Hello friends. We have a limited new release today of a wine that has achieved cult status in a very short period. Considering the vintage involved, we could be looking at pretty brutal allocations.
This is Chris Figgins’ own project, separate from the Leonetti family of wines. What distinguishes it, and makes it so intellectually interesting, is that it is very much a Bordelaise project. FIGGINS is a winery with one vineyard (planted mostly to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot) and one wine (anything that doesn’t make the cut gets sold off on the bulk market), which is a real rarity in Washington. Putting all your eggs in one vineyard basket is gutsy indeed, but Chris Figgins has the skill and experience to make it work.
Unsurprisingly, Chris’ emphasis when he talks about the wine is the vineyard, not the winery. Located in the Mill Creek drainage of the Walla Walla Valley, this is as far-east a vineyard as I know of in the Walla Walla Valley, bumping right up against the Blue Mountains. The soils are deep, rich loess, and this area gets enough rainfall that dry-land farming (no irrigation) is possible in some years. It’s a haunting, high-elevation (1750 ft) site, where exactly 17 minutes past sunset each night, a load of cold air from the Blue Mountains comes roaring down Mill Creek canyon. You can feel the air change when you’re standing there, and the grapes feel it too: an instant diurnal shift that helps retain lovely acidity in the finished wines.
It’s going to be a real treat to watch this wine evolve as the vines dig deeper, and even the evolution from the inaugural 2008 vintage to now has been stunning. To see this kind of quality from seventh-leaf fruit augurs well for the future. As usual, this is a wine built more for ageing than for immediate gratification. If you just can’t wait, I’d suggest a multi-hour decant before drinking this any time in the next few years.
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 96+pts.”
Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
As a reminder, Mr. Sullivan is rapidly developing a reputation as an exacting critic. Of the 2,243 wines he has reviewed for Wine Enthusiast to date, a mere sixteen wines have received stronger reviews than this FIGGINS: a 97pt review for Horsepower Grenache, four 96pt reviews (two Horsepower, two Cayuse), and then eleven 95pt reviews for wines from Cayuse (2), No Girls (1), Quilceda Creek (1), Betz (1), Gramercy (3), Reynvaan (2), and Avennia (1). To break it down another way, those sixteen wines include Syrah (10), Cabernet Sauvignon (3), Grenache (2), and Tempranillo (1); and exactly no BDX blends. So the 2012 Figgins Estate Red Wine jumps into the pole position for that category.
The size of our parcel is still a little hazy, so I’m going to lean towards optimism, and set upper order limits at 6 bottles. Please know that we may end up closer to 3 or 2 or (gulp) 1-bottle allocations if things get really ugly. And with that note, please limit order requests to 6 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in early November, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.