September’s Wine Club Selections!

First, we’d like to thank you all for being part of the awesome journey that has made us the largest buying club in Arizona! …OK, OK, so that might be a little difficult for the 600 square foot bottle shop we call home, but that’s what we’re aiming for anyway – and we’re on our way!

This month’s selections saw us bring in an item not previously available in AZ. You inspire us, club members, and so has this selection – sought out, and with a bit of behind the scenes work, brought to our state with you in mind! Bringing you wines not previously available in our region has been a lot of fun – it’s work that we hope to replicate to continue sharing new experiences with you!

Before we get into detail about September’s wines, let’s talk a little about Spain and Spanish wines. Anybody heard of that guy Christopher Columbus and that whole 1492 thing? Well, Columbus was financially supported via the Monarchs of Spain to find new areas of land that could produce quality wine. Thus when Columbus set sail, Spain (which had pretty close ties with the church, aka the quality control board for wine growing and production) made sure that the New World voyage was complete with plenty of vine clippings in case some quality land to call home was found. Bet you didn’t hear about that in your history books! Spain continued to send missionaries and conquistadors to the New World with grapes/vine clippings used to plant and produce grapes and wine in the Americas. The US, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Argentina…all historic wine producing areas that started with Spain.

Side Bar (a sweet one!): Where is the oldest wine growing/producing area in the US? The Spanish missionaries planted this area and diverted conquistadors away from it when it was ordered that all New World vines be ripped out and destroyed. Be the first club member to answer correctly and get a bottle of Finca Museum and a Spanish dark chocolate bar free!

Alright, back to Spain with a fast forward to present day and a wine region that you may or may not be familiar with.

Spain Wine Quality 101: Quality control starts with the D.O. aka Denominacion de Origen. A D.O. is a determined geographical area of quality wine production. In Spain, there are 79 areas that are D.O. controlled. This basically means some people got together and said, “We agree that this area produces really good juice,” and thus it became wine law. Generally speaking, if you want to drink wine from Spain and are not sure what you are getting into, look to see if the wine is from a D.O. It will say so on the label.

Another quality indicator for Spanish wine is also on the label. Look for the terms Crianza, Reserva, or Gran Reserva… Sounds sexy! And it is. These three terms represent what happened in the vintage and if the grapes produced are worthy of aging.

Crianza – Wine that has been aged a minimum of two years before being released, with at least six months of aging in oak.
Reserva – Wine that has been aged a minimum of three years before being released, with at least 12 months of aging in oak.
Gran Reserva – Wine that has been aged a minimum of five years before being released, with at least 18 months of aging in oak and at least 36 months of aging in bottle.
There are the basics on Spanish wines. Now on to the club selections!

Venica Ronco de Cero Sauvignon 2011
This is a stunning Sauvignon Blanc from the northeastern part of…Italy. Did you know that Italy is the second leading producer of Sauvignon Blanc in the world behind France? If you love SB (and we know many of you do), you probably think it has come from New Zealand, Cali, or Chile because of all that marketing stuff telling you how to live. Well this is a gem of an SB that will make you rethink one of Italy’s most widely planted varietals that you may have never tried.

The vineyard and winery was started in 1929 when Grandpa (or someone from a couple of generations ago) purchased a hill by the name of “Ronco de Cero” in the Collio DOC in Fruili. Collio, not to be confused with Coolio, conveniently translates into “hillside”. Take note of wines that come from hillside regions. They typically get expensive because they are usually pretty freaking great!

Finca Museum 2010
And this is why we went overboard on Spain earlier. When you pick up this bottle, please note that on the back it will tell you the varietal. Tinta del Pais (or Ull de Llebre in northeast Spain), which roughly translates to “Eye of the Hare”…which we think has two meanings. First, someone didn’t really understand how to use “hair of the dog” correctly. Or they did and were too drunk to remember it. Second, someone said that this Tempranillo grape looks like a Tinta del Pais. Thus your wine is 100% Tempranillo.

Finca Museum comes from the D.O. Cigales (you remember what D.O. is?), just north of the famous Rioja region. This vintage is a 2010 Reserva – which was considered an excellent vintage in Cigales. The last vintage in Cigales that came close to 2010’s quality was 1999!

The vines that are used to produce this beautiful wine are all at least 70 years old, and have no trellising. This method of vine management is referred to as “bush vine”, aka the vine does what it wants but should not be confused with 1970’s porn stars.

Pick up whenever you’d like…though we highly recommend combining pickup with one our wine tastings this Thurs/Sat. See you soon!

Cheers,

Danielle & Craig