Tasting Group 150 Selections for October

2011 Auguste Clape Cornas “Renaissance”                                               Northern Rhone Valley, France  

100% Syrah.  Auguste Clape is regarded as one of the venerable wizards of the Northern Rhone commune of Cornas.  He crafts exquisite wines from Syrah using traditional winemaking methods.  The winemaking today is of course largely unchanged from decades ago. The family harvests only when the fruit is fully ripe, and the old vine fruit is not destemmed. The primary fermentation takes place in concrete tanks for six to seven days, followed by three to seven days of maceration to extract fine tannins.  There is no new oak used.  Clape has a wide variety of parcels available to him from which to create his four cuvees.  The Renaissance bottling was introduced in 1998, and is made from younger vines on the estate.  Even still, Renaissance is capable of two decades of development.  Clape was the village’s first producer to bottle his own wine in 1957, having previously sold it in barrel to négociants such as Jaboulet. Since that time, Clape’s wine has been the essence of Syrah grown in Cornas’ suntrap of steep granite slopes-dark berries, black olive, dried herbs, woodsmoke and violets when young, developing astonishing depth, complexity and velvety texture with age.  Hold.

2008 Weingut Josef Jamek Grüner Veltliner “Reid Achleiten,” Smaragd Wachau, Austria   

100% Grüner Veltliner. Weingut Jamek is an historic estate in the Wachau.   Grüner Veltliner is the signature white grape of Austria. It is a grape that really expresses its site and is capable of producing both simple, spicy, refreshing everyday whites as well as extremely contemplative, deep, characterful wines that are quiet in youth but have great potential for long-term cellaring and development.  The wines are always made in a dry style, as is Austria’s preference for its Rieslings as well. The flavors are of peach, white pepper and yellow fruits.  Winemakers in the very tiny Wachau region have developed a unique classification system for their wines.  It is used exclusively in this region and is based on the alcohol level in the finished wine.  The lightest wines with alcohol levels below 11.5% are designated “Steinfeder.” The next level up, “Federspiel” is for wines with alcohol levels between 11.5% and 12.5%.  The relative heavyweights – ”Smaragd” wines are above 12.5% and have the richest style. Reid Achleiten refers to the vineyard site.  Hold.

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