Collector’s Club – November 2022

2021 Marchetti, Tenuta del Cavaliere Verdicchio — Verdicchio is one of the classic white grapes of central Italy.

Maurizio Marchetti farms organically in Italy’s Marche region near the Adriatic coast, where his family has been making Verdicchio for generations. For this micro-production, later harvest version, he uses free run juice from older vines, which he lets ripen an extra month to develop additional body and structure. The resulting wine has all the beautiful acidity typical of a Verdicchio, but with unexpected depth and complexity. This year’s vintage is particularly beguiling, with rich, ripe aromas, beautiful texture, and a lushness that is balanced by its vibrant acidity. Enjoy it with rich seafood dishes, such as lightly seared scallops with lemon and olive oil, calamari, or vegetarian fare. (The complexity of this wine shows best if it is not served too cold.) $18.50

2018 La Quercia, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva — This month we revisit the much loved reserve Montepulciano from this small, organically-farmed estate in the Abruzzo region on central Italy’s rugged east coast. Winemaker Antonio Lamona prunes the 40-year-old vines that go into this wine to a miniscule yield of about two thirds of a bottle per plant! He then ages the wine for 12 months in large Slavonian oak barrels, plus an additional year in stainless steel. The result is a rich, full-bodied wine with dark fruit flavors, juicy tannins, and a wonderful earthy character from the older vines. He doesn’t produce a lot of this wine and only a small amount makes it to the U.S. each year. It’s a great match for roast pork, tapenade, or other savory fare. $19.75

2015 Bodegas Hidalgo, Tradición H, Rioja Reserva — Bodegas Hidalgo is a historic estate founded in 1792 in Andalusia, on Spain’s southern coast, where they are known for their sherries. But this wine comes from their property in Rioja Alta, the highest part of the Rioja region in the northern mountains. It is made from 70-year-old bush vines and spends the required 24 months in a mix of American (70%) and French (30%) oak. A traditional Rioja, almost all Tempranillo with just a bit of Garnacha and Graciano, it is a savory mix of red and dried fruit, baking spices, grilled herbs, and black olive flavors. With good acidity and balanced tannins that soften as it opens up, it’s a good match for rustic dishes like grilled game sausage, and roast pork, or even hamburgers. $22

2019 Mas des Volques, Esus, Duché d’Uzès — Nicolas Souchon was a young oenologist working in Châteauneuf-du-Pape when he decided to start his own winery. His family had vineyards on the other side of the Rhône River in Duché d’Uzès, a small appellation north of Nîmes that runs from the Pont du Gard west to the foothills of the Cévennes. With the assistance of wine consultant Philippe Cambie, Souchon founded Mas des Volques, naming it after the ruins of a Gallic village found on the property. The site, with warm days and cool nights, produces wines with great freshness and finesse. This blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan is smooth and full-bodied, with notes of rich dark fruit, licorice, and a nice touch of earthiness. Enjoy it over the next few years with braised lamb shanks with fresh herbs and sautéed garlic, onions, and carrots, served with creamy polenta. $17

2020 Lovely Creatures, Cabernet Sauvignon — This wine comes from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. The name Lovely Creatures is a nod to an album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, but the wine, they explain, is an “homage to the often-overlooked critters that make up the ecosystem of a vineyard.” It is made by Stephanie Wiid whose wines are noted for their intensity and elegance. This Cab comes from a single vineyard, on the slopes of Simonsberg Mountain, with red, decomposed granite soil. Aged 12 months in neutral French oak, it is textured and nuanced, with dark fruit flavors, hints of licorice and herbs, and great minerality from the granite soil. $15

2020 Domaine Jean Aubron, Sauvignon Blanc, Vieilles Vignes — The Loire Valley stretches 300 miles from east to west in central France and produces some of the top Sauv Blancs in the world from the eastern regions of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. So we were surprised to find this one from Vallet, in Muscadet, a region near the Atlantic coast known primarily for its wines made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. The Aubron family has been tending vines here since 1843 and while their focus is on Muscadet, they also produce this certified organic Sauv Blanc, from 40+ year-old vines grown on gabbro and volcanic soils. It has bright acidity and refreshing citrus notes, but is also nicely textured with softer notes of orchard fruit. Like Sancerre and Muscadet, it’s a perfect seafood wine. $13.50