Hello friends. Today we have one of our most eagerly anticipated offers of the year: the return of a well-priced, list-favorite Rocks Syrah:
What a roller coaster ride for the folks behind Proper. Great admirers of Christophe Baron’s work, they jumped at the chance to purchase a cherry orchard around the corner from Cayuse Vineyards. In 2007, the cherries went out, and the vines went in (all Syrah). They built great momentum with outstanding harvests in 2009 (mostly a friends and family wine) and 2010 (the first Proper Syrah we offered), and then…
…then came trouble. The Thanksgiving freeze of 2010 knocked out their entire vineyard for the 2011 vintage. To keep the brand alive, they used purchased fruit from a neighboring rocks vineyard and did a small 2011-vintage release. That 2011 was lovely, but I think all of us who fell in love with the 2010 were eagerly anticipating our next chance to watch this evocative vineyard evolve. That was last year’s 2012, which turned out to be just as popular as the 2010, and received a 94pt review from Jeb Dunnuck of Wine Advocate to match his 94 for the 2010. While Jeb has not yet reviewed the 2013 vintage, Wine Spectator just published a review in the September 30 Insider:
Wine Spectator (Harvey Steiman): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”
As a reminder, it’s Sean Boyd from Rotie Cellars who is behind this wine. A notorious Rhone freak and lover of earthy, ethereal Syrahs, Sean has crafted a crystalline expression of funky Walla Walla Rocks terroir that is rare to see outside of the multi-year-waiting-list domains. Someday I expect this wine will command prices commensurate with the best Syrahs in the state, but for now, it remains a fine value for lovers of funky rocks Syrah.
Still a babe, this really revealed its finest aromatics after a few hours open. That’s when the briny black olives and roast beef notes came to the fore, melding beautifully with blueberry and huckleberry fruits, violet topnotes, and lovely sanguine mineral tones. The palate, on the other hand, was rocking right on pop-and-pour, with a swirling mass of deep fruit and umami tones. There are enough brackish sea-funk nori notes that this is like a cross between red wine and dashi. And setting aside the wild flavors for a moment, the texture is beautifully managed here: soft and supple, rich (14.8% listed alc) and seamless, true to the 2013 vintage and its immediate charms. I agree with the beginning of Harvey’s drinking window (“now”) but would personally drink these up by 2019 or 2020. I mean, really, why wait? There is so much savory charm here right now.
This remains one of the most exciting new projects coming out of the northwest these days, and we’re on it nice and early (the winery just had their own release; several of our list members attended, and had universal raves about the wine). First come first served up to 36 bottles, and the wine should arrive two to three weeks, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.