2012 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon Bacchus Vyd (FPF-8)

Hello friends. One of our most exciting developments for Full Pull in 2014 is beginning to wind down for the year. Today we have the penultimate bottling in this year’s Full Pull & Friends series:

I’ve been sitting on this offer for the better part of the year, getting more and more excited as the wine continued to blossom with each passing month. Recently, we deemed it fit to pour, and we’ve poured sneak previews of this wine twice now. The first pouring was during our most recent open Saturday back in September. On that day, we poured a bunch of FP&F wines and allowed warehouse sales. This was our most popular wine of the day. Then more recently, we chose this as one of the two FP&F wines poured at the Full Pull table during our 5th Anniversary event. We didn’t allow any sales that day, so for those of you who tasted the wine and loved it at the event, here’s your chance.

Having some FP&F bottles open on those two Saturdays underscored a few points for me:

Point #1: This program is exceptionally popular among our list members. I’m thrilled to hear it, because we couldn’t be having more fun identifying juice for these bottlings. I know many of you were fired up to see a FP&F bottle make it onto Sean Sullivan’s Top 100 Washington Wines for Seattle Met Magazine, and we were awfully proud too. We’re going to continue submitting these wines to critics, because we feel they represent exceptional values across the portfolio.

Point #2: The breadth of the FP&F lineup has led to a little bit of confusion about which wine is which. To combat that confusion, we’re going to start numbering these bottles. To wit, today’s offer is FPF-8, and here is the full list of previous offers:

•    FPF-1: 2007 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon | Undisclosed Winemaker | Sold Out
•    FPF-2: 2012 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon Phinny Hill Vineyard | Undisclosed Winemaker | Sold Out
•    FPF-3: 2012 Full Pull & Friends Syrah-Grenache  | Chris Peterson | 27% Remaining
•    FPF-4: 2007 Full Pull & Friends CVBDX | Undisclosed Winemaker | 34% Remaining
•    FPF-5: 2012 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Franc Bacchus Vineyard  | Chris Peterson | 47% Remaining
•    FPF-6: 2008 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon| Undisclosed Winemaker | 20% Remaining
•    FPF-7: 2012 Full Pull & Friends Merlot Klipsun Vineyard  | Chris Peterson | 49% Remaining

I’m not going to include reoffer links for the five wines with stock remaining (it’ll make an already unwieldy offer, erm, unwieldier), but if you’re interested, just respond to this e-mail with the wines and the number of bottles, and we can get those manually entered.

Point #3: I still haven’t done a good enough job communicating how/why these FP&F bottles come into existence. On that note, today’s offer provides a good window into the process. So, let’s say you’re [REDACTED] Winery, and you have plans to grow your production levels significantly over the next five years. You’re offered about twice as much outstanding old-vine Bacchus Vineyard Cabernet fruit as you need for the 2012 vintage. Do you:

a) Only purchase the fruit you need, and hope that by the time you hit 2017 and are ready to take all that fruit, the contract will still be there?; b) Take all the fruit, vinify it, and sell what you don’t need on the bulk market?; or c) Call up your good friends at Full Pull Wines and see if they’re interested?

Option a) is a non-starter for a smart winery. Old-vine Bacchus Cab is a scarce resource, and doubtless if you move out of a block, a younger/hungrier winery will move in, and you’ll never see it again. Option b) is marginally better, but you’re likely to lose money on every gallon of juice you sell. Option c) it is!

The reasons this is a win-win scenario: it’s a win for the winery because we pay a small premium above the bulk market, enough that the wineries can at least recoup their fruit costs. It’s a win for us because we get access to classy juice that we can sell for well under what the price would be if it had the winery label on it. And that’s why many of our winery partners (including today) choose to remain anonymous; they don’t want to see their names appended to wines selling for half the price of their lineup.

Because this is such an attractive scenario for wineries, we have been approached with A LOT of FP&F options over the past year. We’ve said no to most, and yes to only the most exceptional juice. Including this Bacchus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Bacchus Vineyard (located here) is one of the Sagemoor properties managed by Kent Waliser and Derek Way. It contains some of the state’s oldest Cabernet vines (planted in 1972) and some of the most important.

I still remember one of the most magical barrel tastings I’ve ever done was in January 2011 out at Abeja with John Abbott. We were tasting through some of the 2009 barrels John was considering for Abeja’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (which to date has only been made in 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2009), and suddenly we hit this barrel of 1972-planted Bacchus Block 3, and my world stopped. I remember just shaking my head at John, and I was sure then and there that he would make a Reserve in 2009, and that it would contain Bacchus fruit. As it turned out, it contained only Bacchus fruit, 165 cases made entirely from that block, $85/bottle and so limited that we were never able to offer the finished wine.

When we began doing private label wines, I knew we’d do some Cabernet Sauvignons, and I hoped we’d be able to source Bacchus fruit. I’m thrilled it has all come to fruition, and I’m not surprised this wine has been so popular during the sneak preview tastings. The vineyard source, the grape-growing, the winemaking: all impeccable here. [And just to be clear, in case I was implying it, the winery involved in this one is not Abeja, although I’d love to work with John on an FP&F bottling someday.] It spent 20 months in 60% new French oak, and it does come from 40-year-old blocks of Bacchus.

While the winemaker here obviously can’t comment, the grape-grower certainly can, and Derek Way was kind enough to send a bunch of information about this block of Bacchus, which was also among the original 1972 plantings:

Block 10 is super interesting and is very unique among Bacchus Cabernet. First off, this block was planted in 1972 from, what we believe, clone 8 stock… The block is planted North/South, on a relatively flat piece of ground, at just under 900 ft. elevation… The soil is made of sandy loam and silty loam complexes, with areas of clay.

Block 10 happens to be the coolest (and, maybe the coolest!) Cabernet site in the Sagemoor portfolio. This, along with its age, make it very unique among what we do. To start, it is very difficult to over-ripen this block. The fruit profile here dances between red fruit and blue fruit, with hints of spice and herb. The tannins, although present, are very well integrated. Because this block, in most vintages, hangs to late October/early November, the tannins are allowed to mature and integrate. That is one of the beautiful characteristic of this block: relatively low sugar accumulation with ripe fruit. This block is structure, but not in the over-the-top tannin sort of way. It is possible to have elegance and structure in the same profile…Block 10 is a great example.

As I mentioned above, this has been getting better with each passing month, and it also seems to be true for each passing moment of oxygen exposure. With a little time and air, this unfurls into an honest Cabernet nose awash in bright fruit (blackcurrant, redcurrant, blueberry) and wonderful complexities of violet and mint, espresso and good clean soil. I love the balance of fruit and earth elements on the palate, the seductive silk of the mid-palate, the way this pulsates across the palate on a lithe 13.8%-alc frame. It’s a wine built for the long-haul, and that’s never more clear than on the long, chewy, beautiful finish, redolent of earl-grey tea and with just the right amount of Cabernet tooth. I’m smitten with this one, and it has been thrilling to see our list members who have tasted respond with equal affection.

First come first served up to 36 bottles, and the wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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