2012 Owen Roe Syrah Ex Umbris

Pickup Calendar Reminder: You’ll see from the schedule below that there are two remaining pickup days for TPU members in 2014. We expect them both to be busy, so please make an appointment if you’re planning to come in.

Thursday, Dec 18: OPEN 10am-7pm
Saturday, Dec 20: (with Champagnes and FP&F wines open for sample/sale) OPEN 10am-2pm
Thursday, Dec 25: CLOSED
Thursday, Jan 1:   CLOSED
Thursday, Jan 8:   OPEN 10am-7pm
Hello friends. We’re down to the last seven or eight offers of the year, and they’re all going to be doozies, but perhaps none better than this, certainly one of the deals of the year. I’ll pass on the text as it was presented to me by Owen Roe’s Seattle representatives:

In a meeting with David O’Reilly from Owen Roe today we discussed offering special pricing on one wine for the holidays as a thank you and early xmas present, and since the 2012 Syrah Ex Umbris has just been released, and 2012 is a pretty special vintage, and this wine is tasting absolutely delicious right now, Ex Umbris quickly became the obvious choice.

No surprise: a vintage as nice as this one already has a pair of strong reviews, including the first review we’re quoting for Stephen Tanzer after the sale of International Wine Cellar to Antonio Galloni’s Vinous:

Wine Spectator (Harvey Steiman): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91pts.”

Vinous (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91(+?)pts.”

Some important logistics notes here, as I have a feeling this is going to be a popular one (Umbris at $20 is a rare bird indeed):

1. This is a December deal. When we hit January, this pricing evaporates and we’re back to the normal $28 tag.

2. We’re going to place our one-and-only order on Tuesday morning, so all orders will need to be in by Monday midnight. Any orders placed after that will be zeroed out.

3. The wine will be delivered Wednesday and will be available for those of you picking up on Thursday Dec 18 and Saturday Dec 20.

4. This is such a special, time-limited deal that I’m not going to place any upper bounds on order requests. I’m happy to advocate for as much wine as our list members want.

Now then, the wine itself. I’ll turn it back over to Jon Marvin from Cavatappi, who represents Owen Roe locally and who penned the quote at the top of the offer, since he has a unique perspective on this wine, having worked at Pike & Western when the first vintage was released:

David was making some pretty cool Syrah back in the day, way before everyone and their grandmas were in the Syrah game in WA. In 2002 an incredible forest fire enveloped the vineyard where he was sourcing his Syrah, and the smoke and ash from the fire sunk into the valley and played a role in that vintage that we hadn’t really seen before. I remember when he came into Pike and Western to sell us the wine after it was bottled with a new label called “Ex Umbris” (from the shadows), and we all wondered what the hell we were going to do with this new release as it smelled like a camp fire on steroids. It sold like crazy and people kept coming back for more and more until it was all sold out.

The next year came along and of course everyone was clamoring for the next vintage of Ex Umbris, and many were disappointed that the intense smokey flavors and aromas weren’t there. It’s not like David wanted to create a fire around the vines to get that same effect, and none of us wanted that either. Fortunately over a few years time people realized that WA Syrah when done correctly often has smokey aromas naturally, and Ex Umbris has pretty much had a life of its own ever since. Of course David has fine tuned his craft even more over the last decade, he’s using vineyards that are more ideal for Syrah than what was available a dozen years ago, and his Syrah is better than ever.

I had a chance to taste the new vintage of Umbris a few days ago, and it’s true: this wine really is better than ever. It really hit its stride at about 2-3 hours open, at which point a beautiful nose emerged combining smoky dark chocolate and smoked ham, green olive and white flowers, purple plummy fruit and blackberries; complex and deeply attractive. It’s a rich palate-stainer in the mouth, true to the outstanding vintage. The texture is oh so supple, and it glides across the palate with class and panache. Always a strong value at its normal $28 price, this is ridiculous at the “holiday thank you,” “early xmas present” tag.

First come first served up with no upper limit, and the wine should arrive on Wednesday and be available for pickup as early as our final two pickup days of 2014, or for shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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