Collector’s Club – January 2021

2018 Domaine de la Verpaille, Mâcon-Villages Vieilles Vignes — This wine comes from the Mâcon region of southern Burgundy. The winery, based in the appellation of Viré-Clessé, dates back generations and has been run by Baptiste and Estelle Philippe since 2004. They began organic conversion in 2006, knowing that grapes grown organically best reveal the character of the chalky limestone soils of their vineyard, and they allow the wines to ferment slowly and naturally, using native yeast in order to maintain freshness and minerality. They focus exclusively on white wines and this 100% Chardonnay comes from 100-year-old vines. It is fermented and aged in stainless steel on the fine lees and is fresh and floral, with notes of white fruit and lovely texture and depth. Enjoy over the next year or two perhaps with scallops or poultry. $23

2018 Poderi Elia, “Padrun” Langhe Nebbiolo — Poderi Elia has been making wine in northern Italy’s Piedmont region since 1890, but Small Vineyards was the first to import them into the U.S. Winemaker Federico Stella’s family has produced one of the top Barbarescos in the region for three generations, but their “Padrun” was their first foray into a “basic” Nebbiolo, the predominant grape in Barbaresco. If it looks familiar, it’s because we have featured several vintages of this wine in the club over the years. It is sourced from fruit planted in 1982 in the highest elevation estate in Barbaresco. The 2018 Padrun is aged 12 months in second- and third-use French oak and is fresh and vibrant, with flavors of both dark cherry and brighter red fruit, and a touch of chocolate. The folks at Small Vineyards call it “a connoisseur’s Piedmont for everyday enjoyment,” and suggest pairing it with beef with garlic and pepper sauce or mushroom risotto. $22

2019 Simpatico Cellars, The Fanatic Albariño — Here’s another wine from our former shop intern, Cassie Wistrom. After graduating from the Wine Academy at South Seattle College, she worked with a number of producers, including Washington’s iconic Betz Family Winery, before founding her own winery along with two former classmates. Albariño is a cool-climate white grape native to northwest Spain, where it produces clean, refreshing wines that are perfect with seafood. This is Simpatico’s first varietally labeled Albariño and it is sourced from Dutchman Vineyard, a cool, high-elevation site with rocky, limestone-rich soil. Simpatico now has their own block in the vineyard and are able to capture the inherent aromatic, mineral character of the grape. This one is fresh and elegant, with notes of citrus and orchard fruit, crisp acidity, and surprising complexity that continues to evolve as the wine opens up. Perfect for seafood or appetizers. $19

2018 Edetària, Via Terra, Selection Garnatxa — This wine comes from Terra Alta, the highest elevation DO in Spain’s northeast Catalonia region. Having grown up in a family of winemakers in the region, Joan Àngel Lliberia founded Edetària with a goal of producing terroir-driven wines from his family vineyards. All of his wines come from his sustainably farmed estate vineyards. His Via Terra wines focus on Garnatxa (aka Grenache) and are meant to be easy drinking and expressive of the true character of the grape and the local soil. This 100% Garnatxa is vinified partly with cold maceration to capture the fruitiness of the grape, and partly more traditionally, with riper fruit, adding more complexity and structure to the wine. Aged in French oak for six months, it is fresh and minerally with notes of red fruit, spice, and nice touch of richness. $16

2019 Cantina del Morellino, “Cala Civetta” Sangiovese — The folks at Small Vineyards say that this winery is their favorite cooperative in Tuscany. In true Small Vineyards style, it is not a big operation, but rather a family-owned network of small, multi-generational growers who are dedicated to the land and their vineyards. They are based in the Maremma, a region on the coast of southern Tuscany. This wine is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Alicante (a “teinturier” grape—a red grape with dark flesh as well as skin) valued for adding color and texture to wines. This unoaked blend is very easy-going and approachable, with pleasant notes of tart fruit and dried cherry, and enough going on to make it a versatile everyday food wine. $11

2018 Mark Ryan, Board Track Racer “The Vincent” — 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 from Washington state. They also produce wines under several side labels including Board Track Racer, which are a delicious, and often more affordable, introduction to the Mark Ryan style. The Vincent is a blend of 58% Cab Sauv, 24% Merlot, 17% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot and is smooth and well structured, with inviting flavors of dark fruit and toasty spice and a nice, long finish. It has been a long-time favorite on our Washington blends shelf, usually priced at $19.75. But the winery recently reduced the price making it even more enticing. Enjoy anytime, with or without food. $15