Exciting Wines for May
It's Jackson, your friendly Pacific Northwest sommelier, and I'm here to help you discover some exciting wines in the Westgarth portfolio. I have been bathing in Basque country rosé here in the (finally) warming Pacific Northwest, but I'm equally excited about the wonderful Riojas and Champagnes and Burgundies that have come across my desk. There's never been a better time to be a wine buyer, and being omnivorous is perhaps the best trait to possess, as you're able to capitalize on all the incredible wines being made across the world at all times. Here's a few of our current favorites:
Jackson's Somm Picks
This is not the first time I've shoehorned a Dal Forno wine into my sommelier picks. But there's a reason why – the wines continue to be underappreciated for how truly concentrated, powerful and luscious they are. When I last saw Signor Dal Forno in 2014, he pressed upon me the importance of "potenza" and "frutta," or power and fruit, in the wines of Dal Forno. They are modern and technologically driven, yes, but they are also the most compact and intense examples of the exciting wines the Corvina grape can produce. Start with this Valpolicella Superiore, and then graduate to their Alzero or their Amarone. These are wines of contemplation and complexity.
I've tried to explain to many people over my years in the wine industry that you shouldn't sleep on Italian Merlot. It's one of those categories that sounds tired or boring or what-have-you, but in actual fact these exciting wines are delicious. Why? Well, when you consider the velvety, silky texture of Merlot and the way that Italian wines tend to emphasize notes of dried herbs and toasted spices, things that Merlot already has in spades, it starts to make sense. Even though it's a grape from France, it's arguably found just as welcoming a home in Italy. Petrolo has been making their Galatrona wine from 100% Merlot for a couple decades now. It's the benchmark for the grape in central Italy along with Messorio and Masseto, and you should try it if you haven't.
Reductive, compact, intense Meursault. Jobard's style is clean and edgy, but not lacking in either texture or density. Antoine Jobard is a mainstay of the classic Meursault masters, and mentioning the Jobard name in the same breath as Roulot or Coche isn't a mistake. Their commitment to expressing single-vineyard parcels with purity and honesty is not a fad or a fashion, it's just the way of life in Meursault, and the reason these are such exciting wines. This Blagny bottling comes from a tiny, 0.5 hectare parcel of Chardonnay on the border between the villages of Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. It's a bright, textured and powerful Meursault with richness to match.
Clos Saint Jean's "Deus Ex Machina" bottling has been a bit of a hidden factor since Clos St Jean launched in 2003. It's a blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre coming from two unique old-vine parcels in the La Crau area of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, some of the best terroir available. This is amplified southern Rhône wine, with rich notes of roasted strawberries, rosemary, dried orange peel and lavender, accentuated by toasted spices and crushed stone. Serve alongside roast chicken or glazed pork chops.
A justifiably exalted Napa Cabernet – Cliff Lede has continued to win accolades year after year for these luscious, powerful wines. 2018 was another year with a good balance between Napa richness and elegance, and this wine is a perfect showcase for the sort of exciting wines that both Cliff Lede and region are so known for.
View more of Jackson’s hand-picked wine selections here: