Collector’s Club – February 2021

2019 Palamà, “Metiusco” Rosso Salento — The Palamà family, originally of Greek origin, settled in southern Italy about two thousand years ago and have been making wine there ever since. The current family vineyard was founded in 1936 by Arcangelo Palamà in Puglia, on the hot, dry Salento Peninsula. Today his son Ninì oversees the property and is known for making full-bodied, intense wines that capture the power and character of southern Italy. His Metiusco is 50% Negroamaro from 50 year-old vines, blended with 25% each Primitivo and Malvasia Nera di Lecce, all grapes native to the area. It is aged around four to six months in Slavonian oak casks and is traditional in character, but with a modern feel. It is dark and fruity, with notes of cocoa powder, dried fruit, and aromatic hints of earthy Mediterranean scrub. Fresh and fruity, yet structured and complex, it’s a great wine for pork dishes, grilled polenta, puttanesca pasta, or cioppino. $24

2019 Saint Maurice, “Le Pacte” Cévenol Rouge —Here’s a Small Vineyards wine that is not Italian, nor is it from a small family producer. It comes from a winemaking co-op, established in 1924 in Cévennes, north of Nîmes in France’s Languedoc region. All of the growers and winemakers involved are dedicated to sustainable farming and all of their wines are dry-farmed, without the use of pesticides. This wine is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, grown in one of France’s driest zones, with low humidity and constant southern winds. The result is a dark, concentrated wine with notes of blackberry and a light touch of oak. Perfect for grilled meats, pasta, or rustic pizza. $15.50

2020 Decibel Wines, Giunta, Chenin Blanc — New Zealand is best known for Pinot Noir and Sauv Blanc, which is why we were surprised to discover the tasty New Zealand Malbec we put in the club last fall. Now we’ve just tasted a delightful Chenin Blanc from the same producer. Decibel was founded by Philadelphia native Daniel Brennan who moved to New Zealand to craft minimal-intervention, single vineyard wines from top vineyard sites. His Giunta (JUNE-tah) range features small batch wines made in a fresh, fruity style. Very little Chenin is grown in New Zealand and this one comes from Two Terraces Vineyard in the Mangatahi sub-region of Hawkes Bay, on the east coast of the North Island. The cool nighttime temperatures here produce fresh, elegant wines. This Chenin has lightly floral aromas with notes of green apple and pear, and is rich and full, with fresh, balancing acidity. Enjoy over the next few years with pork, poultry, or Asian fare. $19

2018 Balboa Winery, Grüner Veltliner — Long time Beresan winemaker Tom Glase founded Balboa in 2005 with a goal of producing affordable, ready-to-drink Washington wines that are true to the varietal and the terroir. While we’ve carried his wines for years, we’ve mostly been familiar with his reds, so we were pleasantly surprised to discover this wine. Grüner Veltliner is Austria’s signature white grape, known for producing dry, minerally wines with notes of white pepper and excellent acidity. Not a lot is grown in the state and only a few winemakers work with it. This is Tom’s fourth vintage of Grüner, sourced from Balboa’s estate vineyard in Walla Walla along with fruit from Bloxom Slope in the Columbia Valley. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, it has bright, fresh acidity, notes of citrus, and great minerality. Grüner is a very versatile food wine and one of the few that pairs well with vegetables. It’s also great with Asian food. $15

2013 Patit Creek Cellars, “The Creek” — We try to feature wines that have ongoing availability, but we make occasional exceptions. Years ago we featured a wine that, due to a personal break up (along with the winery), was never released to the public. This month, we’re including a wine from a winery that, while successful in its day, has now closed. But one of our distributors had access to a well-cellared supply of this wine, and we couldn’t resist. Patit Creek was founded in 1999 in Dayton, Washington. Joe Forest came on as winemaker in 2008 and took the wines to the next level (he now has his own winery, Tempus Cellars). As an older vintage, this blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Syrah has some excellent age on it and is tasting beautifully—rich and complex, with notes of dark fruit and licorice. $13

2016 Budureasca, Feteasca Neagra — Last fall we tasted our first wines from Romania and we were very impressed! This red comes from the southern Dealu Mare region, where archaeological evidence shows winemaking dating back to the 14th century. The region has diverse terroir and micro-climates, perfect for growing exceptional grapes. Budureasca wines are made by Stephen Donnelly who has 30 years of international experience from Napa, to South Africa, India, and now Romania. This wine is 100% Feteasca Neagra, one of the oldest indigenous varieties in the country. It is aged five months in Romanian oak and is reminiscent of a Rhône red, full bodied, with dark, rich flavors and soft, velvety tannins. The winery suggests pairing it with sesame-crusted pork tenderloin and oven-baked fingerling potatoes. $16