Four 2011s from Kerloo Cellars

Hello friends. Appropriate that today’s offering comes during our anniversary week. I feel a special kinship and history with Ryan Crane and his Kerloo Cellars wines. A Kerloo wine was the third Full Pull offering, way back on October 9, 2009. It was the first Syrah we ever offered. It was also Ryan’s first vintage (2007), and it has been a pleasure watching our ventures grow in tandem.

As good as Ryan’s wines were back in 2009, they have only gotten better in the intervening years. And they haven’t gotten any easier to find. He has kept his production levels ruthlessly low, such that you can set an annual clock to Kerloo’s rhythm: released in autumn, sold out by year’s end.

For 2011, we have two Kerloo wines that will be familiar to long-term list members and two that are new:

2011 Kerloo Cellars Tempranillo

A blend of Tempranillo from cooler Les Collines Vineyard (54%) in the Walla Walla Valley and warmer Stonetree (46%) at the top of Wahluke Slope, done in 28% new oak (a mix of French and the more traditional-in-Rioja American). The aromatics are smoky, sultry; a mix of smoldering leaves and black cherries. The palate is juicy, mouthwatering, with a real earthy/tea-leaf character buffering black fruit and juniper berry. The tannins are fine-grained. The overall package is a balanced, honest expression of Washington Tempranillo.

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19.5/20pts.”

2011 Kerloo Cellars Syrah Walla Walla Valley

Ryan makes otherworldly Syrahs from the Walla Walla Valley. In my opinion, it’s those Syrahs that have built Kerloo’s reputation more than any other wine. This year, he adds a new vineyard into the mix, working with Blue Mountain fruit for the first time (this is the Tranche estate vineyard, located here, formerly the estate site of Nicholas Cole Cellars). That makes up 38% of the blend, and the remaining 62% is Les Collines (location here). Ryan threw in whole clusters (stems and all) for 60% of the grapes, and a quarter of this was fermented in concrete. Out of seven barrels of wine (about 175 cases), only one was new.

As usual, Ryan captures the aromatic beauty of Les Collines Syrah, with a soaring nose of blueberry fruit, violet and lavender flowers, and cracked black pepper. This could only be Syrah. In the mouth, this is silken-textured and savory-flavored, with smoky tarry espresso streaks running throughout a core of boysenberry fruit and mineral. Because the texture is so ethereal, the length and intensity sneak up on you, a happy surprise to finish a fine Walla Walla Syrah.

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

2011 Kerloo Cellars Grenache

Previously a club-wine only, this is the first widely commercial release. Although widely is kind of a joke, since Ryan made a grand total of 80 cases. From Alder Ridge and Upland, with 20% whole clusters and done entirely in neutral wood, this starts with a classic Grenache nose of white pepper, herbs de provence, and raspberry fruit. The palate conveys super-crunchy berry fruit, like biting through the taut skin of a perfectly-ripe grape. It’s a bowlful of mixed berries, intercut with hot-rock minerality, and it finishes long and mouthwatering.

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

2011 Kerloo Cellars Malbec

Ryan made 161 cases of 100% Stonetree Vineyard Malbec, done in 30% new French oak. Inky black in the glass, it presents a lovely nose of blackberry, earl gray tea, and iron filings. There is pretty inner-mouth perfume here, and a big gravelly mid-palate. It exists someplace between Argentina and Cahors, all ajumble with fruit and rocks.

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

Please limit order requests to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: