Collector’s Club – August 2021

2020 Lydian, Alto — Lydian is the second label of Avennia, the highly acclaimed Woodinville winery founded by winemaker Chris Peterson, with a commitment to producing “timeless, world class wines that are solely and undeniably Washington.”

He was named Seattle Magazine’s 2017 Winemaker of the Year and we have always loved his wines. So we were excited when we learned he’d established a second label, Lydian, as a more affordable entry point to the Avennia house style. His Alto is a Bordeaux-inspired blend of 80% Sauv Blanc from Sagemoor Vineyard and 20% old vine Semillon from Boushey Vineyard. It is aged 40% in neutral French oak and the remainder in stainless steel. The result is a crisp, refreshing wine, with bright citrus notes from the Sauv Blanc and lovely texture from the Semillon. Very versatile, with or without food. $18

2019 Lunaria, Ramoro Pinot Grigio — This wine comes from Cantina Orsogna, a cooperative founded in 1964 in central Italy’s Abruzzo region. It is situated on the slopes of Majella National Park, about nine miles from the Adriatic Sea, and is the largest organic producer in the region, with 80% of their fruit certified organic and 30% Demeter certified (Biodynamic). Their Lunaria line features single varietal wines all from organic and Biodynamically-grown grapes in the Terre di Chieti subregion. This Pinot Grigio is fermented with native yeasts and sees extended time on the skins, giving the wine its orange, coppery color (aka an “orange” or “skin contact” wine) and rich texture. It is expressive and complex with citrus and floral aromas, fresh flavors of yellow fruit, and a touch of nuttiness. Great with seafood, pasta aglio e olio, or lemon-roasted chicken. $15

2019 Domaine du Prieuré, Hautes Côtes de Beaune — This family winery is located in Savigny-les-Beaune, a small village in France’s Burgundy region. It was originally based in an old Cistercian priory (prieuré) but later relocated to a larger site as the winery grew, and is now in the hands of the third generation of the Maurice family to oversee the estate. Their wines are noted for being profound, refined, and elegant. This 100% Pinot Noir comes from a single parcel of their estate, “Les Champans,” a high-elevation site facing southeast, planted in 1981 on soil consisting of ancient seashell and brown marl. They age the wine 12 to 18 months in barrel or vats, depending on the vintage, producing a fresh, layered wine with red and dark fruit flavors. This one is soft and full-flavored, with balanced tannins and subtle rustic notes. Enjoy it over the next two or three years, perhaps with Dijon chicken and veggies. $22

2017 Brotte, Cairanne, Creation Grosset, Cairanne — Maison Brotte was founded in 1931 in Châteauneuf-du-Pape by M. Charles Brotte. The estate is now run by his grandson, Laurent, and has since expanded to include other Rhône properties. One of those is Domaine Grosset, in the village of Cairanne, owned by Laurent’s father-in-law Alain Grosset. The Cairanne property is planted on two distinct soil types which combine to add structure and aromatic complexity to the grapes, which thrive in the warm, dry Mediterranean climate. This wine is predominantly Grenache (from vines up to 100 years in age—some so old they can no longer be trained!), blended with Mourvèdre and Syrah and aged in a mix of new and used French oak, stainless steel, and 100-year-old oak vats. It is rich, smooth, savory, and complex and they suggest enjoying it with pheasant terrine, wild mushroom risotto, or chicken ragout with green olives. $18

2018 Castell del Reimei, Gotim Bru — This winery is based in the Costers del Segres D.O. in Spain’s northeast Catalonia region. It is situated on the site of a castle built in 1780 which produced wine as far back as the 19th century. Today it is led by winemaker Tomàs Cusiné, a familiar name in the shop. The area has a Mediterranean/continental climate with large temperature fluctuations, well suited for growing a wide range of grapes. This blend of 35% Grenache, 35% Tempranillo, 15% Syrah, and 15% Cab Sauv is aged ten months in French and American oak and is their flagship wine. (Gotim Bru means “a bunch of red grapes” in Catalan). It is smooth and aromatic, with notes of dark fruit, fresh, stony minerality, and a touch of cocoa. It is light enough to pair with summer food, yet full of warm, balanced flavors. $17

2017 Hightower Cellars, Murray Red — Tim and Kelly Hightower began their winery in 1997. They purchased an excellent site on Yakima’s coveted Red Mountain, and began planting their estate vineyard in 2004. They also source fruit from several other top vineyards. Their wines are widely acclaimed for their elegance, complexity, and balance, and have long been favorites of ours. Their Murray line is more affordable, but equally well crafted. This wine is a blend of 39% Merlot, 28% Cab Sauv, 22% Malbec, 6% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cab Franc, sourced mostly from their Out of Line estate vineyard, with additional fruit from Red Willow and E & E Shaw vineyards, and is aged in mostly neutral oak. The dark fruit flavors are beautifully well integrated and smooth, the texture plush yet elegant, and the finish long. Enjoy anytime. $18