Collector’s Club – March 2020

2018 Bodega Noemía de Patagonia, Malbec “A Lisa” — In 1828 British colonists discovered Argentina’s Rio Negro Valley. The site is influenced by two rivers, creating a perfect microclimate for agriculture in this desert region roughly 600 miles south of Buenos Aires and 300 miles east of the Andes. Immigrants planted the first vineyards here in the early 1900s. Bodega Noemía was founded by Italian wine producer Countess Noemi Marone Cinzano and Danish winemaker Hans Vinding-Diers, when they acquired an old-vine, pre-phylloxera Malbec vineyard in the valley. Noemía is one of the southernmost wineries in the world and their Malbec from this old vine fruit (blended with a bit of Merlot and Petit Verdot) is delicious and expressive with flavors of dark red fruit, cocoa, and cassis. Great with lamb, steak, or even fish. $19.75

2016 Díaz Bayo, Ribera del Duero Crianza — The Díaz Bayo family has been making wine for about ten generations in Spain’s north central Ribera del Duero region. They are based in the village of Fuentelcésped, where viticulture dates back to the 1100s. Here they have about 100 acres of vineyards, in parcels with various soil types situated from 2,800 and 3,200 feet in elevation. 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 over a year 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 most recent Spanish tasting. $19.75

2012 McKinley Springs, Bombing Range Red — The Andrews family has been growing grapes in their Horse Heaven Hills vineyard for three decades. They sell that fruit to some of the top wineries in the state and, since establishing their own winery in 2002, use a fair amount in their own estate wines. During World War II their land was used as a training ground for U.S. fighter pilots and this wine pays tribute to that history. This vintage is a blend of 29% Syrah, 25% Cab Sauv, 18% each Cab Franc and Malbec, and 10% Mourvèdre, aged 21 months in mostly neutral French and American oak. It is an amazing value for an estate-grown Washington wine from the stellar 2012 vintage, especially now with some mellowing age on it. It is dark and juicy with soft tannins and a hint of pepper. Give it a bit of time to open up then, as they suggest, pair it with a grilled tri-tip roast, Texas brisket barbecue sandwich, or pasta dishes with red sauce. $15

2018 Mas del Périé, Haute Côt(e) de Fruit, Cahors — This 100% Malbec (aka Côt) comes from the Cahors region in southwest France. It is produced by Fabien Jouves who comes from a long-time farming family in the area. His vineyard is located between Quercy and Cahors and has a variety of soil types. Jouve combines fruit from different parcels to best express the diverse aspects of Malbec. He farms biodynamically and uses native yeasts and natural winemaking processes, letting the pure fruit flavors shine through. Cahors is typically known for its dark, relatively tannic wines (the “black wines of Cahors”) but this one was a real surprise. It is delightfully juicy, refreshing, and fruity, with lifted flavors of dark red fruit and zippy acidity. It was a surprise hit as a bonus wine at last month’s club tasting. $17.50

2016 Chéreau Carré, Château l’Oiselniere de la Ramée, Muscadet — Muscadet is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape in the western end of France’s Loire Valley. This one comes from a family-owned property dating back to the 15th century on a site with some of the most prized vineyards in the region. Their Château l’Oiselinière (or “owl’s nest”) comes from a vineyard located at the confluence of the Sèvre and Maine rivers, with 40- to 80-year-old vines planted on orthogneiss soils, perfect for producing wines with traditional Muscadet character. Aged on its lees for six months, followed by 12 months in bottle, this one is lively and fresh, with notes of citrus and white flowers, and a fair amount of depth and texture. With its mouthwatering, stony minerality, this wine, like all good Muscadets, is a perfect pairing for shellfish. $15

2018 Mark Ryan, Lu & Oly Chardonnay — Mark Ryan McNeilly began making wine in 1999 and is now based in Woodinville’s Hollywood area where, with winemaker Mike MacMorran, he produces deliciously bold and characterful wines that are longtime favorites in the shop. They also produce wines under several side labels including Board Track Racer, Megan Anne, and more recently, Lu & Oly. Up until now Lu & Oly has been mostly allocated to restaurants, but when we got a chance to try some this week, we loved both the wine and the price, and we couldn’t resist. This 100% Chard, sourced from a variety of excellent vineyard sites, is complex and smooth, with flavors of ripe apple and stone fruit, rich texture, and bright, balancing acidity. It is a versatile wind for food, but also perfectly delicious on its own. $15