Collector’s Club – May 2023

2020 Corona del Valle, Mezcla de Tintos — We recently had one of our ever-popular tastings of Mexican wines and this red was by far the star of the evening.

It comes from Mexico’s Valle del Guadalupe, where winemaking dates back over 200 years. The region lies about 75 miles south of San Diego with a Mediterranean-type climate tempered by the marine influence of the Pacific. Corona del Valle was founded by the Corona family in 2009 in Ensenada, where the Valle del Guadelupe meets the Pacific Ocean. While most of their wines are single varietals, this wine is a blend of 35% Tempranillo, 35% Merlot, 20% Malbec, and 10% Grenache. Soft and aromatic, with notes of plum and cherries, it would be a great match for red meats, roasted eggplant, or grilled vegetables. $21

2020 Paul Jaboulet Aîné, “Parallèle 45” Côtes du Rhône Blanc — This estate dates back to 1834 when Antoine Jaboulet began growing vines in a small plot on the hills of Hermitage in France’s northern Rhône valley. Over the years it became, along with Guigal and Chapoutier, one of three great family-owned merchant houses in the region. In 2006 the estate was acquired by Jean-Jacques Frey whose daughter Caroline now oversees winemaking. The “Parallèlle 45” line, named for the latitude of the estate’s cellars near Tain l’Hermitage, represents their commitment to value Rhône wines. The white is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne, Clairette, Marsanne, and Bourboulenc. Aged in stainless steel, it is bright, fresh, and aromatic, with notes of orchard fruit, inviting body and texture, and nice stony minerality. Great for seafood, shellfish, or roast chicken. $17

2021 Sonder Wines, Field Blend — Riley Miller established Sonder in 2016 after being inspired by the “lo-fi” wine movement in Australia, an unofficial term that refers to wines made with minimal manipulation or additions. Riley wanted to create Washington wines that are “driven by simplicity and authenticity” and showcase each vineyard and the specific vintage. As the label notes, this wine is a field blend — the different grapes are all picked at the same time and fermented together in the same vessel, thus the exact breakdown is unknown. But it is a blend of red and white Rhône grapes: Counoise, Grenache, Cinsault, Viognier, and Roussanne, from two vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills. Aged five months in neutral French oak puncheons and stainless steel, it is ripe, tasty, and balanced, with notes of bright red fruit and a hint of peppery spice. A very versatile food wine. $19.75

2020 Antonio Sanguinetti, Nessun Dorma — Tuscan winemaker Antonio Sanguineti is the Italian partner of our friends at Small Vineyards, an importer headquartered right here on Alki. His wines are often found on our shelves and in our clubs, and sometimes Anotonio makes an appearance himself, when he’s not home in Tuscany listening to opera, racing cars, or making wine. In fact, he poured this vibrant red here at a tasting last month. It is half Sangiovese, with 30% Merlot and 20% Syrah, sourced from three sites in the Maremma, in southern Tuscany. He named it for his favorite aria (from Puccini’s Turandot). The Merlot adds elegance and floral notes and the Syrah contributes depth and body to the fresh, bright Sangiovese. With its smooth notes of forest floor, ripe cherry, and blackberry, it’s a perfect wine for spinach and mushroom ravioli with Parmesan or chicken marsala. $19

2018 El Coto de Rioja, Crianza — El Coto was founded in 1970 and is now the largest landowner in Rioja, with properties in each of the three Rioja sub regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja, and Rioja Alavesa. This 100% Tempranillo is a blend of fruit from all three regions. It is aged 12 months in American oak, the minimum for a Crianza by Rioja DO rules, plus they age the wine an additional six months in the bottle before release. This result is a smooth, juicy wine, with layers of raspberry, cherry, and spice, and a hint of toasted oak. It has exceptional depth and balance for a Crianza and is perfect for a variety of meats, especially jamón. $16

2021 La Valentina, Peccorino — La Valentina is based in Abruzzo on Italy’s Adriatic coast. Their focus is on the traditional grapes of the region, including Pecorino, a grape that was once on the verge of extinction but is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. It’s become quite popular in the shop, too, both for its body and complexity, and as a great match for seafood. This one, from the Pescara hills (Colline Pescaresi), is certified organic and is aged two months on the lees, adding complexity and weight to the inherent freshness of the wine. Aromatic with inviting texture, it’s perfect for white fish, but is also a good match for aged cheeses, chicken, and even charcuterie. $17