1985 Château de Haute-Serre, Cahors, $69
Winery info: This estate in the Cahors region of southwest France dates back to the Middle Ages. Towards the end of the 19th century the vines were completely wiped out by phylloxera. In the 1970s Georges Vigouroux began to resurrect the vineyards, uncultivated for over a century, bringing them back from neglect and taking the estate into the 20th century. His son, Bertrand-Gabriel, took over in 1989. Their vineyards, some of the highest in the appellation, consist of stony, red clay soil with southwest and southeast exposure—perfect for growing Malbec, the predominant grape in Cahors wines. Given the age of the wine, the cork can be a bit fragile. An Ah-So works well if you have one.
Grapes: Predominantly Malbec, sometimes blended with a bit of Merlot or Tannat, depending on the vintage.
Flavor Profile: Dark and powerful, with complex flavors of black fruit, leather, and earthy spice. Surprisingly fresh, given its age, but it definitely shows the developed character of an older wine.
Availability: It is still in decent supply.
Drinkability: This wine definitely doesn’t need any further aging. Enjoy it soon, but give it plenty of time to open up—you could even save some to enjoy the day after you open it.
Food Pairing: This is a big wine that needs hearty food to stand up to it, such as beef or venison.
2019 Eladio Piñeiro, Envidia Cochina, Albariño, $28
Winery info: Eladio Piñeiro is a long-time winemaker in Spain’s northwest coastal Rías Baixas region. In 2003 he had to sell his winery in order to care for his ailing wife (she thankfully recovered), but he kept his very best vineyards. When he decided to return to winemaking again, it was with a new outlook on life. He wanted to do things his own way, producing wines with meaning and soul. He farms biodynamically, making only small amounts, in a slow, meticulous process that includes lees aging and sometimes the addition of juice from previous vintages. His vineyards are located in the Salnés Valley, with granite, sandy soils.
Grapes: 100% Albariño, from vines averaging 30 years in age. Aged six months on the lees in stainless steel and blended with 15% Frore de Carme (his higher end Albariño, aged over one year on the lees) from the previous vintage.
Flavor Profile: Albariño, the predominant white grape in the Rías Baixas region, is known for producing fresh white wines, often with a touch of salinity. This one has everything you’d expect from the grape, with flavors of stone fruit, citrus, and ripe, juicy acidity. The longer lees aging and addition of juice from his older, more aged cuvée, imparts exceptional depth, texture, and complexity to this elegant wine.
Availability: This wine should be available for at least a few more months.
Drinkability: Enjoy anytime over the next year or two.
Food Pairing: Perfect for any type of seafood, or even white meat dishes.