barrels and cantankerous lots.” It’s an easy-drinking, full-bodied blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cab Franc, and Malbec, that did not end up in their other bottlings. It is well balanced and expressive, with dark fruit flavors and savory spice notes. $19

2015 Sean Minor, H. Mynors, Zinfandel, Old Vine Cuvée — Sean Minor worked at a number of wineries including Napa’s Beaulieu Vineyard, King Estate and Benton Lane in Oregon, and Renwood Winery back in California, before founding his own own winery, along with his wife Nicole, in 2005 (originally called Four Bears Winery). Sean works as a negociant, sourcing fruit from trusted growers with whom he has long-term contracts. His H. Mynors (named for his ninth great grandfather who encouraged the family to venture to America in the early 1600s) is a blend of 82% Zin and 18% Petite Sirah, from Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley, and Lodi, aged in French oak (10% new). It is ripe, juicy, and complex, with bright red fruit flavors, a touch of black pepper, and a hint of oak spice. They suggest enjoying it with Kansas slow-cooked barbeque ribs. $15

2017 Domaine Jacky Marteau, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc — This winery is based in the Touraine region in the central Loire Valley of France. Here Rodolphe and Ludivine Marteau represent the fourth generation to head their family estate, having taken over from their father Jacky, who retired in 2010 (though he still likes to help in the vineyards). Their particular focus is on Sauvignon Blanc, which is planted in their vineyards on the south bank of the Cher, a tributary of the Loire, with clay and flint soil. The grape thrives in this site, producing beautiful Sauv Blancs, very expressive of the character and terroir of Touraine. This one has fresh aromas of citrus and apple with a hint of tropical fruit, balanced by a soft, elegant touch of richness. A great wine to pair with fish or shellfish, goat cheese, baked chicken, or even asparagus. $13

2018 Notre Dame des Pallières, Sablet Villages Blanc, “Montmartel” — This estate is based in the village of Gigondas at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Evidence shows the domaine existed as far back as the tenth century. During the Middle Ages people made pilgrimages to the site, believing that water from the fountain there would protect them from the Plague, hence the name Notre Dame des Pallières (our lady of alleviation). Today they simply provide delicious wines for our pleasure. This white blend, from their vineyards in Sablet, is 50% Roussanne, 25% Viognier, 15% Clairette, and 10% Marsanne, fermented in a combination of new barrels and stainless steel. It is medium-bodied and rich, with notes of pear, stone fruit, and almonds and a nice balancing stony minerality. Great with poultry, or richer seafood dishes. $18

2017 Pierre-Marie Chermette, Beaujolais “Origine” — Chermette is a fifth-generation producer located in southern Beaujolais, with vineyards in various parts of the region. Current proprietor Pierre-Marie first created this cuvée in 1986, in reaction to the “banana-flavored” nouveaus that were fashionable at the time. He crafted it to be a pure, traditionally-styled Beaujolais—non-chaptalised, vinified naturally, and as reflective as possible of the parent grape, hence the name “origine.” Sourced from 35- to 85-year-old vines, it has soft, silky texture and pretty floral aromas, with lively, fresh fruit flavors and a touch of spice. A great summer red with loads of character, the winery suggests pairing it with exotic fare such as Carribbean or Asian Cuisine. The importer calls Chermette’s wines a “fascinating study in terroir, tradition, and talent.” $18