Hello friends. I’ve been made to look ridiculous, and I couldn’t be happier.
My Chicken Little mode began more than a year ago with regards to the end of the 2007 vintage in Washington. It was in March 2013 that we offered the 2007 RiverAerie Cabernet Sauvignon and wrote the following: “I’ll admit it: I’m beginning to lose credibility when it comes to my (ongoing) claims that we’re reaching the end of opportunities to access wines from the glorious 2007 vintage in Washington. I feel like I’ve sounded the alarm at least four or five times on this issue, only to be granted access to another lovely 07.”
And that was a year ago, a year in which we offered another fifty-seven wines from the 2007 vintage (okay, that’s a slight exaggeration). Now we’ve reached the stage of farce, where our various winery and distributor partners seem to take a special glee in presenting 2007s to us.
Today we’ve been offered a pair of 07s from the terrific Beresan Winery in Walla Walla. This is the winery of Tom and Tom. Tom Waliser does the farming, and much of the fruit comes from three estate sites (Waliser, Yellow Jacket, and Beresan Estate). Tom Glase (also of Balboa) does the winemaking.
The winery is long-since sold out of this vintage. They’re selling 08s and 09s and 10s. So where did these wines come from? Well, have you ever cleaned out a closet and found an awesome t-shirt that you had completely forgotten about? It’s kind of like that.
There are a series of wine warehouses scattered throughout Washington, and wineries stash little parcels here and there to make fulfillment easier. I believe the one in question today was outside of Spokane. Unsurprisingly, inventories get screwed up sometimes, vintages get confused, and little treasures get tucked away. Every now and then, a winery cleans out the closet (via a physical inventory) and finds some retro t-shirts, in this case solid little stashes of 2007 wines.
Rather than ship the wine back to the winery and deal with the headache of selling multiple vintages at once, the folks at Beresan had a better idea – they presented the wines to us – and we chose the strongest two to offer today:
2007 Beresan Merlot
This is two-thirds Waliser Vineyard and one-third Candy Mountain (no, not *that* Candy Mountain, Charlie), aged for just shy of two years in 30% new French oak, and it presents an interesting window into the 2007 vintage. There’s a part of me that thinks this vintage was revered so much because it was so warm and even, producing wines that were seriously delicious on release. For aging potential, I’m actually beginning to think of 07 as more of a medium-term ager than a really long-term ager (for long-term aging, I’d probably hold 08s and 10s and 11s).
What that means is that many of the 07s are just now beginning to display some of the bottle-aged tertiary notes that we prize in older bottles. Including this one, which starts off with a lovely, maturing nose of dried black cherry, mushroom, and leather. There’s a real dusty/earthy component as well, and what barrel notes remain impart a dusting of high-cacao chocolate onto the whole affair. I’m guessing this was quite primary in its youth, because the fruit is still quite rich here, but the earthy and leathery notes from the extra bottle age are now beginning to peek through as complements to the fruit. There’s still plenty of structure here, in the form of orange-peel acids and espresso/Kahlua tannins, so I’d put this early in its peak drinking window. The tannins are softening up nicely; this finishes on a bed of silk, long and luscious.
2007 Beresan Syrah
A blend of 60% Yellow Jacket (in the rocks) and 40% Candy Mountain, aged for 21 months in French oak (30% new), this catches the eye immediately with its glass-staining brick-red color. There was clearly no problem with color extraction in 07. Then we hit the complex nose, which combines blackberry fruit, floral lavender topnotes, briny Kalamata olives, and some dark-and-brooding subtleties of tar and espresso. In the mouth, this is a big, rich, full-throttle Syrah; a mouthful of brambly berries (rasp- and black-) and peppered bacon. The bottle age has softened up the edges, but this remains a richly-fruited powerhouse.
While the Merlot likely has another decade of interesting evolution ahead, the Syrah is closer to peak right now, and I’d drink these all up within the next 3-5 years.
These were always small production (about 200 cases of Merlot, about 150 of Syrah), and the little hidden-treasure parcels were smaller still. For now, we have dibs, but I’m guessing these will eventually be sold to other accounts here in Seattle. First come first served up to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and 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.