This has been the month for wine club selections, and I always look forward to my local shop, The Fine Wine Source, for their picks of the month. Every wine has been selected and curated by the owner of the shop and he goes out of the way to find unique wines that the gas stations, party stores, department stores or the big box stores would carry. Each month the club offerings feature an Old World and a New World selection. Of course, my exchequer enjoys the fact, that as club members we are entitled to case discount pricing, no matter the quantity that we purchase on a given day.
The Old-World selection is Chateau de Calavon Rouge, Provence 2013. Nowadays most people think rosé when they see Provence, in the south-eastern part of France, and in particular Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, the second largest appellation of the region. Originally the region was known as Coteaux du Roy Rene (Rene D’Anjou, a 15th Century King of France who was very partial to wines), in 1956 it was granted VDQS status and in 1985, it was granted AOC status. The long dry summers make it ideal for vineyards, and the entire region is basically limestone. The winery is located in the center of the region in Lambesc, and the Audibert family has been making wine there for five generations. The estate is sixty hectares and was originally cultivated as vineyards by the Prices of Orange, broken up during the French Revolution, and slowly reconstructed. The vineyards are basically small terraced plots that were configured about three centuries ago. The estate has been certified Organic Agriculture since 2013 (Ecocert). The wine is a blend of fifty-five percent Syrah, thirty percent Grenache and fifteen percent Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit is basically hand-harvested and goes through a long maceration in concrete tanks, and then is matured in a mix of Stainless Steel and wooden barrels for a minimum of two years and then four years in the bottle, before release. The profile sheet touted that the wine offers notes of black fruit, thyme, bay leaf and a touch of mint and on the palate well structured tannins.
The New World is represented by Donati Family Vineyards Merlot, Paicines AVA, Central Coast 2017. The Donati family started arriving in the Paicines region of the Central Coast in 1998, when they purchased the land that would become the family estate and vineyard. Since then, they have planted the vineyards and built a state-of-the-art winery. Paicines is the southernmost AVA in the San Benito County and in the 1980’s and 1990’s the area was associated with the production of bulk wines, but a few wineries are attempting to correct that image. To this day, much of the fruit is grown and then sent to wineries in other parts of California. It is still home to the five-hundred-acre Vista Verde Vineyard that was previously owned by Almaden Vineyards, before the company was sold and split up in the 1980’s. The sandy soils of gravel and limestone have forced the vines to develop deep root systems, because of the good drainage and has strengthened the vines. The wine is ninety-seven percent Merlot and three percent Mourvedre. Initial fermentation was in Stainless Steel and then aged for twenty-eight months in American Oak, of which fourteen percent was new. Seven-hundred-twelve cases were produced. The information sheet offered notes of a strawberry bomb with secondary notes of raspberry and maraschino. On the palate bright acidity and red fruits with secondary tastes of chocolate mousse and vanilla-sugar cookies with a finish of charred barbeque and duck-fat oak. It sounds perfect for an outdoor barbeque.