2 WA Rhone Reoffers

Award UPDATE: I’m pleased to announce that Full Pull was awarded Retailer of the Year at the Washington Wine Commission’s 2015 Washington State Wine Awards ceremony on Monday night. This follows on the heels of winning Independent Retailer of the Year last year, and is a wonderful honor for our Full Pull team, our list members, and all our partners in the winery/distributor/importer world. The Retailer of the Year category encompasses all types of wine retail. The previous two winners were a grocery chain (Metropolitan Market) and a national wine store chain (Total Wine), so this is a category where we’re competing with the big boys. I was (very pleasantly) shocked to hear our name called at the end of the night, and we’ll be basking in the afterglow of this one for at least a couple of weeks. Here is our official press release, and here is the release from the Washington Wine Commission.
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Hello friends. This is the latest in our ongoing series of Friday reoffers, featuring some of 2014’s most popular wines and offering one more chance to access these beauties before they sell out. Wait, what? It’s not Friday. Okay, I know, and I’m sorry, but I’m getting antsy about these Washington 2012s, and I don’t want us to miss out on anything. So Wednesday’s planned offer is now pushed to Friday, and Friday’s planned offer is today.

Today’s group continues the focus on the glorious 2012 vintage in Washington, a welcome return to a normal year after the successive cool vintages of 2010 and 2011. One of the themes of last year was wave after wave of wonderful 2012s crashing onto our shore, and there are a number of the 2012s that have been massively popular as reorder targets. Last week we focused on Bordeaux varieties and blends; today it’s the Rhones. Let’s dive in.

2012 Gramercy Cellars Southern Blend “Lower East”

Originally offered September 17, 2014, this is year two of the extension of the Lower East brand into a Southern Rhone blend. Excerpts from the original:

I’ve called Lower East wines the gateway drugs to the Gramercy Cellars portfolio. I’ve called them wine ghosts. You won’t find Lower East wines on Gramercy’s website. You won’t find them in Gramercy’s tasting room. You will rarely find them sold outside the Pac-NW. Lower East is a gift, from Greg Harrington to his local supporters. Most of it goes to restaurants, a reflection of Greg’s sommelier history. But some gets allocated to retail channels, especially to long-term supporters of the Gramercy portfolio.

This sophomore effort for the Lower East Southern is a thing of beauty. The blend is 40/40/20 Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre, and it comes from several of the stars of Gramercy’s vineyard stable: SJR, Upland, Minick, Olsen. It also contains fruit from a newer site called Oldfield, an Efeste estate site about which they say the following: “Oldfield Vineyard is planted next to Dick Boushey’s vines on a southwest slope over 1300 feet in elevation. This elevation puts it well over the height of the Missoula flood table which means that these soils are truly ancient.” Cool!

Done entirely in neutral French oak, this clocks in at 14.2% listed alc, which seems right for Gramercy’s style and for the down-the-middle 2012 vintage.  And friends, this is a knee-buckler. I found it gorgeous from first sniff to last swallow, and it speaks to Greg Harrington and Brandon Moss’ quality at points across the price spectrum. Beginning with a gorgeous, appetizing nose mixing red and blue fruits with beautiful briny castelvetrano olives and insistent, lovely garrgiue notes of dried herb and lavender, this moves into a silky, complex palate, a swirling stew of notes fruity and salty, smoky and meaty. If this is baby Third Man, this is one beautiful baby indeed. A harbinger of wonderful things to come from Gramercy’s 2012 Rhone lineup.

2012 Proper Syrah

Originally offered on October 1, 2014, and a frequent target of reorders ever since, this was the return of estate-bottled juice from a winery that I called “baby Cayuse” in their inaugural vintage. Excerpts from the original:

What a roller coaster ride for the folks behind Proper. Great admirers of Christophe Baron’s work, they jumped at the chance to purchase a cherry orchard around the corner from Cayuse Vineyards. In 2007, the cherries went out, and the vines went in (all Syrah). They built great momentum with outstanding harvests in 2009 (mostly a friends and family wine) and 2010 (the first Proper Syrah we offered), and then came trouble. The Thanksgiving freeze of 2010 knocked out their entire vineyard for the 2011 vintage. To keep the brand alive, they used purchased fruit from a neighboring rocks vineyard and did a small 2011-vintage release. That 2011 was lovely, but I think all of us who fell in love with the 2010 were eagerly anticipating our next chance to watch this evocative vineyard evolve.

It’s Sean Boyd from Rotie Cellars who is behind this wine. A notorious Rhone freak and lover of earthy, ethereal Syrahs, Sean has crafted a crystalline expression of funky Walla Walla Rocks terroir that is rare to see outside the domains of Cayuse and Reynvaan. And of course, unlike Cayuse and Reynvaan, this Syrah is actually available without a multi-year stay on a waiting list! Someday I’m sure this wine will command prices commensurate with the best Syrahs in the state, but for now, it remains a fine value for lovers of funky rocks Syrah.

The nose contains lovely streaks of pure marionberry and boysenberry fruit, but you’re not here to hear about fruit, are you? Okay, so the savories (and they are legion): there’s a great brackish marine kelpy umami note. There is a whole host of briny green olives. There is a full plate of smoky salumi. It’s a funky, smoky, earthy nose, lifted by notes of wild flowers and herbs to keep things fresh. Just lovely. So alluring. The palate continues the mix of rich fruit and naughty savories, all on a pillowy silky frame that hits the back of your throat before you realize what’s happened. There’s nothing else to do but take another sniff, take another sip.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.” [Note: the only Syrahs to receive stronger reviews from Jeb this year come from an all-star list of wineries: Cayuse/No Girls/Horsepower, K Vintners, Reynvaan, Gramercy, Betz, Corliss; heady company!]

Please order what you like, without restriction, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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