2011 Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly

February 28, 2013

Hello friends. One surprising aspect of asking about new-world wines is that I heard a lot of feedback about old-world wines, and one theme that emerged: more benchmark wines from old-world regions.

One respondent summed it up perfectly: “The ‘high quality archetypes’ are my favorites and I realized it in your recent approach in the Prodotturi, Tempier, and Lopez de Heredia. Help people focus their attention on a region, learning about and purchasing the wine, and knowing that the high quality archetype guarantees the learning continues in the glass and on the google map and wikipedia. Then we hopefully visit one day with a frame of reference for everything we will experience in-country.”

Today, then, let’s dive into another benchmark producer, another high quality archetype, a winery that has sat on the slopes of the extinct volcano Mont Brouilly since 1383:

Cote de Brouilly is one of ten “Cru” sub-regions in Beaujolais. The Crus generally follow the foothills of the surrounding mountains, whereas wines labeled Beaujolais-Villages or Beaujolais come from the flatlands. Here is a map of the Crus to get us oriented. To make it clear: we’re not in Brouilly (the largest of the Crus); we’re in Cote de Brouilly, a tiny Cru encompassing the slopes of Mont Brouilly.

More specifically, here is where Thivin is located, on the southwestern slope of the mountain. It’s prime real estate, but it’s not so easy to farm. The slope has a grade of 48%, and if your imagination is working in overdrive, trying to think about what a 48% slope on an extinct French volcano with 50 year old Gamay Noir vines looks like, here’s a picture to test the accuracy of those imaginings.

Amazing! If we were a few miles north into Burgundy proper, a wine from a site like this would command, what, four times the price? Fortunately, we’re in Beaujolais, although you’d be hard-pressed to know it from the bottle. I can find one reference to Beaujolais, and it’s on the capsule. Unfortunately, the name has become marketing poison in the United States, a victim of the roaring success of Beaujolais Nouveau, which has now cemented in many American brains that Beaujolais costs $10 or less.

It’s a fortunate turn of events for those of us who love Cru Beaujolais, because it has had a clear dampening effect on prices. As I’ve said many times, if we’re willing to swim against the ebb tides of wine fashion, we can find exceptional values. Thivin is just that.

It’s a winery that takes its history and traditions seriously. Here is what a bottle of the 1949 looked like. Here is what today’s label looks like. There is nothing too fussy going on here. Grapes are harvested and then whole-cluster fermented. After they’re pressed off, they move into big old oak foudres (here’s a picture) for six months, and then it’s into bottle.

The result is a wine with breathtaking clarity and freshness, and the national press has taken notice. When Eric Asimov of the New York Times assembled a panel in 2011 to blind-taste through a bunch of Cru Beaujolais, their number one wine in the group turned out to be: 2009 Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly, which they described as “[TEXT WITHHELD].”

Cru Beaujolais is one of those wines that defies easy transcription onto a page. Many turn to metaphor. Kermit Lynch, who has been importing Thivin since 1979, describes the wine as “…a country squire who is not afraid to get his boots muddy. Handsome, virile, earthy, and an aristocrat.”

From those two notes, you start to get the idea. This presents the purest, most delicious berry fruit, wrapped up in layer after layer of earth, mineral, soil. The alcohol is 13%, and it’s one of those wines where it’s oh-so-easy to drink glass after glass. The deliciousness factor is there, for certain, but there’s complexity, too; earthy nuance that keeps you from wanting to glug this down too quickly. For me, Thivin represents an unparalleled translation of earth into wine. This is the southwestern slope of Mont Brouilly in a glass, and it’s priced at a tariff that won’t make you feel bad to open it on a Tuesday.

Find a good roast chicken and run, don’t walk, to the dinner table. First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.


Two from Nefarious Cellars

February 27, 2013

Hello friends. A recent trip reminded me of just how distant, how geographically distinct Lake Chelan is from the rest of Washington. Ours was a long-weekend snowshoeing excursion in Stehekin, at the northern end of the lake. Approachable only by trail, seaplane, or a three-hour ferry up the lake (that’s what we did), this place is waaaaaaay off the grid. So off the grid that I didn’t sniff cell service for three days (nor a land line for that matter). So off the grid that their schoolhouse employs one teacher for grades K-8. So off the grid that I saw more swans than people over the course of the weekend.

Stehekin is extremely remote. And even Chelan, where the ferry originates, is not exactly a booming metropolis. The zoomed-out map shows you that we’re a solid 100 miles north of the Wahluke Slope. The zoomed-in map on Defiance Vineyard (source of today’s wines) shows how tenuously the Neffs’ site clings to the gentle slope between the lake itself and the surrounding mountains.

This is winemaking on the edge, and the results that Heather and Dean Neff produce from one of Washington’s remaining frontiers is nothing short of dazzling:

2011 Nefarious Cellars Viognier Defiance Vineyard

Planted in 2005, Defiance Vineyard contains 4.5 acres of Syrah and another 2 acres of Viognier. Can we pause at the vineyard for a moment and talk about the soils, because here again Chelan is distinctive. The upper layer of soil is rich in volcanic pumice and ash from an eruption of Glacier Peak’s volcano 12,000 years ago. The lower layers, into which we can figure Defiance’s vines will be starting to root, are glacial debris and lake sediment: mica-rich cobbly, bouldery, gravelly, and coarse sandy soils.

Okay, geek interlude over.

Heather handles the white winemaking for Nefarious, and she has developed a lovely house style over the years: high-toned fruit, electric acidity, persistent minerality. Her Viognier starts with an expressive nose of orange peel, ginger, and chalky minerals. The palate is all vibrancy and minerality, the cooler 2011 vintage seeming to play perfectly into Heather’s hands for the types of whites she likes to make. Orange blossom, honeysuckle, gingered peach: the flavors are all carried deftly across the palate by this wine’s nervy, refreshing acidity. This is as graceful as it gets in new-world Viognier.

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($19); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.”

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “($19); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 18+/20pts.”

2010 Nefarious Cellars Syrah Defiance Vineyard

I’m going to include Paul Gregutt’s review of this for Wine Enthusiast, not because the score will turn heads, but because I trust that we all go beyond the scores and pay attention to the review text. It’s clear that this is not your typical Washington Syrah:

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($30); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91pts.”

“Wonderful purity.” “Mineral-driven.” “Bright and tangy.” “Succulent and classy.” These are descriptors we see much more often in Cornas and Hermitage and Cote-Rotie than in Washington.

I found this wine utterly captivating, in no small part because this style of Syrah is indeed quite rare in the Pac-NW. I love big, rich, fruity Washington Syrahs. I love big, dark, funky Washington Syrahs. But I am also certain that there is room in our state for this elegant, earthy, mineral style, with lovely nuance of floral and cracked black pepper. Bottles from Gramercy and Waters have already proven it, and you can add Nefarious to this group of reactionary Syrah wineries.

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “($30); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19/20pts.”

First come first served on the Viognier up to 12 bottles. The Syrah is more limited, so let’s limit order requests to 8 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all those requests. Both wines should arrive in a few weeks, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.


2009 Domaine Courtois Cotes-du-Rhone Villages “La Grande Vigne”

February 26, 2013

Hello friends. We have offered two Cotes-du-Rhones since our expansion into international wines: 2010 Domaine de Mourchon in October, and 2011 Saint Cosme in December. Both have been the subject of much enthusiasm, or to put it another way, what I’m hearing from our list is: More. Grenache. Please.

And why not? CdR is one of the great value categories in wine, and if it’s something of a minefield, too, well, no worries there. We at Full Pull are happy to kiss all the frogs and leave the princes to our list members (okay, maybe “happy” is a stretch; how about “ruggedly determined”?).

It’s one of those broad categories where there’s simply no substitute for tasting, but it also yields some splendid rewards, such as today’s offering.

The first thing you’ll likely notice is the vintage. Most CdRs on the market today are 2011, and it won’t be long before we see the 2012s. There are a handful of 2010s, but to find a 2009 is rare. The reason why the winery is still on 09 is beautifully, bureaucratically banal: a TTB label-approval holdup. So thanks to the feds, we get the pleasure of a Cotes that has shed some of its baby fat.

This comes from brothers Pascal and Richard Jaume, who have set up shop in Vinsobres (location here). An up-and-coming part of the southern Rhone, Vinsobres was olive country for much of its cultivated life, until a bad freeze in 1956 convinced many growers that perhaps vinifera would be more suitable.

Vinsobres was only granted AOC status in the last decade, and it’s still relatively rare to see wines with the Vinsobres label. The Jaume brothers’ vineyard holdings cross the border into the greater CdR-Villages appellation, so while this comes predominantly from Vinsobres, it gets the more generic label (again, good: that has a dampening effect on prices).

The blend is 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre, from vines averaging 20 years in the clay soils around Vinsobres. No new wood was harmed in the making of this film, allowing the fruit to play the starlet role. Aromatics combine raspberry pastille, violet, white pepper, and a dusting of dried Mediterranean herbs. The palate is a rich, juicy mouthful of Grenache, all creamy strawberries and raspberries, with some leafy complexities emerging. At 13.5%, this struck me as a very summery red, something nice to have on hand when (if?) the weather turns. I’m not sure if it’s the extra bottle age (thanks again, TTB!) or the winemaking, but this offers a sense of class and depth and purity that is rare indeed for the price point.

First come first served up to 36 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.


2004 Den Hoed Wine Estates Cabernet Sauvignon “Andreas”

February 25, 2013

Hello friends. We have a rare treat today: an opportunity to access the inaugural vintage of a bottling whose future vintages have been showered in accolades:

This was one of those rare instances where I had to make a go/no-go decision before sending out an offering. After tasting a (knee-buckling) sample, it was an easy “go.” This is a special wine in a beautiful place, offered to us at an attractive tariff. In all likelihood, I overbought, so this may well be available for reorder (or for me to put away in my personal stash!), but this was a wine where I’d rather be long than short.

We offered a mini-vertical of Andreas (2006 and 2007 vintages) way back in October 2011, and those were extremely popular wines, spurred on in part by Paul Gregutt’s glowing reviews in Wine Enthusiast (94pts for the 2006; 96pts for the 2007). PaulG didn’t review the 2004. In fact, no one did. As far as I can tell, this wine is a ghost.

But such a friendly ghost! At the bottom of this offering, I’ll paste in the details of the Den Hoed project from our original screed, but suffice it to say: it’s 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Wallula Vineyard; the winemaker is Gilles Nicault of Long Shadows; and this is an absolute showstopper.

The aromatics come spilling up out of the glass: a beautiful core of dried cherry fruit, with deep earthy soil notes and cedar and leather emerging. It’s one of those noses where you know you’ve found a wine in one of its sweet-spot stages: the end of its primary stage, or the beginning of its peak drinking window. There’s still fruit there, but it’s taking on that lovely dried character that only age can bring, and the maturing notes of dust and earth and leaf are just beginning to reveal themselves. The palate is a killer, with dried cherry and blackcurrant complemented by streaks of tar and espresso and earth. The oak has integrated into a nuance of the darkest dark chocolate. The beautifully-managed tannins have integrated, also, transforming into liquid silk, and making for an exquisite, seamless mouthfeel.

This was as interesting after 24 hours open as it was on pop-and-pour, so I suspect it still has a long life ahead. As an example of the aging curve of Washington Cabernet Sauvignon, I’m not sure we’ve offered another bottle finer.

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.

And now, as promised, the story of the project from our original offering:
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The first force of nature to get its hands on Wallula Vineyards was the Missoula floods. The second was the Den Hoed brothers. As to which was the more powerful, the more stubborn, well, that’s an open question.

Even today, Wallula looks like an impossible place for a vineyard. In much the same way we puzzle today about Stonehenge and the Easter Island statues, future historians might wonder if it took alien technology to blast a vineyard out of virgin terraced rock and sagebrush. As it happens, no aliens were required; just two Dutch brothers and more than two backhoes.

When the Wallula site came up for sale in 1997, Bill and Andy Den Hoed had already been growing wine grapes in Washington for 20 years. Their parents, Andreas and Marie, first-generation Dutch immigrants, began their Washington farming career in the Yakima Valley, where they grew mint, potatoes, and Concord grapes. In 1978, they were among the first farmers in the state to plant vinifera, and it wasn’t long before Chateau Ste Michelle was their biggest customer, and Bill and Andy were hooked into the family business.

Here are object facts about the site in 1997: Untouched sagelands bordering 7 miles of the Columbia River near the Wallula Gap, a Missoula Flood bottleneck. Steep slope, ranging from 350ft above the river at the bottom of the vineyard to 1400ft at the top. Intensely variegated soils, with soil depth ranging from 6 inches to 20 feet.

The difference between seeing difficulty and seeing opportunity is, I suppose, experience. The Den Hoed brothers had experience in spades, and they saw the opportunity to create a special vineyard. Wallula is a spectacular site. It’s difficult to capture in pictures, but let’s try anyway. Here is a wide shot, and here is a closer view to give a sense of the steep, terraced nature of some of these blocks. Remarkable.

As the vineyard came online and the vines gained some age, the better winery owners and winemakers in the state began to take notice. One of those was Allen Shoup, founder of Long Shadows. Recognizing the incredible potential of the vineyard, he put together an investment group that purchased a majority interest in Wallula Vineyard in 2008. Much of the vineyard was then renamed The Benches, but the Wallula name was retained for some of it, and the Den Hoeds continue to own a minority stake and to do all the farming and vineyard management.

But before any of that happened in 2008, Bill and Andy started a small label, with dual purposes: first, to showcase the exceptional nature of Wallula Vineyard; and second, to honor their mother and father. Their mother’s wine is Marie’s View, a multi-varietal blend made each year by Rob Newsom of Boudreaux Cellars. Today, we’re offering two vintages (a mini-vertical!) of their father’s wine. Simply called Andreas, it’s a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon made by Gilles Nicault of Long Shadows.

You might remember from our JB Neufeld offering back in March that I am a sucker for single-vineyard, 100% Cabernet. It’s gutsy winemaking, this pursuit of terroir-driven Cabernet, and I like us to support it whenever we can; not so difficult when the wines are this compelling.

Gilles controls every aspect of these wines. The detail of the grape selection here is insane. It goes beyond block selection, beyond even row selection. In some instances, Gilles is choosing specific plants within a row that are appropriate for Andreas. Once the grapes are picked, all the winemaking is done at Long Shadows (and for the Marie’s View, it’s all done at Boudreaux), so that the winemaker can be intimately involved with the wine at all steps of its evolution. In short, these are lovingly cared-for, deeply coddled wines. And it shows.
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Two 2010s from Southard

February 24, 2013

Hello friends. We’re diving back into the Southard portfolio today, as there has been continued enthusiasm over the 2009 Southard Syrah Lawrence Vineyard we offered back in September, and interest in exploring more wines from this insider winery.

You remember the quotes from Paul Gregutt’s blog last June, right? “[TEXT WITHHELD].”

That text ratcheted up the interest level, and subsequent strong reviews from PaulG in Wine Enthusiast didn’t hurt either.

Much of the fruit that Scott Southard is using is coming from his cousins, the Lawrences, who farm Lawrence Vineyard on the Royal Slope (see location here). First planted out in 2003, it is a high-elevation site, ranging from 1400’-1600’. Right now, the Royal Slope is part of the greater Columbia Valley AVA, but this area is likely to become its own AVA at some point. As you can see on the map, the Royal Slope is one slope up from the Wahluke Slope, running north-to-south from Frenchman Hills down to Sentinel Mountain.

This is probably the buzziest under-the-radar area for Rhone varietals in Washington right now (Charles Smith has used fruit from this area to great effect for his Heart, Skull, Old Bones, and Royal City Syrah labels, with tariffs ranging from $100-$140). Despite today’s offerings being labeled as “White Wine” and “Red Wine,” these are all Rhone all the time:

2010 Southard White Wine Columbia Valley

This is about two-thirds Viognier and one-third Roussanne. The Roussanne comes entirely from Lawrence Vineyard, while the Viognier blends Lawrence fruit with StoneTree, Elephant Mountain, and Sugarloaf.

It avoids the trap that many Washington white Rhones fall into: fat, ponderous fruit. Perhaps it’s the big diurnal shifts at high elevation that keeps the acidity high. Perhaps it’s the cool 2010 vintage. No matter, as the end result is the same: a wine that achieves the rare twin feat of richness and vibrancy. Aromatics of peaches-and-cream with lashings of fresh ginger give way to a palate with more peach, almond, spice, and a cooling mineral tone. There’s a nice raw-nuttiness to this from the Roussanne, and a plump generosity to the mouthfeel (14.5% alc). Those of us stuck in a Chardonnay rut should pay special attention here. This is a fine alternative.

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($16); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91pts.”

2010 Southard Red Wine Columbia Valley

No reviews yet for the Red, which is perhaps for the best in terms of our ability to source large quantities. It’s a 55/45 blend of Syrah (from Lawrence Vineyard) and Mourvedre (from Sugarloaf Vineyard), raised entirely in neutral barrels.

Bright red fruit (raspberry, pomegranate) mixes with some earthy mushroom notes on the attractive nose. Despite a listed alcohol of 14.5%, this was not blowsy at all. I’d actually put it on the leaner end of the Washington Rhone spectrum and found it notable for its lovely purity of flavor. Bacon fat, red cherry fruit, smoke, earth, game: it’s all there, a surprising amount of complexity for the tariff. This is vibrant, juicy, delicious; another fine effort from Scott Southard.

First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.


Three from Eight Bells

February 22, 2013

Hello friends. One of our more popular discoveries of 2012 is back for an encore in 2013: Eight Bells Winery.

Those of you who fell (hard) for this winery because of their beautiful explorations of Red Willow Vineyard at readily-accessible tariffs will be pleased to hear that a) they are doubling down on Red Willow, shifting even more of their production to this venerable Yakima Valley site; and b) their prices haven’t budged.

Red Willow is a historically-significant Washington Vineyard. Located towards the far western edge of the Yakima Valley (see our vineyard map here), it was originally planted by Mike Sauer in 1973. The first Syrah vines in Washington went into the ground at Red Willow in 1986, partly due to the vision of the late Master of Wine and long-time Columbia Winery winemaker David Lake. Given Washington’s ever-burgeoning reputation for Syrah, it’s shocking to realize that the oldest vines in the state are still less than thirty years old.

The Red Willow-Columbia Winery partnership persisted for many years, and it has only been very recently that boutique wineries have been able to contract for this amazing fruit. Some gorgeous, high-end bottles of Red Willow Syrah have been released by Betz Family Winery, Mark Ryan, and Owen Roe, to name a few glimmering examples.

For the guys at Eight Bells, the timing of their winery launch was impeccable, coming just as Red Willow was looking to take on boutique winery partners. Among the three Eight Bells partners (Tim Bates, Andy Shepherd and Frank Michiels), there were decades of winemaking experience as amateurs (Tim is the most experienced, having crushed his first fruit, from Sagemoor, in 1980. He is also a PhD Chemist, and the winery includes a full lab: quite rare for an operation of this size) before they went commercial in 2009, so they knew outstanding fruit when they saw it. And they pounced.

The 2009s that we offered last year were mighty impressive, but perhaps even more impressive is to see Eight Bells back it up with a beautiful set of 2010 wines. The vintages couldn’t have been more different, but the results were the same: terrific expressions of Red Willow at eye-popping tariffs.

This winery is still flying well below the radar. Most of the wines are sold direct through the winery (which is hidden in plain sight in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle) or the Eight Bells wine club, and only a handful of restaurants and retailers have discovered these beauties. Lucky for us.

2010 Eight Bells “Roosevelt Red”

The Roosevelt Red is Eight Bells’ entry-level bottling, and in many years, it is likely to be a red table wine. But in 2010 (just as in 2009), it’s single-varietal: 100% Merlot. Half is from a 1990-planted block at Red Willow, and the other half is from another vineyard planted in 1990: the Hedges North Block on Red Mountain.

I found the (pronounced) aromatics instantly entrancing: rose petals mixed with red cherry fruit, all dusted with cocoa powder and brown sugar. The palate displays deep, rich flavors of black cherry and espresso, mixed with insistent earthy notes of soil and black-tea-leaf. There’s mouthwatering acid from the cooler 2010 vintage and tremendous depth of character from these two fine older-vine sites. It’s Merlot for grownups, a fine example of why folks get excited about Washington Merlot, and another data point that makes me think 2013 could be a strong comeback year for this varietal.

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “($20); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: **** (Excellent).”

2010 Eight Bells Syrah Red Willow Vineyard

Now we move into two Red Willow Syrahs, with the biggest difference between them being their vineyard blocks of origin. That’s what makes Syrahs (and, for that matter, Pinot Noirs) so exciting: their ability to translate minute land differences into the bottle. Here we’re in the old Marcoux block, and our first sniff announces this as serious Yakima Valley Syrah: a big meaty character, with green olive and smoked bacon fat. The palate, I have to tell you, is outrageously delicious, a swirling mass of bright blue fruit, violet, beef stock, briny olives, seaweed; the list goes on. It’s a complex mouthful to be sure. There’s vibrancy here, and richness, and above all complexity, savory complexity.

An absolute classic for the tariff, this sits among the finest sub-$25 expressions of terroir I have tasted from Washington. For list members who usually set $20 as a hard ceiling on purchases, I’d encourage you to take a flyer on this one.

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “($25); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: **** (Excellent).”

2010 Eight Bells Syrah “Clonal Block” Red Willow Vineyard

This is a real rarity, as Eight Bells is the only winery to source the Clonal Block from Red Willow. It’s the block where Mike Sauer experimented with different Syrah clones. There are eight different clones planted here. That gets blended with one row of Grenache from David’s Block, leading to a 95/5 blend overall.

The color is inky ruby red, and the aromatics again possess that Yakima Valley meatiness, this time with more of a smoky element. There’s bacon fat, and pastrami, and smoked cherry. More brooding with its flavors and more silky with its texture, it is salty and succulent, bloody and red-fruited (raspberry), lightly floral. The finish goes on and on, lingering in the mouth and the memory.

Sean from Washington Wine Report recently penned an interesting, introspective piece about revisiting this wine: [TEXT WITHHELD].

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


2010 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Langhe Nebbiolo

February 21, 2013

Hello friends. I like to eat. (That will come as no surprise to those of you who have met me).

Most of the wine I drink is enjoyed with food. And so folks who don’t know me that well are frequently surprised by the character of my personal wine collection. There’s more sparkling wine than they expect. More white wines. More Gamay. And more Langhe Nebbiolo.

The common themes: reasonable prices and food-friendly versatility. If we’re going to be having a glass (or three) of wine with dinner each night, most of us are not going to be opening a $100 trophy bottle each Tuesday. Instead we turn to the tried and true, those wines that elevate meals without overwhelming them.

Like today’s offering, one of my go-to Langhe Nebbiolos for all manner of mid-week rustic dinners:

I’ll let Antonio Galloni introduce this winery (sad that Galloni is leaving Wine Advocate, but it seems certain he’ll land on his feet somewhere):

Wine Advocate (Antonio Galloni): “[TEXT WITHHELD].”

Another strength of Langhe Nebbiolo is that it’s a crystal ball for future bottlings of Barolo and Barbaresco. There’s lots of interest in 2010 Piedmont, since it was the first truly cool-and-wet vintage of the new millennium, defying recent trends towards warming. If this bottling is any indication of what’s to come, there are some beautiful, crystalline Babareschi ahead.

Aromatics of black cherry (flesh as well as pit bitters), citrus peel, and coriander give way to a palate that has to be described as baby Barbaresco. There is outstanding vibrancy, and also surprising richness (given the vintage) to the floral-blossom-inflected core of cherry fruit. This picks up momentum across the palate, rolling into a chewy finish that reminds you that this could only be Nebbiolo, resplendent with its dusty-earthy tannins and crying out to complement something delicious. For my palate, this is a bottle that punches well above its price class.

First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.