Collector’s Club – March 2021

2019 Villa Sparina, Gavi di Gavi — Gavi is a small wine zone in Italy’s northern Piedmont region, known for its refreshing, aromatic white wines based on the indigenous grape, Cortese. Villa Sparina has about 70 hectares of vineyards in the appellation, with vines averaging about 26 years in age, grown on clay and marl soil that is perfect for producing richly flavored white wines. Their focus is on indigenous varieties (Cortese and Barbera) and they have great respect for the winemaking traditions of the past, while being open to new and innovative approaches. Their Gavi di Gavi (“Gavi from Gavi”) has been a long-time favorite in the shop. It is vibrant and refreshing with rich, stone fruit flavors that would pair perfectly with white meat and fish dishes or Mediterranean fare. The unique bottle shape was inspired by an old bottle discovered in their historic cellars which date back to the 18th century. $17

2018 Cellers Can Blau, Can Blau — This winery is part of the Gil Family Estates—a collection of small wineries throughout Spain committed to producing wines of great character that reflect their local terroir and represent great value. Can Blau is based in Spain’s northeastern Montsant region, known for its robust, elegant wines with great minerality. This wine is a blend of 40% Mazuelo (aka Carignan, or Cariñena in Catalan), 40% Syrah, and 20% Garnacha. Each variety is sourced from vineyards grown on different soil types: the Garnacha on Llicorella slate soil, the Cariñena on sand and clay, and the Syrah on limestone. The result is a smooth, complex wine with dark fruit flavors of plum and black cherry and a touch of licorice and spice. Enjoy over the next four to five years with pasta, vegetable dishes, or heartier meat-based fare. $15

2019 Domaine de Thulon, Beaujolais-Villages — This small, family-run estate sits on the site of the Château de Thulon, a “smallholding” dating back to the 15th century. Annie and René Jambon were métayers (basically sharecroppers) there for 20 years before buying the property in 1987. Their children Carine and Laurent now run the estate, working the vineyards mostly by hand, as naturally as possible. Their Beaujolais-Villages is 100% Gamay and, while light in body, is loaded with fresh, juicy flavors of red fruit, such as raspberries and currant, and a hint of savory spice. This is a red you could chill slightly—about fifteen minutes in the fridge—to highlight the fresh, fruity flavors. With its great natural acidity, Beaujolais pairs with a wide variety of foods: think charcuterie, chicken tagine, seafood paella, calamari, or roasted vegetables. $15

NV Maison Noir, Horseshoes and Handgrenades — André Hueston Mack left a successful career in the financial world to pursue his passion for wine. He began as a sommelier and in 2003 became the first African American to be named Best Young Sommelier in America by the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomic society. He went on to work at Napa Valley’s French Laundry and Per Se in New York City before founding Mouton Noir Wines (now Maison Noir) in 2007 — a “micro negociant” with a focus on highlighting specific terroirs in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. His Horseshoes and Handgrenades is a bi-state blend of predominantly Syrah from the Rogue Valley in southwest Oregon with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Washington. Aged in barrel for ten months, it is a full-bodied and complex wine, with rich, juicy flavors from the Syrah and great structure and depth from the Washington fruit. $23

2016 Cardedu, Canonau “Caladu”— The island of Sardinia lies about 125 miles off the west coast of Italy. Its most widely planted red grape is Cannonau, aka Grenache in France or Garnacha in Spain. (The label uses an older spelling, with one ‘n’). Cardedu is a small, family winery with roots dating back to the 900s. They have always farmed naturally with minimal intervention in the cellar. Their Cannonau is sourced from vineyards located in the mountainous southeast part of the island where the soils consist of crumbling granite with high levels of quartz. This one, named caladu from the Sardinian word for sunset, is juicy, round, and savory with dark, ripe fruit flavors and inviting notes of earth and spice. Delicious on its own or paired with anything grilled, including roasted suckling pig, as they suggested on the label of a previous vintage. $21

2017 Château de Birot, Blanc de Birot — This wine comes from an estate which dates back to the 18th century in the small Bordeaux appellation of Cadillac. It is a beautiful setting on the right bank of the Garonne River just across the water from the famed Sauternes producer, Château d’Yquem, with which it shares a similar gravelly soil of clay and limestone. Birot makes less than a thousand cases of this wine, which is a blend of 83% Sauvignon Blanc and 17% Semillon, aged in vats and barrels on fine lees for three months. It is a clean, crisp wine with fresh notes of citrus, backed by smooth, underlying body and round texture. With its great minerality and food-friendly acidity, it would be perfect paired with grilled fish, seafood, or poultry dishes. $17.50