2019 Los Vascos, Cromas, Carmenère Gran Reserva — Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite, of Bordeaux fame, went to South America seeking an opportunity to combine their French tradition with the unique terroir of Chile.
They took over and began renovating this property in 1988, becoming the first French viticultural project in Chile. Los Vascos is located in central Chile’s Colchagua Valley, about 25 miles from the sea with a perfect microclimate for viticulture. Their Carmenère is sourced from fruit grown on mountain foothills and is aged 50% in French oak barrels for 12 months. It is rich, smooth, and savory with flavors of dark cherry, chocolate, and a hint of pepper, and a lovely velvety texture. Enjoy it with anything from robust soups to steak or roasts. $19.75
2020 Delas Frères, Viognier, Vin de Pays Pays d’Oc — Delas was founded in 1835 in France’s northern Côtes du Rhône region. With prime vineyards in some of the top appellations, they continue to produce world class northern Rhône wines to this day. They have also expanded their holdings over the years to other parts of the Rhône Valley. This 100% Viognier is sourced from grapes grown on limestone-clay soils in the Gard region, west of the Rhône around Nîmes. While Viognier can produce very rich, floral wines, this one is vinified without oak and does not go through malolactic fermentation, retaining the grape’s freshness and acidity. While it has the stone fruit aromas and flavors typical of Viognier, it is clean and balanced with fresh citrus notes. Great with cured meats, fresh seafood with lemon and butter sauces, or perhaps chicken tagine or a mezze platter. $17
2021 La Quercia, Pecorino Colli Aprutini “Santapupa” — La Quercia is a small, organic estate in the Abruzzo region on Italy’s rugged central east coast where their 40-year-old vines grow in the family’s windswept hillside vineyards overlooking the Adriatic Sea. We’ve often featured their Montepulciano in this club and last year we presented their Pecorino for the first time. This white grape, once widespread in the region, nearly went extinct in the mid 20th century but is now experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Naturally high in both acidity and sugar content, Pecorino tends to produce bright, fresh, nicely textured wines. This unoaked version is crisp and well-structured with a rich mouth feel and notes of citrus and stone fruit. Perfect for white fish or chicken dishes. $17
2018 Castelfeder, Lagrein, Rieder — Alto Adige is the northernmost wine region in Italy, bordering the Austrian Tyrol. In fact its inhabitants, many of whom are German speakers, refer to it as Südtirol, or south Tyrol. Nestled in the Alps, it has some of the steepest vineyards in the world but because they are south-facing, they get enough warming sun to ripen the grapes fully. One of the indigenous grapes that thrives here is Lagrein. It produces deep, red wines with soft, fruity flavors. This one is made by a winery founded in 1969 and is sourced from fruit grown on loamy, alluvial soils in a warm valley near the town of Bolzano. Their Lagrein is smooth, juicy, and very approachable, with a touch of earth and warm spice. A great partner for meat dishes and a perfect Thanksgiving wine. $22
2020 Domaine du Somail, Le Vin de Plume, Minervois — This wine comes from a 37-acre estate in the heart of the Minervois appellation in southern France’s Languedoc region. Domaine du Somail is a project begun by four passionate people from diverse backgrounds with a shared love of wine and a deep respect for the land. From the beginning they have aimed for authenticity, elegance, and finesse in all of their wines. Their Demeter-certified biodynamic Vin de Plume is a blend of 80% Mourvèdre and 20% Syrah, grown on the stony, limestone slopes of the Montagne Noir. It is full bodied and complex, with peppery, savory flavors of ripe red fruit, dried herbs, and a hint of garrigue. Enjoy it now or over the next few years with grilled meats, roast lamb or chicken, or cassoulet. $18
2020 Cantine Nicosia, Nerello Mascalese — This family-owned winery, now in its fifth generation, was founded in 1898 on the slopes of Mt. Etna on the island of Sicily. With one of the tallest and most active volcanos in the world, the Mt. Etna region has a unique terroir for growing the local indigenous grapes. Nerello Mascalese is a late ripening dark-skinned variety grown on lava terraces with mineral rich volcanic soil. It tends to produce fresh, fruity wines with excellent minerality and a touch of dried herbs. The high-elevation diurnal temperature variation helps preserve freshness in the wines. This one is aromatic, with soft, red fruit flavors and a touch of spice. Great with classic Sicilian dishes like garlic-caper grilled pork chops or penne rigate with porcini mushrooms. Or even with Indian food. $16