Collector’s Club – October 2020

2018 Cadence Winery, Coda — Cadence winemaker Ben Smith crafts some of the most elegant, complex, and ageworthy wines in Washington, with a focus on estate and single-vineyard blends of Bordeaux grapes. His Coda is produced from barrels which he felt did not fit into those bottlings stylistically. But it is made with the same exacting care as those higher end wines and, lucky for us, is ready to be enjoyed right out of the gate (perhaps with a quick decanting). The 2018 Coda, though still young, totally knocked our socks off. It is a blend of 37% Cabernet Franc, 29% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 11% Petit Verdot, aged in 45% new French oak and 55% second- and third-use barrels. It is complex and aromatic, with notes of dark fruit and spice and amazing depth and structure for a “second” wine. It also has great acidity, thanks to picking early. Ben made 850 cases and says it is “another exceptional vintage for Coda!” $28

2018 Thymiopoulos, “Young Vines” Xinomavro — Greece is a mountainous Mediterranean country with a long history of viticulture, a wealth of diverse vineyard sites, and over 300 indigenous grape varieties. One of those is Xinomavro (Greek for “acid black”), a much prized, late-ripening grape that thrives in the cool, high-elevation regions in the north, particularly in Naoussa, where the Thymiopoulos family has owned vineyards for generations. Today they farm biodynamically, with vineyards located on a mix of high elevation and lower, warmer sites. This 100% Xinomavro comes from younger, unirrigated vines, and is fermented in stainless steel and aged in concrete. Xinomavro produces complex, aromatic wines with good acidity. This one is fresh and juicy, with dark fruit flavors and a hint of olives and dried herbs. Try it with lamb and pinenut kofta! $17

2017 Château de Montfaucon, Côtes-du-Rhône — This southern Rhône estate dates back to the 11th century when it was part of a line of fortresses along the Rhône River, then the border between the French Kingdom and the Holy Roman German Empire. A winery was added in the 1500s. In 1995, Rodolphe de Pins, previously with Vieux Télégraphe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, took over and rebuilt much of the winery although they still use the 16th century vaulted cellars for barrel aging. The current vineyards, some over 90 years old, lie just across the river from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Their Côtes-du-Rhône is about half Grenache, with Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, and Counoise, aged in concrete vats. It is rich and smooth, with complex flavors of dark fruit, notes of spice, and a touch of garrigue. Perfect with meat dishes or hearty fall foods. $15

2018 Fattoria Le Pupille, Morellino di Scansano — This wine comes from the Maremma region on Tuscany’s southern coast. The climate here is warmer than in Chianti to the north, but Sangiovese (known locally as Morellino) is still the predominant grape. In the mid-1980s then 20-year-old Elisabetta Geppetti inherited Fattoria Le Pupille from her father-in-law and over the next 30 years she helped put the Morellino di Scansano appellation on the map. Today her daughter Clara assists her on their largely female-run estate, which they farm organically. Sangiovese ripens earlier in the Maremma region, producing a rounder, more savory wine. This blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Alicante, and 5% Ciliegiolo is bright and fresh, with aromas and flavors of red and blue fruit and fresh cherries, a touch of spice, and food friendly acidity. Perfect with meat-based dishes or Caldaro, a local fish soup with onions and garlic similar to bouillabaisse. Or pizza. $18

2018 Palazzo Malgara, Inzolia — Palazzo Malgara was founded in 1990 by two renowned southern Italian winemakers. Their goal with their new venture was to produce beautiful wines from indigenous grape varietals that reflect their unique regional terroir. They work in both Puglia and Sicily, where this wine comes from. The Inzolia grape thrives in the hot, dry summers, poor soil, and hilly terrain of the island and tends to produce wines with herbal, nutty aromas and fresh citrus notes. This one is no exception, but also has a nice touch of creaminess and richness that gives the wine a lovely sense of expressiveness. Perfect with seafood, especially richer fare, such as prawns or lobster, or fish-based dishes with creamier sauces. $12

2019 Domaine Jouclary, Sauvignon Blanc — This wine comes from Cabardès, in southwest France. It is a small appellation on the slopes of the Montagne Noir, the southernmost outcropping of the Massif Central, just north of the medieval walled city of Carcassonne. The region is influenced by both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean (hence the motto, “Vent d’Est, Vent d’Ouest”) and is planted to a mix of Atlantic varietals, such as those found in Bordeaux, as well as the Mediterranean grapes common in the Rhône and the southwest. This wine is 100% Sauv Blanc, sourced from fruit grown on lower elevation sites and harvested in the cool, early morning to preserve freshness. It is fermented with some skin contact, then aged on the lees for several months, adding nice aromatics and texture to the crisp, tropical notes and fresh acidity typical of the grape. Try it with grilled fish with lemon and capers, crispy roast chicken, or Japanese cuisine. $12