Two 2009s from Tulpen Cellars

Hello friends. Kenny Hart will be driving his truck over the pass next week to deliver the 2009 Tulpen Coalesence and WWV Cab we offered on April 1 (reorder opportunities on those two at the bottom of this offering, for list newbies). Let’s see if we can turn his truck into a low rider by adding on two more of Tulpen’s exceptional 2009s.

I won’t reprint the whole introduction, since it was such a recent offering, but I will repeat a few items:

First, Tulpen is a list favorite, and rightly so: they’re among the best quality-for-price bottles coming out of Washington right now, and they remain a total insider’s winery, rarely showing up west of the mountains. Second, the 2009 vintage is the first under Tulpen’s new labels, which have been well-received. And third, while Kenny’s 2007 and 2008 vintages received strong reviews from Paul Gregutt and Sean Sullivan, these 2009s have not yet been reviewed.

2009 Tulpen Cellars Syrah

Kenny coferments 39% Lewis Vineyard Syrah and 39% Mill Creek Vineyard Syrah (a quick aside here: Mill Creek is Abeja’s estate site located right at the winery, and considering I haven’t sniffed an allocation of Abeja Syrah since the 2008 vintage received 95pts Wine Spectator, this is an exceptionally rare opportunity to taste Syrah from this site) with 7% Mill Creek Viognier, then blends in 10% Wallula Mourvedre and 5% Yellowbird Grenache, so this is a blend of Northern Rhone and Southern Rhone styles.

White flower topnotes give away the Viognier coferment, adding lift to an intense nose of blueberry, green olive, orange peel, and ginger. With time and air, that briny note emerges more fully: a big whack of green-olive tapenade. In the mouth, you notice the texture before anything else: a silky, intense palate-stainer. The flavors present a great mix of pure berry fruit (boysenberry, blueberry) with savory notes of salumi and olive. The finish offers a fine-tannin lick of espresso, and the whole package is well-integrated, complex, powerful. This is as compelling as it gets at a $25 price point.

2009 Tulpen Cellars Merlot

Always a star of the Tulpen lineup, this does not disappoint in the fleshy 2009 vintage. It’s a blend of 76% Merlot (dominated by Wallula and Lewis vineyards), 16% Cabernet Franc (Dennis Pleasant), 5% Cabernet Sauvignon (Tokar), and 3% Malbec (Les Collines).

I was smitten with the aromatics, which have a core of deep, dark fruit (black cherry, blackberry, black plum), dusted with all manner of exotic spice (coriander, cardamom, turmeric). Sniffed blind, I would have guessed DuBrul Vineyard: that’s the only other site I associate with this level of exoticism to the fruit aromas. The palate is everything we love about Washington Merlot: density, structure, complexity. Again, the texture has been managed beautifully, and this washes across the palate seamlessly, bringing deep plummy flavors, a rich, powerful mid-palate, and then rolling into a fine-grained tannin finish, redolent of earl grey tea leaf. A singular Washington Merlot.

First come first served up to 24 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.

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