Three 2012s from For A Song

Hello friends. This For A Song project just keeps getting more and more interesting. In addition to their well-loved Syrah (one of our most popular wines of the second half of 2013), which we’ll reoffer today, I was also able to recently taste new releases of two white wines, both single vineyard, both entirely from Caliche Lake Vineyard in the new Ancient Lakes appellation:

2012 For A Song Syrah

Since our original offer, Sean Sullivan has published a review of this wine: Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: **** (Excellent).”

And now, excerpts from that original offer, from November 20, 2013:

For A Song grew like a sapling out of the ashes of the dearly-departed Olsen Estates winery. The Olsen family had been growing grapes in the Yakima Valley for 40 years when, in 2006, they decided to launch a winery to feature their fruit and build the brand of the vineyard. That winery, which crushed grapes only through the 2009 harvest, was terrific, and the wines produced never lacked for positive reviews. The problem was never with grapegrowing or winemaking; it was always with selling. Entering a competitive market, in a recession, without a distributor, proved too great a challenge to overcome.

When Olsen Estates went out of business, all their juice, in bottle and barrel, was purchased by their distributor (Vinum), who created the For A Song label as a house brand to find happy homes for all that quality juice. Since then, the project has been such a runaway success that Vinum has kept the band together. They have Kyle Johnson, the former winemaker at Olsen Estates, making the wines. Because of that connection, they still source beautiful Olsen Vineyard fruit (while the winery went out of business, the vineyard operations have continued uninterrupted, and there’s no denying that the winery project did indeed raise the profile of the vineyard, which sells fruit to Gramercy, Betz, and Maison Bleue, just to name a few).

This is 100% Syrah, a blend of about a quarter from Olsen, the remainder from Weinbau Vineyard (a terrific Sagemoor site). It spent about a year in barrel, of which 20% were second-fill and 80% third-fill. So no new oak, but not exactly neutral oak either. Aromatically, this reminded me of the 09 vintage, and the sensory marker for me was the lovely white-flower topnotes above a core of good Yakima Valley blueberry and boysenberry fruit. In the mouth, this has a strong palate-staining character for the tariff, the intense fruit lifted by floral notes and complemented by lashings of espresso and insistent mineral streaks. Ripe, balanced, delicious, this is a juicy little baby now. It’s already quite nice, but I’d give it a few more months in bottle (or a couple hours in a decanter) to show its best right now.

2012 For A Song Chardonnay Caliche Lake Vineyard

Once growers and winemakers began to see the beautiful chalky minerality of the white wines coming out of Evergreen Vineyard, it wasn’t long before other sites in the Ancient Lakes were planted out. The “Caliche” in Caliche Lake refers to calcium carbonate deposits scattered in large rocky chunks throughout this area.

I believe most everyone else in town is still working with the 2011 vintage, but I preferred the 2012, and the folks at Vinum have been kind enough to let us jump the gun a little on offering it (which also means no reviews for this one). It begins with a nose of peach fruit, smoke, biscuit, and chalk. I like the interplay of the fleshy fruit from the warmer vintage (13.7% listed alc; this is still a cool area) – peach, plantain, lemon curd – with the insistent chalky mineral notes from this AVA. This has a plump, creamy mid-palate that proceeds into a long, leesy/bready finish. Wonderful quality and single-vineyard intrigue for the tariff.

2012 For A Song Riesling Caliche Lake Vineyard

Riesling from the Ancient Lakes is what put the area on the map, and with this bottle, we can see why. The nose is a piercing mix of citrus and rocks, all lime zest and tangerine and chalk. Stats are 11.6% alc and 1.6% residual sugar, so this drinks off-dry, with a spritzy mouthfeel, a lovely sense of extract, and a burly mineral-acid spine. With notes of grapefruit and quinine, this was somehow evocative of a delicious gin-and-tonic.

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: **** (Excellent).”

First come first served up to 72 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.

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