Hello friends. For the second year running, we’re fortunate to have dibs on a rarity from the higher end of the K Vintners lineup that is about to hit Seattle. A few items of note:
1. Our list has first right of refusal on the tiny parcel coming into Seattle. If we want it all, we get it all. We need to place our order on Tuesday morning, so please try to get order requests in by Monday night. Given the quick turnaround, I had to made a go/no-go decision without sampling. Given the love for K Syrahs among our list members and the consistency of my experience with previous vintages, I’m confident that these wines will deliver the goods.
2. As usual with the K lineup, this wine has not yet been professionally reviewed (although this time we’re lucky enough to have a barrel sample review). Unfortunately, the turnaround time for most publications just does not mesh with the speed of sales here. The most recent vintages of K wines to be reviewed are typically one or two vintages prior to the current release.
3. I suspect we’ll have to under-allocate here, given the parcel size, so a quick reminder of our allocation technique: Our allocations favor breadth over depth, so that everyone gets one bottle before anyone gets two. And our formula for prioritizing allocations includes overall orders, frequency of orders, recency of orders, and list tenure, among other factors.
Now, onto the wine:
K only releases The Beautiful in years where they can harvest Viognier with their Syrah and co-ferment the two. This is the seventh vintage of the wine (following versions in 2002, 03, 05, 09, 10, and 11).
In 2012, they wound up with 4% Viognier in the mix, and all the fruit comes from River Rock Vineyard, a site in the rocks of the Walla Walla Valley planted in 2001. This gets ambient-yeast fermented with a bunch of whole clusters and is then aged for a little over a year in French oak (25% new). Listed alcohol is 14.5%, which seems about right for the down-the-middle 2012 vintage. Production was just 250 cases, so there’s very little of this to go around. Expect soaring floral aromatics from the Viognier, and a palate that mixes silky texture with the verve and power of funky, mineral-inflected fruit from the rocks.
Jeb Dunnuck has given 95pt reviews to each of the past three vintages: the 2009 when he was still writing for The Rhone Report, and then the 2010 and 2011 in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. This 2012 looks likely to exceed even those accolades, with Jeb’s score range for the barrel sample at 94-97pts. It won’t be until sometime in 2015 that we see the final review, and by then, hopefully our bottles are safely tucked away in our cellars or our bellies.
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck); “(Barrel Sample); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”
Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. 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.