2011 Rotie Cellars “VdP” (Rhone Blend)

Hello friends. Today we have an encore to one of our most popular wines of the year:

We offered the 2010 vintage of VdP back in April, and it was a rousing success. As a reminder, it was one of those offers that proves there is no substitute for feet on the ground, for local intel. On just about every trip to eastern Washington, I learn about some kind of cool opportunity for our list members that could never have been unearthed from behind a computer screen.

It’s how we ended up with the friends-and-family 2007 Gramercy Pinot Noir. It’s how we ended up with library wines from Dunham and Seven Hills. And that’s how we ended up with that original VdP.

At the time, I thought it was a one-off, some wacky French-labeled bottles originally intended for Quebec. I figured we’d get a little parcel of 2010, and that would be the end of it.

But then there was the response. Our list members, to put it mildly, freaked out over that wine. We had originally set an upper order limit of 24 bottles, and then our max allocations ended up being, I think, 4 bottles. Sean sent us every bottle he possibly could, but I know he and I both felt bad about under-allocating so many folks, and that’s when the discussion of accessing the 2011 vintage began.

Which brings us back to today. Sean just released this wine to Rotie’s club about a week ago, and now it’s our turn. I’m thrilled that we have access to another vintage of this, and here are some reminders about the VdP bottling:

1. VdP is, as you can see, a Club-Only wine for Rotie Cellars. Or at least it has been. Traditionally, this wine is a little gift from Sean Boyd to his club members: a well-priced Vin de Pays from the same vineyard sources that go into the higher-end ($40 and up) Rotie bottlings. I’m still not sure if this wine has ever been offered through any other retail channel.

2. Like with the 2010, I’m expecting access to one parcel, one time, with prospects for reorders looking unlikely. Please try to get order requests in by Monday night, and then Sean will be sending one truckload over the mountains. No guarantees that we’ll have access to future vintages of VdP, either, so if you really love this bottle, consider joining Rotie’s wine club.

3. Sean doesn’t share the exact vineyard breakdown, but as I mentioned above, these are not declassified barrels. They come from the exact same sites that go into wines like Rotie’s Northern Blend, Southern Blend, and Homage. Considering the listed blend (60% Syrah/30% Mourvedre/10% Cinsault), I’d expect that the building blocks come from juice such as Syrah from Dwelley and Patina Vineyards, Mourvedre from Alder Ridge and Upland, and Cinsault from Gunkel’s River.

I declared back in April that 2013 was the year of the value Rhone blend in Washington. Outstanding sub-$30 blends of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and/or Cinsault dotted the landscape this year: Kerloo Majestic; Kevin White La Fraternite and En Hommage; Maison Bleue Jaja. It was a great year for those of us who love this category, and among our list members, those lovers are legion. This VdP presents a lovely capstone on a fine year.

Based on aroma, I’d guess a higher percentage of Mourvedre. It has that varietal’s lovely mix of plummy fruit, spiced game, and leather. The Syrah adds a ripe kirsch note, the Cinsault its signature strawberry. This drinks quite a bit like the 2010, with surprising richness for a cool vintage but with plenty of balancing acidity. It’s a live wire in the mouth, carrying flavors of plum, grapefruit pith, and spicy beef across the mid-palate, winding up with a finish full of cooling mineral tones. Sean calls this Rotie’s party wine, which I suppose makes sense for the tariff, but it belies the quality and complexity of the juice inside. I guess what I’m saying is: that would be one hell of a party.

So, let’s try this again. We have access to a larger parcel this time, so I’m going to set the upper order limit the same as last time and hold my breath that we don’t blow through it. Please limit 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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