2011 Saviah Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley

Hello friends. For many years, our list members have been the beneficiaries of Rich Funk’s kindness. His tradition has been to retail his Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for $30 for the majority of the year, and then offer a significant price drop for November and December.

For whatever reason, those price drops have tended to coincide with Wine Spectator releasing strong reviews for the wine, and the result has been a consistent holiday-season feeding frenzy. We’ve offered three previous vintages of this wine, and each one has been snapped up en masse and enjoyed throughout the holidays and then the rest of the year.

Because of the back-to-back cool, low-yield vintages, Rich adjusted the policy this year. No end-of-year discounts.

Except…

For those retailers who have been consistent supporters of Saviah over the years. I’m pleased/proud/relieved that Full Pull, and our list members, are counted among those supporters:

[Just to be clear, I consider us lucky to be getting this tariff at all, and we only get one shot at it. Reorders (if we can fulfill them at all), would need to come at a price closer to $30.]

I think the reasons this Cabernet have become so popular are threefold:

1) It is becoming ever more rare to see Walla Walla Valley Cabernet at a sub-$20 tariff.

2) Year in and year out, this is a Cabernet that most of us would be happy to pay $30 for. At a $20 tag, it way over-delivers.

3) It comes from unusual vineyards. So many times when we see Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon it comes from either the king (Pepper Bridge Vineyard) or the queen (Seven Hills Vineyard). There’s nothing wrong with those two vineyards. In fact, they’re among the standard-bearers for the valley. But… it’s a big valley, full of micro-terroirs, and those of us who care about such things get a little extra intellectual jolt from tasting other sites.

The backbone of this wine comes from McClellan Vineyard (location here) and Anna Marie Vineyard (location here). Both sites are converted orchards farmed by the Brown family of Watermill Winery. Rich Funk (Saviah’s winemaker) was Watermill’s consulting winemaking during their early days, so he still gets access to this lovely fruit.

The alcohol (14.2%) and new French oak (40%) are both reasonable, allowing this to be a fine, honest expression of Walla Walla Cabernet. Still tightly wound, this really showed its best after several hours open (decanting would not be a bad idea if you’re drinking this in the near-term). It hits many of Cabernet’s best attributes: the savory (rhubarb, beetroot, bay leaf), the richly-fruited (cassis, redcurrant), the barrel-influenced (creamy chocolate), the earthy. And it all comes on a lithe, well-structured frame, with enough acid and tannin to suggest a continuing evolution in positive directions.

No Spectator review for this one yet, thank goodness. It allows us to open up order requests to 24 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. 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.

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