Two from Kerloo

April 30, 2014

Hello friends. We have new vintages today of one of our most popular offers of last year; the spring releases from Ryan Crane of Kerloo Cellars.

2012 Kerloo Cellars “Majestic” (Rhone Blend)

Ryan’s wines have always been exceptional values, but Majestic has taken it to a whole other level. Prior to last year, Kerloo had only one release each year, in the autumn, and those wines typically sold out no later than February of the next year. Releasing Majestic in the springtime, then, plays a dual role: 1) it allows Ryan to have wine available throughout the spring and summer; and 2) it allows us a sneak-preview of the next vintage to be released in the fall.

Majestic is a GSM blend. The 50% Grenache comes from Angiolina; the 25% Syrah from Va Piano; the 25% Mourvedre from Olsen. Top-notch vineyards all, and it shows. Better yet, Ryan uses a mere 9% new wood. With fruit this pristine, I love the fact that he allows it to shine.

And shine it does. This wine has one of the most soaring, expressive noses I have experienced so far this year. “A $50 nose,” my note reads, and it is a real beauty, offering outstanding floral lift (lilac, violet, freesia) to the raspberry and marionberry fruit, and a terrific sense of brushy garrigue to add complexity. In the mouth, this possesses the fruit generosity of the 2012 vintage, but as is typical for Ryan’s wines, it has a sturdy acid spine to balance that fruit (listed alc is a reasonable 13.8%). There’s a real sense of wildness to this, likely in part from the inclusion of 20% whole clusters (stems and all), and in part from Olsen Mourvedre, which has its own sauvage character. Regardless, this nails the holy trinity of the southern Rhone blend – brambly berry, hot-rock minerality, and perfumed underbrush – and it does so via a series of seductively silky, unapologetically delicious mouthfuls.

The debut of this last year was impressive, but to see this quality for this tariff a second time, and with a markedly different vintage; well, this is becoming a bellwether release in my book. 276 cases only, and this is going to go fast. Reorder prospects will be spotty here.

2013 Kerloo Cellars Rose

The rosé (100% Grenache) is fairly small production, too, at 300 cases. It comes entirely from Angiolina Vineyard, and when I asked Ryan why he likes this vineyard for rosé, he answered as only Ryan can: “because it’s cold as [BLEEP]!”

No doubt this is indeed a bleeping cold vineyard, since it produced a 12.2% alc rosé in a warm year that did not lend itself to lean/crisp rosés. It’s left on the skins for a mere 6 hours, then fermented partly in concrete and partly in stainless steel before being moved to neutral barrels.

The lovely nose combines cantaloupe, strawberry bubble-yum, and fresh green cucumber. Texturally this is terrific, with a bright whack of jazzy acid married to a lovely sense of extract. Intensity at low-weight; that’s the dream for rosé. There’s lovely savory/herbal complexity to go with the citrus-tinged red fruit, and it finishes brisk and mouthwatering. A terrific summer-into-autumn rosé, I’ll be trying to ration my bottles out so that I have one left for the Thanksgiving table.

First come first served up to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Two Shebangs from Bedrock Wine Co

April 28, 2014

Hello friends. Since our expansion outside the cozy confines of Pac-NW wines, we’ve steered clear, in large part, from offering California wines. I’ll admit something of a personal bias. I tend to paint with a broad brush and just assume that anything in the warmer parts of Cali we can do in Washington, and anything in the cooler parts of Cali we can do in Oregon, and at better prices to boot.

However…

There are rumblings of some interesting trends down south, perhaps captured best by Jon Bonne (the San Francisco Chronicle wine critic) in his recent book The New California Wine. Bonne focuses there on wineries moving away from high-alc, high-oak, overly-manipulated monsters. It’s a grass-roots movement for now (and will be as long as there’s so much cash to be made from cult Napa Cabernet), but it’s worth tracking, and that’s what we’re doing today.

To sample the “New California Wine,” I wanted to start at a tariff that would be as accessible as possible. And that leads us to Morgan Twain-Peterson, and to Shebang:

NV Bedrock Wine Co. Shebang Cuvee VII Red

(Please note: the thrust of this offer will focus on the red cuvee, but we’ll include a short offer for the white cuvee below as well).

Morgan is a second generation Cali winemaker, the son of Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson (the family sold Ravenswood in 2001). He founded Bedrock Wine Company in 2007, after first trying to escape his winemaking roots (he’s notorious for making the Vino Bambino Pinot Noir as a five-year-old) by studying history and American studies at Vassar and then at Columbia, and then accepting the gravitational pull of winemaking, returning to California in 2005. I’ll try not to hold it against him that he is both a) younger than me; and b) further along in his Master of Wine studies.

Bedrock Vineyard is the heart of Bedrock Wine Company. That site was planted in 1854 and then had to be replanted in 1888 post-phylloxera. Morgan makes single-vineyard wine from that site and other historical vineyards under the Bedrock label, and those have achieved huge acclaim (including some glowing recent reviews in Wine Spectator).

And then he also makes Shebang, a multi-vintage multi-vineyard blend whose base is, amazingly enough, Bedrock Vineyard fruit as well. The blend is predominantly Zinfandel and Grenache, but there’s a dash of the famous California “mixed blacks” as well, likely some Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Carignan, et al. It’s vinified for early drinkability, essentially a modern and high-quality homage to the old California jug wines. Mostly done in stainless steel, and 15% in oak, it clocks in right around 14% alc.

The project first picked up steam with Cuvee IV, when Antonio Galloni finished his review with this: “[TEXT WITHHELD].” Then Robert Parker himself reviewed Cuvee VI, scoring it 90pts and calling it an “[TEXT WITHHELD].” In The New California Wine, Jon Bonne called Shebang “[TEXT WITHHELD].”

Let me just say: when you have Galloni, Parker, and Bonne agreeing on something, it’s time to buy.

I’m crazy about this as a summer BBQ wine or just a mid-week house wine. It has surprising aromatic complexity for the tag, offering a core of brambly Zinfandel raspberry fruit complemented by tomato leaf and kelpy marine notes. Ripe and juicy, spicy and savory, and super Zin-brambly, this almost goes down too easily. Served at cellar temperature, this is just perfect for a picnic or for firing up the grill. If this is the New California, I’m in.

NV Bedrock Wine Co. Shebang Cuvee II White

And a little bonus white. It’s 60% Pinot Gris from the Mokelumne River AVA in Lodi originally planted in 1915, rounded out with Muscadelle, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma. Native yeast fermented and aged in 60% stainless and 40% neutral French oak, it clocks in at 13.7% listed alc and begins with a nose of peach, orange peel, and lightly oxidized raw almond notes. Medium-bodied, with a pleasingly waxy texture, it offers flavors of fig and almond to go with citrus and stone fruit. Despite a high proportion of Pinot Gris, it’s the Semillon that dominates the flavor profile for me. The balance of fleshy/oily texture and firm acidic backbone is wonderful. This is full of character and personality.

First come first served up to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Two Rullys from Maison Joseph Drouhin

April 27, 2014

Hello friends. “Chasing the dragon.” That’s how Pat in our office describes Burgundy-hunting, and it’s about as pithy a description as I’ve heard. Yes, those brave (foolish?) enough to go dragon hunting are sometimes rewarded with gold and jewels. But more frequently they’re rewarded with a mouthful of fiery Smaug breath.

Fortunately for us, we have a Pacific Northwest connection to one of the most consistent and classy producers of clean, honest Burgundy in the region: La Famille Drouhin.

We’ve offered Domaine Drouhin Oregon scads of times (on that note, did you all see this news that snuck in over the holidays? DDO doubling their vineyard holdings is a really positive development for the Willamette Valley, at least for this lover of Oregon Pinot), and our relationship with DDO has a serious fringe benefit, which is that we get access to some of the cherries from Maison Joseph Drouhin, often at outstanding tariffs.

Now, while the Drouhin roots in the Pac-NW are deep (they’ve been in Oregon since 1987), their roots in Burgundy are bottomless. Maison Joseph Drouhin was founded by Joseph Drouhin in the 1880s, and it is his great-granddaughter Veronique who helms the winemaking teams now, in both Burgundy and Oregon.

Our list members have had numerous opportunities to sample Veronique’s beautiful work with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Oregon. Today we have a chance to see the same varieties expressed through the prism of earthy Burgundy. And more specifically, through Rully.

This AOC in the Cote Chalonnaise is a value-hunter’s paradise when it comes to Burgundy. As Drouhin says, Rully sits “at the gate of the Cote d’Or” (see location on the Burg map here). Many of the soils are similar to the haughty neighbors to the north, but the pricing is quite different. The region is planted to about two-thirds Chardonnay and one-third Pinot Noir. Drouhin makes a blanc and a rouge, and we have both today:

2011 Maison Joseph Drouhin Rully Blanc

This was an incredible QPR standout in a lineup of whites, in particular showing better than the bigger-named (and $50 retail) Meursault. Before I even got to actual aromas, my note says “smells classy, expensive.” There is real complexity to this, unexpected at the tariff, with notes of smoky chestnuts (only 20% new oak here) and graphitic minerality and faint florals giving lift to a core of lemon-oil and pear fruit. The palate is noteworthy for its live-wire intensity and palate-coating character. This is a wine that is positively alive in the mouth, a glorious pastiche of mineral and fruit. It should age easily for a decade, but who can resist this right now?

Veronique Drouhin’s notes begin with: “A wine full of charm!” I couldn’t agree more. Charming juice to be sure.

2010 Maison Joseph Drouhin Rully Rouge

I was shocked to find a parcel of 2010 still available, so we went and did what we rarely do: pre-purchased the entire chunk. It shipped up from Oregon and just arrived this week, so the Rouge is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup/shipping.

What a glorious, crystalline vintage 2010 has turned out to be in Burgundy. Here’s what one of the leading authorities (Allen Meadows, Burghound) had to say about the vintage: “[TEXT WITHHELD].”

Well said, and that has been exactly my experience of good 2010s: ethereal, appetizing, characterful. That’s certainly true of this little beauty, with its precise, expressive aromatics of black cherry, silty minerals, and star anise. The nose evokes fruit and spice and soil in turn (the influence of new wood – just 10% here – is within a rounding error of zero). The palate contains a core of pure cherry fruit, framed by insistent citrusy acids and earthen/mineral bass notes. A marvel of verve and nervy energy, this rolls into a finish redolent of cherry-pit bitters, eagerly inviting the next sip. Already approachable and evocative, this is only going to get better and better.

It’s worth noting that Meadows never published a review of Drouhin’s Rully Rouge until the 2012 vintage, but he had high praise for it, listing it as an Outstanding Top Value and noting that it “would make a good choice for a house red as it could be enjoyed immediately yet should hold for a few years too if desired.”

The Blanc is first come first served up to 24 bottles; the Rouge please limit to 12, and we may have to allocate if orders exceed the stock already in the warehouse. We should have both wines in by the next week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


2011 Mark Ryan Cabernet Sauvignon “Lonely Heart”

April 25, 2014

Hello friends. I tasted today’s wine a few weeks ago, thought it was great, and had it comfortably lined up for a late May offer. But then a member of our Vast Network of Wine Spies™ gave me the signal to proceed to our dead drop location. At the dead drop, I found a useful piece of information: that this wine is set to receive a shimmering 96pt review in a future issue of Wine Enthusiast.

Our VN(of)WS hasn’t failed us yet, so let’s trust in them again and get this offer turned around posthaste.

This is a wine we would have offered review or no review, as it has developed a strong following among our list members (we’ve offered the previous three vintages). It’s a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon (Ciel du Cheval and Klipsun) and 13% Petit Verdot (Ciel), and it surprises with a nose that I would call fresh, soaring, downright pretty. Usually a brooder, I suspect it’s the cool 2011 vintage that allows for this higher-toned cherry-blossom aromatic expressiveness.

On the palate, it is as you’d expect: an honest expression of Red Mountain power. Barrel notes of high-cacao chocolate and woodsmoke swaddle a beautiful core of fruit, with layers of blackcurrant and cherry lifted by more unusual notes of guava and peach. There’s an exotic beauty to this that seems at odds with its sheer massiveness and length, but there you have it. For my palate, this has as much aging potential as any Mark Ryan wine I can remember tasting. The balance and sheer structural power suggest a tremendous evolution ahead. I guess it’s no surprise that it has a strong review coming.

I suspect that because this offer is coming prior to the Enthusiast review publication and prior to the review verbiage being printed, we can open allocation limits up, but reorder prospects are hazy and should ultimately depend on the publication schedule of the review. For now, it’s first come first served up to 24 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.


2012 Full Pull & Friends Syrah-Grenache

April 24, 2014

Hello friends. We have a rare Thursday offer today, because I just can’t force myself to wait another day. It’s a new wine under our private label/negociant venture, Full Pull & Friends. It’s also our smallest-production effort yet, and this one marks a milestone, because it is the first FP&F bottling where we’re permitted to reveal our winemaking partner:

I’m pleased to tell our list members that Chris Peterson of Avennia helped us to identify the barrels used for this FP&F bottling. I know many of you are curious about who our partners were for the first two bottlings. While we can’t reveal that information, I hope today’s offer helps underscore the caliber of the winemaking partners involved in this project.  Now, some quick reminders about what FP&F is all about.

Reminder #1: The Concept
This is far from an original concept. For generations, merchant-negociants in Europe, in addition to buying finished bottles, have purchased juice and/or grapes for their own labels. And every time I’m in northwest wine country, I’m tasting not just finished bottles but plenty of juice from barrel as well. The problem, until recently, was that we simply didn’t meet the volume requirements necessary to commit to a full barrel, or two barrels, or three or four. But in the past year, Full Pull has reached critical mass to where we can pursue these remarkable opportunities.

Reminder #2: The Name
Full Pull & Friends. Two clauses. The first (Full Pull) matters because this is juice that we believe in, that we *want* to put our name on, that we feel represents extraordinary value for our list members. The second (Friends) represents our wonderful list members, whose support of Full Pull has allowed us to reach the point where negociant wines were even possible, as well as our partner winemakers, who love seeing their carefully-tended juice get bottled on its own and offered to folks who they know to be enthusiastic about Washington wine.

Reminder #3: The Label
One advantage with wines that never have to sit on a retail shelf is that we’re able to be completely abstract with the design of the front label. Here’s the front label for this one, and here’s the back.

The label offers a nice segue into the wine itself, because you may be wondering: why the ‘A’ on the front label? The answer: this is a blend of two ‘A’ vineyards. It is 50% Syrah from Angela’s Vineyard, a newish Red Mountain estate site for Efeste, managed by Dick Boushey, a man who knows a thing or two about Syrah. The other 50% is Grenache from Alder Ridge, a terrific site in the Horse Heaven Hills that runs right down to the Columbia River, and one that has grown Grenache about as successfully as any vineyard in Washington.

When we were tasting from barrel, we tasted the Syrah on its own, the Grenache on its own, and then the two together, and the blend was easily the most successful of the three. It combined the density of Syrah with the plushness of Grenache, and better yet, it combined the unique mineral tones of each. Chris mentioned that this clone of Syrah is “low fruit/high structure,” and I loved how the tannic Syrah chew on the back end complemented the plump Grenache mid-palate.

Once the wine arrived in the warehouse, we were able to taste the bottled, finished version, and I’m thrilled with the results. The Grenache commands the nose, with dustings of white pepper on a core of briary raspberry and blackberry fruit. The Syrah adds grace notes of olive and earth. On the palate, it’s the reverse, with the Red Mountain Syrah taking over: power, ferrous minerality, espressoey tannins. The Grenache adds red-fruited mid-palate flesh, but this is at its heart an insistently earthy wine. No surprise, I suppose. We know from his work elsewhere that Chris Peterson is as interested in non-fruit elements as he is in fruit elements, and I’m thrilled that he has found an outlet for his ribald earthiness in an FP&F bottling.

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests (as I mentioned, this is our smallest production FP&F yet, so allocations may end up quite a bit smaller than 12 bottles). The wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Three from K Vintners

April 23, 2014

Hello friends. Quick turnaround today, as it’s rare that we ever get access to parcels from the main K Vintners line large enough to support an offer

2012 K Vintners Grenache “The Boy”

This is the K Vintners Grenache, and in 2012 it is two-thirds from the rocks (River Rock Vineyard) and the remainder from the outstanding Northridge Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. It was done entirely whole-cluster and was aged in neutral French puncheons for 14 months before bottling. I haven’t had a chance to sample this vintage, but based on previous vintages, I’d expect a mix of Grenache’s plush red raspberry and strawberry fruit with meaty/funky notes from the rocks. Here is the tasting note from K: “Wrapped in a velvet robe, this Grenache shimmers with energy, purity and true life force, not to mention cranberry, blackberry and undergrowth, cured meat and pan grille. Elegant and deep, its going to age beautifully.”

Very rarely seen at retail anymore, and our parcel is quite limited, so I’m going to stop there.

2011 K Vintners Syrah Clifton Hill Vineyard

Clifton Hill is a Milbrandt-farmed site on the Wahluke Slope. It is a hillside site distinct from the larger Clifton Vineyard, which is at the base of the hill. Clifton Hill vineyard slopes to the west, overlooking Sentinel Gap, a geological oddity where the Missoula Floods carved their way through the Saddle Mountains. The soils are stone-strewn sand above a base of glacially-deposited gravel.

Here is the K note for this one: “Wow. Focused, rich, and kick-ass – serious stuff here! A shopoing list of complexities: raw meat, cedar, forest floor, coffee grounds, and Asain five spice. Plenty of round tannins and a lengthy finish.”

I did taste this one, so I’ll add that this has really impressive lushness for the cool 2011 vintage. It’s a big, ripe mouthful of kirsch and framboise, complicated by soil/mineral tones and fresh orange-peel acids. This is total full throttle Syrah from K, as you’d expect, and it’s only the second producer I’ve seen to bottle Clifton Hill on its own (Ron Bunnel’s version has been well-received by our list members over the years). A total generous palate-stainer, this one too is quite limited in parcel size.

2012 K Vintners Sauvignon Blanc

And a bonus white, among the first to involve Brennon Leighton, formerly of Efeste and hired by Charles in 2012. Brennon’s Sauvignon Blancs (Feral especially) helped build his sterling reputation at Efeste, and they were made with Ancient Lakes fruit (Evergreen Vineyard). No surprise then, that this has a core of Ancient Lakes fruit (from Sunset Vineyard, on thin caliche soils at 1100 feet), paired with Roza Hills fruit from the Rattlesnake Hills of the Yakima Valley.

Listed alc is 13% even in the warmish 2012 vintage, and this was done entirely with native yeasts and in stainless steel. It possesses a lovely nose of grapefruit, jalapeno, and a little flinty kick reminiscent of good Pouilly Fume. In the mouth, it’s all chalky mineral and high-toned citrusy fruit, finishing long and lemony and with lipsmacking acidity. A lovely example of Washington Sauvignon Blanc, perfect for summertime.

Please limit order requests to 3 bottles each of The Boy and Clifton Hill (allocations might be closer to 1-2 bottles, if that), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The Sauv Blanc is first come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Four Madeiras from Blandy’s

April 21, 2014

Hello friends. “What are some of the challenges your winery has faced?” It’s a pretty typical question I ask when doing research on our partner wineries.

This winery’s answers, however, were far from typical: Phylloxera. Wars, in particular the American Civil War, the Russian Revolution, World War I. Prohibition.

From those responses, you can likely glean that this is a winery with a long history, and one that is deeply entwined with American history. The winery, founded in 1811, is Blandy’s. And the wine they make is Madeira.

Our sharp-memoried list members may remember in our Lustau sherry offer from last May that, during the studying that led up to my March 2013 WSET Level 4 Diploma Unit 6 Fortified Wines exam (a step on the ladder towards the Master of Wine qualification), I blind-tasted a *lot* of the three major categories covered. Lots of port. Lots of sherry. And lots of madeira, which was the least familiar to me going in, and my favorite by the time I was finished.

I fell for it in part because it is unabashedly delicious and in part because it has such a uniquely American history.

Madeira (located here) was for many ships in the age of exploration the last port of call before heading for the Americas or the East Indies. To keep the wine from spoiling during the trip, Madeira winemakers fortified their wines with neutral spirit. What happened after that, however, was unexpected. Onboard the ships, the barrels of wine heated up as they traveled through tropical climes and sloshed around, exposing the wines to more oxygen. Winemakers in Madeira didn’t even realize the process was happening until they received some unsold wine that had made the journey to the Americas and back.

But the hearty souls populating this part of the world in those days couldn’t get enough of it. One famous piece of evidence that has come to light is the tavern bill from the founding fathers after they completed the first draft of the Constitution. It included: 60 bottles Bordeaux. 8 bottles whiskey. 22 bottles porter. 8 hard cider. 12 beer. 7 bowls of high-octane punch. And 54 freaking bottles of Madeira!

Please note the number of delegates ringing up this bill: 55. Fifty five! That is a lot of booze.

Now these days, producers in Madeira don’t send barrels off in ships, but their production process (called “estufagem”) replicates the effect by exposing the barrels to limited amounts of oxygen and storing them in warm upstairs rooms left to heat (or “madeirize”). The resulting wines contain a wonderful mix of fresh and cooked fruits, caramel, butter, and spice. They all have some residual sugar, and the range runs from Sercial (the driest) to Verdelho to Bual to Malvasia (sometimes called Malmsey).

Those names refer to the grape varieties used. Sercial, for instance, is mostly grown at the highest altitudes, so it comes in with the lowest ripeness and the highest acidity. All of the grapes grown on Madiera have outstanding acid structure, which helps to keep the finished wines from being too overtly sweet or cloying.

What makes Blandy’s especially interesting is that, of all the original founders of the Madeira wine trade, they are the only family still involved in owning and managing their original company. Chris Blandy recently visited the Full Pull warehouse, and he is the seventh generation of the family to work in the Madeira trade.

The tasting was marvelous, with strong values across the entire spectrum of wines Chris poured. We’ve selected four wines to offer today, one from each tier that Blandy’s offers and one bonus wine:

NV Blandy’s Madeira Malmsey 10 Year (500ml)

The 10 Year here refers to the average age of the blend, which comes from multiple vintages. Vinification according to Blandy’s: “Aged for 10 years in seasoned American oak casks in the traditional ‘Canteiro’ system, whereby the casks of this wine are gradually transferred from the top floors of the lodge, where it is naturally warmer, to the middle floors and eventually to the ground floor where it is cooler. During this totally natural ageing, the wine underwent regular racking before finally being bottled.”

This is a lovely introduction to the category, with a sweet mix of cherry and marmalade fruit alongside loads of dark caramelly/toffee/crème brulee goodness. It has the richness associated with Malmsey, but a lightning bolt of orange-peel acid electrifies the palate, adding tension and grace. Best paired with a cheese course in my opinion, if not simply contemplated on its own.

1998 Blandy’s Madeira Colheita Verdelho (500ml)

The Colheita category is one recently introduced by Blandy’s as a tweener category between blended-vintage and single-vintage wines. They do come from a single-vintage, but whereas Blandy’s vintage Madeiras are aged for at least 20 years in barrel, these Colheitas see 5-18 years.

This has a very Madeira nose, sometimes called “rancio,” which I think of as brown-buttered nuts. It’s unique and oh-so-appealing. In the mouth, it’s all intense lemon-butter-caramel, complicated by citrus-pith bitters, quinine, and mineral. The acid-sugar balance is pinpoint, and this just positively hums across the palate. “Wildly good,” my note says, and this is a fine sneak preview of the 1998 vintage wines, which won’t be released for another five years at least.

1968 Blandy’s Madeira Vintage Bual (750ml)

This is something special. Harvested back in 1968, this proceeded to spend 36 years in cask before being bottled in 2004. The nose is wildly smoky and funky, with brown butter moving towards smoky bacon fat and caramel and blood orange. The flavor profile in the mouth is very dark, with more smoky meaty notes married to buttered nuts, black cherry, and fig. The texture is sublime. With all elements in perfect proportion, this nearly half-century old wine just hums across the palate, carrying delicious history in its wake.

1976 Blandy’s Madeira Vintage Terrantez (750ml)

And now a real rarity. Terrantez is rarely mentioned in discussions of Madeira, because the grape is now nearly extinct on the island. But its rarity makes it that much more exciting for Madeira collectors. This ’76 saw 21 years in cask before being bottled in 1997. It begins with a nose of smoke, spice, caramel, braised beef, and lovely tropical fruit note, something like guava or papaya. The tropical notes continue on the palate, drenched in salted caramel and dusted with flower pollen. Again, the balance is beautiful here. This is a singular sticky and would be a fine addition to any cellar. Pair with nothing but a glass and good company.

Please limit order requests to 6 bottles of 10 Year Malmsey, 3 bottles of 1998 Verdelho Colheita, and 2 bottles each of the 1968 Bual Vintage and 1976 Terrantez Vintage, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.