Collector’s Club – January 2023

2018 Jean-Michel Dupré, Morgon, Côte du Puy — France’s Beaujolais region lies to the south of Burgundy and its best wines come from one of ten villages, or crus — the highest classification for wines from the region.

The cru of Morgon is known for its richer, fuller-bodied wines, which grow on the local manganese and iron rich soil. And the Côte du Py, a little hill of very old blue schist soil in the heart of Morgon, produces some of the cru’s most esteemed wines. This 100% Gamay comes from 50-year-old vines in Dupré’s “La Briratte” vineyard. The wine undergoes carbonic maceration for ten days and about 30% is aged in wooden vats to soften the tannins. The result is a generous, juicy, aromatic wine, with notes of fresh cherries and wonderful minerality. This is an amazing value for a Côte du Py, and it would be perfect with boeuf Bourguignon, leg of lamb, duck, or game. $24

2016 Vignalta, Rosso Riserva — Vignalta was founded in 1980 by Lucio Gomiero in Colli Euganei, a group of hills of volcanic origin on the Venetian plain of northern Italy. Lucio had always loved the red wines of Bordeaux. Lucky for him, because his estate is located at roughly the same latitude as Bordeaux, those varieties thrive in his vineyards as well, and his focus has been on producing wines from Bordeaux grapes. This Riserva is 60% Merlot and 40% Cab Sauv and, being from the 2016 vintage, it already has some mellowing age on it. The wine is warm and bold, with complex notes of black cherries, spice, and a hint of licorice. The tannins are firm but balanced, and it has great minerality. Perfect for red meat dishes or perhaps roasted duck with a cherry reduction. $24

2020 Convergence Zone Cellars, Three Forks GSM Blend — Convergence Zone is a family-owned and operated winery in North Bend established in 2010. Winemaker Scott Greenberg got his start at the Northwest Wine Academy and now has access to fruit from some of the state’s top vineyards. Given its sources, this Rhône-style red blend is an amazing value. It is 50% Grenache from Ciel du Cheval, 30% Mourvèdre from Weinbau, and 20% Syrah from Dineen vineyard, aged in mostly neutral American oak, with some neutral French oak and some large French oak puncheons. It is round, smooth, and very balanced, with notes of red and black fruit, a touch of spice, and a hint of grilled meat. The savory flavors continue to evolve as it opens up. Enjoy with your favorite winter fare. $17

2019 Gerardo Cesari, Justo — Cesari was founded in 1936 by Gerardo Cesari in Italy’s northern Veneto region, with a goal of producing world class Amarone, the rich, intense red wine made from the concentrated juice of carefully dried grapes. Today the winery has over 100 hectares of hillside vineyards in the Valpolicella appellation, planted mostly to local grapes, with a small amount of international varieties. Their “Justo” is 60% Corvina (the predominant grape in wines from Valpolicella) and 40% Merlot. The name is a combination of the English word “just” and the Italian word giusto (or “right”) meaning “just right.” It is made in the appassimento style, in which the grapes are dried, in this case around 20 days, before being vinified. The result is a smooth, intense, Ripasso-like wine, with flavors of dark ripe fruit and notes of spice. Perfect with game, grilled meats, or hearty stews. $14

2020 Albamar, Sauvignon Blanc — Albamar is based in Chile’s Casablanca Valley, located about 60 miles northwest of Santiago. The valley runs east to west, and is strongly influenced by the cooling effect of the Pacific Ocean. The long growing season and cool afternoon breezes help grapes grown here develop excellent acidity and it has become a sought after source for white grapes in Chile, especially for Sauvignon Blanc, which thrives here. Albamar focuses on cool climate grape varieties, and their crisp, clean wines are produced almost exclusively from their own estate fruit, rare to find at this price point. This Sauv Blanc is refreshing and crisp, with complex flavors of orchard fruit and citrus, and great, food-friendly acidity. Perfect for seafood, or with chicken dishes or appetizers. $13

2021 Bodegas Shaya, Arindo, Verdejo — This winery is part of Gil Family Estates—a group of small wineries throughout Spain committed to preserving their indigenous grape varieties and producing wines of character that also represent great value. Shaya was founded in 2008 in the Rueda zone of north central Spain, a region known for its white wines made from the Verdejo grape. Because the soil here is deep, sandy clay, the vines tend to resist phylloxera and many are older, ungrafted plantings. This 100% Verdejo is rich and textured, with notes of ripe orchard fruit and good, balancing minerality. A refreshing pairing for seafood, fish tacos, Asian fare, or Manchego cheese. $12