Collector’s Club – May 2020

2018 Gönc, Kerner “Pavel” — The Gönc family has been making wines in Slovenia since 1936 and today Peter Gönc represents the fourth generation of his family to oversee the winery. He has 15 hectares of vineyards planted on the hillsides surrounding their village of Ptuj, said to be some of the best vineyard land in the country, with its complex soil and excellent exposure. Peter works hard in the vineyard, knowing that only excellent fruit can produce wines with interesting character. His winemaking philosophy is to respect traditional methods while challenging them at the same time. This wine, named for his grandfather, is 100% Kerner, a German crossing of Riesling and the red grape, Trollinger. It is crisp and aromatic, with nice texture and flavors of green apple, stone fruit, and a fresh citrusy acidity. Aged six months in stainless steel, it’s a great seafood wine. $19

2015 Tait Family Winery, The Border Crossing Shiraz — This family-owned winery based in South Australia’s Barossa Valley was founded by Italian barrel maker Giovanni Tait, who immigrated to Australia in 1957. He was eventually able to fulfill his dream of creating his own winery where he could use traditional winemaking methods to produce powerful wines with great depth, and flavor. Today Tait Winery is probably best known for its “Ball Buster” Shiraz from the Barossa Valley. But current winemaker Bruno Tait was intrigued by fruit from the cooler McLaren Vale region and, after many “border crossings” back and forth, he secured a block of old vine fruit and set to work. This wine, the result of his efforts, is blended with 15% Cab Sauv and aged 12 months in neutral oak. Like his Barossa offerings, it is ripe and lush, but it is brighter and fresher, with notes of red berries and a bit of cocoa powder. Great for grilled meat. $19.75

2016 Gunpowder Creek Winery, Caleb’s Harvest, Sémillon — Caleb Foster has a long history of winemaking in Washington. He worked at Woodward Canyon for eight years before co-founding Buty Winery in 2000. He is now winemaker at J. Bookwalter Winery, but he also finds time for his own project, Gunpowder Creek, based in Richland. Caleb is able to source fruit from some of the top vineyards in the state, including Connor Lee, a site he has now produced 28 consecutive harvests from and the source of this wine. It is 100% Sémillon, a full-bodied white grape often blended with Sauvignon Blanc (in Bordeaux blends). Here the grape shines on its own, producing a rich, aromatic wine with flavors of ripe orchard fruit and a touch of spice. Try it with duck, richer fish, roasted vegetables, or moderately spicy Indian or Asian cuisine. $16

2013 Firriato, Santagostino, Baglio Sorìa Rosso — Firriato was established in the 1980s in the province of Trapani, on the island of Sicily. They later added vineyards on Mt. Etna and on the island of Favignana, allowing them to practice three distinct types of viticulture: coastal, hilly and mountain. This wine comes from their Baglio Sorìa Estate in Trepani in western Sicily, with clay and red marl soil not far from the sea. It is a 50/50 blend of the local grape, Nero d’Avola and Syrah, aged eight months in American oak and six in bottle prior to release. Very Mediterranean in character, it is rich and spicy, with aromas of dark fruit and olive tapenade, smooth texture, and an inviting hint of earthiness. As this wine already has some age on it, enjoy it relatively soon, with roasted or grilled meat or game. $19.75

2018 Cascina Ca’ Gialla, Barbera d’Alba — Marco Porello represents the third generation of his family to produce wines in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. He is based in Rorero and has 15 hectares of vineyards in the area, which he farms naturally, without herbicides or pesticides. This smooth, rich, food-friendly Barbera comes from a single parcel and is aged in stainless steel and concrete. It is full-bodied and fruity, with great aromatics, ripe, red fruit flavors, and a hint of earth. Try it with pasta or mushroom dishes. (Ca’ Gialla is the nickname of the house where Marco’s cellar is located.) $15

2017 Celler de Capçanes, Mas Collet Seleccio —Celler de Capçanes is a cooperative in Spain’s northeast Montsant region, situated in the subzone of La Comarca de Falset, just south of the Priorat. The area is mountainous, with dark soils over granite and slate with some outcroppings of hard schist soil, similar to that found in the Priorat, which imparts the distinctive flavors to those coveted wines. The cooperative selects only the best fruit from its growers for its own wines and sells the rest of it off in bulk. This offering is 40% each Garnacha and Cab Sauv, with 20% Samsó (the local name for Carignan), aged nine months in new and used American and French oak. It is medium-bodied and complex, with ripe fruit flavors, smooth texture, and nice minerality from the slate soil. Great with lamb, pizza, or moussaka. $15