In October, The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series will feature an exceptional red Bordeaux wine from the outstanding 2016 vintage, Château Tour de Gilet, and three other superb selections from around the world. A traditional blend of primarily Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the magnificent 2016 vintage, the 2016 Château Tour de Gilet truly shines. Bolder and richer in flavor than one might expect from a Petit Château, the 2016 Château Tour de Gilet offers up an inviting bouquet of blackcurrant, cranberry and forest floor. In the mouth, a delightful mélange of berry flavors (blackberry and currant), dark cherry and damsel plum make a delightful appearance on a wave of silky tannins. Nicely balanced and endowed with traditional Bordeaux character and style, one would be hard pressed to find a better, more affordable Petit Château than the 2016 Château Tour de Gilet.
Our next Premier Series feature is the 2014 Cambridge Cellars CCR Carneros Chardonnay. Since its inception, Cambridge Cellars has consistently over-delivered on quality, and this month’s feature is no exception. The 2014 Cambridge Cellars CCR Carneros Chardonnay offers a tantalizing bouquet of spring flowers and buttered brioche along with just the right touches of vanilla and caramelized oak. The wine’s aromatics flow through on the palate, too, offering a complex mélange of fruit, lemon curd, freshly baked croissants and toasted almonds. “Hedonism in a glass,” remarked several members of the tasting panel. Add a nice citrus twist, superb texture, and a gracefully long finish to this wine’s delightful repertoire and it is difficult to imagine a better Chardonnay from California or France for less than $50.00 than the 2014 Cambridge Cellars CCR Carneros Chardonnay.
Next in this month’s quartet is the 2008 Monasterio de las Viñas Reserva, a 10 year old Reserva from Spain. A blend of Garnacha (50%), Tempranillo (25%) and Cariñena (25%), the perfectly mature 2008 Monasterio de las Viñas Reserva offers layers of smooth, mouthwatering flavors. Lightly scented with the aromas of blackberry, plum, violet, finely tanned leather and unsmoked tobacco, this wine draws you in almost surreptitiously. In the mouth, the wine is smooth and expansive, offering well-integrated fruit, leather, cedar, and cigar box flavors born of a 12 month hiatus in oak. Reminiscent of mature Rioja Reserva, the 2008 Monasterio de las Viñas Reserva offers plenty of flavors before finishing with mouthwatering acidity from fine-grained tannins.
Completing this month’s Premier Series offerings is the delicious 2017 Estampa Fina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, a wine every bit as compelling as the estate’s Fina Reserva red wines. The 2017 Estampa Fina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc is an artful blend of predominantly Sauvignon Blanc with small amounts of Chardonnay and Viognier. The addition of Chardonnay adds texture and mouth feel, while Viognier augments the wine’s already attractive aroma: citrus scents mingle with herbal tones and freshly cut grass, offering a delightful perfume that goes far beyond what one expects from Sauvignon Blanc alone. In the mouth, the wine’s generous tropical fruit flavors and fresh acidity come to fore, providing both counterpoint and refreshment.
The International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors Series is proud to offer three exceptional wines in October from opposite ends of the world, beginning with the stunning 2015 Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon from a winery that consistently garners 90+ points for its wines and continues to over-deliver with each successive vintage. The deeply colored 2015 Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon offers an impressive array of savory Cabernet aromas: a core of refined blackberry and cassis infused with hints of wild herbs and eucalyptus—not unlike many of Joe Heitz’s legendary Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons of yesteryear—seduces the nose and seeps deliciously into the marrow of this wine. Medium to full-bodied, the boldly flavored 2015 McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon possesses superb balance, polish, and texture, which allows it to drink beautifully now while remaining capable of further maturation and 10 or more years of pleasurable drinking.
Our next October Collectors Series offering, the 2015 Josef Chromy Tasmania Chardonnay, is one of the finest Chardonnays made south of the equator. It is rare that any New World Chardonnay tastes like Puligny-Montrachet or can stand qualitatively with Puligny-Montrachet, one of France’s greatest white wines from Burgundy, but Josef Chromy’s 2015 Josef Chromy Tasmania Chardonnay does resemble Premier Cru white Burgundy and, yes, it does taste a lot like Puligny-Montrachet. The 2015 Josef Chromy offers up a brilliant robe, savory scents and flavors of stone fruits, citrus, crisp mountain apples, freshly baked bread, and hints of exotic spices refined by a light patina of vanilla from the finest of oak barrels. Yet the most endearing aspects of this wine may be its lithe and engaging flavors and superb texture, which come wrapped in one seamless and supremely elegant package. Like fine Puligny-Montrachet, the 2015 Josef Chromy Chardonnay relies on elegance and finesse more than power to charm its adherents. Josef Chromy’s 2015 Chardonnay is already quite exceptional now, but if past vintages and experience with Chromy’s Chardonnays are any indication, the 2015 Josef Chromy Chardonnay will continue to improve in bottle for at least several more years.
Completing this month’s Collectors Series is the 2015 Château Paveil de Luze Margaux from the outstanding 2015 Bordeaux vintage. This wine reflects the renovation and attention afforded this historic property by renowned wine consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt and the late Frédéric de Luze. The 2015 Château Paveil de Luze is not only a sleeper of the great 2015 Bordeaux vintage, it is potentially the finest wine produced at this property in more than half a century (91 Points – Wine Enthusiast). The 2015 Château Paveil de Luze is a deeply colored wine with impressive fruit, texture, and body. Ripe and generous, it displays plenty of blackberry and plum flavors infused with tobacco and Margaux’s pleasant distinctive earthiness. Backed by ripe, substantial tannins, the 2015 Château Paveil de Luze is a wine to lay down in classic Margaux fashion as such patience yields huge dividends. Enjoy!