Three from Efeste

Hello friends. We have the return today of a list favorite: Brennon Leighton’s “Big Papa” old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition, I’m going to include reorder opportunities for Brennon’s two 2011 whites that many of you have been asking about since Tanzer’s latest set of reviews were released (yes, a 92pt score from Tanzer is an impressive achievement indeed):

2009 Efeste Cabernet Sauvignon “Big Papa”

Big Papa is 100% Cabernet and uses some of Washington’s best old-vine material: about half from Red Mountain (Klipsun and Kiona) and half from Sagemoor properties (Sagemoor and Bacchus). It sees 85% new French oak, contributing notes of woodsmoke, sweet grain, and high-cacao chocolate to the lovely Cabernet fruit aromas of crème de cassis and violet. The wine positively explodes with dense, rich, palate-staining layers of cassis and blackberry, plum and cherry, salted chocolate. I even picked up some more exotic fruits like guava, papaya, orange peel. A big wine to begin with, in this fleshy vintage it’s a total hedonistic pleasure-bomb: dense, intense, and long. This one will, I suspect, be well-loved by big papas and big mamas alike.

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

2011 Efeste Riesling Evergreen Vineyard

Original offering on May 16, 2012.

My original text: Evergreen does great with Sauvignon Blanc, great with Chardonnay, great with Pinot Gris. But it has built its reputation on Riesling. As the main source of both Eroica and Charles Smith’s Kung Fu Girl, this is an ambassador vineyard for Washington Riesling, and bully for that. Here Brennon chooses an off-dry style. At just over 12% alc and just over 1% RS, this drinks like a fuller-bodied Mosel Kabinett. There is plenty of chalky minerality, of course, and the fruits are mostly in the citrus family: think lime and tangerine. A minty topnote keeps things very fresh, and this pulls off double duty: refreshing and intense in turn.

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.”

2011 Efeste Sauvignon Blanc “Feral” Evergreen Vineyard

Original offering on May 16, 2012.

My original text: When Brennon worked for Ste Michelle, they used Evergreen fruit to form the core of Eroica, and when he landed at Efeste, he continued working with the vineyard. This Sauvignon Blanc, made entirely with “feral” (non-commercial) yeasts, has garnered something of a cult-like following in the Seattle market and is, to the best of my knowledge, the only Evergreen Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc on the market. There is a wild greenness to the nose, redolent with grasses and clovers. The palate presents a heady mix of the three “gr”s of fine cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc: grass, grapefruit, and gravel. It’s a little austere, a little funky: far far away from the more tropical Sauvignon Blancs that dot much of the new-world landscape. Not for everyone, but those of us who like this tend to *really* like it.

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.”

First come first served up to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like). The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.

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