Full Pull Anniversary Week #1: The Yellow Brick Road

Hello friends. Today is Full Pull’s sixth anniversary. Often when I stop to reflect on anniversaries, I think about the earth taking one big loop around the sun. All of us astride the globe, hurtling through the cold vastness of it all. It’s daunting. What are we to do, confronted with the big chill of the universe?

One man’s answer: Love each other well. Radiate what light and heat we can into the darkness.

That’s the theme of today’s offer, proceeds of which will be donated entirely to the winery involved. And the story of today’s offer is about two brothers who are most certainly not in Kansas anymore:

2012 Carter Lamour Chardonnay

On August 16, 2013, one literal misstep caused the fall that crushed Dain Dillngham’s C5 vertebrae. From the roof of an elevator shaft, Dain fell eight feet to the main roof below, landed squarely on his neck, and irrevocably altered his and his brother Dreux’s lives.

The unfairness: staggering. Why were the brothers Dillingham in Seattle? To celebrate Dain’s 28th birthday. Why had they climbed to a roof above a roof? To get a better view of the glimmering Emerald City. For brothers who grew up in Lawrence Kansas, this really did seem like the end of the yellow brick road.

They both had much to celebrate. Dreux had first landed in Walla Walla in 2005 and spent the better part of the next decade in various winemaking gigs around the state (our list members interacted with him during his stint at Waters; he came to our old warehouse and helped Jamie Brown pour wines back in March 2011). He had just landed a plum gig in the Okanogan and was getting ready to move to Canada.

Dain arrived in Walla Walla in 2008. As this StoryCorps recording recounts (note: the whole forty minutes is worth a listen, if you want to get a sense of both brothers and the way they interact), Dain began his glamorous winemaking career as an apple picker. Soon thereafter, he landed a gig at the outstanding Walla Walla custom crush facility Artifex, under the direction of Jean-Francois Pellet, and his career blossomed from there. Over the next five years, he went from part-timer to full-timer to cellar-master to production manager. Five months before his accident, he was plucked by Aryn Morell to serve as his assistant winemaker on a number of Aryn’s projects.

That was before the fall. After the fall, Dreux eschewed the Okanagan job in favor of becoming a licensed caregiver. After the fall, Dain spent seven weeks in the hospital and the better part of the next year adjusting to the new normal. He began a blog called How I Survived Love, Paralysis, And The Crushing Weight of Popular Culture. His introduction gives a sense of the martini-dry sense of humor that seems to have survived the fall intact: [TEXT WITHHELD]

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the tight-knit winemaking community in Washington was mobilizing. Fundraisers. Internet campaigns. And, natch: wine. Two of the winemakers closest to Dain are Aryn Morell and Andrew Latta. Half of the barrels for this 2012 Chardonnay come from La Reyna Blanca Vineyard fruit originally intended for Aryn’s Alleromb project. The other half from Roza Hills Vineyard, part of the Sixto Chardonnay project Andrew was involved in at the time. The whole package clocks in at 14.5% listed alc, and it begins with an expressive nose: layered fruit (peach, pineapple, plantain), crème fraiche, and nutty notes of roasted pecan and marzipan. In short, this smells luscious. And then the palate delivers, with a rich, ripe winter white, full of lush fruits mixed with nutty barrel notes and leesy complexities. The texture is so supple you’d swear you had a red wine in your mouth if you were blindfolded. This is long, dense, satisfying Washington Chardonnay.

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19/20pts.”

The eventual goal of Carter Lamour (a mashup of the brothers’ middle names) is to become a fully functioning winery whose profits can help offset the large ongoing costs associated with Dain’s care. This is the beginning of that venture, and I hope you’ll join me in helping the brothers Dillingham in their efforts. Another thing about anniversaries: a year goes by, we go all the way around the sun, and we find ourselves back where we started. For the Dillinghams, that’s trying to make a go of it in our burgeoning, sometimes maddening, often loving Washington wine scene.

First come first served up to 48 bottles, and the wine should arrive in the warehouse in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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