Hello friends. We have two releases today from a rising star in the Washington wine firmament. If Kevin White Winery is not currently on your radar, it should be; these are among the finest values I have tasted so far in 2013.
Judging by the traffic in the blogosphere post-event, Kevin’s wines were the buzziest poured at Taste Washington. Starting with that event, I began to get requests for these wines, and I’m thrilled that our list members will have access to both bottles.
I have a major soft spot for this winery, because Kevin is a long-time Full Pull list member. As early as 2010, we started talking about his potential winery project. At that time, he mentioned a series of mentors: Jon Meuret (Maison Bleue), Hugh Shiels (DuBrul Vineyard), and Leroy Radford (Baer / Flying Dreams). When I heard that list, I knew this was a project that deserved attention.
In spring 2012, Kevin released his first wine, the 2010 En Hommage, and we offered it last June, to great acclaim from our list members. His stated goal for the winery is “crafting traditional old-world style wines with complexity and balance that pair extraordinarily well with food,” and Kevin’s favorite wines come from Cote Rotie and Barolo, so that should give you a sense of the style and texture he’s after.
If you’re looking for greater depth of detail about the winery, Sean Sullivan penned a terrific writeup last year. Sean was also kind enough to share pre-publication reviews for these two 2011s, which you’ll see below.
Logistics-wise, we’re likely to only get one shot at these. They’re tiny-production (172 cases and 118 cases). If possible, I’ll over-buy so that we have some availability for reorder, but I’d say the odds of that are less than 50/50. This is a Washington winery that is going places. It’s an insider’s brand for now, but that can’t last much longer, and neither, I suspect, will these tariffs. But for now, they are what they are: exceptional values from a sophomore sensation.
2011 Kevin White Winery “La Fraternite” (Rhone Blend)
“Unreal value.” That’s the last phrase in my scribbled tasting note for this Rhone-blend beauty. It’s a combination of 43% Grenache (Upland Vineyard), 43% Mourvedre (Olsen Vineyard), and 14% Syrah (Olsen). From those vineyard choices, you can certainly see the Maison Bleue influence. Raised for a year in all 3-5 year old barrels, it shows lots of Mourvedre character on the nose: black plums and game, grapefruit peel and mineral. The palate is vibrant and plummy, with terrific nuance of leathery spice and game. Those flavors again seem very Mourvedre to me, but the Grenache shows through in the texture, adding a real sense of flesh and suppleness to the mouthfeel. The whole package is complex and beautifully-balanced for this tariff.
Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “($20); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: **** (Excellent).”
2011 Kevin White Winery “En Hommage” (Rhone Blend)
We’re just going from strength to strength here. Hommage features the same vineyards as Fraternite, but the proportion of Syrah is significantly higher: 50%, all from Olsen Vineyard, blended with 50% Upland Vineyard Grenache. This also spent twelve months in barrel (20% new). Despite similar vineyards and varieties, this is a completely different wine. The aromatics are a thrilling mix of steak au poivre and every bit of a violet: flower, stem, and the dirt it grows in. The palate is bright, fresh, and intense, with crunchy berries mixing with notes of bacon and espresso. What; you want to know the last phrase in this scribbled tasting note?
“A cool-vintage killer.”
Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “($25); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: ****/***** (Excellent/Exceptional).”
Please limit order requests to 12 bottles of La Fraternite and 6 bottles of En Hommage, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.