Hello friends. For many years, our list members have been the beneficiaries of Rich Funk’s kindness. His tradition had been to retail his Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for $30 for the majority of the year, and then offer a significant price drop for November and December.
Those price drops seemed to always coincide with Wine Spectator releasing strong reviews for the wine, which, in previous years, resulted in a holiday-season feeding frenzy. We’ve offered four previous vintages of this wine, and each one has been snapped up en masse and enjoyed throughout the holidays and then the rest of the year.
In 2013 and 2014, however, Rich essentially stopped the end-of-year discounts. Except…
Except for a very few accounts who have been consistent supporters of Saviah over the years. I’m pleased/proud/relieved that Full Pull, and our list members, are counted among those supporters. Yes, the price is a few ticks higher than previous vintages, but it had to happen! It hadn’t budged in five vintages. Even at $30, this is a strong buy, but at our TPU price, it still represents exceptional value for Walla Walla Valley Cabernet.
[Note: this offer contains two bonus Saviah wines. See the bottom for details.]
I should also mention that our allocation this year is just 54% of last year’s parcel, so this could be a bit of an allocation bloodbath. Apologies in advance if that’s the case.
But even with the additional hurdles this year, there was never a question of not offering this wine. It’s a total list favorite in an average vintage, and I think you all know by now that I think 2012 is anything but average. Why has it become such a hit, you ask? Three reasons I can think of:
1) It is becoming ever more rare to see Walla Walla Valley Cabernet at a sub-$25 tariff.
2) Year in and year out, this is a Cabernet that most of us would be happy to pay $30 for. At a lower tag, it way over-delivers.
3) It comes from unusual vineyards. So many times when we see Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon it comes from either the king (Pepper Bridge Vineyard) or the queen (Seven Hills Vineyard). There’s nothing wrong with those two vineyards. In fact, they’re among the standard-bearers for the valley. But… it’s a big valley, full of micro-terroirs, and those of us who care about such things get a little extra intellectual jolt from tasting other sites.
The backbone of this wine comes from McClellan (you might remember that one from our recent Seven Hills offer) and Anna Marie Vineyards. Both sites are converted orchards farmed by the Brown family of Watermill Winery. Rich Funk (Saviah’s winemaker) was Watermill’s consulting winemaking during their early days, so he still gets access to this lovely fruit.
The nose is a wonderful expression of valley Cab, offering blackcurrant and plum fruit, violets, good clean dirt, and dustings of cocoa powder and espresso (oak regimen was 17 months in 40% new French). “Lights out” is my first palate note from my tasting sheet. This is perfectly balanced, the just-right ripeness (14.4% listed alc) married to bright acid, the rich fruit married to deep earthy tones. As this was rolling along into its powerful, chewy, oh-so-Cabernet finish, awash in green-tea tannins, I was wondering: will this be the last vintage where we get any kind of discount on this wine? I mean, there’s really no need to discount this wine. It has just been so damned consistently good over the years. Thanks, Rich; each year this really does feel like a holiday gift, and if this is the last year, we’re going out on a high note.
Please limit order requests to 6 bottles (and probably set expectations at closer to 2-3 bottles). We’ll do our best to fulfill all requests, and 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.
Team Full Pull
Some of the most successful white wines made in Washington are Bordeaux blends of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Buty’s SSM, Cadaretta’s SBS, Rich’s own Star Meadows; gorgeous. What is considerably more rare is seeing these blends at ten bucks. But Rich works magic with his Jack label, and this is a beauty (baby Star Meadows?), with 45% Semillon taking the lead in the aroma/flavor department (figgy and limey, waxy and leesy), and 40% Sauvignon Blanc adding its lifting notes of bright green acid (the remainder is Marsanne). The supple texture reflects the warmer vintage, and this strikes me as a wonderful winter-into-spring white. Listed alc is 13.8%, and this was aged in a combo of neutral barrels and stainless steel. Just 200 cases produced, which is miniscule by Jack standards.
Yet another entry in one of the best stories going in northwest winemaking right now: the democratization of the rocks. Rich’s 2007-planetd estate vineyard down in the rocks has been online since the 2009 vintage, and this 2011 is an exquisite expression of his particular patch of terroir. Funky and smoky (ham hock, cabbage), briny as hell (olives, nori), this is a total umami-bomb, the lovely fruit (marioberry, blueberry) and floral notes relegated to supporting roles as the funk rules the day. For anyone on Cayuse’s or Reynvaan’s waiting lists, this is a fine introduction to this singular section of the Walla Walla Valley. Rich only made 123 cases, and I suspect this is going to get big press when folks taste it, so let’s jump in while it’s still available.