Hello friends. This is our fourth missive this year featuring reoffers for 2012-vintage wines from Washington. Our list has really embraced the 2012s, and it doesn’t surprise me in the least. It was a beautiful, down-the-middle vintage in the northwest, and coming as it did after the two ridiculously cool years of 2010 and 2011, it could not have been more welcome. These days, I’m seeing way more 2013 reds (and even a few ‘14s), which only makes these ‘12s that much more poignant.
We originally offered this on April 19. This new pricing for today’s reoffer is based on a discount from the winery set to begin on Labor Day and run through the end of the year. It makes an already good value that much better. Excerpts from the original:
This is the gateway drug into the gloriously funky world of Reynvaan, and I apologize in advance if tasting this leads you to spend way too much money on auction sites trying to track down the main label. It’s a family project for the Reynvaans: Since 2011, sisters Amanda Reynvaan and Angela Reynvaan Garratt have been producing approachable red blends and Rosés from elite vineyards throughout the Walla Walla Valley and Columbia Valley in conjunction with their brother and consulting winemaker, Matt Reynvaan. The family started out in the wine business in 2004, launching Reynvaan Family Vineyards in Walla Walla, which quickly developed into a Washington State cult winery. With the Result of a Crush project the family aims to produce wines that are distinctive, affordable, consistent in quality and showcase the owners’ sometimes whimsical attitude toward wine.
Here is what we know about the 2012: 1) Unlike three of the previous bottlings we’ve offered (two NVs and the Christmas Cuvee), this is single vintage, coming from 2012. 2) It still has the smooching lips label that belies the seriousness of the juice inside. 3) It is mostly Syrah and Viognier, with some Cabernet Sauvignon.
I’ll begin my note with the last sentence written in my notebook: “spectacular vintage for this wine.” And indeed it is, beginning with a funky, no-doubt-about-it rocks Syrah nose: smoked ham, green olive, flowers, boysenberry fruit. The umami/savory character is just outrageous on the nose. It’s so appetizing, and the palate delivers, with a mouthful of plush red and purple fruit paired to loads of bacon-fat. The swirling stew of meats and olives and fruits is just glorious, and the texture has a level of richness and polish that was just not possible in the cooler/leaner vintages. As far as I know, this remains the most accessibly priced entry point to Syrah fruit from the rocks of the Walla Walla Valley, and it continues to punch well above its price class.
Originally offered December 16, 2014, and an extremely popular reorder target ever since, which makes sense, considering how scarce the main-label Long Shadows wines have been of late. Excerpts from the original:
Nine Hats purportedly refers to the nine different winemakers involved in the Long Shadows project, but what I think of when I see it is the number of different hats Gilles Nicault has to wear as the resident winemaker for all the Long Shadows wines. The John Duvals and Michel Rollands of the world fly in and fly out, but it’s Gilles who remains behind and cares for their babies.
Since the 2007 vintage, Nine Hats has been one of the best value labels in Washington. Here’s what the winery says about the label: The nine renowned winemakers of Long Shadows’ signature wines discover after each harvest that a percentage of their resulting barrels are more than they require to achieve that perfect balance in their final blends. These extra barrels produce Nine Hats. For folks curious about wines like Feather, Pedestal, Pirouette, Sequel, Nine Hats presents an accessible entry point to Gilles Nicault’s polished, expressive winemaking. It has been a wonderful wine even in mediocre vintages. In a vintage like 2012, you’d expect it to be exceptional, and it does not disappoint. The blend is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (55%) and Merlot (21%), and by fruit from The Benches at Wallula and Weinbau Vineyards. It kicks off with a nose that smells like a bottle of expensive Cabernet: cassis fruit and violets notes swaddled in classy oak: smoke and coffee and sweet spice. The density and intensity are outrageous for a wine in the low-$20s. Smoky and sultry, classy as hell, wildly good; if this isn’t quite at the level of the top-tier Long Shadows wines, it’s awfully close.
Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD.”
Now, excerpts from the original: The very most important thing to know about Abeja’s 2012 Columbia Valley Cab is that John Abbott decided not to bottle a Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve in 2012. Was I surprised? Yes I was. Was I delighted? Yes I was, because many of the barrels that were involved in their right-down-to-the-wire, go/no-go decision making process on the Reserve ended up in the Columbia Valley bottling. And it is a marvel.
Let’s start with vineyard sources: Abeja’s Heather Hill Estate, old-vine Bacchus and Dionysus (often the backbone of the Reserve program), Weinbau, Kiona Heart of the Hill, Ciel du Cheval, Destiny Ridge, Gunselman Bench. That is a pan-Washington all-star Cabernet lineup (note: there is also 14% Merlot, and 1% each Cab Franc and Petit Verdot in the mix).
Elevage was two years in 60% new French oak, 40% one- and two-use French oak. It clocks in at 14.8% listed alc, and it aromatically comes jumping right out of the glass, with soaring cassis, violet, high-cacao chocolate, and wonderful eucalyptus topnotes. A complex, honest, serious Cabernet nose. John Abbott is the king of Cabernet texture, and his skills are on fine display here. The palate is velvety, seamless, luscious, with no apparent holes. Strong on attack, plump in the middle, and toothsome in just the right way on the back end, this is a completely charming wine. I know Abeja’s Cabs age beautifully, but they never seem to survive for very long in my cellar because they’re so damned generous and seductive in their resplendent youth. This is a flagship Washington Cabernet in any vintage. In a vintage like 2012, and with reserve juice in the mix, my thoughts run to two words: go deep.
First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and 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.