2004 Cadence Klipsun Vineyard

Hello friends. Let’s begin today with logistics. This will be our final offering of 2012, and we will not be visiting your inboxes again until January 7. We have one more pickup day, which is tomorrow (Saturday Dec 22 from 10am to 2pm), and then we will be CLOSED on Dec 27 and Jan 3. Our first TPU pickup day in 2013 will be on Thursday, January 10.

Now, with that out of the way…

I believe that the day-to-day rhythms of our jobs are adept liars. And the main lie they tell is: you’re not making any progress.

Thank goodness, then, for the milestone that the end of the year brings; the chance to pull back from the microscopic and try to see things at a macro level.

The easiest way that I can think of to reflect on 2012 is to consider where Full Pull was when I was writing our year-end offering in December 2011. At that point, we had no employees. We were only offering wines from the Pacific Northwest. And we actually had enough space in the warehouse to consider hosting events. Ah, the quaint times of yore.

Through the prism of December 2011, 2012 looks like a year of solid progress, of happy growth. And that’s what it was. I want to thank all of you for allowing us first to invade your inboxes and then to invade your dining rooms. Nothing gives me more pleasure than receiving notes from list members detailing a meal or a gathering where one (or several) of our wines enhanced the experience, loosened the lips for better storytelling, strengthened the bonds of fellowship. Notes like that help confirm for me that Full Pull is fulfilling our simple mission: to facilitate happiness.

I also want to thank you for continuing to spread the word about Full Pull to other wine-lovers. We try to always ask newbies picking their wine up for the first time where they heard about Full Pull, and the most common answer, by far, is from another list member. It has the faint whiff of a pyramid scheme, I know, but fortunately, no one is (yet) asking for referral fees.

As far as our local scene here in the northwest goes, 2012 felt like a turnaround kind of year. I saw more new winery entrants and fewer deep-discount blowouts than in any of Full Pull’s previous years, both signs of an industry regaining some footing. The 2012 vintage was also a warm, fairly normal one, welcome in Oregon and Washington after the cooler, more challenging 2010 and 2011 harvests. We’re still a few months from seeing the first whites and rosés from 2012, and early indications are promising.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s send 2012 out properly, first with the poem with which we end each year of Full Pull offerings, one that speaks to the cleansing grace of the end of a year, the power of first remembering and then letting go:
from Tennyson’s In Memoriam:

And now one more wine before we go dark for a few weeks:

Pretty much every time we have written about Ben Smith’s wines for Cadence, we’ve mentioned that these are among the most ageworthy of Washington wines. So you can imagine my delight when we were offered a chance to access the Cadence library. After tasting this in October, I quickly slotted it in for the year-end offering.

A chance to taste Ben’s skill, and a vineyard of this caliber, at almost a decade past vintage, and better yet at a tariff that looks more like a Cadence current-release than a library-release? It was a slam dunk.

Those of you who follow Cadence’s current lineup will know that Ben no longer produces a Klipsun bottling. He discontinued it in 2005 in order to focus on his estate Cara Mia Vineyard, which came online beginning with the 2006 vintage. So this 2004 represents Ben’s penultimate Klipsun bottling, even more of a collector’s item.

Klipsun (located here) is one of Red Mountain’s iconic vineyards, known for power, for wines that brood in their youth, for wines with a dark beauty that reveals itself most with extended bottle age. And 2004 was an interesting vintage. It was the freeze year in Walla Walla, the most recent vintage where that valley was almost entirely knocked out by frost. Red Mountain avoided that fate, but still came in with reduced yields of high-quality fruit.

This bottling is a two-thirds/one-third split of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and the first thing you notice on the expressive aromatics is a fine note of what the French call “gout de terroir” (or sometimes “gout de merde”.) This is full of developed character, of earth and barnyard, and it contains a certain wildness, thrilling to behold. My first word from my tasting note: “glorious.” It’s a wine just entering its peak, with tertiary notes of earth and mushroom and leather, but still with enough primary character – in the form of dried cherry fruit and chewy, integrating tannins – to present a balanced whole. It’s a chance to watch a classy bottle grow up before your eyes.

Please limit order requests to 6 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and will be available for those of you picking up wine tomorrow, or for pickup in 2013 or shipping during the spring shipping window.

On behalf of the whole Full Pull team, best wishes for a happy and wine-soaked end to 2012.

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