Collector’s Club – September 2021

2019 Martorana, Organic Syrah — The Martorana family has been making wine in Sicily for three generations.

Today the wines are made by Giuseppi Martorana, formerly the police chief of their town, along with his youngest daughter, Giadda. Together they produce small batch wines from grapes hand harvested in wicker baskets, from their vineyards on the sunny coast of Sicily’s southwest shore. Giuseppi was one of the first winegrowers to plant Syrah in Sicily. Dry farmed on their chalky soils, and produced with low yields and long maceration time, his wines show great fruit and vibrancy. This smooth, concentrated Syrah is EU certified organic and sees no oak. It is dark, juicy, and very approachable, with soft tannins, and ripe flavors of dark berries with herbal undertones. With its good acidity, it would pair well with a variety of foods. $19.75

2020 La Quercia, Pecorino Colli Aprutini — La Quercia is a small, organic, self-sustaining estate in the Abruzzo region on Italy’s rugged central east coast. Their 40-year-old vines grow in the family’s windy hillside vineyards overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Winemaker Antonio Lamona makes a wonderful Montepulciano d’Abruzzo which we’ve featured in this club numerous times. But this is the first time we’ve had his Pecorino. This white grape, which was once widespread in the region, nearly went extinct in the mid 20th century but is now experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Relatively high in both acidity and sugar content, the grape tends to produce wines that are bright, fresh, and nicely textured. This unoaked version is crisp and well-structured with an inviting mouth feel and notes of citrus and stone fruit. Perfect for white fish or chicken dishes. $16

2020 Domaine du Couron, Viognier — Domaine de Couron is a small estate in France’s Ardèche region, which lies between the northern and southern portions of the Rhône valley. They are based in the tiny hamlet of Saint-Marcel-d’Ardèche about 45 miles northwest of Avignon, where winemaking dates back to Roman times. In fact, vestiges of an old Roman outpost can still be found throughout their vineyards. Winemaker Jean-Luc Dorthe, a descendant of nine generations of wine growers, produces wines of great balance and finesse. His 100% Viognier is grown in limestone soil over granite in their terraced vineyards which they farm sustainably. It is rich, complex, and expressive, with notes of apricot and pear and a touch of spice. The aromatic floral profile is nicely balanced by its fresh acidity, resulting in a very inviting, food-friendly wine. $13

2019 Bonny Doon Vineyard, Le Cigare Volant — Randall Grahm founded Bonny Doon in 1981 intending to focus on Pinot Noir. But he soon realized the potential of Rhône grapes in the warm climate of California’s Central Coast and changed his focus. In 1986 he released the inaugural vintage of his Le Cigare Volant, an homage to the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape where a law was enacted in 1954 (it’s still on the books today!) prohibiting flying saucers—cigare volant—from landing in the vineyards, lest they damage the vines. Grahm received the moniker “Rhône Ranger,” thus starting a new movement, and Le Cigare Volant remains his flagship wine today. This vintage is 56% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 13% Syrah, and 1% Petite Sirah, sourced from the Central Coast AVA. It is aromatic and juicy, with notes of ripe red fruit, a touch of savory spice, and a nice hint of meatiness. Try it with lamb dishes, Moroccan tagine, or roasted wild mushrooms. $15

2019 Redentore, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso — Refosco refers to a group of red grape varieties grown in and around northeast Italy. Of those, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, named for its distinctive red stems, is considered the finest. It tends to produce darkly colored, medium- to full-bodied wines with plummy flavors and good acidity. This one is made by the De Stefani family (also a Prosecco producer) in the Veneto region. Now headed by the fourth generation, they farm organically and use no added sulfites. Wines under their Redentore line come from younger vines. This one, aged one year in new and used oak, is juicy and aromatic, with dark fruit, bright tannins, and a touch of spice. It has enough complexity to pair with hearty meat dishes, poultry stews, grilled vegetables (especially wild mushrooms), or even pizza. $19

2018 Bodega Renacer, Punto Final, Reserva Malbec — Argentina’s Bodega Renacer is located in the Luján de Cuyo sub-region of Mendoza, “where land meets the sky and the Andes.” The winery, certified organic in 2021, has 30 hectares of vines, some over 70 years in age. Fruit for their Punto Final Reserva line averages about fifty years, and is grown on a mix of calcareous and silty loam soils in high-elevation vineyards: Paraje Altamira (3,600 feet), Vistaflores (4,265 feet), and Perdriel (3,117 feet). The diurnal temperature variation at this elevation provides intense sun during the day, but slows ripening at night, allowing the grapes to develop fully while maintaining fresh acidity. This Malbec is fermented with native yeasts and aged in French oak for about 12 months. It is rich and savory, with dark berry and mocha flavors and notes of earth and spice. Enjoy it with beef, pork, mushroom risotto, or stuffed pasta. $19.75