Hello friends. Today we have the return of Misfits, a spot for us to feature wines that haven’t quite made it into their own offering for one reason or another, but that are too compelling not to write about.
Unlike regular Full Pull offerings, which drill into deep detail on one or two or three wines, Misfits offerings contain much shorter blurbs (a paragraph or maybe two) on a greater number of wines.
We sent our first Misfits offer on October 11. We didn’t call it out officially, but our post-Thanksgiving offer for sparkling and sticky wines was essentially Misfits II. And that brings us to Misfits III:
2010 Kaella Syrah Ciel du Cheval Vineyard
We always like to feature the winery projects of our list members, and Kaella is the work of long-time list member Dave Butner. 2010 is Dave’s third commercial vintage, but Kaella is still micro-production, as the entirety of his 2010 vintage was 250 cases. His vineyard sources are impeccable (helped by his connections through the Boeing winemaking club), and the wines are lovely, none more so than this Ciel du Cheval Syrah. Cofermented with 3% Viognier and done with 25% whole cluster, it’s a smoky, earthy mouthful of brambly raspberry and blueberry fruit, lifted by floral topnotes and complicated by good Ciel minerality. A well-priced example of Syrah from this Red Mountain stalwart.
For more details on Kaella, see Sean Sullivan’s write-up in Washington Wine Report. Sean also reviewed this wine. Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “($35); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: **** (Excellent).”
NV Finnriver Methode Champenoise Sparkling Cider (750ml)
Cider is a hot category in Washington right now. We’ve only offered one previously, but it was popular, and I’ve been looking for a follow-up since. Finnriver is among the strongest producers in Washington, and their tasting room outside of Chimacum is well worth a visit if you find yourself on the peninsula. They first moved onto my radar when Jameson Fink stayed at Finnriver for a month and wrote a brilliant article about it for Edible Seattle. I then started seeing the ciders on restaurant wine lists, and ordered a few of them, including a memorable meal of Neapolitan style pizzas and this cider.
Their entire range of ciders is compelling, but for wine lovers, this is probably the best of the bunch, a cider done Methode Champenoise style (secondary fermentation in bottle, riddling racks, disgorgement, et al). It is an 8% alc, teeth-scrapingly bone-dry mouthful of apple, mineral, and subtle floral notes. The acid and bubbles cut through all manner of food. While this may drink a bit austere as a cocktail (unless you’re a lover of Brut Nature Champagne, in which case have at it!), it is a splendid beverage for food and a fine entrée into an emerging category in the northwest.
NV Tissot Cremant de Jura
This is another producer introduced to me back in the early days of Full Pull by Dieter Klippstein of Triage Wines. Tissot’s Cremants became house wines for us, lovely little “baby Champagnes” that always over-delivered for their tariffs. But it has been several years since these wines have been imported into Seattle, so I was thrilled to see Cavatappi pick them up late last year. We poured this Cremant during our last few pickup days of the year, and it was a hit. From the Jura Mountains (location here) on the border with Switzerland, this is a blend mostly of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with small amounts of Jura-specific Poulsard and Trousseau blended in for good measure. I’m crazy about it for its nervy mouthfeel, its insistent mineral freshness. This is a bottle of bubbly that always over-delivers for the price.
2012 Domaine Jomain Bourgogne Chardonnay
The only issue keeping this from its own offer is available quantity. It’s a funny wine, one that I thought was a lousy deal right up until I tasted it, and then I thought it was a great deal. Lousy because many Bourgogne Blancs (Chardonnays that can come from all over Burgundy) clock in at $10-$20. But because of that breadth, it’s a real hit-or-miss category, one where there’s no substitute for tasting. And this tasted great! My tasting note, which had lots of stars and exclamation points next to the text, ended with “Cote de Beaune?” Sure enough, Jomain’s holdings are predominantly in Puligny-Montrachet, with some holdings just over the line. If I had to guess, I’d posit that this is a blend of declassified Puligny and some of those just-over-the-border parcels. It drinks seriously classy for Bourgogne Chardonnay, with smoke and lemon curd, earth and bread. Rich, intense, and perfectly barrel-spicy, this is a winter white to savor. Don’t expect any reorder opportunities on this one; we’re grabbing most of the remaining stock in western Washington.
2012 Cartuja Priorat
In our Torremoron offer from earlier in the year, I mentioned that it’s difficult to find well-priced Ribera del Duero. Well, finding well-priced Priorat is even harder, but that’s what we have here. The only drawback is that there’s not much of it. We bought out the remaining stock in Seattle after tasting it, and we won’t see more until the 2013 vintage is released. It’s a blend of 70% Garnacha (Grenache) and 30% Carinena (Carignan), and you can practically smell the licorella (the famous slate soils of the region) oozing out. The palate is a swirling mass of brambly blackberry fruit and mineral, dusted with star anise spice and the dried herb notes Grenache is famous for. For those of us who love Washington Grenache, this is a fine introduction to another part of the world that does exceptionally well with this grape.
2010 Albino Rocca Barbaresco Ronchi
A delicious, poignant Barbaresco from Albino Rocca. 2010 represents the penultimate vintage for Angelo Rocca after his unfortunate death in a 2012 plane crash. A pity, as this was a producer whose Nebbiolos seemed to keep getting better and better with each vintage. This was a highlight of our early-season Piedmont tastings, with its expressive Barbaresco nose of smoky cherries, roses, tarry streaks, and star anise. The palate is just a baby, but you can already sense the class and elegance at play. It’s earthy, chewy, with great citrusy acids and cherry-pit bitters. And it’s only going to improve.
Wine Advocate (Monica Larner): “($57); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
[Ed note: fortunately one of our Seattle importer gems is now direct-importing Rocca, which also explains how we can offer it a few ticks below release price.]
First come first served on all of these except the Cartuja (which we may need to allocate, since we have a limited number already in the warehouse), 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.