2016 Clos Figueras, Font de la Figuera Tinto, $52
Winery info: This property in northeast Spain’s Priorat region was purchased by Charlotte and Christopher Cannan in 1997 on the advice of René Barbier, owner of the famed Priorat estate, Clos Mogador (René was instrumental in getting that region elevated to DOC status). The Priorat region is coveted for its unique decomposed slate soil known as llcorella which adds a singular minerality to wines produced there. The Cannans began with ten hectares of abandoned terraced vineyards just north of the town of Gratallops. They later purchased additional vineyards to complete what is now an 18-hectare estate. René Barbier’s team continued to oversee the vineyards and winemaking. Their Font de la Figuera represents a stunning value for a Priorat wine.
Grapes: A little over half Grenache, blended with Carignan, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, from vines averaging 15 to 18 years in age.
Vineyard: From their spectacular, high-elevation vineyard site overlooking the Montsant valley.
Flavor Profile: Deliciously dark and juicy, with intense minerality from the llicorella soil, and fresh, elegant notes of wild red fruit and dark cherries. With amazing structure and a long, concentrated finish.
Availability: About 9000 bottles produced. It should be in decent supply for a while longer.
Drinkability: While it can be enjoyed young, it will continue to develop up to around 2026.
Food Pairing: Charred or braised meats, harissa-spiced lamb, game, or pork dishes.
2016 Tranche Cellars, Chardonnay, $45
Winery info: Unless you are brand new to this club, you are very familiar with this winery. Tranche is the “sister label” of Corliss Estates, which was founded in 2001 and quickly became one of the top wineries in the state, thanks to ample resources, excellent vineyard sites, and meticulous attention to detail. Their Tranche wines focus on other styles and varietals, but are made with the same impeccable care by Perth native, Andrew Trio. Andrew began making wine in the Margaret River region, and also worked in New Zealand, California, the Mosel, and Barossa before arriving in Walla Walla.
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay, aged in 30% new French oak and concrete for 11 months.
Vineyard: Their Celilo Estate Vineyard, which they purchased in 2015, in the Columbia Gorge. Sourced from two exceptional blocks, planted in 1983 and 1990.
Flavor Profile: A lovely, elegant Chard with delicate aromas of white stone fruit, characteristic of Celilo fruit, and notes of wild herbs, fresh pear, and crushed stone. With excellent depth and complexity, a touch of toasty oak, and a warm, lingering finish. Very balanced and well structured.
Availability: 426 cases made. Just released, this one should be available for a while.
Drinkability: Now or over the next two to three years.
Food Pairing: Try it with rich seafood or chicken dishes.