Hello friends. For the third year running, we’re fortunate to have dibs on a rarity from the higher end of the K Vintners lineup that is about to hit Seattle. That Syrah will form the main thrust of today’s offer, but we also have access to small parcels of three of the four wines from Charles Smith’s new Sixto Chardonnay project. See below for those wines. And now, a few items of note on the Syrah:
1. Our list has first right of refusal on the tiny parcel coming into Seattle. If we want it all, we get it all. We need to place our order on Tuesday morning, so please try to get order requests in by Monday night. Given the quick turnaround, I had to made a go/no-go decision without sampling. Given the love for K Syrahs among our list members and the consistency of my experience with previous vintages, I’m confident that these wines will deliver the goods.
2. As usual with the K lineup, this wine has not yet been professionally reviewed. Unfortunately, the turnaround time for most publications just does not mesh with the speed of sales here. The most recent vintages of K wines to be reviewed are typically one or two vintages prior to the current release.
3. I suspect we’ll have to under-allocate here, given the parcel size, so a quick reminder of our allocation technique: Our allocations favor breadth over depth, so that everyone gets one bottle before anyone gets two. And our formula for prioritizing allocations includes overall orders, frequency of orders, recency of orders, and list tenure, among other factors.
Now, onto the wine:
K only releases The Beautiful in years where they can harvest Viognier with their Syrah and co-ferment the two. This is the eighth vintage of the wine (following versions in 2002, 03, 05, 09, 10, 11, and 12).
In 2013, they wound up with 4% Viognier in the mix, and all the fruit comes from River Rock Vineyard, a site in the rocks of the Walla Walla Valley planted in 2001. This gets ambient-yeast fermented with 100% whole clusters and is then aged for a little over a year in French oak (30% new). Listed alcohol is 13.5%, and production is in the 200-300 case range, so there’s very little of this to go around. Expect soaring floral aromatics from the Viognier, and a palate that mixes silky texture with the verve and power of funky, mineral-inflected fruit from the rocks.
Jeb Dunnuck has given 95pt reviews to each of the past four vintages: the 2009 when he was still writing for The Rhone Report, and then the 2010 and 2011 and 2012 in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. It won’t be until sometime in 2016 that we’re likely to see the 2013 reviewed, and by then, hopefully our bottles are safely tucked away in our cellars or our bellies.
Now some quick-hitter offers on three of the four Sixto Chardonnays from this project’s inaugural 2012 vintage. These have been difficult wines to source, and I’m pleased that we have access today. I tasted each of the single-vineyard wines out of barrel, and they were total thrillers, expressive and delicious. This is a label intended to explore old-vine Washington Chardonnay, especially sites released from contract by Ste Michelle after natural yields fall too low with vine age. It’s named after the musician Sixto Rodriguez, subject of the outstanding Oscar-winning documentary Searching For Sugar Man.
This is Sixto’s gateway drug, a blend of each of the three single vineyards involved in the project.Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 92pts.”
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 92pts.”
2012 Sixto Chardonnay Moxee Vineyard
Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 93pts.” [Sullivan context note: of the 160 Washington Chardonnays Sean has reviewed for Wine Enthusiast, none have received higher scores than the 93pt reviews for Sixto’s Moxee and Roza Hills wines.]
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 93pts.”
Roza Hills Vineyard (planted in 1977) forms a south-facing bowl at about 1400’ in the Rattlesnake Hills of the Yakima Valley. It is the warmest site of the three by some measure, and the wine is the most obviously new-world in style.
Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 93pts.”
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 94pts.”
For The Beautiful, please limit order requests to 6 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The Sixto parcel sizes are a little hazier, so I won’t put limits on those; ask for what you like, and we’ll do our best there too. All 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.