Hello friends. Let’s begin our last offering of 2010 with an excerpt from poet laureate and noted wine critic Alfred (Lord) Tennyson:
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
It is indeed time to let the year die, but first, here is one final offering before Full Pull goes into hibernation for a few weeks (a quick note on that: after today, you won’t see another Full Pull offering until January 10, and our next pickup day will be Thursday, January 13).
Today’s offering is an expression of thanks for your role in making this the most professionally satisfying year of my life. This shimmering ethereal beauty of a wine will not show up in your Google searches. You won’t find professional reviews. You won’t find it for sale anyplace else, because it has never before been sold. To date, this has been a friends-and-family wine for Gramercy Cellars. So I guess we can now consider ourselves part of the greater Gramercy family.
This project began as an old-fashioned barter. Ron Lachini was looking to play with Cabernet Sauvignon (which doesn’t ripen so well in the upper Willamette Valley), and Greg Harrington wanted to make a Pinot Noir. I can’t say it came as a huge surprise that Greg was surreptitiously making Pinot Noir. I have heard him on multiple occasions say that he believes Syrah should be treated much more like delicate Pinot Noir than like bruising Cabernet. And in many ways, his Syrahs emulate the best of Pinot Noirs, with their mix of fruit and earth, their site expressiveness, and their ability to express depth of flavor at remarkably low alcohol. Pinot is a no-brainer for a winemaker like Greg, and all he needed was access.
Starting in 2007, he got that access, winding up with one ton of Ron Lachini’s Pinot Noir. He and Jamie Brown (of Waters) worked on the project together (in fact, some of the Gramercy-labeled bottles will have Waters corks), and they ended up with two barrels. Two-thirds of the production went to Waters, and one-third to Gramercy. Final production level: 17 cases of 2007 Gramercy Cellars Pinot Noir Lachini Vineyard.
The grapes were harvested two days before the notorious Willamette rains of 2007, and the fruit quality was excellent (Lachini is an early-ripening vineyard). Greg and Jamie proceeded to age the wine entirely in neutral French oak (no surprise to anyone who is familiar with these winemakers). The result is a beautiful contradiction: straightforward, complex Pinot.
It’s straightforward in its clarity: a ringing Steinway tone of Pinot. And it’s complex in the way that only Pinot can be, with its mix of brambly red fruit, forest floor, smoke, and flowers. This has a dark, rich flavor profile, with gorgeous, persistent inner-mouth perfume. With time and air, fresh, outdoor notes of sagebrush and clover emerge, adding to this wine’s compelling subtleties.
This will have to be an ephemeral offering. We get one parcel, and one parcel only, and this wine will not be available for reorder. Please limit order requests to 6 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in the warehouse in early January. It will be ready for pickup on our first TPU of the new year (January 13) and shipping during the spring shipping window.
And now a quick endnote. My friends and I have discussed on several occasions the value of having a two-word answer ready when people ask you the (uniquely American) question: what do you do? (note: obviously my answer is “shill plonk.” ) Equally important, in my estimation, is being able to describe in two words the mission of your organization. For Full Pull, I have known the answer from the beginning: facilitate happiness.
This year has been, for me, a heady mix of joys and sorrows. It is a year that has underscored the importance of building happy memories with family and friends, those memories that serve as life-rafts in seas of trouble. I firmly believe that wine facilitates happiness; that it is an enabler of our best times together; that it can be the rope that binds those life-rafts together.
What I wish for you in this holiday season and in the year to come is that our wines can bring the same happiness to you that this endeavor brings to me. Here’s to a year light on sorrows and heavy on joys. Happy holidays, happy new year, and onwards to 2011.