Collector’s Club – September 2022

2020 Cadence, Coda — Winemaker Ben Smith is known for crafting some of the most elegant, complex, and ageworthy wines in Washington, with a focus on estate and single-vineyard blends of Bordeaux grapes.

His more affordable Coda has always been blended from barrels which did not end up in his higher end bottlings, although it is made with the same exacting care. And happily, it is ready to be enjoyed soon after release. The 2020 Coda is a blend of 50% Cab Franc, 45% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot, and is Ben’s first Coda sourced entirely from his estate Cara Mia Vineyard—basically a “baby Bel Canto” (his flagship wine). Aged half in new French oak, it is complex and aromatic, with notes of rose petal and dark cherry. It has a nice earthy minerality from the Red Mountain fruit and the Cab Franc adds a wonderful silky texture. Ben made only 500 cases of this wine. $28

2019 Dona Matilde, Boavida Vinho Tinto — The Douro region of northern Portugal is best known for its sweet, fortified Ports but is increasingly gaining a reputation for its still wines. Dona Matilde is one of the oldest properties in the region, located on the north bank of the Douro River, with vines averaging 60 to 80 years in age. Vineyards here are planted in schist soils on the steep, rocky banks of the Douro River, often with several grape varieties planted together in the same vineyard. This wine is a “field blend,” made from Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Tinta Francisca, Tinto Cão, and Touriga Nacional, grown, harvested, and vinified together. It is aromatic, fruity, and full, with balanced flavors of dark fruit and savory spice, soft tannins, and good structure. $13

2016 Jané Ventura, Vinyes Negres — This organically farmed estate is located in the Penedès region of northeast Spain and today is run by the fourth generation of the family. They are based in Tarragona, southwest of Barcelona, where the climate is influenced by both the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees, with warm summers cooled by maritime breezes and cold winters, perfect for growing their indigenous grapes. This wine is a blend of Garnatxa (Grenache), Samsó (Carignan), the indigenous grape Sumoll, Syrah, and Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), aged eight months in French oak. It is savory and fresh, with red fruit flavors, ripe tannins, and a touch of spice and garrigue. Great for grilled lamb or vegetables, burgers, or pasta with red sauces. $17.50

2021 Alois Lageder, Schiava — Schiava, also known as Vernatsch or Trollinger, (and sometimes Black Hamburg), is a light-bodied red grape most commonly grown in northern Italy’s Alto Adige region. This one is produced by Alois Lageder, a biodynamically farmed winery that focuses on the classic grapes of their region. Grown on gravelly limestone soils and aged in stainless steel, this Schiava is a classic rendition of the grape—light, fresh, and delicate, with pretty floral aromatics and soft, juicy red fruit flavors. Relatively low in alcohol (only 11.5%), it is perfect for picnics, fall foods, or even as a lighter option with heavier winter fare. It’s a red you could enjoy slightly chilled. $16.50

2020 Evolúció, Furmint — Hungary’s northeast Tokaj region is famous for its stunning dessert wines, based primarily on the white grape Furmint. But the grape also produces delicious dry wines, with good natural acidity thanks to the rocky, volcanic soils and extreme continental climate. Evolúció’s vineyards are located on south-facing slopes, near the border with Slovakia and Ukraine. Their Furmint is fermented in stainless steel and bottled young, to retain freshness and natural richness. It is bright and elegant, with aromas of ripe orchard fruit and a hint of honey. The richness is nicely balanced by the refreshing acidity and stony minerality. Great for pairing with richer fish dishes, creamy chicken preparations, or cheeses. Or perhaps with mildly spicy Asian fare. $12

2021 Domaine Giraudon, Aligoté — Aligoté is the “other” white grape of Burgundy, a region in which nearly all of the white wines are Chardonnay. This one comes from the village of Chitry in northern Burgundy, not far from Chablis, where the Giraudon family has been farming and making wine for centuries. Current proprietor, Marcel Giraudon, has six hectares of Aligoté, planted on hillsides with the same Kimmeridgian limestone as found in Chablis. The chalky soil produces crisp, minerally wines, with notes of citrus and orchard fruit. Malolactic fermentation adds a nice touch of depth and elegance to this refreshing, vibrant white. Always great with shellfish and seafood (perhaps with ceviche), Aligoté is also the traditional wine used to mix with Cassis to make a classic Kir cocktail. $16