What to Look for in February

Ancient-Earth-Front-Label-July-2016This month The International Wine of the Month Club is pleased to deliver an exceptionally diverse portfolio of quality wines to its Premier Series members. To begin this month’s adventure is the 2014 Bellingham Ancient Earth Pinotage Shiraz, a crowd-pleasing red with a nearly opaque purple and ruby-highlighted robe. An intriguing blend of Pinotage (80%) and Shiraz (20%), this juicy red wine offers deep berry tones, hints of forest floor and wood smoke in its aromatic profile to complement its eye-catching color With a just a bit of aeration, deep black cherry and mulberry flavors emerge on the palate – all wrapped in a light patina of oak. The result is a wine of overt charm and a smooth texture that finishes with real panache. No wonder Stephen Tanzer awarded 90 Points to the 2014 Ancient Earth Pinotage Shiraz

Our next Premier Series offering is the 2014 Franklin Tate Estates Margaret River Chardonnay from Australia’s most lauded wine region. Margaret River’s temperate climate and formidable terroir yield balanced wines, which combine the finest in New and Old World winemaking. The 2014 Franklin Tate Estates Margaret River Chardonnay offers more than a mere glimpse into the region’s traditional style of Chardonnay, whereby all of this wine’s attributes contribute to its overall success with no characteristic dominating another. With a bright medium-straw color and glint of green, Franklin Estates’ 2014 Margaret River Chardonnay resembles more a white Burgundy than a Chardonnay from California or elsewhere. This Margaret River Chardonnay offers a complex set of aromatics: hints of citrus, nectarine, spring flowers and hazelnuts meld with scents of freshly baked bread and creamy oak from partial barrel fermentation in new and old French barriques. Pure fruit, nougat and mineral tones present themselves on the palate. Lithe yet satisfying, the 2014 Franklin Tate Estates Margaret River Chardonnay captures the unique character, quality and style one can expect from Margaret River.

Next in this month’s exciting portfolio is the 2013 Boccadigabbia Rosso Piceno. A traditional red wine from Italy’s Marches, the 2013 Rosso Piceno Boccadigabbia does the Marches proud. Boccadigabbia makes the finest and fullest Rosso Piceno around. The opaque 2013 Boccadigabbia Rosso Piceno is bold, brooding, and thoroughly packed with flavor, yet it also offers a level of sophistication and suavity. It provides entrancing deep down scents of black fruits, tinged with licorice and truffle. In the mouth, it appears equally full, rich, and immensely flavorful, where it yields savory notes of black fruits, earth, roses, violets, and forest woodlands, which meld harmoniously with the wine’s substantial tannins to offer an authoritative, powerful finish. Without a doubt, Boccadigabbia sets the bar for Rosso Piceno.

Rounding out this month’s Premier Series offerings is the 2014 Domaine Dyckerhoff Reuilly from the diminutive 450-acre French appellation of Reuilly. Situated along the upper reaches of the Loire River, Reuilly was once considered “the poor man’s Sancerre,” but it is now a shining source of elegant, balanced Sauvignon Blanc as the 2014 Domaine Dyckerhoff Reuilly can attest. From the superb 2014 vintage, Dyckerhoff’s 2014 Reuilly offers soft scents of crisp mountain apples and spring flowers. On the palate, pure fruit and herbal flavors emerge where they mingle with a gentle minerality and a light fresh acidity to afford balance and delicacy to this superb Sauvignon Blanc. Elegant, easy and delightfully engaging, the 2014 Dyckerhoff Reuilly plays counterpoint to some of the more aggressive, sometimes off-putting Sauvignon Blanc wines from elsewhere.

Galena-frt-label-(1)The International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors Series is pleased to offer three rare and exceptional selections in February. To lead the way is the 2013 Galena Priorat from Spain’s rugged, starkly beautiful Priorat. The 2013 Galena Priorat boasts an intense dark cherry color that expresses the extroverted nature of the land. The wine’s remarkable aromatic allure offers a wealth of aromatic complexity in the form of black fruits, cranberry, exotic spices and a refreshing minerality. In the mouth, one tastes and feels the essence of the land; deep down fruit flavors mingle with a vibrant minerality imbued with touches of spice and wild herb. Powerful, yet supremely balanced, the 2013 Galena Priorat drinks remarkably well now but will evolve favorably in the bottle for more than a decade. Not surprisingly, Wine Spectator awarded the 2013 Galena 92 Points.

Our next February Collectors Series offering is a rare and highly allocated Grand Cru Alsace Riesling from Emile Beyer, one of Alsace’s premier domains. Alsace Rieslings bear little resemblance to the inexpensive German Rieslings of yesteryear and most are fermented dry. The 2014 Emile Beyer Grand Cru Pfersigberg Alsace Riesling is delightfully dry and meant to be enjoyed at table with a splendid meal. Hauntingly beautiful in aroma, delicate and complex in flavor, Emile Beyer’s 2014 Grand Cru Pfersigberg Riesling offers an enthralling potpourri of spring flowers, orchard fruits, cardamom, and pure fruit and mineral flavors to delight the nose and palate. Balanced acidity with the mouthwatering freshness of lemon zest adds crispness and lift to the wine’s refreshing finish. With a glass of Emile Beyer’s Pfersigberg Grand Cru Riesling, put aside all preconceived notions of the noble Riesling varietal and discover the grape’s true beauty, without the residual sugar.

Rounding out this month’s exceptional Collectors Series is the superb 2012 Fisher Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, which not only exemplifies the greatness of Fisher’s high elevation mountain fruit, it offers all fortunate enough to acquire a bottle of this highly allocated offering a taste of one of California’s quintessential Meritage or Bordeaux blends. A deeply saturated purple robe first greets the eye and is followed by a bouquet that gloriously wafts from the glass. A deep, dense wine, the 2012 Fisher Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon offers plenty of savory scents and flavors to gratify the senses. Rich blackberry, cassis, wood smoke, tobacco, incense and wild herb flavors well up to greet the nose and grace the palate. Concentrated, yet smooth and rich, Fisher’s Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon possesses concentration, depth, and precision with just the right amount of tannin and verve to offer a long, lingering, expressive finish. Not surprisingly, the 2012 Fisher Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon earned 93 points from Antonio Galloni at Vinous.

What to Look For In January

stephano-farina-le-brumeEach month The International Wine of the Month Club delivers to our members the finest quality and value wines available from around the world.  This January we are especially pleased with the rich and varied selection in The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series.  The 2011 Stefano Farina Langhe Le Brume, a crowd pleasing blend of Barbera and Nebbiolo from Italy’s Piedmont, begins this month’s experience. Silky smooth and rich in flavor, the medium-bodied 2011 Stefano Farina Langhe Le Brume combines the attributes of Piedmont’s top varietals into one delicious red wine.  Deep in color, enticing in aroma and gratifying in flavor, the 2011 Le Brume offers a compote reminiscent of dried cherry, red berries and plum imbued with hints of cedar and forest floor.  Add touches of cocoa and dark chocolate and wrap it all up in a light patina of vanilla from 12 months of oak barrel ageing and Le Brume is one succulent red wine.

Our next Premier Series offering is the 2015 Ottosoldi Gavi D.O.C.G. from Italy’s Piedmont.  Ottosoldi’s 2015 Gavi embodies the essence of the elegant Cortese varietal, as it offers the supreme balance for which the Cortese from Gavi is renowned.  Fragrant with delicate floral and orchard fruit scents (think summer apples, apricots, and pears), the wine’s haunting aroma is sure to elicit a smile.  And given the warmth of the 2015 vintage, the 2015 Ottosoldi Gavi comes across on the palate as juicy and fleshy but with equal portions of acidity and vivacity to preserve Gavi’s fresh, ethereal quality.  We are not alone in our effusive praise of this wine; James Suckling just awarded the 2015 Ottosoldi Gavi 93 points.  Taste and see why Ottosoldi’s 2015 Gavi may be the best white wine value of the year.

Next in this month’s exciting quartet is the 2014 Bodegas Tridente Castilla Y Leon Tempranillo, a Juan Gil wine from old vines. Tridente has always been one of Juan Gils’ most compelling wines and one of the world’s best bargains in old vine Tempranillo.  As soon as the cork exits the bottle and splashes joyfully into the glass, the 2014 Tridente Tempranillo captivates the eye as well as the nose.  It greets the eager taster with a saturated purple robe and a redolence that brings both joy and anticipation.  Scents of ripe black fruits mixed with incense and sweet balsamic notes tantalize the eager nose and foreshadow the wine’s broad voluminous flavors.  In the mouth, concentrated blackberry and crème-de-cassis flavors infused with deft touches of graphite and toasted oak caress the palate.  Concentrated, powerful, yet quite smooth with nary an edge, the 2014 Tridente Tempranillo provides ample testimony to the glory of old vine Tempranillo from Castilla Y Leon.

Rounding out this month’s Premier Series offerings is the 2015 Maison Gilles Noblet Macon-Fuissé, a delightful white Burgundy.  Gilles Noblet, a man not given to brash statements or hyperbole commented: “The 2015 Macon wines are the finest I have produced in 37 years.” Excellency and consistency are truly Gilles Noblet’s calling cards, and there is no doubt that the 2015 vintage yielded exceptional quality throughout Burgundy.  The 2015 Maison Gilles Noblet Macon-Fuissé is a true classic – fuller and riper than normal due to reduced yields but still in possession of the elegance and precision that make Noblet’s wines so compelling.  Although an absolute delight to drink now, Maison Noblet’s 2015 Macon-Fuissé will continue to develop in bottle and offer exceptional drinking pleasure through 2018 and beyond.

obsidian-ridge-cabernet-sauvignon-2013The International Wine of the Month Club’s Collector Series is pleased to offer three exceptional and uniquely different selections in January.  The 2013 Obsidian Ridge Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon spearheads this month’s highly acclaimed selections.  The words “idyllic” and “near-perfect” flow from the mouths of viticulturists and winemakers alike in describing the 2013 vintage in Northern California and this month’s offering provides the proof.  The 2013 Obsidian Ridge Estate Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon ranks among the finest ever produced from this splendid vineyard that straddles Napa and Lake Counties.  From a well of deep purple springs entrancing aromas of blackberry, blueberry, fennel and roasted coffee coupled with hints of cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla.  On the palate, the 2013 Obsidian Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon explodes, offering equal parts flesh and bone.  Plenty of juicy blackberry fruit is backed up by ripe, authoritative tannins. This wine drinks beautifully now but will handsomely reward tasters who are savvy enough to lay some bottles away for years to come.

Our next January Collector Series offering is a rare and highly allocated white Burgundy, the 2011 Thomas Morey Premier Cru Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes.  Thomas Morey’s 2011 Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes hails from the Premier Cru vineyard adjacent to Le Montrachet, the world’s most illustrious terroir.  More importantly, Morey’s Les Chenevottes epitomizes elegance and breed – the qualities that have made white Burgundy the world’s most renowned Chardonnay and earned Thomas Morey’s 2011 Les Chenevottes numerous accolades, including 90 points from Wine Spectator and Stephen Tanzer.  From the moment it is poured the 2011 Thomas Morey Les Chenevottes delights the eye, offers a sparkling sun-kissed robe, and provides an entrancing bouquet of ripe citrus and poached pear along with hints of spice and wood smoke.  With each sip, this wine caresses the palate with gentle fruit and soft, seductive, mineral driven flavors.  Although quite refined and deceptively ethereal when first poured, Thomas Morey’s world-class Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chenevottes takes on weight in the glass and delights the palate with complex flavors that continually escalate as the wine reaches ambient temperature.  A rare find!

Completing this month’s Collector Series is the 2012 Château Beauregard Ducasse Graves, an elegant, sophisticated red Bordeaux that provides ample evidence as to why Graves remains the consummate favorite of Bordeaux connoisseurs.  In classic Graves fashion the 2012 Château Beauregard Ducasse offers both flavor and finesse, without the searing tannins of its younger Medoc siblings.  This Château Beauregard Ducasse displays a deep ruby robe and a delightful bouquet, resplendent with enticing fruit and earth tones, which may make you wonder if the aroma alone isn’t worth the cost of the wine.  Balanced and full of savory flavors that expand in the mouth, the medium-bodied 2012 Château Beauregard Ducasse is a true Bordeaux classic.  With a bit of aeration, it offers up a delightful mélange of blackcurrant fruit, cedar, mineral, smoked herbs, and a touch of toasted oak to frame the wine’s soft dry tannins.  This is the ideal wine for an elegant dinner party.

Salud!
Don

What to Look For In December

casa-silva-cuvee-colchagua-carmenere-2014Each month The International Wine of the Month Club strives to deliver the very finest quality and highest value wines from around the world to our members. This month of December, we are especially pleased with the rich and varied selection of wines The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series has to offer. The first is the 2014 Casa Silva Cuvée Colchagua Carmenère, an outstanding blend of Carmenère from estate vineyards that earned 90 Points from Wine Spectator and other magazines and critics. The 2014 Casa Silva Cuvée Colchagua exhibits Carmenère’s deep purple color with ruby highlights and provides a feast for the nose as well as the palate. From the moment it splashes into the glass, it offers up a heady bouquet of rich red fruits, ripe blackberries, red bell peppers, woodland herbs, and subtle spices that prepare the palate for the rich cornucopia of flavors that will soon grace the mouth: forest berries mingle with subtle earth tones and delicate notes of coffee and dark chocolate, all wrapped in ripe tannins. From Casa Silva and their renowned oenologist Mario Geise, dubbed The King of Caremenère, it is hard to imagine a more exciting young Carmenère than the 2014 Casa Silva Cuvée Colchagua.

Our next Premier Series feature is either the 2014 or 2015 Mura Cheremi Vermentino di Gallura from the mystical island of Sardinia where the Vermentino varietal produces outstanding white wine. Both the 2014 and 2015 vintages of Mura Cheremi Vermentino di Gallura impress with their rich straw color, amplifying aromatics, and full-bodied structure. Floral notes with hints of summer flowers, lychee, and citrus blossoms dominate the nose, before they flow effortlessly into the wine’s flavor profile. On the palate, crisp acidity and pinpoint minerality meet Cheremi’s floral freshness, adding an entirely new dimension to this wine, which finishes dry and with real authority. The 2014 Mura Cheremi Vermentino di Gallura received 90 points from Vinous and Italian wine expert Antonio Galloni and the newly released 2015 Mura Cheremi Vermentino di Gallura is every bit as compelling as the 2014.

Next in this month’s quartet is the 2015 Domaine de Servans Côtes du Rhône, a classically wrought Côtes-du-Rhône that is pure pleasure to drink. All of the grapes for this wine were organically grown and harvested from two different parcels from around the domain and a nearby vineyard. With a high percentage of Syrah in the 2015 Domaine de Servans Côtes du Rhône, this wine displays depth and concentration. In the mouth, rich blackberry notes give way to deep red cherry flavors and touches of black pepper and spice. Even with the wine’s concentration and youthful power, its tannins remain very supple and round in the finish. In short, we would be hard-pressed to find a more delightful young Côtes-du- Rhône than the 2015 Domaine de Servans.

Rounding out this month’s offerings is the 2015 Dei Martiena, a highly allocated, tiny production white wine from one of Tuscany’s most renowned estates. The impressive 2015 Dei Martiena captures the glow and positive energy that radiates from Caterina Dei and her beloved estate. We first discovered Martiena at lunch with Caterina Dei at her winery and thought it one of Montepulciano’s best kept secrets. While there is no shortage of wonderful Tuscan reds, fine Tuscan white wines such as Martiena are harder to come by. The 2015 Martiena positively glows in the glass. Even more impressive is Martiena’s fresh, vitalizing aromatics: soft scents of apple, yellow plum and wild flowers. In the mouth the 2015 Martiena refreshes the palate and enlivens the senses with a beautiful combination of fruit, minerals, and bright acidity, all of which tantalize the tongue and exit with the sensual energy of a well-sung aria.

valenciso-reserva-nvThe International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors Series is pleased to offer three exceptional and uniquely different selections in December. The 2009 Valenciso Rioja Reserva leads this month’s selection, a wine that embodies much of the confidence, personality, and charm of master winemaker Luis Valentin, one of the most engaging and meticulous winemakers we have ever encountered. The newly released 2009 Valenciso Rioja Reserva was awarded a Gold Medal at the Sommelier Wine Awards, the UK’s first point of reference for the trade. The warmer than average 2009 vintage yielded a very expansive 2009 Valenciso Reserva, a wine with a nose that works its magic from the moment it is poured and never stops expanding. The bouquet alone on this Valenciso Reserva is worth the price of admission. Produced from 100% Tempranillo, this Rioja delights the nose with savory scents of red and black fruits, woodland berries, sandalwood, violets, cinnamon and other exotic spices. In the mouth, the wine displays a beautiful, super smooth texture as it unfolds slowly and persistently in true Rioja Alta fashion to reveal a wellspring of fruit, spice, and warm wood flavors. Moreover, layers of complex flavors tantalize the palate and linger long after the wine slips down the throat. Once again, Valenciso’s Reserva strikes the ideal balance between fruit and structure, characteristics that have consistently earned Valenciso international acclaim and 90+ ratings year in and year out.

Our next December Collectors Series offering is the bold, full-bodied 2014 Miner Napa Valley Chardonnay, a wine that earned Gold in the 2016 New York Wine Competition. Miner’s 2014 Napa Valley Chardonnay is sourced from select low-yielding vineyards in Napa Valley and offers everything one could ask for in Napa Valley Chardonnay. It provides an enticing set of aromatics followed by golden apple, ripe honeydew melon and zesty citrus flavors, all gently balanced by deft touches of sweet butter and toasty French oak. In addition, veteran winemakers Gary Brookman and Stacy Vogel use malolactic fermentation in moderation to retain the wine’s bright acidity, a practice that adds complexity and lift to the wine’s lush concentrated flavors. Since 2013, the Riedel Wine Glass Company exclusively uses Miner Family wines at its proprietary comparative glassware tasting events and at select events officially endorsed by the Riedel name in the United States.

Rounding out or should we say filling out this month’s Collectors Series is the 2014 Nugan Estate Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz, a deep purple potion made in the style of Italy’s legendary Amarone. The 2014 Nugan Estate Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz not only sports the deep nearly impenetrable robe and power of traditional Amarone, it trumps many of Italy’s more renowned Amarone in both aroma and depth of flavor. With thirty minutes of aeration, Nugan’s Dried Grape Shiraz offers up an electrifying perfume of blackcurrant, dried cherry, rose petal, and forest woodlands. Even more satisfying is how this wine fills the mouth with layer upon layer of deep juicy liqueur-like flavors that satiate the senses. Thick and rich, but not sweet, the 2014 Nugan Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz offers spectacular fruit, velvety tannins, and a long satisfying finish that just won’t quit. Not surprisingly, the highly allocated 2014 Nugan Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, all of which have garnered high praise from critics and 90+ ratings.

Salud!
Don

What to Look For In November

casas-del-bosque-reserva-pinot-noir-2015-editedIn November, The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series offers four exciting wines from around the world. The first is the 2015 Casas del Bosque Reserva Pinot Noir. For centuries France dominated the production of world-class Pinot Noir. Burgundy and Champagne were the only games in town until California and Oregon got in the act, followed by Tasmania and others. Now, it is Chile’s turn. Casas del Bosque has fashioned a riveting Pinot in their 2015 Casas del Bosque Reserva Pinot Noir from Casablanca Valley. Medium to full-bodied, this 2015 Pinot offers a savory nose along with plenty of juicy cherry and raspberry flavors, beautiful spice tones, fine texture, and ripe tannins. Youthful, exuberant and full of varietal flavor, it is easy to see why the 2015 Casas del Bosque Reserva Pinot Noir has received numerous 90+ ratings, including 92 Points from James Suckling.

Our next Premier Series feature is Krone’s 2015 Borealis Vintage Cuvée Brut. As a real star, this serious sparkling wine shines and sparkles with Champagne flavor and style. Not only is Krone’s Borealis Vintage Brut comprised of Champagne’s traditional cépage of Chardonnay (60%) and Pinot Noir (40%), whereby only free run juice makes it into the cuvée, the Borealis Vintage Cuvée is totally bottle-fermented Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) in the time-honored Champagne tradition of production. Elegant, flavorful, and delightful to the eye and palate, it is hard to imagine a finer, more affordable Champagne-style sparkling wine than the 2015 Borealis Vintage Cuvée Brut.

Next in this month’s quartet is the bold, beautiful 2013 Cambridge Cellars Elsbree Vineyard Russian River Zinfandel. Zinfandel is California’s own special variety and there is no better place to find exceptional Zinfandel than in California’s Russian River Valley. The 2013 Cambridge Cellars Elsbree Vineyard Russian River Valley Zinfandel provides ample testimony to support that claim, as it is deeply colored, beautifully balanced, vibrant and rich in flavor. One hardly notices the wine’s 14.9% alcohol as it delivers up an enticing bouquet of blueberry and black currant fruit, warm spices and hints of black pepper. On the palate, the youthful Elsbree Vineyard Zinfandel exhibits more of its structure, but never loses its composure; this Zin strikes a fine balance between red and black fruits, spice and tannin in the mouth. Best of all, it unfolds quickly in the glass, becoming deeper and more authoritative with each sip.

Rounding out this month’s offerings is the 2015 Cantarutti Collio Orientali Ribolla Gialla. This rare varietal from Italy’s Collio Orientali offers a rich, eye-catching color and a harmonious aroma redolent with the scents of stone fruits and minerals along with hints of exotic spices. On the palate, the 2015 Cantarutti Ribolla Gialla reveals fine, textured fruit flavors, which provide a more luxurious feel than the more familiar Pinot Grigio and other lighter white wines from northern Italy. Medium-bodied and pleasantly dry, this wine lingers a bit on the palate and ends on a savory note. In typical Collio fashion, a glass of Cantarutti’s Ribolla Gialla invokes the beauty and sunshine of summer in Collio.

les-combes-d-arnevel-chateauneuf-du-pape-2012The International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors Series is pleased to offer three beautiful but uniquely different selections in November. The 2012 Combes d’Arnevel Châteauneuf-du-Pape begins this month’s odyssey, as it cuts a beautiful figure in the glass and captivates all of the senses. This is a smooth, savory Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Jerome Quiot who in the excellent 2012 vintage has taken full advantage of nature’s bounty. Savory scents of black cherry, spring flowers, and Provençal herbs dominate the wine’s enchanting bouquet, while hints of garrigue and wild herbs blend with the wine’s kirsch-like flavors in the mouth. Medium-bodied and impeccably balanced, the 2012 Les Combes D’Arnevel Châteauneuf-du-Pape happily harkens back to a more traditional style of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Our next November Collectors Series offering is the non-vintage Comte Audoin de Dampierre Grande Cuvée Brut, a serious, complex Champagne that offers a delicate and persistent mousse, exquisite texture, delicious fruit, and pinpoint minerality, all of which render Dampierre’s Grande Cuvée irresistibly delicious. Both zesty and compelling in aroma and flavor, the Dampierre Grande Cuvée is a wine that can be enjoyed at any time of day. Pour a glass of Dampierre’s Grande Cuvée, take a sip, and then allow this elixir to bloom in the glass like a flower unfolds on a warm spring day. No wonder this Champagne earns high marks everywhere it goes.

Rounding out or should we say filling out this month’s Collectors Series is the 2013 Shatter Côtes de Catalanes Grenache from the South of France. This bold red tops out at 15.6% alcohol, but one wouldn’t know it from tasting it… that is until one had consumed a good bit of it. Rich, robust, but smooth on the palate, the opaque, nearly black 2013 Shatter offers up an enticing aroma of dark cherries and ripe plums infused with a light, pleasant herbal quality. In the mouth, Shatter is unctuous, rich, and robust, as its opulent fruit appears front and center before being artfully framed by ripe tannins and just the right touch of oak. Layered, long and lingering on the palate, the 2013 Shatter Grenache is no wilting flower.

Salud!
Don

What to Look For In October

montana-rioja-crianza-2012In October, The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series offers four superlative wines. The first is the 2012 Bodegas Montaña Rioja Crianza, a blend of 97% Tempranillo and 3% Graciano. Montaña’s 2012 Crianza could easily be mistaken for a Reserva. Having spent 12 months in seasoned French oak barrels (the minimum time in barrel for Rioja to qualify as Reserva), Montaña’s Crianza exudes the warmth and velvety characteristics of a traditional Rioja Reserva. Spice, new leather and deep blackberry fruit flavors permeate the nose before seeping deep into the marrow of this wine, only to re-emerge in full force on the palate.

Our next Premier Series feature is the 2015 Martinsancho Rueda Verdejo, another unequivocal success from iconic producer Angel Rodriguez. Farmed organically, the 2015 Martinsancho sports the wine’s usual sun-splashed robe and offers a light but amplifying bouquet of apricot, citrus, spring flowers, minerals, and liquid stones to tantalize the nose. The purity and sensual appeal of Martinsancho come through in the outstanding 2015 vintage, as it is not excessive alcohol or the overlay of oak that makes Martinsancho shine; it is the supreme freshness and natural taste of the 2015 Martinsancho that renders it irresistible.

Next in this month’s quartet is the richly colored 2014 Centonze Nero d’Avola, a wine that provides more than a mere glimpse of Sicily’s viticultural renaissance. A fleshy, full-bodied red wine with a hedonistic bent, this Sleeping Beauty of a wine appears light and sleek at first but quickly blossoms, revealing a deep, powerful mid-palate that is loaded with appealing spice and fruit flavors.

Rounding out this month’s offerings is the 2015 La Cappuccina Soave. Although Soave bears the distinction of being the largest DOC in Italy for the production of white wine, only several dozen Soave producers fashion wines of superior character and quality; La Cappuccina is unquestionably one of those elite. The 2015 La Cappuccina Soave bears the beautiful golden robe of the noble Garganega grape, an enticing aroma, and velvety fruit as well as crisp acidity. This is a white wine with a lithe, gentle spirit that makes the taster beg for more.

terrer-daubert-2012The International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors Series is proud to offer three more special wines in October. The 2012 Terrer d’Aubert Cabernet Sauvignon earned 92 points and a rave review from Wine Spectator, and for good reason. It offers a wonderful bouquet, redolent with the scents of woodland blackberry, cassis, and fennel, rich savory fruit flavors mingled with hints of chocolate, tobacco and complex earth tones alongside ripe toasty tannins. A combination of unique terroir, excellent winemaking and the munificence of an outstanding vintage render the 2012 Terrer d’Aubert a very special wine.

Our next October Collectors Series offering, the 2013 Luca G Lot Tupungato, is a barrel-fermented Burgundian style Chardonnay that hails from a deserted, rock strewn vineyard in the Gualtallary district, an isolated patch of vineyard at the very top of Mendoza’s Uco Valley. The bright straw-colored 2013 Luca G Lot Chardonnay offers a mesmerizing bouquet of freshly picked white peaches, tangerines and orange zest infused with deft touches of hazelnut and spice. On the palate, the wine’s entrancing olfactory continues to work its magic, offering a delightful mélange of succulent Chardonnay fruit as well as an intriguing cornucopia of mineral and nut flavors.

Garnering 92 points from Wine Spectator, the 2011 Losada Altos de Losada rounds out this month’s Collectors Series offerings. This outstanding Altos de Losada mirrors Losada’s 2009 Altos de Losada, which Wine Enthusiast named to their list of the year’s Top 100 Wines! It offers elegance and a depth of complexity rarely found in other Bierzo wines. Simply put, it’s hard to resist this lush hedonistic Mencia, which offers pure velvety fruit flavors, subtle minerality and spice, and ample structure in the form of fine-grained tannins to assure continued improvement for up to a decade or more.

Salud!
Don