Two from Corliss & Two from Tranche

Hello friends. Autumn release season is winding down, and one of the latest to release their wines each year is Corliss Estates. No surprise, I suppose, since the winery has built their reputation on long-term bottle aging and the release of wines considerably closer to maturity than many others on the market.

The main focus of today’s offer is the new release of the 2009 Red and Cabernet Sauvignon for Corliss, and there is a serious twist to the tale of the Cabernet. At the bottom of the offer, we will also have a pair of bonus wines from Tranche (Corliss’ sister winery), one that was poured at our anniversary celebration, the other a last call on a popular Chardonnay.

I’ve written about Corliss at length in the past. For today, let’s offer the condensed version: Corliss only releases three wines outside the winery: a Syrah each spring, and a Cabernet and BDX Blend in the autumn. They’re noteworthy because they hold their wines about as long as anyone in the state before release. So while most Cabernets on the market right now are 2011s and 2012s (along with a handful of 2013s), Corliss is just getting ready to release their 2009s, a warm year known for rich, early-drinking generosity (I’d drink these 09s while waiting for the 07s and 08s to develop). With nearly three years in barrel and another two in bottle, the wines are usually much further along the path towards integration and complexity than their peer releases, and that’s certainly the case here.

As it seems to go every vintage, the Cab is the slight favorite for the professional reviewers (recall also, when reading the Tanzer reviews, that he is notoriously reticent with points, so these are impressive reviews indeed). I tend towards more of a split decision. I love the blend for its earlier-drinking character and its liquid-silk texture, the Cab for its dark brooding allure and its ability to age endlessly. The good news, of course, is that there’s no need to choose one or the other; we can try both.

2009 Corliss Estates Red Wine

This is typically the more Red Mountain-dominant of the two, with much of the fruit coming from Corliss’ estate Red Mountain Vineyard, and it shows in the loamy soil notes, the pillowy-textured mouthfeel. The 2009 sees Cabernet Franc in the ascendancy, and it’s a long, rich, truffle of a wine, with sultry barrel notes of smoky cocoa and dark chocolate and nougat framing a core of blackberry and plum and deep soil. The Red is so texturally polished, with such silky fine-grained tannins. It’s a beautiful aesthetic experience drinking this wine.

International Wine Cellar (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

2009 Corliss Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 1.5L MAGNUM

This went from a very sad story to a very happy one very quickly. With huge press already lined up behind this wine (a pair of 95pt reviews from Jeb Dunnnuck and Stephen Tanzer, and it’s worth noting that the 96pt 2008 and 2010 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignons are the only Washington Cabs to ever achieve a stronger review from Tanzer), the winery has had terrific success selling the new Cab directly through their mailing list, leaving meager allocations for retail and restaurant. Ours was small enough that I had decided to pass on the allocation entirely.

But then I remembered visiting the winery a few years ago. And I remembered that the Corliss folks have a real affinity for large format bottles. And I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask the question. And so I did: “What about magnums?” And to my surprise and delight, the answer was yes.

I’m not sure if Corliss Cab magnums have ever been offered at retail before, but we have them today, and it’s a great opportunity to access a beautiful, ageworthy wine in a beautiful, ageworthy format. As usual, the Cabernet is the brooder of two, offering deep earthy graphitic minerals, blackcurrant fruit, smoky espresso-bean barrel notes, and topnotes of violet and mint. The palate is a powerhouse, offering impressive tannic structure for a vintage that had tendencies towards flesh. The overall package is beautiful, balanced, and evocative.

International Wine Cellar (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].95pts.”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles of the Red and 6 Magnums of the Cabernet, 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.

Team Full Pull

2010 Tranche Barbera

Rob Griswold poured this wine at our anniversary celebration, and it was really well-received. The folks at Tranche have offered us a nice discount from this wine’s normal $25 price point. It’s 100% Barbera, raised entirely in neutral wood, and it’s a beautiful expression of the rippin’ acidity and bright sour cherry fruit the grape is known for. There are cherry blossom and soil notes as well, but it’s really the mouthwatering texture you notice most of all. The richness of the fruit is perfectly balanced by that sturdy Barberic (new word alert!) spine of citrusy acid. A glorious wine with Italian food.

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

2011 Tranche Chardonnay

Originally offered March 19 and popular on reorder, this one is getting low in the inventory department. It’s all Celilo fruit, among the finest Chardonnay sites in Washington.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

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