Full Pull Golden Block Grenache

July 26, 2017

Hello friends. Today we have the sophomore vintage of the wine that kicked off our Block Wines red program last year, quickly became a sensation (making Sean Sullivan’s Top 100 for Seattle Met Magazine didn’t hurt), and has been sold out since February:

2015 Block Wines Grenache Golden Block Boushey Vineyard

Since this is the first of the 2015 reds for Block Wines, it seems as good a time as any to offer a reminder on what this project is all about. Block Wines is essentially a house winery for Full Pull. In partnership with Morgan Lee (with the exception of our sparkling wine; that one is done with Christian Grieb), we’re stewarding these wines from grape harvest to bottle. And the plan is to have a consistent lineup. So for example, today we’re offering the ‘15 Boushey Grenache, we already have the ’16 in a concrete egg (!!), and we’ll be harvesting the ’17 in another few months.

The goal with Block Wines is two-fold. First, to offer truly terroir-expressive wines: single varieties, from single blocks within single vineyards. And second, it allows us to lock in vineyard-variety combinations that – over many years of offering Washington wine – I know our list members love.

Boushey Vineyard Grenache is a terrific example. Dick Boushey is one of Washington’s true grape-farming treasures, and a pioneer of Rhone varieties in the state. I remember a conversation with Dick years back where I expressed enthusiasm for his Grenache, and he just sort of shook his head ruefully. I’m paraphrasing here, but my memory is that he said something like: that grape is a true pain in the ass to grow, finicky as can be. I’d pull it all out if the results weren’t so darned good.

While he’s certainly best known for Syrah, Dick’s Grenache (planted in 2003) has been quietly outstanding for years now. I know (from experience) that our list members love well-made Boushey Grenache. So why not go out and make it ourselves? That way we can lock it in, year-in and year-out, and we can control pricing.

My hope continues to be that our list members feel a sense of ownership of the Block Wines winery. It’s your feedback (both via anecdote and via purchasing decisions) that informs the decisions of what grapes we pursue, and the style of the resulting wines. In this case, we harvested pristine Grenache from Dick Boushey’s Golden Block in early October. We fermented with native yeasts, and left 30% as whole-cluster (stems and all). We pressed into one large French puncheon and one French barrel (both neutral), and aged for 15 months with a single racking before bottling in January. That is nearly identical treatment to the 2014. Any differences are vintage related, which is what we’re looking for when we drill down to micro-terroir levels. 2015 was a hot year, even hotter than 2014. We picked 10 days earlier in ’15 (Oct 5 versus Oct 15) and still ended up with finished alc a touch higher (15.0% versus 14.7%).

This pours into the glass medium ruby – true to Grenache – and comes soaring up out of the glass with a nose of briary raspberry, hot-rock minerality, and dried flowers and grasses; just right for Grenache. And what I’ve always loved about Boushey Vineyard for Grenache is similar to what I love about the site for Syrah: it plays on the wild, savory side of the grape. So with time and air, we also get subtleties emerging of exotic star anise and smoked meats, auguring more good things to come as this evolves. Texturally, 2015 seems to want to be a modern-Chateauneuf kind of vintage, all lushness and succulence. This really fans out and coats the palate with its mix of anise-tinged fruit and Boushey earth. The finish goes on and on, and had me wanting to fire up the grill for some mixed sausages. As we move into autumn/winter (or “cassoulet season” as we call it in my house), you’ll want a few bottles of this beauty tucked away.

Please limit order requests to 24 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Full Pull Middle Of Summer

July 26, 2017

Hello friends. Seattle is on the tail end of a 30+ streak of sunny days. After the coldest, wettest winter in three decades, this feels like a mighty accomplishment—an accomplishment that can only be celebrated by wines meant to be enjoyed in the warm weather. Today, we’ve got a mixed bag of whites and a rosé for you, all perfectly suited for toasting the sunshine while it’s still here.

2016 Arca Nova Vinho Verde

Vinho Verde has become a household name for much of the United States because of it’s quaffable low-ABV, screaming high acidity, and touch of effervescence—but Vinho Verde is more than just a wine, it’s a region as well. In fact, it’s the largest DOC in Portugal, spanning the coastal northwest tip of the country, with a history over 2,000 years old. Known for being cold and rainy much of the year, Vinho Verde’s nearly 20,000 small producers have built an intricate system of growing that’s unlike most places in the world. Their vines are trained for decades to grow around the edges of vineyards, high off the ground, and up everything from pergolas to telephone poles in order to stay dry—and make way for other vegetables to grow. Many of the small, old farms and producers live off the produce grown underneath their sprawling grape vines.

When it comes to Vinho Verde, there is nothing more quintessential than Arca Nova. Farmed and made by Quinta da Arcas, a small family-owned estate, these vine clusters are trellised and grow six feet above ground. Vinho Verde literally translates to “green wine”—and Arca Nova’s offering lives up to the name. (The bottle itself is fitting alone.) Made from native Portuguese grapes (50% Loureiro, 40% Arinto 40%, 10% Treixadura), and clocking in at 10.5% alcohol, the glass opens with freshly bloomed lilies, tart and tangy green apple, pear, and lemon-lime citrus. On the palate, it’s crisp and dry with wild acidity. There is a touch of creaminess on the midpalate that gives way to citrus, apple, and pear fruit. The finish lingers with effervescence. This is a wine to drink right now, and enjoy with all sorts of summer fare. All of Portugal’s wine is made with the food of the region in mind—and Vinho Verde is all about seafood. Pair this with traditional Portuguese salt cod, whole grilled branzino, chouriço and clams, or simply bread and herbaceous goat cheese.

 

2016 Kind Stranger Rose (Latta Wines)

The newest bottling from Andrew Latta, Kind Stranger is a Bandol-inspired rosé that is perfect for the second coming of summer rosé buying. Long story short: we’ve been trained to buy rosé as early as January to get our hands on the best sellers of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. But here in Washington, many of us have already finished our stashes of rosé by the time it actually feels like summer. At that point, we simply need more rosé—and Latta’s debut under his own label is perfect for such an occasion.

Described as “serious wine that’s not too serious,” Latta created Kind Stranger as a way to give back—it’s a wine to help us share our gifts and make the world feel a little smaller, more personal. And it’s more than just lip service; a portion of the proceeds from this wine will go directly to Mary’s Place, a nonprofit here in Seattle that empowers homeless women, children, and families to reclaim their lives by providing shelter, nourishment, resources, healing and hope in a safe community. Good wine that does good? Is there anything better?

Latta and team worked with Kris Chau, a Hawaiian artist living and working in LA, to create this label—which evokes the ideas behind the wine. A friendly smile. An offer of help. A connection.

42% Grenache, 31% Mourvedre, 27% Cinsault, this direct-press rosé is fruit forward yet sharp and dry. It pours pale pink, and has a vibrant nose of strawberry and raspberry, sage and mediterranean spices, and citrusy orange, grapefruit, and meyer lemon. Its promise of red fruit and citrus follows through on the palate. The finish is lingering with fresh acidity—it’s a truly balanced and pleasurable wine. This is absolutely a contender for any summer evening, or stashing away for the ultimate rosé pairing: the Thanksgiving table.

2015 William Church Viognier

William Church was one of the original wineries to settle the warehouse district of Woodinville in 2005. At this time, they were a garage winery looking to grow, and as Washington natives, Woodinville seemed like the clear option. The winery’s focus on traditional, old world-style winemaking and limited use of oak is what sets them apart. Coupled with the team’s passion for connection, the belief in the memories and experiences that wine can provide, William Church is creating intentional, thoughtful wines just north of the city.

Sourced from Gamache and Connor Lee Vineyard, this sleek and sophisticated viognier clocks in at 14.4% alcohol. A nose full of tropical notes, orchard fruit, freshly picked mint, and agave leads to a mouth full of lively acidity and juicy, tangy fruit. The finish is long, precise, and mouthwatering. This viognier shows what Washington is capable of with rhone whites—and given the winery’s signature style of limited wood, this is a truly varietal-expressive bottle. With a year in bottle, this wine is ready to be enjoyed for the rest of the summer with anything on the grill, fresh heirloom tomatoes with basil, herbs, and fresh chevre, or for something completely different—your favorite Indian take out.

2014 Noelia Ricci Bianco Forli

In Emiglia Romagna, a region producing lots and lots of sangiovese and lambrusco, a label called Noelia Ricci is making the little white wine that could. Noelia Ricci herself planted the vineyards at her family’s estate in the 1970’s and built their winery, Villa Pandolfa, but her grandson Marco Cirese is the one in charge of the Noelia Ricci project, named for his meritorious grandmother. He has sectioned off the winery’s best seven hectares (from 140 hectares total) to create Burgundian-inspired crus within his home. This “cru” focuses on Trebbiano, which thrives within the region itself, and shows particularly well from the family plots that see lots of warm, Italian winds.

The Bianco Forli is mostly Trebbiano with a touch of Pagadebit, a locally grown grape in the appellation. On the nose, it’s full of apricot, honey, crushed granite, garrigue, and a touch of creamy yeast. On the palate, it’s a whole different animal with rippin’, wild acidity as its backbone. Lemon, lime, and salinity cruise through the midpalate, leaving you with a spotless and clean finish that any grandmother would be proud of. Open this bottle with raw or fried oysters, a summer vegetable risotto, or your favorite roman trattoria-inspired dish.

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.


Full Pull Joguet

July 26, 2017

Hello friends. As we expand our international offers at Full Pull, we’re always in search of the best bang for your buck. Yes, we all know tales of hundred thousand dollar bottles of 50 year old Cheval-Blanc and Thomas Jefferson’s 1787 Chateau Margaux, but unless you are all living drastically different lives than team Full Pull, those wines are not an option for a random Tuesday night.

So, we explore the world for wines that work. We’ve recently dabbled in the alpine freshness of Savoie, the rhone-esque reds from Languedoc, and the exceptionally funky wines from Jura—and today’s offer is from the Loire Valley. Bottles from the Loire are truly some of the great values in wine, from white to red and everything in between. Rarely will you be steered wrong, when perusing a restaurant wine list, by choosing a Vouvray, Quincy, Bourgueil, or a Chinon.

The wines of Charles Joguet are a fine introduction to Chinon (see map; we’re in region #22). Joguet took control of the family vineyards in 1957, and soon stopped the practice of selling to negociants, instead choosing to vinify different pieces of the family terroir separately and bottling a series of single-vineyard Chinons. Fifty-five years later, Charles is mostly retired (he stopped in 1997 after working forty vintages), but his vision continues.

Today we have a white, rosé, and red to offer, showing a full spectrum of the low-price, high-caliber wines Joguet provides. Joguet’s wines are divided into two lines: those meant for aging and the “precocious cuvées.” The three we are offering are all from the precocious line, coming from the younger vines of the vineyard and meant to be consumed young. Of course “younger” is relative: average vine age is between 20-30 years for all three of these wines.

And a quick note: While the reds from Joguet usually arrive to Seattle in some quantity, their white and rosé counterparts are scarce. That’s why we haven’t have a Joguet offer in over five years, and have never offered a white or rosé. These wines, the reds included, get gobbled up before we have the chance. Knowing this, we pre-purchased the blanc and the rosé for our list because they are that good . And good thing, because they are now sold out throughout the rest of Seattle. Given this, there will probably be no reorder potential.

2013 Charles Joguet Touraine Blanc Clos de la Plante Martin

Oh Chenin Blanc. According to certain Full Pull’s employees’ personal tastes, this is one of (if not the) greatest white grapes there is. Chenin can be enjoyed young or extensively aged, and everything in between. It’s a wildly versatile wine—perfect from dry to sweet, and divine when made sparkling. This grape’s truest form might just come from the Loire Valley. Joguet’s vineyards are located on the Vienne River, right on the edge of Chinon AOC and is full of clay and limestone soils. Joguet uses slow, cold fermentations to bring out the aromas and structure that make Chenin Blanc so delightful, and ferment on the lees with regular stirring to create texture.

This Chenin opens with a nose full of salinity, lemon juice, and tart green apple. On the palate, citrus and tart fruit flavors follow, with limestone minerality and zippy acid. Four years after vintage, and this white wine is still cruising along, as lively as any younger counterpart. The finish is clean. This is an ideal summer wine—its lemon and acidity asking to be paired with oysters, crab, and other seafood on a patio somewhere.

2016 Charles Joguet Chinon Rose

Seattle’s summer gives the perfect opportunity for a second wave of rosé buying. In the rest of the United States, summer can hit as early as May. Those of us in the Pacific Northwest know better than to expect true summer until after July 4th.

While deep down we know this, those of us who love the pink stuff gobble up pre-orders and releases of the rosé we love the minute they come out—which can now be as early as January or February. Then we try to wait. We try to wait for sunshine and 9:30 PM sunsets and all the magical things that make Seattle summer unbeatable. By the time a few months have gone by, and it’s still cold and rainy, we can’t help ourselves. We drink the rosé. When July hits and it’s actually summer in Seattle, we’re almost done with the rosé we diligently bought six months ago. And we need more. The Joguet rosé is the perfect solution—this mineral driven rose with signature Loire greenies is the perfect late summer rosé. It has the acidity for a summer afternoon or a feast, with unusual complexity that makes it delightful for the last warm days of September and October.

100% Cabernet Franc, this rosé opens with bright minerality and just a touch of that lovely funk that comes with Chinon. The palate is racy, full of fresh wild strawberries, orangey citrus, and fresh, green herbaceous notes of parsley and sage. This is truly an ideal end of summer BBQ wine or, if it lasts, one for the Thanksgiving table.

Vinous (Josh Raynolds): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91pts.”

2014 Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches

Made from 35 year old vines, this cuveé aims to highlight the harmony of Chinon and the different terroirs that can exist. Specific vines are selected for density, complexity, and what they can impart on the wine.

This wine is all Chinon—you can tell from the first sniff. The nose is full of cassis and dark fruit, fresh and dried herbs, floral fresh flowers, and funky, medicinal Italian amaro. The palate is equally herbaceous and fruity, with spicy poblano qualities, lots of earth, and fresh raspberries and blackberries. It’s surprisingly smooth, with a lingering, softly-textured finish. We tried a number of Joguet’s Cabernet Franc offerings and this was a real stand out for the price.

Wine Spectator (James Molesworth): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 91pts.”

Please limit order requests to 4 bottles of white, 6 bottles of rose, and 12 bottles of red, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The white and pink are already in the warehouse; the red should arrive in a week or two, at which point all will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Full Pull Oregon’s Beginning

July 26, 2017

Hello friends. There are moments in life that create space for reflection. Buying your first house. Finding out you’re going to have a baby. Drinking that first bottle of wine that finally made you leave magnums of Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc and Two Buck Chuck in the dust. Well, businesses have the same milestones, too. For Full Pull, they are marked largely by people—and most importantly, wine. The first wine offered. The first employee that was hired. The first weekend of open hours for our tasting room. Eyrie Vineyards in Willamette Valley marks such a moment of reflection for team Full Pull—the first Oregon winery we ever offered.

Much like Full Pull’s first offering (2004 Mountain Dome Brut), Paul knew from the beginning what the first Oregon offering would be. It just took finally getting there (physically and metaphorically) to offer it. Eyrie Vineyards is a special winery, not only to our team, but for the Pacific Northwest, and new world Pinot in general. These esteemed and wildly popular wines are steeped in a rich history of the region itself—Eyrie is responsible for pioneering Pinot in the Willamette Valley. This winery served as a guiding light for many wineries to follow.

Believe it or not, it has actually been over two years since our last exclusive Eyrie offer. So, as a reminder, or for those of you who aren’t familiar with the winery, here’s a relatively brief history: A trip through Europe in the early ’60s convinced David Lett of the singular beauty of Pinot Noir and that the grape could only reach its highest expression in difficult environments. After graduating from UC-Davis in 1963, he blazed a trail north to Oregon, where he was convinced he could find just such a clime. In 1966, he settled on a site in the Dundee Hills, at a time when banks wouldn’t give loans to winemakers interested in this area because it was universally known that the Willamette Valley was too cold and too wet for grape-growing.

Fast forward a few years and lo and behold, Eyrie Vineyards was producing wine—wine that was grown in dark, cold Willamette Valley. But it wasn’t until 1980 that the landscape shifted seismically. That was the year that Robert Drouhin included the 1975 Eyrie Vineyards South Block Reserve Pinot Noir in a blind tasting against many of Maison Joseph Drouhin’s finest Burgundies. Finishing in first place: one of Drouhin’s 1959 Pinots; and in second, two-tenths of a point behind, the Eyrie Vineyards. That event set in motion the eventual move by Drouhin to establish an Oregonian outpost, an absolute win for Oregon’s wine country.

David Lett continued for the coming decades to create honest, terroir driven wines—even when it wasn’t in fashion. One of my favorite quotes to show David’s style, his humor, and passion, comes from an interview done with Paul Gregutt at his own home in.

“I embrace vintage variation because I love it. It makes life exciting. I could grow pinot noir in a warmer climate; what’s the use? Every year you get the same product, you know exactly how much you’re going to get, when you are going to pick, how ripe it’s going to be… and ho hum – where’s the fun in that?”

David passed away in 2008, after passing the winemaking responsibilities at Eyrie down to his son Jason. Jason Lett is doing a remarkable job both honoring his late father’s legacy and stamping his own indelible mark on Eyrie wines. In his time as head winemaker, Jason has continued to produce some of the most elegant, transparent, truthful Pinot Noirs in the Willamette Valley

Today, we have three wines to offer you, showing the full spectrum of what Eyrie does best. At the end, you’ll also see a list of library wines and special offerings we may be able to get our hands on. If you’re interested in any of those, just reply to this e-mail or e-mail info@fullpullwines.com to let us know and we will do our best to get our hands on them for you.

2015 Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris

Eyrie’s white wines have a mind of their own—and truly differ from their other Oregon counterparts. Eyrie takes a slower approach to this wine, aging the Pinot Gris 3 -4 times longer than many other wineries. The juice goes through extended aging on the lees and full malolactic fermentation that provides texture. This results in unusually rich and supple texture for a wine that’s zippy with acidity. A perfect combination for aging.

Clocking in at 12.5% alcohol, this Pinot Gris opens with a wildly fragrant nose of orchard stone fruit, tart green apple, and green vegetables—fennel fronds and cucumber. The palate is salty and mineral driven, with an incredibly subtle touch of sweet peaches and cream. It’s weighty, with racy acidity.

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 91pts.”

2014 Eyrie Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

2014 was a warm year globally—and Oregon was saved by plenty of rainfall to keep the vines from any stress of drought. Eyrie is no stranger to customizing harvest due to weather conditions, and 2014 was the third earliest harvest ever. In less knowledgeable hands, this wine would be entirely different. But thanks to years of experience (and probably just a little bit of luck from the genetic lottery), Jason and his team preserved beautiful, natural acidity, making a Pinot Noir with near perfect typicity for their terroir.

The 2014 Willamette Pinot cuvée is a blend of 65% estate grown Pinot and the rest fruit from organically-managed, older-vine sites around the valley. All hand picked and destemmed, this wine undergoes native primary fermentation in a range of different fermenters—from small bins to five-ton wooden cuves. The wine then undergoes malolactic fermentation in mostly neutral barrels (6% new) and is bottled after 16 months. It clocks in at 13.5% alcohol.

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 93 pts.”

Paul G. sums it up perfectly. This is a special, terror-specific, well-priced wine that deserves a place in your cellar (or basement, garage, shelf, under the bed etc. Really, put it wherever you store your wine).

2013 Eyrie Vineyards Original Vines Pinot Noir 

While 2014 was hotter than ever, 2013 was a truly dynamic vintage that threw much of Oregon through a loop. This is the kind of vintage David Lett would dream of, remember? Eyrie’s experience again shows in a vintage that proved troublesome for other wineries. Eyrie’s 2013 wines prove balanced between the bright acidity of a cool year and the ripeness of a warm one. It’s lively, energetic, and lovely.

This wine is 100% certified organic and all of the grapes come from the original Eyrie Vineyard—the one that started it all. This bottle is almost like a time capsule, a little bit of insight into the people and places that created Oregon’s first Pinot. You cannot find older Pinot vines than this in Willamette Valley, which personally gives me goosebumps to think about (but maybe that’s just the temperature of our warehouse as I write this…)

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 94pts.”

First and foremost, this wine is fragrant with cranberry, wild-grown berries, and lemony blood orange citrus. The palate is structured and elegant, with ever-present acidity that speaks to cellaring, as Paul G. mentions, but also to pairing with food. If you have the patience, drink this bottle at Thanksgiving in 2025.

Now onto the library wines and special offers. As a reminder, if you’re interested in these wines, please contact us by replying to this e-mail or e-mail info@fullpullwines.com directly.

2015 Pinot Gris Original Vines 

2015 Trousseau 

1999 Pinot Gris 

1993 Chardonnay 

1997 Chardonnay Reserve 

1991 Special Selection Pinot Noir

1995 Reserve Pinot Noir 

1990 South Block Pinot Noir

Please request what you like, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive this week or next (mostly; the library and special order stock might take a few weeks longer), at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

 


Full Pull Ex Umbris

July 26, 2017

Hello friends. Today we have the deeply seductive new vintage of one of the most popular Washington Syrahs we offer each year. Fortunately, we’re able to continue at the same pricing we’ve had for the past few vintages, down considerably from the $28 price point of vintages past:

2015 Owen Roe Syrah Ex Umbris

Our TPU price is as low a tag as I see nationally, and one we were only able to secure this year by committing to a sizeable parcel. Never a concern when it comes to this particular wine.

Whenever we offer Ex Umbris, I like to quote the inimitable Jon Marvin from Cavatappi. Jon represents Owen Roe locally, and he has a unique perspective on this wine, having worked at Pike & Western when the first vintage was released:

David was making some pretty cool Syrah back in the day, way before everyone and their grandmas were in the Syrah game in WA. In 2002 an incredible forest fire enveloped the vineyard where he was sourcing his Syrah, and the smoke and ash from the fire sunk into the valley and played a role in that vintage that we hadn’t really seen before. I remember when he came into Pike and Western to sell us the wine after it was bottled with a new label called “Ex Umbris” (from the shadows), and we all wondered what the hell we were going to do with this new release as it smelled like a camp fire on steroids. It sold like crazy and people kept coming back for more and more until it was all sold out.

The next year came along and of course everyone was clamoring for the next vintage of Ex Umbris, and many were disappointed that the intense smokey flavors and aromas weren’t there. It’s not like David wanted to create a fire around the vines to get that same effect, and none of us wanted that either. Fortunately over a few years time people realized that WA Syrah when done correctly often has smokey aromas naturally, and Ex Umbris has pretty much had a life of its own ever since. Of course David has fine tuned his craft even more over the last decade, he’s using vineyards that are more ideal for Syrah than what was available a dozen years ago, and his Syrah is better than ever.

As many of our list members who have accessed the past few vintages know, it’s true: this wine really is better than ever. The vineyard sources for the 2015 are a quartet of Yakima Valley all-stars: two estate sites (Union Gap and Outlook) plus DuBrul, plus Red Willow. Ridiculous sourcing for a Syrah at this price point, and all of it aged in neutral barrel for 16 months. Listed alc is 14.1%, and the nose opens with blackberry fruit, smoky ham hock, plum sauce, and smoldering charcoal. The smoky threads that this Syrah has become known for are present in force in 2015. The palate offers a just-right mix of fruit and non-fruit elements (earthy, savory), all on a rich, intense, openly delicious frame. 2015 was a warm year in Washington, and it seems clear that this vintage is going to be an early-drinking delight, offering untold pleasures, immediate-gratification-style.

First come first served up to 36 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 The Savoie Reprise

July 26, 2017

Hello friends. Almost a year ago, we offered our first full lineup of these lesser-known beauts from Savoie, a little French wine-making region that runs along the Swiss border. Offering wines from a region that has limited distribution on our shores has always been a gamble for team Full Pull, but Savoie felt worth it. And lo and behold, Savoie surprised us all—proving to be a hit with our list members. So, this is officially becoming a thing. Welcome to our second annual Savoie offer.

So, what’s so special about this little region? Savoie is widely considered one of the best values in the world right now. This region produces pure, thrilling, crystalline wines that offer pleasures both in youth and in medium term (5-10 years) ageing. (They also produce gooey, ooey cheeses, like raclette and fondue, which just adds to the appeal.) Many of these smaller, alpine, border wine regions equate bang for your buck, but Savoie especially feels like an undiscovered country, with drastically underpriced wines. It’s a combination of unfamiliar varieties and complicated labeling that’s keeping these wines from bursting onto the scene in a major way—and we’re here to reap the benefits.

Today we’re offering a collection from Domaine Jean Vullien et Fils. The Vullien family farms roughly 69 acres of vineyards in the Combe de Savoie, a boomerang-shaped hillside. The Combe contains six hillside crus (top micro-regions within Savoie), and the Vulliens farm four of those crus, including all of Savoie’s indigenous varieties. This is an outstanding domaine; a perfect prism through which to view the beauty of the Savoie for the first time or the hundredth time.

NV D. Jean Vullien Cremant de Savoie 

While we’re thrilled to offer all the wines of Savoie, it’s especially exciting to be able to offer a Cremant. This region was just approved for Cremant production in 2014, and wines with the Cremant de Savoie label have only been allowed to be sold beginning in December 2015. This is the eighth cremant appellation in France, a designation that covers sparkling wines made outside Champagne and still puts strict controls on the production and the varieties involved.

In this case, the varieties involved are Jacquere and Altesse, two native white varietals of the region, as well as Chardonnay. This clocks in at 12.5% and offers a lovely nose of peach, apple, and apricot fruit, bready croissant, and chalky minerals. The palate is rich, leesy, and delicious, with creamy fruit and a touch of salinity. Plenty of bright acidity brings this wine home, providing a light yet lingering finish. This would be great on its own all summer long, or paired with heirloom tomatoes, all the creamy cheeses of the region, and much more. Hold out until the colder weather (because as we all know, winter is coming), and open it for any special occasion. This is a versatile, easy-drinking bottles of bubbles.

NV D. Jean Vullien Vin de Savoie Brut Rose

A new offering to the Vullien Savoie lineup, this sparkling rosé done in the traditional method showed so well that we couldn’t pass up adding a second bubbly today. Made up of 50% Gamay, 30% Pinot Noir, and 20% Mondeuse, all manually harvested, this is a striking sparkling bottle. It pours orangey-pink in color and opens with notes of citrus blossoms, peach, wild strawberries, and freshly-baked brioche. Clocking in at 12% listed alc., the palate is creamy, with plenty of fine bubbles and citrusy acid that elevate this wine across the tongue. The finish is mouthwatering and lingering.

This rosé would pair well with most foods, but would be particularly lovely with all sorts of summer picnic foods—grilled chicken, potato salad, watermelon wedges. It would also be perfect with a hot basket of french fries. If you’re looking for something different, I would use this rosé as a base for an early evening aperitif cocktail, like an Aperol spritz.

2016 D. Jean Vullien Roussette de Savoie Cepage Altesse

Altesse is an indigenous white to the region—and is usually considered a step up in seriousness and age worthiness from the entry level wines of the region. The Vulliens grow about six acres of Altesse across multiple crus. With 5 – 7 years of age, this wine takes on loads of toasty honeyed complexities, but right now, this one is youthful and fresh as can be.

It opens with an alpine nose of peach, fresh cut melon, and apricot. The palate is dry and brightly acidic, with citrusy salinity and minerality that has a real palate-staining character. Truly, this one just lingers and lingers with salty alpine goodness. It’s a wine that’s intense and electric—and considering that complexity and intensity here, it will easily last a decade and get more and more interesting with each passing year.

2015 D. Jean Vullien Vin de Savoie Chignin-Bergeron

This is technically a reoffer from last year’s Savoie offer. With an extra year in bottle, this wine has continued to grow and develop, and after tasting it again, we decided it had to be offered.

Let’s start by decoding this bottle. Chignin is the place (cru located here), and Bergeron is the grape. Though the name is new, Bergeron is simply what locals call a very familiar grape: Roussanne. But this is not the Roussanne you’ve become acquainted with. It’s clearly related to Rhone Roussanne (and the extra year of bottle age helps show this connection off), and is clearly a distant relative of new-world Roussanne. Savoie’s Bergeron is like the Roussanne you know and love—just filtered through the Alps.

It begins with a nose of orange blossom and other Alpine flowers, nectarine, and a dusty/chalky mineral element. One of the great things about all these Alpine Savoie whites is their insistent mineral character—and Roussanne shows this off beautifully. At 13% listed alc, this wine offers all the density and intensity we expect from Roussanne, but at a moderate weight. It also offers a robust, full-blooded earthiness that is just wonderful. For our Rhone fans, this is a bottle to try: austerely-fruited, beautifully mineral, complex, savory, and fascinating.

2015 D. Jean Vullien Vin de Savoie St. Jean de la Porte Mondeuse 

While Savoie is best known for its white wines, it does contain an indigenous red as well: Mondeuse. These wines, like their white counterparts, are known for structured acidity, with the addition of subtle, integrated tannins. The Vullien family farms Mondeuse in the cru St. Jean de la Porte (located here).

This wine clocks in 12.5% listed alc and immediately presents a purity reminiscent of Burgundy on the nose, with that alluring and light mix of wild berry fruit, freshly-ground black pepper, cracked stone minerality, and spicy, fresh herbs. On the palate, it’s juicy, revisiting the mix of wild berries, with a gritty texture that leads to a super dry finish. There’s real verve here; this hums across the palate with its mix of rocks and fruit and flowers. Put a light chill on this and drink it all summer long, or stow it away until November for a place on the Thanksgiving table.

 

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.


Full Pull The Gathering Hordes

July 26, 2017

Today we’re offering a pair of wines from Full Pull favorite (and list member himself), Kevin White. Over the last five years, Kevin White has moved from a buzzy, rising star of Washington to one of the truly tested and consistently high-quality producers of our state. This year, in his fifth release of La Fraternité and En Hommage, Kevin White has continued to solidify his ranking in Washington winemaking, and according to well-placed sources, both of these wines will be receiving 93pt reviews from Sean Sullivan in the September issue of Wine Enthusiast. It’s a rarity to see 93pt reviews from Sean for wines in the $20s—but, that’s the story of Kevin White. He makes ridiculously nice wines at prices that are pretty unusual. Lucky for all of us.

2015 Kevin White La Fraternite 

This wine has always been an unreal value. This year, the blend continues with mostly (60%) Grenache from Upland Vineyard, followed by some (33%) Mourvèdre, and a little (7%) Syrah, both from Boushey Vineyard. Before even tasting this wine, you know it’s going to be one to reckon with. Upland and Boushey are both vineyards to write home about—most winemakers hope to use at least one of these names on their label, and Kevin White gets to boast fruit from both.

La Fraternité opens with bright, fresh red fruit—raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, and cherry pie—followed by floral lilac and violet (a marker of Upland Vineyard Grenache if there ever was one), gravel minerality, and green, leafy spices and herbs from the Mourvedre. Medium bodied on the palate, fruit, floral, and spice continue with fresh acidity and a silky-smooth mouthfeel. The finish is lingering and bright. La Fraternité is a crowd pleaser of a wine, especially at this price point, with more than enough complexity to interest those of us who like to think about our wines. Pair it with everything from roasted chicken to fatty fish or burgers. It would be a perfect dinner companion for lightly seared tuna, grilled salmon, and smoked pork ribs.

2015 Kevin White En Hommage 

Three years running, En Hommage is 100% Syrah and says so right on the label. Using two of the same vineyards from the last two vintages, this wine shows off the quality fruit from Olsen and Elephant Mountain Vineyards. This year, Kevin adds Boushey to the mix, as well, continuing the tradition of top-tier Yakima vineyards throughout his Syrah.

What has now become a tell-tale sign of Kevin White’s Syrah, this bottling opens with a wonderfully dark Washington Syrah profile—that winning combination of black currants and plum; black pepper and olive; and tar and smoke. The nose also carries subtleties of crushed violet and salty pork fat. On the palate, this combination of blue and black fruit and savory spice continues, lifted with bright, mineral-driven acidity. Refined tannins lead to a smooth, yet substantial, finish. This wine is wildly pleasurable and would be ideally paired with lamb chops, all sorts of barbeque, grilled flank steak with house-made chimichurri, and anything served with a sauce that was simmered all day.

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles total (mix and match as 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.