Three 2010s from Kerloo Cellars

Hello friends. There are a few wineries that, through contingencies of timing, have grown up right alongside Full Pull. Kerloo Cellars is one of those.

We launched Full Pull in October 2009, just as Ryan and Renee Crane were releasing the first Kerloo wines into the world. A 2007 Kerloo Syrah was the third wine ever offered by Full Pull.

There is something special about being there at each other’s beginnings, something special about watching our ventures grow together. And so when Ryan Crane struts into the Full Pull warehouse in late summer, open bottles in hand, and lets out a greeting of “what’s up big daddy” it’s hard for me to wipe the grin off my face.

That smile continues through the tasting, because as good as Ryan’s wines were back in 2009, they have only gotten better in the intervening years. And they haven’t gotten any easier to find. He has kept his production levels ruthlessly low, such that you can set an annual clock to Kerloo’s rhythm: released in autumn, sold out by year’s end.

Perhaps in other universes, where Full Pull launches a year earlier or a year later, we don’t have this relationship with Kerloo, this level of access to these scarce wines. Fortunately, we live in this universe, where a series of happy contingencies has led us to this lovely lineup of wines:

2010 Kerloo Cellars Tempranillo

A blend of 86% Tempranillo (cooler Les Collines and warmer Stonetree) and 14% Grenache (Alder Ridge), with a meager production level of 161 cases. The aromatics are inviting – zesty, briary, spicy – and lead into a palate with plenty of tannic heft and lovely 2010 acid to frame a deep well of spicy berry fruit and tobacco leaf. Ryan has dialed in Tempranillo over the past few years, and this is one of the most successful renditions coming out of Washington.

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “($34); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19+/20pts.”

2010 Kerloo Cellars Syrah Les Collines Vineyard

The 2007 vintage of this was that third-ever Full Pull offering, and we have offered every vintage of Ryan’s Les Collines Syrah since. Yields in 2010 were down across the board, and the overall production here is (gulp) 92 cases. Ryan has already sold more than half of that, so this has almost no chance of being available for reorder. We’ll get one shot only.

It’s a shot worth taking, because this is glorious single-vineyard Syrah. Ryan coaxes the best out of this Walla Walla Valley site. He does 35% whole-cluster fermentation (stems and all), which tends to elevate the wild character already inherent in the site. This sees only 12% new oak, and in 2010, it comes from a single block (Block 30). Here we see the sauvage side of Les Collines, in aromatics of morel mushroom, pine nut, and wild cherry. The palate has lovely floral lift to the flavors of blue and red berry fruit, and savory, nutty complexities.

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “($38); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19+/20pts.”

Note: for super Syrah geeks, a fascinating comparison will be between Gramercy’s 2010 WWV Syrah (almost all Les Collines Block 46, 40% whole cluster) and Ryan’s 2010 Les Collines Syrah (all LC Block 30, 35% whole-cluster). Do different blocks of Les Collines express themselves differently? Yes indeed.

2010 Kerloo Cellars Syrah Va Piano Vineyard

Here’s something new for Ryan. In previous years, his second Syrah got the “Walla Walla Valley” tag and was a blend of Les Collines and Va Piano. This year, he puts Va Piano on the stage alone.

Well, almost alone.

This is 96% Va Piano Vineyard Syrah, cofermented with 4% Viognier from Les Collines, a whopping 50% whole cluster, and 24% new oak. Ryan assisted Justin Wylie for years at Va Piano before launching Kerloo, and he has developed a deft touch with this site. The Viognier coferment adds just enough flowers and spice to the expressive nose of orange blossom and boysenberry fruit. A total palate-stainer, this brings bright plummy fruit, spicy nuance, and a finishing squeeze of blood orange. It displays all the vibrancy of the 2010 vintage, along with fat, plush, round tannins. It is a resoundingly successful bottling of Va Piano.

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “($38); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19.5/20pts.”

Please limit order requests to 3 Les Collines, 6 Va Piano, and 6 Tempranillo, 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 available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.

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