Two from Kerloo Cellars

Hello friends. We have a doozy today: a pair of new wines from our old friend Ryan Crane of Kerloo Cellars.

2011 Kerloo Cellars “Majestic” (Rhone Blend)

Ryan’s wines have always been exceptional values, but Majestic takes it to a whole other level.

To date, Kerloo has had one release each year, in the autumn, and those wines are typically sold out no later than February of the next year (for example, if you were to reorder Ryan’s 2010 Syrahs or Tempranillo that we offered last fall, I’d have to send you a sold-out allocation notice; sad but true).

A Majestic spring release, then, plays a dual role: 1) it allows Ryan to maintain market presence throughout the spring and summer; and 2) it allows us a sneak-preview of the next vintage to be released in the fall. And let me just say: if this is the trailer for 2011, I’m going to the movie. I might even see it twice.

Majestic is a GSM blend. The 46% Grenache comes from Upland (same source as the Grenache in Maison Bleue Gravieres and Montagnette); the 27% Syrah from Boushey Vineyard and Blue Mountain Vineyard in Walla Walla; the 27% Mourvedre from Upland and Alder Ridge. Top-notch vineyards all, and it shows.

People are going to go crazy for the nose. I certainly did. It’s got a real roasted-meat character, all smoked meat and beef stock to go with the blackberry/plum fruit. This deep, wild, savory-ness has such a funky, feral appeal. Ryan attributes it both to the big whack of Mourvedre (always good for a wild gamy character) and to the Boushey Syrah, which we all know brings the Boushey funk. I also love that Ryan only uses 10% new oak here. He knows he has pristine fruit, and he has the confidence to stay the hell out of its way. The result is a big, briny palate, all brackish and salty with its notes of bacon fat and picholine olive. There’s sappy, grapey, blackberry fruit to serve a complementary role, but it’s the smoky/bloody/meaty savories that rule the day.

I know our list well enough to know that this wine is going to be popular, and I’m nudging the TPU tariff down just as close to $20 as I can get it. Those of you who have sat on the sidelines for previous Kerloo offerings because of their $30-and-up price points should seriously consider jumping in here. This is a fine gateway drug to the broader Kerloo portfolio. Let’s see if we can foil Ryan’s plans to have this wine on the market until his autumn releases.

2012 Kerloo Cellars Rose

There are unstated rules in the wine trade. The one that comes right after not coveting thy neighbor’s bottles is: thou shalt not sell Rosé before April. Allow me to paraphrase Edgar Allan Poe:

‘Distributor!’ said I, ‘thing of evil! – importer still, if bird or devil! –
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Is there – is there Rosé in Seattle? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’
Quoth the raven, `April 4.’

Well, fortunately I don’t care about that. And fortunately neither does Ryan. So his Grenache Rosé will be our first pink offering of the year. I’ll admit my first written note on tasting: “this is the promise of summer.” Flowery? Yeah. But when you’re tasting in a chilled windowless warehouse in the middle of a Seattle February, and when a Rosé burns an image of sunny summer into your brain, you allow yourself a moment of floweriness. Or at least you do if you’re me.

This is 100% Grenache, all picked early and intended for Rosé (no bleed-off saignee juice here). It’s all from the coolish Angiolina Vineyard, in the Yakima Valley near Lewis Vineyard. The alcohol comes in at 12.1%, and Ryan left it on the skins for only 9 hours, just enough time to pick up a pale pink hue. It presents a summery nose full of pineapple and watermelon. The palate is dry, with spritzy acidity carrying flavors of pineapple, citrus peel, and chalky mineral across an electric palate. It’s incredibly vibrant and refreshing, a total porch-pounder with just enough complexity to make you double-take before recommencing porch-pounding. A lovely first Rosé of the season.

First come first served up to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in 2-3 weeks, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.

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