Hello friends. Our support of Ken Hart’s wines over the years has given us access to two truly special bottlings today: new Tulpen wines from the first commercial dryland-farmed vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley.
While all of Kenny’s wines for Tulpen are small production, these are microscopic: 32 cases of Grenache and 69 cases of Tempranillo. Because of that, this will be a one-time-only offering, with no reorders possible. To the best of my knowledge, we’re the only place to source these wines outside of calling Kenny himself.
If you do call Kenny, chances are he’ll get around to talking about the Mill Creek drainage and its potential. This is the area in the eastern part of the Walla Walla Valley where Mill Creek Road passes Abeja and continues climbing up into the foothills of the Blue Mountains. As you gain elevation, you also gain annual precipitation. Yellow Bird Vineyard sits at 1450 feet and gets 20 inches average rainfall each year, enough to make it a rare Washington vineyard that does not require any irrigation. The combination of rain and deep-loam soils makes it such that the grapevines can grow without added water.
In addition to this new vineyard coming online (both of today’s wines are single-vineyard, coming entirely from the dryland-farmed Yellow Bird), this offering also marks the introduction of Tulpen’s new labels (see picture), a fine representation of the high-quality juice inside.
These are among the most exciting wines I have tasted this year and, as usual with Kenny’s wines, represent exceptional value.
2010 Tulpen Cellars Grenache Yellow Bird Vineyard
Only 32 cases produced, so this is very limited indeed. The aromatics present a wonderful dusting of white pepper on top of a panoply of red fruits: raspberry, redcurrant, pomegranate. It’s a nose that simultaneously conveys purity and a certain wildness; very alluring. And then it’s one of those wines where the palate delivers precisely what the nose promises. It’s Grenache that has intensity and concentration with no excess weight. It’s a compelling expression of this new site, as seen through the prism of Grenache.
2010 Tulpen Cellars Tempranillo Yellow Bird Vineyard
A whopping 69 cases produced. This plays on the funkier side, with an exciting nose of scorched earth, truffle, tobacco leaf, and blackberry. There is a real old-world Rioja character to the palate, with loads of structure on a lithe, 13%-alcohol frame. It mixes its black fruit with an autumnal leafy character, and the finish is all deliciously ripe, black-tea flavored tannins. A singular Washington Tempranillo; I haven’t tasted anything out of our state that is quite like this.
Please limit order requests to 4 bottles Grenache and 8 bottles Tempranillo, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a few weeks, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.