Four from Modern Wine Project

Hello friends. Seattle lost one of its fine independent importer/distributors last week, with the announcement that Cordon Selections was going out of business. I’d like to pause a moment and thank all the folks at Cordon for their efforts on behalf of Full Pull and our list members over the years.

As you can imagine, when something like this happens, all hell breaks loose. On the imports side, wines can disappear from the market for years (for example, Cordon represented Louis/Dressner and Jose Pastor Selections and Wasserman Selections in Seattle; let’s hope those folks find new homes quickly). On the local side, things tend to happen more rapidly, and fortunately, Full Pull is now in a position where wineries think of us and our list members in these types of situations.

Trey Busch was one of the Washington winemakers represented by Cordon, and he’ll be moving along to a new wholesale partner soon enough. But in the meantime, he has a stash of wine under his Modern Wine Project label, all wines that we have previously offered, all wines that have been popular with our list members, and all wines that are set to receive reviews from Sean Sullivan (who has been kind enough to share pre-publication reviews with us for the three reds; he doesn’t yet have a review of the Chardonnay).

Trey is offering us extremely competitive pricing, such that we’ll be able to push our price under $20, which has not been the norm for this label. It’s a one-off opportunity, and our list members have dibs. Whatever we don’t take will get offered around western Washington, and then will likely end up either back in Walla Walla or with Trey’s new wholesale partner. Please try to get orders in by Wednesday 12pm (Seattle time). We’ll try to build a buffer for latecomers, but no promises on that front.

Now, a quick reminder of what the Modern label is all about: Much of the fun comes from the fact that the wines are shrouded (or, at least, lightly covered) in mystery, due to the presence of non-disclosure agreements. But we can deduce the likely scenario: a higher-end winery had plans to release these wines with much higher price tags attached, but in our current economic climate, that tag became impossible. Rather than harm the brand with a price-drop, they sell the juice to Trey, who bottles it, slaps an attractive label on it, and pushes it out the door at a steep discount (now even steeper).

2010 Modern Wine Project Chardonnay

Originally offered September 15, 2013. Excerpt from original offer: “What we know about this Chardonnay: it spent two years in 65% new French oak, with regular battonage and full malolactic conversion. At least some of it comes from Celilo Vineyard. It starts with a big, smoky nose, with smoke wafting through layers of ripe peach, pineapple, and mango fruit. On the palate, it displays plenty of richness without venturing into buttery territory. Plenty full-bodied, it still contains loads of bright lemon-curd acidity from the cool vintage, bready subtleties from all that lees stirring, and hazelnut nuance from maturing barrel notes. Whatever new French oak was used here must have been high quality. If I were tasting this blind, I’d guess high-quality California Chardonnay. There aren’t a lot of Washington versions that drink like this, and I’ll admit: I was seduced. There are times when a full, richly-fruited Chardonnay is just the thing.”

2005 Modern Wine Project Red Wine

Originally offered July 10, 2013. Excerpt from original offer: “30 months in mostly-new French oak. That is a lengthy (and expensive!) barrel program. A Bordeaux blend, and while I’d guess Cabernet and Merlot-dominant from the flavor profile, I can’t say for sure. This begins with a lovely, maturing nose of cocoa powder, soil, and dried cherry and dried redcurrant. That dried fruit character is one of the lovely hallmarks of a wine shedding its youthful skin. The palate makes it clear that this came from a warm vintage, with soft, rich fruit (again dried cherry), mixed with earth and cocoa. Emerging notes of truffle (especially after a few hours open) again indicate a wine evolving beautifully along its aging curve. Tannins are fine-grained and rapidly integrating, and the overall package is delicious. A ripe vintage like 2005 tends to come around a little on the early side, and for me, now is the perfect time to access this bottle.”

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

2006 Modern Wine Project Red Wine

Originally offered July 10, 2013. Similar to the 05 in elevage, with 30 months in mostly-new French oak, and I’d similarly guess a Cabernet and Merlot dominant blend. Excerpt from original offer: “Quite a different profile here. There is darker fruit on the nose, with plums and dried blackberry. The complexities of earth and espresso are lifted by a minty, eucalyptus topnote that keeps things fresh and lively. On the palate, this is the more earth-and-mineral driven of the two vintages, and again it’s the one with the darker fruit, here in the form of fresh and dried blackcurrant. Tannins are more notable, redolent of black tea leaves and still retaining some medium-grained chew. Not as openly delicious as the 05, it’s a little more guarded, a little more structured. It also has more potential to evolve further over the coming years. Tough to choose between the two, as they present differing pleasures.”

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

2009 Modern Wine Project Malbec

Originally offered September 15, 2013. Excerpt from original offer: “What we know about the Malbec: 30 months in a combination of new and used French oak, followed by another year in bottle. That’s much more age than we usually see on Washington Malbec, and it shows both in the unusual complexity and the silky mouthfeel. The twin stars here are pure boysenberry fruit and insistent iron-tinged minerality. It possesses the richness of the warmer 2009 vintage, and that cooling minerality provides a fine counterpoint. Hard to say what the aging curve is for Washington Malbec (because no one holds them!), but for me, this is drinking great right now. For those of us who prefer our gratification immediate, this is a fine choice, existing as it does somewhere between the Malbecs of Cahors and Argentina.”

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

No upper limits on order requests here. Since this is a one-off opportunity, I’d like to advocate for as much as possible. 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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