CELLAR Club: Winter Release Letter

We are ramping up for a very busy and exciting 2022 for the CELLAR Wine Club. We have a year’s worth of new, high quality wines from both new and familiar wineries from around the world. I am very excited to share this first release of 2022 with you, featuring a comparative selection of Cabernet-Merlot blends from vastly different regions. Presenting the 2019 Château Castelbruck Margaux, and 2018 Castel Luciano “Viniferia” Super Tuscan Italian Blend. 

Last year when we released the 2018 Haut Breton Margaux, we received a small parcel of Castelbruck at the same time. This wine is from an adjacent vineyard in the vaunted Margaux appellation of Bordeaux’s Cabernet dominated left bank. I immediately fell in love with the texture and elegance of this wine, with rich fruit and inviting aromatics, the call signs of this region. Unfortunately given the small production, we only got a splash of this wine which trickled out to a few lucky members. This year, I am most pleased that we were able to import a full allocation for the CELLAR Club.

The 2019 vintage in Bordeaux comes on the heels of high quality vintages going back to 2015. The region is on a hot streak and we are taking full advantage. These wines have the ability to age for a decade and half without issue. But with the more advanced winemaking techniques as well as increased vineyard quality, many of the new series of high end Bordeaux such as this are able to be comfortably enjoyed on the sooner side as well. This Cabernet dominated blend is a snapshot of the pure fruit and elegant texture that makes the Margaux region so attractive.  

The Super Tuscan is a first for us, and not something we expected to happen any time soon. But sometimes we taste a wine and it really makes us think about a region or genre in a completely different way. I had been looking to expand our reach in a slow and deliberate way. A good friend had sent me a few bottles from a project in Italy that I had been patiently observing for a long time. Once I tasted this bottle, I knew we had found an Italian wine that would be worthy of sharing with the CELLAR Club Members.

The Viniferia “Castel Luciano” is a Super Tuscan blend from the Italian Tuscan Coast. Super Tuscan is a term that was coined in the early 2000s, to describe a wine that takes the native Sangiovese based wines of Tuscany, and blends in other heritage varietals. Forward thinking winemakers were not willing to wait for the Italian wine regulators to sanction these non-indigenous varieties, but after enough popularity and proof of concept, a separate designation within the existing bureaucracy was eventually created. This wine is a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese, for a distinctly Italian take on the classic Bordeaux style blend. It’s a fascinating contrast to taste similar varieties over different regions and winemaking styles. Interestingly, while the 2018 vintage was generally a balanced and successful harvest, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were of particularly high quality. 

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