Two 2011s from Gramercy Cellars

October 13, 2013

Hello friends. The back to back cool vintages of 2010 and 2011 seem to have been created specifically for the Gramercy house style: low-alc, low-oak, high-purity, high-terroir-expressiveness. What a joy it has been to taste what Greg Harrington and Brandon Moss have crafted from these cooler years.

As Gramercy wines from those vintages have been released, the winery’s star has only continued to rise, and allocations have become more and more competitive. I remember the days early in Full Pull’s existence where the notion of reoffering a high-end Gramercy wine was not so ludicrous. But no longer. With releases from the top end of the lineup, we get one shot to access them.

Jeb Dunnuck published reviews from barrel, and we’ll include those notes, along with some pre-publication reviews from Washington Wine Report that Sean Sullivan was kind enough to share.

2011 Gramercy Cellars Syrah Walla Walla Valley

Winery notes: “While we approached 95% Les Collines fruit in the 2010 Walla Walla Syrah, the 2011 we finally hit 100%. What more can we say about Les Collines? It’s truly a world-class vineyard for Syrah, unique in Washington. It doesn’t have the smoked meat of the Rocks or the firmness of Yakima sites (e.g. Red Willow), but Les Collines is powerful without being cloying. It emphasizes aromatics and behaves like a Burgundian Grand Cru vineyard, with the mid-slope being the best part… In terms of winemaking, 2011 wasn’t much of a departure from previous vintages: stems, puncheons, neutral oak. The wine pretty much makes itself. This cuvée is a selection from different parts of the hill, each piece giving different characteristics. What was different was the harvest date – October 18-20.  Usually we pick this vineyard around the third week of September.”

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: ****/***** (Excellent/Exceptional)”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): [BARREL SAMPLE] “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

For aromatic complexity, it’s tough to beat Les Collines. This is full of smoke and blueberry and pine nut and a magic high-toned floral component, all violets and lavender. Beautiful to smell, and supple and bright in the mouth, with the usual Gramercy Syrah mix of brambly fruits and savories (briny olives especially). Precise, pure, vibrant: this is beautiful wine.

2011 Gramercy “Third Man” (Grenache Blend)

Winery notes: “The 2011 brings another exciting addition to the Gramercy Grenache vineyard arsenal. We have been working with Alder Ridge and Olsen for a few vintages and in 2011 we added Upland Vineyard.  We now think we have the Washington Grenache trifecta: our own ‘Three Tenors.’  Upland is a legendary Grenache vineyard and we are honored to have it.  The 2011 is from Olsen and Upland Vineyards.  (What happened to the Alder Ridge?  Stay tuned for the 2014 Spring MTA release.) Upland adds another level of aromatics and complexity.  It’s all about red fruits i.e. strawberry and raspberry, with gravel, tar and Provence herbs.”

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: ***** (Exceptional)”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): [BARREL SAMPLE] “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

This one was all about the texture for me. The silky, pillowy Grenache fruit is the star, bringing raspberry and strawberry fruit that is especially compelling for its wild, brambly, sauvage character. It’s a seamless palate, lighting up sensory receptors along the entire trip from lips to gullet. Nuances of smoked meat, white pepper, and green olive ratchet up the complexity. Glorious earthy Grenache.

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles of each wine, 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.


Misfits I

October 11, 2013

Hello friends. We’re rolling out a new offering today, and if it’s successful, you can expect to see it become a recurring monthly feature.

It’s called Misfits, and it will feature wines that don’t quite make it into their own offering, but that are too compelling not to write about. These will mostly be wines that are a little outside the mainstream, but wines where those of us who like them *really* like them.

Unlike a regular Full Pull offering, which drills into deep detail on one or two or three wines, a Misfits offering will have much shorter blurbs (a paragraph or maybe two) on a greater number of wines.

Now it wouldn’t be a new Full Pull feature without a new map. Since we’re going to be zooming all over Europe today, here is a map with a key to all the locations we’ll be visiting.

Happy Friday, fellow wine nerds. Let’s fly the geek flags high today!

2012 Tasari Sicilia IGT Catarratto

A lot of Sicilian imports that make it into Seattle are of the dirty-stinky-belching-volcano variety. This bottle is the opposite: a clean-as-a-whistle Catarratto. Catarratto is the second-most planted white grape in Italy, and much of it goes into their vast Marsala production. But it can also make a lovely, dry, unfortified wine. This one drinks a little like Semillon, with its mix of fig and melon. I like the palate weight here, the juicy acidity, and the herb-inflected fruit. Classy texture, good complexity, and clean drinking from southernmost Italy.

2011 Olivier Morin Chitry Blanc

I sampled this at a recent tasting, and it was so good it sent me down the research rabbit hole to figure out why. Let’s start with this map. As you can see, Chitry is about as close to Chablis as you can get, yet up until 1993, any bottle from this area carried the generic Bourgogne appellation. In ’93, Chitry producers were granted the right to put Chitry on the bottle, but this still remains a very obscure part of Burgundy. Pity for them, bully for us, because this drinks exactly like a nice Chablis, but at an obscurity discount.

The soils in Chitry are the same kimmeridgian chalky series as Chablis. If you like your Chardonnay flinty, minerally, with no new oak, this is the bottle for you. A killer example of cold-climate Chardonnay, all steely white fruits and tree fruits and rippin’ acid. The value-for-price ratio is tremendous, and the only downside is that very little made it into Seattle (very little of any Chitry makes it into the entire United States for that matter), so this is unlikely to be available for reorder.

2011 Eric Texier Cotes-du-Rhone

Eric Texier is one of the most exciting vignerons working in the Rhone Valley today. His wines are imported into the US by the terrific Louis/Dressner (a stamp of approval for natural/geeky/delicious wines). This bottling is unlike any other you’ll taste from the one-size-fits-all Cotes-du-Rhone category. Eric starts with 80% Grenache (normal enough), but the remainder is all white grapes, a mix of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, and Bourboulenc. The result is a wine with soaring aromatics: white flowers, fresh summer strawberries, ripe red brambly raspberries. I could smell it all day long. The palate is light (12.5% listed alc), juicy, refreshing, and above all, balanced. It’s CdR as a vin de soif, and it should be on our Thanksgiving tables without question. A singular Cotes-du-Rhone from a special producer.

2012 Domaine Aime Vin de Pays d’Oc Cabernet Franc

A 100% Cabernet Franc from the Languedoc. I’m not used to this kind of palate-staining character at this tariff. “Rich and deep for cheap” my note says. Look for black fruit, mole poblano, sweet pepper, and minty topnotes. We’re worlds apart from the cool-climate Cab Franc of the Loire Valley (Chinon, Bourgeuil, Saumur). Instead look for the warmth and generosity of the Languedoc, the value garden of sunny southern France.

2011 Cantina del Bovale di Sardegna Monica

A Sardinian red, from the grape Monica (possibly indigenous, possibly from Spain), this is a delightful curiosity from that Mediterranean island. A nose of red cherry, sagebrush, mint, and bay leaf gives way to a juicy, fresh-herb-inflected mouthful, with subtle stoniness and a real wild/sauvage character to the mountain berry fruit. Not quite like anything I’ve tasted recently.

2010 Domaine du Cros Marcillac Vieilles Vignes

Marcillac is an almost-forgotten wine region in Southwest France, but there is a long history of winemaking here, and the dominant grape is Fer Servadou. Geek alert! The “fer” (iron) in Fer Servadou is thought to refer to one or both of a) the iron-hard wood of this particular vine; and b) the iron-rich, red-clay, “rougiers” soils.

Domaine du Cros is about as good as it gets in Marcillac, and this VV bottling comes from vines that are all more than 80 years old (80!!). It’s only the obscurity that keeps the price low here; the quality is spectacular. Aged in large barrels of both oak and chestnut, it starts with a nose of earth, rose petals, and stemmy red fruit. The palate has raspberry fruit, blood-orange acids, cherry-tea tannins, but this is above all an earthy, earthy wine. If you like tasting a specific piece of terroir, this is a wine to cherish.

First come first served on all of these, with no upper limits. All the wines should arrive within the next few weeks, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Four 2011s from Kerloo Cellars

October 9, 2013

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.


2011 Array Cellars Chardonnay Dijon-Clone (Otis Vineyard)

October 7, 2013

Hello friends. Is Otis Vineyard in line to be the next Red Willow?

You remember the Red Willow story, right? Under contract to Columbia Winery (and/or its owners, Constellation Brands and Ascentia Estates) for many years, followed by a recent explosion in interest as they began to be able to sell their outstanding fruit to boutique wineries.

Well, Otis is even older. Planted in 1957 (!), it has what are believed to be the oldest commercial Cabernet vines in Washington state. Paul Gregutt wrote a wonderful article about Otis Vineyard, and its relationship to the late great Master of Wine David Lake, for the Seattle Times back in 2005.

As far as I know, the only winery to bottle Otis Vineyard fruit on its own has been Columbia (or its old name, Associated Vintners). Until today.

Leave it to Henry Smilowicz to be the one to bottle Otis fruit. We introduced Henry’s Array Cellars last autumn. Array is a focused, Chardonnay-only winery looking to unearth the best plots of Chardonnay Washington has to offer. They source from an all-star list of vineyards: Celilo, Conner Lee, Dionysus, Stillwater Creek. And Otis.

For the 2010 vintage, they blended all their sites into one delicious bottling, a bottling that began to build serious buzz locally (inclusion in Seattle Magazine’s Best New Washington Wines in 2013 didn’t hurt). Now Array is back, and I suspect their 2011 vintage is only going to build on all that strong publicity. In 2011, several vineyards stood up and demanded to be bottled on their own. One of them was Otis, all from a block of Dijon-clone vines planted in the 1980s.

The Otis connection happened through Robert Takahashi. Robert now helps make the Array wines, but for many years, he assisted David Lake at Columbia, crushing plenty of Otis Vineyard fruit. Robert’s connection to Terry Herrmann, the vineyard manager for Otis, proved to be the key that unlocked these beautiful grapes.

This bottle’s historical significance is intellectually interesting, for certain, and the juice inside may be even more interesting. For me, this wine delivers on the promise of Array’s inaugural vintage and enters the conversation of top Chardonnays in Washington (with Woodward Canyon, Abeja, Buty Conner Lee, Efeste Lola, and a handful of others I’m sure I’m forgetting). When I look into my crystal ball, I see a future where this wine’s tariff begins with a 4 or a 5. But not today!

Right from the first sniff, this one grabs your interest, because it has a real dusty/earthy component overlaying the stone fruit. My note says “nose has a clean funkiness, if that makes sense.” No, no it doesn’t, but it made sense to me at the time, so I’m sticking with it. Take a sip and you’ll find a live wire, a palate stainer, coating your mouth with plantain fruit, hazelnut, lemon oil, and sweet spice. It’s fleshy, earthy, concentrated; as seamless and complete a Chardonnay as I’ve tasted from Washington in some time.

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

Production is a mere 165 cases, so no telling how long this will be available for reorder. But for now, it’s first come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


NV Syncline Brut Rose (1.5L MAGNUM)

October 6, 2013

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:

We’ve changed.

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.

“Magnums.”

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.


2012 Saint Cosme Cotes-du-Rhone

October 4, 2013

Hello friends. Just like last year, we’ve been offered an excellent (albeit short-term) tariff on a reference-point Southern Rhone Syrah.

Unlike last year, the Wine Spectator review is not out yet. But considering the wine has received 90pt reviews in five of the past six years, a prediction can be made with some measure of confidence. This wine also claimed a spot on the Spectator Top 100 list in 2010 (for the 2009 vintage), and with its release price of $16 (which has also held steady for the past six years, making it a better and better value with each passing year), it’s always a threat to land on Spectator’s year-end list. But let’s aim for something a little lower than that $16 release price:

Now a quick logistics note: we only get one shot at this pricing, and it’s volume-based (one of those times when we all benefit from Full Pull’s growth this year). I’ll try to build in a buffer for late orders and *some* reorders, but once we exceed that buffer, any reorders beyond that will be at a tariff closer to this wine’s normal $15-$16 range.

What is rare (and in my view, exciting) about Saint Cosme’s version of Cotes-du-Rhone is that it’s 100% Syrah. Most CdR’s are majority-Grenache, but we already know where Louis Barroul’s Grenache goes: into Little James Basket Press (another list favorite that will be making an appearance before the end of the year). So that leaves us with 100% Rhone Syrah at a price point that cries out for exploration.

It comes from two of Cosme’s holdings: one in Vinsobres (a bit cooler, on limestone and sand) and one in Gard (warmer, on large terraces of medium-to-large rolling stones). Done entirely in concrete, it’s a deep inky purple-black and presents a singing nose of boysenberry/blackberry fruit, lovely topnotes of white flowers and violets, and dustings of black pepper. The purity and intensity belie the tariff, as they always seem to do for this bottling from Cosme, and there’s cooling mineral cut to balance the rich fruit and hoisin flavors.

I was struck by one of Barroul’s notes this year – “I am not necessarily searching for an ageing potential, but apparently, this bottle does age.” – because I recently unearthed an older vintage (08, I believe) that I had accidentally held for what I thought was too long. Instead, it was a charming little marvel, full of complexity and supply textured. You don’t expect $10-$15 wines to hold and even improve for five years, but this is not your everyday $10-$15 bottle.

Because this wine has a history with our list members, and because it’s a killer for winter parties/weddings, let’s open it up to first come first served up to 60 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Two 2010s from Andrew Will

October 2, 2013

Hello friends. I recently tasted through Chris Camarda’s lineup of 2010s for Andrew Will, and what a thrilling lineup it is. There were only a handful of Washington vintners in 2010 who had enough years of winemaking experience to have seen truly cool vintages before. That comfort level was readily apparent tasting Chris’ wines. It’s clear that he took what the vintage gave him and didn’t try to force over-ripeness on a vintage that wanted to be anything but ripe. Instead, his 2010s are sleek, elegant beauties, wines likely to have immortal aging curves.

Here’s Jeb Dunnuck’s intro to the 2010s: Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “Made by Chris Camarda from his base on Vashon Island just west of Seattle, Andrew Will Cellars delivers classic, elegant wines that show solid typicity and age-worthy profiles. His 2010s are superb across the board and possess slightly reserved aromatics with firm, pure textures. Downright backwards, especially when compared to his 2009s, they will all benefit from short- term cellaring and, I suspect, these scores will seem a bit low once they flesh out. “

As we always do, we’ll begin with the two wines in the Andrew Will lineup from Champoux Vineyard, one of Washington’s true superstar vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills (location here). These two always seem to be the first of the lineup to sell out, and with strong reviews already in print from several publications, there’s no time to waste:

2010 Andrew Will Champoux Vineyard

The blend here is 42% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, and 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, from Champoux vines averaging 30 years of age. It sees about two years in barrel, all French, 35% new. It starts with the classic Champoux nose of graphite and blackcurrant. The palate has a real stony/graphitic core, enveloped by cassis, espresso, tar. A classic in the making, this has structure to burn, especially considering the high proportion of Merlot. Drink it young for its vibrancy and toothsome tannins, or better yet, hold onto it and watch it slowly shape-shift over the years.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

2010 Andrew Will “Sorella” (Champoux Vineyard)

Sorella, as it always does, comes only from the oldest sections of Champoux Vineyard (Block 1, Block 3, Circle Block), and the average vine age is 34 years, ancient by Washington standards. The elevage is the same as the Champoux: 35% new French oak for just shy of two years. The blend, however, differs: this is much more Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant, at 73% of the blend. It’s rounded out with 20% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc.

Add wafts of woodsmoke to the graphite and cassis from above, and this wine is just something else in the mouth, seemingly chiseled directly out of Horse Heaven Hills rock. It’s a powerhouse, a brooder, the fruit completely locked up right now behind walls of minerality and tannic structure. What fruit is there is lovely, grace notes of blackberry and rhubarb, but you’ll barely notice it because you’ll be so focused on the flawless texture, the incipient power. Jeb puts the drinking window out to 2030 for this one, and I suspect even that may be a little conservative. Anyone who had kids in 2010 would do well to lock some of this up as a birth year wine and stash it away in a dark cool corner for a couple decades.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

This is the 2010 vintage in a nutshell, embraced with affection by a man who has seen vintages like this before. Please limit order requests to 12 bottles of each wine, 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.