Full Pull Anniversary Week #2: A Sad, Extraordinary Value

Hello friends. Today’s offer is not the happiest story we’ve ever told through Full Pull. The end result is that our list members will get access to a terrific value, but the way it happened: I wish it wasn’t so.

Today we have a Washington Cabernet Sauvignon from the wonderful 2007 vintage, originally intended to command a $40 price point, now offered for considerably less:

2007 Berg Family Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

On August 21, 2014, I received this initial e-mail, with the subject line “Inquiry”: Hello. I have been hired by a San Francisco family whose father planned to open a winery in Washington… and passed away before he founded a winery or sold any wine… We are actively looking for a buyer. This is the inventory: [REDACTED] cases of 07 Cabernet Sauvignon, [REDACTED] cases of 08 Cabernet Sauvignon, [REDACTED] cases of 08 Syrah, [REDACTED] cases of 09 Syrah. [The winemaker] suggests the pricing at retail be $40 for the Cab and $30 for the Syrah. If you have any interest please contact me… You were referred to me by [REDACTED], [REDACTED] Winery.   

The person sending the e-mail was legit, the reference was legit, the consulting winemaker was someone whose wine we had previously offered, and the vintage/varietal combinations were interesting. So I asked for samples. Logistical difficulties followed, such that I didn’t receive samples until March of this year. After trying all four wines, there was one clear winner, and it was the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Berg family was interested in finding a buyer who would take all four wines, but that buyer was not going to be me.

I did place a bid for the entire lot of the 2007 Cab, at a price well below what I knew the family was hoping for. As I said in my cover letter attached to the bid, my intention was not to lowball or vulture a difficult situation. The juice inside the bottle was quite good, but alas, the packaging, in my opinion, as someone who sees *a lot* of wine bottles, placed a hard, low ceiling on the price. Not just the label design, but also the quality of the adhesive (you can see some label bubbling in our picture; that is fairly common among these bottles).

I then heard nothing for the next four months, and assumed that the family had found a higher bidder. Not so. In late July, they reached out to see if I was still interested. I was, and things went quickly after that, with the wine arriving in our warehouse on August 11. The listed alc is 13.9%, and that’s about all the detail I have about this particular wine. On first sniff, you know you have a wine moving along its ageing curve. Aromas mix primary fruit notes (dried cherry), secondary barrel notes (smoke and mocha), and plenty of tertiary maturing notes: damp earth and mushroom, roasted red pepper and soy. While the nose seems fairly advanced, the palate is surprisingly lively, with a lovely mix of fruits both fresh (currants, red plums) and dried (dried cherry, date). The acidity is still lovely and quite prominent; the tannins integrating and softening nicely; the overall package a rich, satisfying, maturing Washington Cabernet.

In the end, the story is indeed a sad one, about a venture left unfulfilled. I take comfort from two things: first, that Mr. Berg’s wine is going to end up in the hands of people who know the story and who will appreciate the value in what they’re drinking; and two, that this is a step towards the Berg Family’s goal of selling through their father’s wine, dissolving their Washington LLC, and moving on with their lives.

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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