Hello friends. Our first Southard offer was sent in autumn 2012, and the winery has been steadily building momentum since, not just among our list members, but among the market generally. And why not: Scott Southard has stubbornly kept his prices low and his quality high; a good recipe for generating and sustaining buzz.
I was first introduced to Southard in Spring 2012 via the generosity of one of our long-time list members (thanks for sharing that initial bottle, BB!), and then things got really buzzy later that summer, when Paul Gregutt wrote about the winery in his great old blog. It was this quote from that piece that piqued the interest of many of us, and the Southard train hasn’t slowed since: Among the wineries I have covered early on are Leonetti Cellar, Quilceda Creek, Betz Family, DeLille, Cayuse, K Vintners, Fielding Hills, Beresan, Rulo… Southard has the potential of being that good… Quite honestly, Southard is the winery of the year as far as I am concerned when you factor in quality, price, and the extra bounce that the thrill of discovery offers.
Since autumn 2012, we’ve offered a dozen different Southard wines. Today’s will be numbers thirteen and fourteen. Is that a lot of wines from one winery? Yes it is. Do I intend to slow things down any time soon? No I do not. Our team loves the wines. Our list members love the wines. The wines remain underpriced gems, including today’s duo. [Note: we’ll also include a reorder link down below for the only Southard wine we’ve offered this year that is not completely sold out.]
Southard’s rosé is a fine example. Scott Southard is a Rhone savant, and his Syrahs, Grenaches, and Rhone blends have been hugely popular among our list members. He’s a natural for a Grenache-dominant rosé (Grenache, with its thin skins and characterful nature, is among a handful of varieties that are just about perfect for rosé), and a Grenache-dominant rosé is exactly what he has produced with Le Paon. Here what Scott has to say about this project: It is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah [again from Lawrence Vineyard]. The Grenache and Syrah were harvested at the same time and pressed whole cluster – no skin contact this time. As with the 2013 vintage, the 2014 Le Paon was fermented and raised in a concrete egg. We bottled 48 cases.
First off, concrete-egg-raised rosé! Cool! Second off, 48 cases?! Ack! That’s exactly one more case than Scott produced last year, not enough to quench the vast thirst for his rosé. The parcel size is borderline, and only really works because we’re rolling it together with a second Southard wine. Apologies in advance if allocations are harsh. The wine is terrific, pairing summery strawberry fruit to lovely green notes of kiwi and cucumber. Chalky mineral tones are the icing on the cake. The palate continues the complexity, on a frame that conveys vibrancy and richness in turn. The bright acid spine; the complexities of mineral and cucumber: just lovely. What a lovely late summer rosé release!
We’ve never been able to offer Scott’s Cabernet, and again it’s due to a combination of underpricing, small production (50 cases for this 2011), and crazy-good reviews. Last year, I thought we’d be offering the 2010, but then Paul Gregutt came out with a 95pt review in Wine Enthusiast, and the wine disappeared in a blink. 95pt reviews for wines in the $20s just don’t happen. Fortunately this 2011 is as-yet unreviewed.
The Cabernet comes entirely from Lawrence Vineyard, the wonderful high elevation site on the Royal Slope farmed by Scott’s cousins, the Lawrences. It was raised entirely in French oak, 2/3 new and 1/3 neutral, for two years, and has now had nearly another two years in bottle. It clocks in at 14.5% listed alc. I was struck by the fact that I could smell cassis flying out of the bottle as soon as I pulled the cork. That’s an aromatic Cab! Along with those prominent blackcurrant tones are lovely minty topnotes, earthy soil notes, and a savory-sweet complexity, something like tomato paste. The palate is supple, with impressive richness for the cool 2011 vintage. A mineral core emerges nicely on the palate, and this is perhaps most impressive on its finish, full of velvety, earl-gray-flavored tannins. Balanced and polished, well-structured and long, this is a beauty with a serious ageing curve ahead of it. And of course because it’s Southard, it’s really well-priced for single-vineyard Washington Cab.
Originally offered March 25, 2015. Excerpts from original offer:
This is 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.
Please limit order requests to 12 bottles of each wine (note: last year no one ended up with more than 3 bottles of rosé, so we may end up considerably lower than 12), 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.