Hello friends. Anniversaries are worth celebrating.
In its simplest form, an anniversary is a celebration of being in the same place. A year goes by, we collectively take one circle around the sun (okay, ellipse for you Kepler enthusiasts), and we find ourselves back in the same spot. Our location hasn’t changed, which makes it easier to see plainly:
An anniversary is a chance to step back from the daily spin around the sun, to take a moment and honor what we change, and what we hold constant. October 5, 2009 was Full Pull’s launch date, and yesterday was our fourth anniversary.
So what has changed in the past year? Plenty. We’ve moved warehouses, hired Pat on as a full time operations director, promoted Matt to a new role, and after three years of slow-and-steady, word-of-mouth growth, we have for whatever reason received a ton of positive PR this year (here, here, here, and here).
And what has remained the same? My appreciation to Kelli and Nick and Emily and Lindy for their respective roles in building Full Pull to what it is today. My appreciation to our skilled winery and importer/distributor partners. My appreciation to our wonderful list members. And our unwavering commitment to telling the stories behind the best boutique wines in the world, and connecting those beautiful wines with the people who care about what they drink, where it came from, who it came from.
I’ve said before that I often feel like the lead buyer in the best wine co-op in the world. I’m deeply appreciative to all of you for allowing this to be my job.
Now, it wouldn’t be a proper anniversary without a special bottle, and this year, it’s a big special bottle:
You know what they say: when life gives you lemons, make limoncello. Or was it lemon bars. Hrmph; who can remember?
Regardless, life, in the form of mother nature, gave the Columbia Gorge a whole lotta lemons in 2010 and 2011. The Gorge is already one of Washington’s coolest-climate regions. A cool region in successive cool years meant a lot of under-ripe grapes.
Applying the aforementioned lesson: when life gives you under-ripe grapes, make sparkling wine.
There’s a reason that Champagne is the beating heart of sparkling wine production in the world. It’s because it’s a miserably cold region that can’t ripen Chardonnay and Pinot Noir enough to make palatable still wines. The grapes that come in are low in alcohol, shrill in acid, and subtle in flavor: perfect components for a base wine to make something bubbly.
Same goes for the Gorge in 2010 and 2011, and fortunately, James Mantone was well prepared for these circumstances. After years of making tiny amounts of sparkling wine to sell to their mailing list and visitors to the winery, in 2009 Syncline finally had enough bubbly for a sparkling release. You may remember the 2009 Scintillation Blanc de Blancs. We offered it back in May 2012, and it went onto receive a terrific (94pt) review from David Schildknecht in Wine Advocate, who noted that Syncline “[TEXT WITHHELD].”
At the same time, Syncline also released a tiny amount of Brut Rosé, but parcels were so small that I ended up passing on our allocation for Full Pull. Now Syncline has released its second run of Brut Rosé, and when I tasted it at the end of June, Poppie Mantone casually mentioned that they had bottled a significant amount of this disgorgement in magnums.
“Mah. Muh. Magnums?” I whimpered.
We hardly ever get to offer large-format bottles, and it’s not for lack of trying. There’s just usually not enough to go around. But of course I love magnums, and you do too (even if you don’t know it yet). It’s basically a dinner party in a bottle, and when that bottle happens to be filled with delicate, salmon-colored, sparkling nectar of the gods, well, that much better. To sweeten an already sweet deal, there’s no “magnum premium” attached to the tariff. Our tariff for the magnums is exactly double that of the 750ml bottles.
[On that point, please note that we’ll include an order link for the regular 750ml bottles below as well. While magnums are great for pickup, I know they don’t always work as well for shipping. We have to ship each magnum bottle in an individual box, so that drives up the landed-price-per-bottle to annoying levels. That said, our shipping members are welcome to request magnums, and of course our pickup members are welcome to request 750ml bottles.]
Now, some quick notes about what’s inside the bottles. It’s all Celilo Vineyard fruit: 58% Pinot Noir and 42% Chardonnay, and it’s almost all 2011 vintage. There’s no dosage here, so this is a style sometimes called “Brut Nature” and sometimes called “Brut Zero.” In other words, this is bone, bone dry. The color is the most delicate pale salmon; just beautiful to look at in the glass. Aromatics combine floral notes of cherry blossom with fresh strawberry fruit, kiwis, and green papayas. The mousse is fine and aggressive, carrying flavors of green strawberry and brioche across the palate on a rippin-acid-mineral-fizz spine. I mean seriously, if you can’t build a party around a bottle or two of this, we might have to unsubscribe you from the list.
Now, it’s worth noting that while the 750s have been available for months, the magnums have not yet been released. Why? Well, Syncline hand-riddles their bubbly, magnums “take forever to riddle” according to Poppie, and the director of the riddling operations likely violates multiple child-labor laws. (I kid, I kid. That is James and Poppie’s daughter Naomi, and she is strictly a volunteer. I think.)
So, the logistics of this will go as follows: James and Poppie plan to disgorge these mags in late November/early December. Then another set of bottles will go onto the rack, and those will be disgorged sometime in Spring 2014. We’ll process orders for Pickup list members first, since you folks will be able to pick these up in December and have them around for the holidays. By then, it will be too cold for shipping, so we’ll save the spring-disgorgement bottles for our Shipping list members.
Is this complicated logistically? Yes. Does it have the potential to turn into an epic fail if the disgorgement timing doesn’t happen as expected? Yes. Is it worth it anyway? Of course! Especially for an anniversary offering. If it means our list members get first crack at some truly special (and gigantic!) bottles, we’ll take the risk.
We have access to about half of the overall magnum production, and I seriously doubt these large format bottles will stick around long enough to allow reorders. Please limit order requests to 3 (1.5L Magnum) bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The first shipment should arrive at the warehouse in December, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.