2010 Casa L’Angel Cepas Viejas (Old Vines) Valencia

Hello friends. I’ve frequently written about the virtuous cycle that exists with Full Pull, our list members, and our partner wineries. It goes something like this: you folks buy Washington wines from Full Pull, try them, love them, and then visit those wineries, where you frequently mention to winemakers that it was Full Pull where you were first introduced to their winery. This strengthens our relationships with those wineries, because they see that, in addition to the sales they get from Full Pull, they’re also getting fringe marketing benefits. And then those wineries *want* to work with us even more, to offer us special deals and special wines. Which only makes our list members happier, and then the great wheel turns, and turns again.

Up until now, I’ve really only thought of this cycle applying locally, but recent developments make me think we’re starting to break through nationally. To wit: late last year, I got a call from Andrew Holod of Grapes of Spain, an importer based on the east coast. He had heard about Full Pull, and our model, and our list members, and he wanted to present a series of wines from their portfolio that are not currently available in the Seattle market. A few days later, a shipment of samples arrived, and a few days after that, we sat down and opened them. And as it turned out, the very first bottle we tried was a showstopper:

The logistics of this wine will be a little different than normal for us, so let me begin there. We will be special-ordering this wine from Grapes of Spain’s Virginia warehouse, so the turnaround time will be a little longer than normal (2-3 weeks instead of our usual 1-2 weeks). The cool part about the special order model is that our list members will have exclusive access to this wine. Nobody else in Seattle will be seeing this one.

Grapes of Spain is owned by Aurelio Cabestrero, a Madrid native who worked somm gigs in Spain and in Washington DC before launching his import business in 2001. Here is what he has to say about his import philosophy: A key to the style of wines in my portfolio is that many of the winemakers are young and talented; representing the new face of Spanish winemaking. They bring a new point of view to wine quality as many have traveled internationally and have had a broad exposure to the world of wine. Furthermore, many of these winemakers are inheriting old vineyards, a further key to quality. I hand select each wine and my wines reflect the true personality, quality and character of each vineyard, grape and people who make it. I always search for wines that provide the best value for the money whether at $10 per bottle or $100. Finally I believe the wines in my portfolio represent an authentic expression of Spanish wine.

Today we find ourselves in Valencia DO, located here, and specifically in two high-elevation (about 2000ft), 1980s-planted vineyards. The blend is two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, one-third Tempranillo, done in 25% new French oak. It begins with a nose of soy-inflected black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, smoky earth notes, and tobacco leaf; a wonderful melding of traditional Cab and Tempranillo aromas. But what really struck me was the depth and palate weight, just tremendous at a sub-$20 price point. The balance of fruit and earth elements is terrific, and somewhere in the mid-palate, the Cabernet takes over structurally, offering serious chew as it rolls into a lingering finish. The classiness, polish, and generous stuffing all suggest to me a wine that is under-priced for the quality.

Aurelio’s stated goal is “the best value for the money whether at $10 per bottle or $100,” and this does indeed offer plenty of value at its price point. It also has a fine review from Josh Raynolds, originally published in Tanzer’s IWC and now the property of Antonio Galloni’s Vinous. I think for reviews like that, I’m going to include the names of both publications to be as transparent as possible. Recall that Tanzer’s crew is notorious for being points-reticent, so a 90pt review is a fine review indeed.

International Wine Cellar/Vinous (Josh Raynolds): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 90pts.”

We have access to what I would call a medium-sized parcel, so just in case, let’s please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. As I mentioned, the wine will ship from the east coast shortly and should arrive within the next month, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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