Collector’s Club – January 2020

2017 Poderi Elia, “Padrun” Langhe Nebbiolo — Poderi Elia has been making wines in northern Italy’s Piedmont region since 1890, but Small Vineyards was the first to import them into the U.S. Winemaker Federico Stella continually strives to make the best wines possible, regardless of the cost. Case in point: he tried over 30 combinations of oak before he found his perfect cooperage formula! His family has produced one of the top Barbarescos in the region for three generations, but his “Padrun” was their first foray into a “basic” Nebbiolo, the predominant grape in Barbaresco. We have featured several vintages of this wine in the club in recent years. It is sourced from old-vine fruit, grown in the highest elevation estate in Barbaresco, and is soft and bright, with vibrant flavors of cherry, raspberry and chocolate. The folks at Small Vineyards call it “a connoisseur’s Piedmont for everyday enjoyment.” $22

2018 Marchetti, Tenuta del Cavaliere Verdicchio — This direct import wine from Small Vineyards is a long-time favorite in the club. It is made by Maurizio Marchetti in Italy’s Marche region near the Adriatic coast, where he has been making Verdicchio for generations. His “basic” Verdicchio is superb, but we are even bigger fans of this one, his “later harvest” version, for which he leaves the fruit on the vine an extra month, developing even further body, structure, and fruity richness. Marchetti makes only about 300 cases a year so it is not in Small Vineyards’ portfolio year round. But when we can get it, we grab it! It has the fresh acidity and minerality typical of a Verdicchio, but with more depth and complexity. Perfect for richer seafood dishes, such as lightly seared scallops with lemon and olive oil or calamari. $16

2018 Monte Tondo, Corvina del Veneto — In November we featured Monte Tondo’s delightful Garganega Frizzante in the club. As we wrote then, Monte Tondo has been producing wine for three generations in the northern Italian hills of Soave, not far from Verona. Today the wines are made by the talented Gino Magnabosco and his daughter Marta. While they are especially known for their white wines, this one is 100% Corvina (the predominant grape in Valpolicella and Amarone). Unoaked and low in alcohol, it is delightfully fresh and ripe, with savory notes of dark red fruit, earth, and a touch of herbs. And being a bit lighter in body, it would pair well with white meats, fish, or fowl, or with herb-crusted lamb or tortellini. $12

2018 Sineann Winery, “Abondante” — Sineann was founded in 1994 in Newberg, Oregon by Peter Rosback and David O’Reilly. David later moved on to make wines under his Owen Roe label. Today Sineann remains a relatively small winery, sourcing fruit from top vineyards in the region to produce their highly sought-after wines, with the guiding principal that “food and drink, lovingly prepared, make for happier and healthier people.” This wine is named Abondante, Italian for “generous,” a quality Peter tries to build into all his wines. It is a blend of 44% Zinfandel, 21% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, all sourced from Columbia Valley vineyards. It is a hearty and full-bodied wine, rich and smooth, and very balanced—great to enjoy on its own, or with robust fare. $19.75

2018 Terres Blondes, Sauvignon Blanc — This Sauv Blanc comes from the easternmost part of the Touraine district in France’s Loire Valley. The estate, which has been owned by the Marionnet family since 1850, is located in the village of Soings at the highest point between the Loire and Cher Rivers. Today they have about 150 acres of Gamay and Sauv Blanc, much of which is still grown on its own rootstock, having been grafted from pre-phylloxera cuttings. Their location has a somewhat more moderate climate than that of Sancerre, just to the east, which tends to ensure consistent maturity of the fruit and protection from frost. They do not use any chemicals in their vineyards or oak in their winemaking. This wine is clean and fresh, with excellent balance between inviting body and food-friendly acidity. Perfect for seafood! $15

2017 Tarapacá, Gran Reserva Carmenère — Viña Tarapacá was founded in 1874 in Chile’s Maipo Valley, where the Mediterranean-type climate provides a warm, dry growing season, producing full-bodied, well-balanced wines. The winery seeks out the optimum soil type and exposure for each grape variety they grow in order to produce wines that best express the nature of the individual vineyard sites and the character of the varietal. Their Gran Reserva Carmenère is sourced from some of the best blocks in the valley, planted on soil of volcanic origin. Aged in French and American oak, the wine is expressive and complex, with aromas of dark fruit and spice, and smooth, savory flavors of blackcurrant, fig, and a hint of chocolate. It’s a versatile food wine that you could pair with legume dishes, lamb, pasta, or fuller flavored fish. $17