Hello friends. Oh planning. How I love it, and what a waste of time it can be.
So, Southard. I love them. You love them. Great. We had our first Southard offer of the year back in January. That was the 2012 Syrah, and we sold every bottle allocated to us, had to under-allocate a number of our list members, and I can count at least a dozen folks who were shut out entirely because they placed their orders too late.
The plan, then, was to wait until the second half of the year for our next Southard offer. You know, staggering it out and all that. So it was penciled in for July or maybe August.
No chance, I’ve been told. The wines will be sold out by then, I’ve been told. Okay then. So much for planning!
The issue, I’m afraid, is that other folks around town have caught onto the screaming quality-price ratio that Southard offers. Especially my colleagues in the restaurant trade, who know a solid local $10 glass pour when they see one. I know we ended up under-allocated on the ’12 Syrah because we were fighting (amicably) for bottles with our buddies at Purple Café. And I suspect those guys (and others) will have their sights set on today’s equally well-priced white and red. So let’s cast the plans aside, damn the torpedoes, and full speed ahead on Southard:
This is a 64/36 blend of Roussanne and Viognier, the Roussanne coming entirely from Lawrence Vineyard, the wonderful high elevation site on the Royal Slope farmed by Scott Southard’s cousins, the Viognier from the outstanding StoneTree Vineyard at the top of the Wahluke Slope.
It clocks in at 14.5% listed alc, just about right for a white Rhone blend from the warmer 2013 vintage. The nose is terrifically expressive: ripe peach preserves in sweet cream, marzipan, honeysuckle, and fresh straw. The palate possesses an almost red-wine sense of vinousness. It’s rich, ripe, and full-bodied, offering a delicious combination of fruit and nut elements. The amount of stuffing is unusual for a white at this price point, and I’m pleased we have the chance to offer this one (the 2010 vintage is the only other time we’ve been able to offer Scott’s white).
The Southard Red, on the other hand, we’ve offered a number of times. The 2010 was 55/45 Syrah/Mourvedre, the 2011 72/28 Syrah/Zinfandel. This 2012 is completely different, and not just because it’s a down the middle vintage after the two cooler years of 2010 and 2011. It also has a healthy chunk of Grenache, which didn’t show up in either the 2010 or 2011.
In fact, it’s almost a straight Rhone blend, with 42% Grenache (Lawrence Vineyard), 41% Syrah (Lawrence and Stonetree), and 4% Mourvedre (Stonetree). The “almost” comes from the missing 13%, which is filled in by Stonetree Zinfandel. It’s that Zin and the Grenache that dominate the nose, a swirling stew of brambly raspberry and blackberry fruit, hot-rock minerality, and savory tomato leaf. My first note on the palate was “BBQ chugger; I want a bacon cheeseburger.” This is a big and rich, soft and easy wine, clocking in at 15% listed alc and offering loads of unctuous, delicious fruit. There’s not much in the way of oak or tannin to get in the way of all that overt deliciousness. This is the best kind of fruit bomb: perfectly ripe, easily generous, comfortable in its own skin. When summertime comes, and the grills start firing up, this would be one hell of a house red to have around.
I’m getting the sense (gulp) that we might only get one shot at these, so let’s open it up: please limit order requests to 60 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in the next week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.