Hello friends. The focus of today’s offer is going to be the just-released new vintage of what has perhaps become our list’s favorite Washington rosé: Tranche’s Pink Pape. In addition, we’ll offer the current releases of the other two wines in the Slice of Pape family: the blanc and the rouge.
If a rosé can be considered a cult wine, this would be it. This is the fifth vintage of this project, which began in 2010, and we’ve offered every single one of them. Our history with this wine is littered with the tears of under-allocations. For the 2012 vintage, we limited order requests to 3 bottles and max allocations ended up being 2 bottles per list member. Last summer, we maxed requests on the 2013 vintage to 4 bottles, and max allocations were 3 bottles per list member (I also see a full two dozen list members who ordered too late last year and were shut out entirely).
This year, I’ve been assured repeatedly that our list is going to be taken care of, so I’m going to bump the order request limit to (gulp) 12 bottles. Apologies in advance if we come up short, but I would like to at least advocate for as much demand as our list truly has for this wine.
As usual, Pink Pape is a single-vineyard (Blackrock) Provencal blend of Cinsault (40%), Counoise (40%), and Grenache (20%). Clocking in at 12.8% alc, it’s pale pink, a vision of summer in the glass. A deeply appealing nose kicks things off, a core of melon and mineral shaded by lovely green complexities of grass and tarragon. The palate has double-take fruit intensity and a charming alpine/mineral personality. It’s a real live-wire, with great verve and energy; one of those wines that pulsates across the palate, leaving you awash in salty-mineral tang. A wine like this is so beautifully versatile, I could see it working all summer long and then finishing up on the Thanksgiving table. Lovely juice, and if past is prologue, we will not have another opportunity to offer this particular mayfly.
2012 Tranche Slice of Pape Blanc
What has always been cool about much of the Tranche lineup is the extra bottle age. It’s a strong indicator of the Corliss influence (Tranche is a sister winery). This bottle is a great example. I mean, how many other 2012 whites will be released here in 2015?
And what is becoming even cooler about this label is a movement towards estate fruit for most of the wines. The Pape Blanc, for example (a blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier), is now a full 40% Blue Mountain Vineyard fruit (Tranche’s estate site in the Walla Walla foothills of the Blues). It was raised in a combination of concrete eggs (always fascinating with whites) and neutral barrels, and it clocks in at 14.1% listed alc. The extra bottle age has served this wine well on the aromatic complexity front: there are notes of straw and flint and smoke, peaches and pears, and developing tertiary character of nuts and honey. Creamy and seamless in the mouth, this is a white wine for red wine lovers, with loads of fleshy fruit. Fortunately there is a lovely spine of citrusy acid to provide balance, but no doubt about it: this is a lavish white wine.
[Note: no review yet for this one from Wine Enthusiast, but the last time this wine was made in a warm vintage (2009), it earned a 94pt review from Paul Gregutt.]
2011 Tranche Slice of Pape Rouge
This is a Grenache-Mourvedre-Syrah blend that comes mostly from the winery’s estate Red Mountain Vineyard on (you guessed it!) Red Mountain. It was barrel-fermented and then aged in large oak foudres for a full 32 months. Is there anyone else in Washington keeping a Rhone blend in barrel for that long?
The result: a wine with an evocative, soaring nose, brambly and insistently floral, with violet and lilac over a dark berry core, all dusted with white pepper. I have the word “pretty” written an embarrassing number of times in my note, and I’ll say: it’s not easy to make a 14.8%-listed-alc wine pretty. This has the brisk acid profile of 2011, but there’s plenty of balancing richness here. The overall mouthfeel is supple, with extra polish from the micro-oxygenating effects of extended barrel aging.
For the Pink Pape, please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The Blanc and Rouge are first come first served up to 24 bottles total (mix and match the two as you like), and all three 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.