July 11, 2016

Hello friends. Finally. We have plumbed the depths of the San Felice portfolio, but there has been one notorious absence: their Rosso di Montalcino. Notorious because it’s one of the finest values in their outstanding Tuscan portfolio, and we’ve just never been able to time it right.

And yes, this one is very much a matter of timing, because pretty much every old-school Italian restaurant in Seattle glass-pours this wine, so it’s one of those bottlings that lands at the port and then is like 70% gone before I even snag a sample. But this summer we’ve got it timed up right, and I’m thrilled to have the chance to write about and offer San Felice’s baby Brunello.

2014 Campogiovanni (San Felice) Rosso di Montalcino
Perhaps the best description I’ve ever read of Rosso di Montalcino was Eric Asimov, writing in the New York Times in 2011: [TEXT WITHHELD].

Less talking and more drinking. I like that. And yes, I recognize the irony of the fact that I’m about to do a whole bunch of talking about Rosso. I’ll comfort myself with the notion that it’s all in the furtherance of future drinking.

Rosso di Montalcino was inaugurated as a DOC in 1984, pretty much out of cash-flow necessity. Brunello di Montalcino has some of the strictest ageing requirements in the world, with most of the wines not returning any revenue for more than four years after harvest. Producers needed a way to realize a faster return, and they also needed a vehicle for their declassified juice. Enter Rosso.

What is beautiful about Rosso di Montalcino is that, like Brunello, it is 100% Sangiovese, 100% Grosso clone, 100% grown in Brunello’s delimited vineyard area. It’s only the ageing requirements that are different: one year total (including at least six months in barrel) before release. So this really is baby Brunello, presenting both a gateway drug to Brunello proper and a crystal ball for what the future Brunello releases will look like.

And the pricing is waaaaaaay more accessible than Brunello. For example, San Felice’s entry-level Campogiovanni Brunello goes for $55. Prices only go up from there. Rosso, on the other hand, presents a chance to sample what all the fuss is about at tariffs that encourage exploration. I should also note: we have about as low a price today as I see nationally on wine-searcher.

So that’s a lot about Rosso in general. Now let’s dig into this wine specifically. In addition to their glorious Chianti portfolio, San Felice also owns a 65-hectare estate called Campogiovanni, on the southwestern side of Montalcino, deep in the heart of Brunello country. They purchased the estate in the early ‘80s, when Brunello was still a sleepy category, and have carefully tended it since. Twenty of the hectares are planted to vines, the remainder in olives and forest. It looks like this. (Yes, we should probably all visit.)

Their Rosso was aged for a year in old Slavonia botti and then given a few more months in bottle before release. It clocks in at 13% listed alc and is unmistakably Sangiovese from this part of the world, with its wonderful sour cherry fruit, its comfort level with citrus-peel and cherry-pit bitters, its insistent earthiness (soil and truffle and anise). It’s a fairly supple, silky expression of Montalcino, but its spine of electric acidity is always burning bright in the background, reminding you where in the world you are, reminding you that you should be cooking up a huge pot of pasta or a big bistecca alla fiorentina and sharing it – and this remarkable wine – with friends and family.

First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

Full Pull Force of Nature

July 11, 2016

Hello friends. In Jeb Dunnuck’s recently-released annual set of reviews for Wine Advocate, there was a winery that kept turning up over and over again in the upper echelon: Force Majeure. Three of the strongest-reviewed wines in the issue are Syrahs that we offered earlier this year; we’re going to reoffer that trio today.

My understanding is that each of these three wines is available in “some” quantity. Rather than trying to nail down how much of each we have access to, I’m going to hit Send, see what our list’s actual demand is, and then advocate on y’all’s behalf for as much as possible.

Please note: we need to send our numbers to the Force Majeure folks Tuesday morning, so please try to get all order requests in by Monday night.

2013 Force Majeure Collaboration Series III (Syrah)
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”

My original notes: The finale for the CS III, which is a 100% Syrah, made from four clones of the grape, by Mike MacMorran of Mark Ryan Winery. Just 130 cases produced, and it clocks in at 14.9% listed alc. It pours inky black-purple, and offers a mildly reductive nose of black plum, black pepper, and woodsmoke. A big, rich powerhouse, this is like Washington’s version of Mollydooker Shiraz, a Red Mountain Blue Eyed Boy. The balance of structure tilts more towards tannin here than in any of the other Syrahs on offer today. Opulently textured, with density and intensity to spare, this is unapologetically delicious.

2013 Force Majeure Collaboration Series VII (Syrah)
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 96pts.”

My original notes: This is both debut and finale for Collaboration Series VII, a Syrah made with our pal Chris Peterson from Avennia. Chris cofermented 97% Syrah with 2% Roussanne and 1% Viognier, and his version clocks in at 14.7% listed alc. Coming from the same vintage/vineyard as the CS III, this could not be a more different expression of Syrah. It is high-toned, with floral lift on a deep core of boysenberry fruit and dusty mineral. Jeb says he had multiple “wows” in his notes for CS III; mine were reserved for CS VII. I was seduced by the live-wire energy, the way the wine hummed across the palate, full of electricity. It’s a seamless palate-stainer that charms with its verve and nervy character. The mix of dusty earth and purple fruit is just right. Chris’ talent for emphasizing the ribald, earthy side of Syrah shines through here.

2013 Force Majeure Estate Syrah
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 97pts.”

My original notes: This is 100% Syrah grown at Force Majeure’s estate site high up on Red Mountain, in ankle-busting territory. Fermentations were done by Mike MacMorran, and the wine was finished by Todd Alexander, who is the current Force Majeure winemaker. It pours into the glass inky black-purple and comes roaring up out of the glass with a nose of mixed berries, silty earth, and wonderful smoky charcuterie, with some floral topnotes as well. The palate intensity is just wild here, as this one fans out and coats every nook of the palate. It’s such a broad, pleasurable wine, with nary a shred of excess weight. Complex, deeply-stuffed, and densely-layered, this is a very impressive expression of a special piece of Washington terroir. The best is yet to come for this wine.

Please order what you like, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

Full Pull Eliminator 10

July 11, 2016

Hello friends. The Eliminator is back!

Based on the name of the final American Gladiators challenge (see link for an excellent example of the original Eliminator, and also for an epic blond ‘80s mullet), this is where we eliminate extra bottles that have accumulated for one reason or another (some reasons purposeful; others accidental/stupid/I-don’t-wanna-talk-about-it).

A reminder: we handle this offer a little differently than most. These will be first-come first-served, and the upper order limits will be the number of extra bottles in the warehouse. So, if we have 15 bottles left, and you want all 15, and you’re the first to jump in, they’re yours.

This gives slight advantage to longer-term list members. Our offers are throttled, and it takes about two hours to send offers to the entire list. So the old-heads will get a bit of a head-start (much like the Gladiators Eliminator, but with fewer tassels), but list newbies will be nipping at their heels!

We haven’t done a proper Eliminator since last October, so we have a full eight wines available today. All of these are in the warehouse and available for immediate pickup.

2011 Full Pull & Friends Chardonnay (FPF-13)
We do physical inventory about once quarterly, and our most recent one unearthed four extra cases of what we thought was a sold out wine. Oops! The wine comes from two vineyards, one of which is a prominent Columbia Gorge vineyard, the other an excellent Chardonnay site in the greater Columbia Valley. The nose is immediately appealing: apple and lemon fruit, leesy brioche, chalky minerality, and lovely maturing hazelnut notes. Loads of complexity; suggestions of maturity. It will be a joy to watch its savory tertiary notes (hazelnut and corncob) evolve from subtleties and gain prominence. 48 bottles available.

2010 Veglio Barbaresco
Well-priced Barbaresco from a producer exported regularly to northern Europe, but very rarely to the US. Wine Enthusiast (Kerin O’Keefe): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.” 63 bottles available.

2012 Manni Nossing Kerner
Outrageous, maturing Kerner from the Alto Adige. I’ve stashed away my bottles, and that leaves 43 bottles remaining. Vinous (Antonio Galloni): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHLED]. 94pts.”

2012 Maison Bleue Metis Rouge
We’re down to our final 86 bottles of Jon Meuret’s GSM blend (heavy on the ‘S’, at a full 70% Syrah; the remainder 25% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre) from head-turning vineyards: Boushey, Boushey-McPherson, Upland, and Ciel du Cheval. Look for notes of plum, star anise, and a plate full of smoked meats and sausages (thank you Boushey fruit!). The texture is positively brimming with verve and energy, especially impressive considering the rich (14.5% listed alc) fruit involved.

2014 Neyers Mourvedre Evangelho Vineyard
We never offered this one previously. I was recently afforded the opportunity to taste with Bruce Neyers, who, in addition to doing national sales for Kermit Lynch, also produces incredible wines from some of California’s oldest vineyards under the Neyers Vineyards label. This Mourvedre, from 125-year-old vines, was a total showstopper, full of palate-staining old-vine purity, and real wildness and intensity. It’s small-production to begin with (137 cases), and then a mere 4 cases (48 bottles) were allocated for the entire state of Washington. As soon as I tasted the wine, I asked to buy out whatever remained. We have 44 bottles available today of what I consider to be a singular American wine.

2013 Crowley Chardonnay Four Winds Vineyard
Just 21 bottles remaining of this tiny-production (75 cases), rarely-seen-in-Washington single-vineyard Chard from Tyson Crowley. If Tyson’s Willamette Valley bottling is like a good White Burg, perhaps this is his homage to Chablis. The nose is an expressive mix of lemon oil and green papaya, wood spice and flinty minerality. In the mouth, you sense right away that this is palate-coating Chardonnay, getting to every nook and cranny with its mouthwatering flavors. Juicy, nervy, and intense, this hums across the palate and rolls into a long, lip-smacking finish. What a live wire!

2008 Scarborough Cabernet Sauvignon “Stand Alone”
Before our former neighbor moved to a new location, Travis Scarborough let us raid his library stash. One of the best wines we tasted was this 2008 Cabernet, from Boushey and Alder Ridge vineyards. The maturing aromatic profile is earthy and funky, with mushroom and savory beef stock notes to go with a core of black fruits. The palate mix of rich (14.2% listed alc), zesty, brambly fruit and earthy savory notes is balanced and compelling. An immediate gratification play, right near peak drinking. 12 bottles remaining.

2012 Figgins Estate Red Wine
Little needs to be said here. Just look at the producer involved, the vintage, and the piddling number of bottles available, which totals (gulp) 9.

All these wines are in the warehouse and available for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

Full Pull Rosé Finale

July 11, 2016

Hello friends. This will be our last rosé-themed offer of the summer. As expected, pretty much all the rosés we offered during The Anti-Spontaneity Party offers (in March, April, and May) are already sold out. But I have recently tasted a compelling new northwest pink from a familiar winemaker. So let’s roll that one together with two well-priced Spanish rosados, one in bottle and one in 3L box. Thanks for another wonderful year of supporting delicious, well-made rosé!

2015 Dowsett Family Georgia Rose Becklin Vineyard
Chris Dowsett, well-loved by our list members for his outstanding Gewurztraminers over the years, produces a tiny amount of Pinot Noir rosé from a family vineyard in the Willamette Valley. Total production is 100 cases, and I was a little late to the game on this one, so I believe there are only 20-30 boxes still available. Borderline for an offer, but even if we have to short-allocate folks, I think it’s still worth it for the chance to see what Chris can do with rosé. This clocks in at 13.5% listed alc and offers a nose of cherry and strawberry, mineral, and grass. Texturally, this is crisp and refreshing. Flavor-wise, it is very Pinot in character, with a wonderful earthy/resinous edge to the red fruits. This offers complexity for those who care and gluggability for those who don’t.

2015 Armas de Guerra Rosado
I tasted this a few weeks ago, loved it, and bought every last bottle remaining in Seattle. It’s just so hard to find good rosé that hits the $10 price point. Trey Busch’s Renegade Rosé is pretty much the only other rosé we offer at this tag. It comes from our pals at Olé Imports, and it is 100% Mencia from a 1963-planted vineyard in Bierzo. It drinks, for me, very much like a rosé of Mourvedre, with that alluring mix of wild berry fruit, exotic spice, and a strong mineral component. Racy rosé  (12.5% listed alc), this hums with energy and verve, and rolls easily into a tangy, acid-driven finish, a final kiss of green papaya.  “Total mid-summer chugger,” says the last section of my note. I’ll leave it at that.

2015 La Nevera Rosado (3L BAG IN BOX, Pickup Only)
We’ve gotten lots of positive feedback on the first 3L Box we offered (VRAC, from France), and that box was $10 more than this box. As a reminder, this is the equivalent of four 750ml bottles, so I’ll use my applied mathematics degree to tell you that works out to $5/bottle. Only in Spain!

This is also an Olé Import, and it’s kind of ridiculous what’s in this box, given the tag. Try 100% Garnacha (Grenache), from organically grown vines planted in 1983 on gravel/clay/limestone at 1150 feet elevation. The vineyard is in Rioja Baja, but the winery and importer decided not to put Rioja on the label because “not showing the name Rioja on the label allows La Nevera to pay a lesser tax making this wine a greater value than it otherwise would be.” Fine by me! This is a clean, easy-drinking rosé, with red fruits (raspberry especially), melon, and blood-orange. The alcohol is moderate (12.5% listed), the acid vibrant, the overall package as fresh and refreshing as can be. Perfect for decks and boats, campgrounds and picnic tables.

Please limit order requests to 36 bottles/boxes total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines not already in the warehouse should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

Full Pull Oregon 2012

July 11, 2016

Hello friends. I’ve heard many variations on the same theme about the 2012 harvest in the Willamette Valley. “A beer-drinking vintage” has been the most common refrain. In other words, the winemakers drink beer and just wait for the perfect fruit to ferment itself into perfect wine. “If you can’t make a good Pinot in 2012, I don’t know what to tell you” is another popular adage.

You folks get the point. It was a decorated vintage, with huge potential. And now the flow of releases from this epic vintage has slowed to a trickle. But they’re still out there, and we’re beating the bushes to find them. Today we have a trio of 2012s, including one retail exclusive from some dear, familiar friends.

2012 Boedecker Cellars Pinot Noir Athena
Each year – in addition to a number of single-vineyard Pinots – husband-and-wife team Stewart and Athena Boedecker make a pair of Pinots called “Stewart” (his wine) and “Athena” (hers). Here’s what they say about these wines: Stewart is a lover of the classic Oregon Pinot noir, aromatically brilliant, full of red fruit flavors, subtle notes of bramble and olive wood, complex and focused with structure to age indefinitely. Athena prefers the black fruit flavors, a more primal style with layered with earth, spice, hearty tannins and a texture of velvet.

I go back and forth between which one I prefer, generally favoring Stewart in cooler years (his 2007 was magnificent, as were 2010 and 2011) and Athena in warmer years. For the 2012s, it was a close call, but I had a slight preference for Athena. We were also offered a fine discount off this wine’s $36 release. I love all the Yamhill-Carlton bass notes in this wine: earth and forest floor, ground coffee and mineral. They beautifully balance the blackberry and redcurrant fruit. I also love how much depth and intensity (perhaps helped along by the inclusion of 35% whole clusters) this conveys at very reasonable weight (13.5% listed alc). It’s a tightly-wound beauty, just beginning to unfurl.

Wine Spectator (Harvey Steiman): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.”

2012 Belle Pente Pinot Noir Estate Reserve
I’ll begin here with a sterling review from the points-reticent Josh Raynolds of Tanzer’s IWC/Vinous:

Vinous (Josh Raynolds): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

“One of America’s finest sources of elegant Pinot Noir?” Seriously strong praise from a critic not prone to hyperbole! And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Brian O’Donnell launched Belle Pente in 1994 after many years of home-brewing and home-winemaking. It’s one of Oregon’s hidden gems, open only twice per year (you just missed Memorial Day, so now you have to wait until Thanksgiving) and producing a series of earthy, terroir-expressive Pinot Noirs. In my opinion, Belle Pente still does not receive a level of attention commensurate with the quality of wines Brian crafts. Probably because he’s as nice and unassuming as a winemaker gets, and just quietly goes about his business, making vintage after vintage of haunting, ethereal Pinot Noir.

Here is how Brian describes the Estate Reserve: A barrel selection from the best parts of the vineyard, with the core of the blend coming from our original block planted in 1994 paired with our steep south-west facing block planted in 1998 to the Wadensvil selection of Pinot Noir.  This year’s version also includes about 30% from our Pommard block (also planted in 1998) which has really come into its own over the past several years. As the vineyard matures, the process of selecting barrels for this bottling gets harder every year … but the resulting wine seems to get better and better!  Although the wine-making protocol for the estate reserve is essentially the same as for our single vineyard wines, there are a couple of notable exceptions.  While all the top wines include a little bit of whole cluster, indigenous yeast fermentation, 18 month elevage, and gravity flow processing from fermenter all the way to the bottle, the Estate Reserve enjoys a slightly higher percentage of new barrels (about half) and longer aging in bottle prior to release (typically around 18 months).  

I won’t add much to Raynolds’ spot-on review above. I’ll just say that I think this is indeed the finest Estate Reserve Brian has made for Belle Pente, and that’s saying something. For lovers of Pinots with elegance and energy to spare, Belle Pente is not to be missed.

2012 Devona Pinot Noir Freedom Hill Vineyard
Oh, man. This one is a real treat. And a real honor. It’s the first release for former Abeja stalwarts John and Molly Abbott’s new winery, Devona. We have a retail exclusive on this release. Outside of the Devona mailing list (which you should join) and a handful of old restaurant friends, Full Pull is the only other source for this debut. And no surprise: our allocation is *extremely* limited. Like max-3-bottle-order-request limited.

In April, I made a very speedy trip to Walla Walla. With two little babies at home, the luxury of multi-day road trips is on hold for a while. Instead it was fly out Tuesday night, fly back Wednesday afternoon. Just before getting onto the plane back to Seattle, I visited John and Molly at their new winery space at the Walla Walla airport to taste the new Devona wines (in bottle and in barrel) and to grovel (successfully, as it turned out!) for an allocation.

To some degree, the feeling in the winery was that of ex-pats returning home. Home to Pinot Noir. Over the years I have known John Abbott, he has made a lot of really divine Cabernet Sauvignons for Abeja. But it was never Cabernet Sauvignon that he wanted to talk about. It was almost always Pinot Noir (and sometimes Chardonnay). Much of John’s early winemaking career was spent making Pinot, and I sense he has long desired to hear its siren call again.

The Devona adventure begins with a tiny release (10 barrels) of Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir, a mix of Pommard and Wadenswil clones from this 1982-planted site in the foothills of the Coast Range, on soils of marine sedimentary uplifted sea bed. The 2012 vintage represents 31st leaf for this site, getting squarely into old-vine territory. I believe fewer than ten wineries get access to this fruit, and the list is a who’s who in Oregon, including St. Innocent, Patty Green, and Walter Scott. John’s version is so beautifully evocative of this part of the world: forest floor notes that evoke mossy coastal pine boughs; earthy notes that evoke chanterelle mushrooms; and of course plenty of red and black fruit. This is supple, easy-drinking Pinot, comfortable in its own skin. Not showy; just quietly confident, and expressive of the site where it’s grown.

John Abbott is one of my favorite winemakers in the northwest, and John and Molly are two of the best people in the trade, period. I would probably write about sweet White Zinfandel if that’s what they decided to make. But it is a real pleasure, a real jolt of excitement, to see what John can do with Pinot Noir. This feels like the start of something special.

Athena is first come first served up to 12 bottles. For Belle Pente, please limit order requests to 6 bottles, and for Devona, 3 bottles. We’ll do our best to fulfill all requests, and the wines not already in the warehouse should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

Full Pull Lagniappe

July 11, 2016

Hello friends. Jeb Dunnuck’s annual set of Washington reviews was released on Friday, and we’ve been fielding a number of reorder requests for different wines that performed well for Mr. Dunnuck. One of the most popular reorder targets is one of Dunnuck’s highest-scoring Syrahs. It’s still available, but only barely:

2013 Gramercy Cellars Syrah Lagniappe
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”

There’s only a small parcel of this still kicking around western Washington. We have a hold on a chunk of it, but that hold evaporates Wednesday morning, so please try to submit order requests by the end of the day Tuesday. We might be able to build a buffer for latecomer orders, but no promises.

We originally offered this wine on March 23, 2016. Here are some quick excerpts from that offer:

Lagniappe is rapidly becoming Greg and Brandon’s showcase for Red Willow Vineyard Syrah. The 2012 was two-thirds Red Willow; this 2013 is 80%. It’s fascinating seeing this site through the Gramercy prism.

Here are Greg’s notes: We are continually fascinated by Red Willow Vineyard, farmed by the Sauer family in the Yakima Valley. Each year it seems to get better and better. We debated with making the 2013 Lagniappe a single vineyard wine. The Red Willow fruit could easily stand alone. However, with this wine we return to the past a bit. In 2005, when we first made Lagniappe, it was a blend of Yakima fruit and Forgotten Hills. In 2013, we again learned how brilliant Forgotten Hill blends with the great Syrah of Yakima. And blending it with Red Willow took the wine to another level. The final blend is 80% Red Willow and 20% Forgotten Hills Phelps Clone. This wine was fermented 85% on stems and aged in a mix of older 225L and 500L puncheons for 18 months. Tasting notes: Smoked meat, intense core of red fruit, blueberry, mineral, black olive, pepper. Medium to medium plus bodied. Extremely complex.

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

Full Pull Tempus

July 11, 2016

Hello friends. Joe Forest continues to turn out beautiful, well-priced wines for Tempus Cellars. This is one of those wineries that still flies under the radar a bit, and that’s fine by me. Our list members know how lovely and expressive Joe’s wines are, and we snap them up en masse every time we offer the wines.

As usual when I taste the Tempus lineup, I struggled to settle on just one wine. Today we’ll offer a trio, from three different vintages; a fine display of Joe’s skill across different years and different grapes:

2014 Tempus Cellars Riesling Evergreen Vineyard
Of all the Tempus wines we’ve offered over the years, we’ve featured none more than Joe’s Evergreen Vineyard Riesling. This is the sixth consecutive vintage we’ve offered (beginning with the 2009, offered in July 2010), and that’s no mistake. Year in and year out, this is among Washington’s finest, most compelling Rieslings.

No surprise that it comes from Evergreen Vineyard, a singular Ancient Lakes AVA site for aromatic white varieties. Many different Washington wineries work with Evergreen fruit, and they make a broad range of styles. Joe’s is always among the driest, in 2014 clocking in with just 0.97% residual sugar. It begins with a lovely nose of white peach, key lime, and mineral. The palate drinks quite dry, with plenty of Evergreen’s signature rippin’ acid and minerality. At just 11.9% listed alc, this goes down really easy, almost obscuring the impressive complexity and extract. It’s clear at this point: Joe is just dialed in when it comes to Evergreen Riesling.

2013 Tempus Cellars Grenache
I’m racking my brain trying to come up with other outstanding Washington Grenache that we’ve offered at prices in the $20s. I can think of a vintage or two from Syncline; maybe Chip McLaughlin’s dearly-departed Vinyl Grenache… anything else? It’s a rare category, to be sure.

Joe’s version is just 193 cases of single-vineyard juice, coming entirely from Art den Hoed’s vineyard outside of Sunnyside, in the Yakima Valley. It spent 17 months in barrel, all neutral, and it clocks in at 14.9% listed alc. The nose is marvelously expressive and high-toned: rose petals and lavender, salty olives and capers, brambly red raspberry fruit, cherry pastille. Wonderful. The palate is full of charm and pleasure, along with terrific wild mountain fruit character. There’s real transparency here; it’s true to variety, true to vintage. Supple, succulent, spicy Grenache, all at a very reasonable tag.

2012 Tempus Cellars Sagemoor Reserve
Here’s a special wine. It’s Joe’s first reserve of any kind. He only made 166 cases, and outside of the Tempus mailing list, it is only being offered to long-time supporters of the winery. The wine is a blend of all four main Sagemoor sites (50% Bacchus, 28% Dionysus, 14% Weinbau, 8% Sagemoor), and it includes some serious old-vine material (Bacchus 1972, for example). The blend of 58% Cab, 28% Merlot, and 14% Cab Franc spent 22 months in 72% new French oak and was bottled in August 2014. It had nearly another two years in bottle before release. 14.4% listed alc.

The nose combines blackcurrant and black plum fruit, barrel tones of smoke and high-cacao chocolate, and minty topnotes. The palate dazzles with its depth and intensity, offering a supple attack and mid-palate that transitions to a chewier finish. Those tannins (redolent of English breakfast tea) are just beginning to resolve and soften up, and they frame the fruit beautifully. What an evocative expression of Sagemoor; what a fine late-release 2012!

First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


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