Specialty Club – December 2022

2019 Rhonéa, Roque Colombe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, $60

Winery Info: Rhonéa is a cooperative in France’s southern Rhône Valley that began in the 1920s with a handful of winemaking families.    

The project passed down through generations and today includes over 388 artisan winemakers with over 7,000 acres of combined vineyards spread throughout the Rhône region. Its creative and innovative model encourages its members to share their expertise and experience and to collaborate on new ideas and innovation. This wine is part of their Signature range of wines, which aims to convey the character of each appellation in a fruity, expressive, and food-friendly style. Final blending of the wines is done with chefs from the Disciples d’Escoffier to ensure each wine is associated with the world of gastronomy from the start.

Grapes: A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, aged in oak barrels for around 18 months.

Vineyard: Grown in classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards, with sandy soils and covered with round galet stones on the surface.

Flavor Profile: Complex and spicy, with notes of dark fruit (plums and blackcurrants), licorice, and a hint of smoke. It increases in complexity as it opens up, adding nice notes of garrigue, earthy minerality, and a long finish.

Availability: This wine should be available for at least a few more months.

Drinking Window: Delicious now, or over the next five years.

Food Pairing: The winery suggests duck breast, roasted beef with rosemary, or beetroot carpaccio.

2021 Neumeister, Vulkanland Steiermark, Sauvignon Blanc, Straden, $35

Winery Info: Neumeister is based in the town of Straden, in Eastern Styria (Steirmark) in the southeast corner of Austria. Today it is run by Christoph Neumeister, the third generation of his family to oversee the estate. His production is 90% white wines, with a major focus on Sauvignon Blanc, which he farms organically on steep vineyards in and around Straden. The winery is a member in the STK organization, a collective of growers dedicated to responsible farming and social issues. The members all pledge to adhere to strict, mutually agreed upon guidelines regarding farming techniques and practices.

Grapes: 100% Sauvignon Blanc, using native yeasts and extended lees contact. Aged in large, used oak casks for up to a year.

Vineyard: From the Vulkanland subzone of Styria, on steep slopes with limestone and chalk soils and deposits from long-extinct volcanoes. It is a difficult site to cultivate and all harvesting is done manually, with very small yields.

Flavor Profile: The vineyard site, with cool winds from the Alps and moderating breezes from the Adriatic Sea to the south, has a long growing season in which the grapes develop full flavor and complexity. Spontaneous fermentation and about 24 hours maceration on the skins adds further depth and concentration. It has the fresh citrus notes you’d expect from Sauv Blanc, but with more structure and texture, plus subtle notes of spice, an underlying stony minerality, and a clear sense of terroir.

Availability: This wine is in limited supply going forward.

Drinking Window: Delicious now, or you could cellar it for four to five more years.

Food Pairing: Great with poached cod with potatoes and leeks, or perhaps brandade.