Full Pull Ring Out (Final Offer of 2015)

December 29, 2015

Hello friends. This is our final offer of 2015. We’ll plan to stay out of your inboxes until about January 8 or so, when you can expect our first offer of 2016. In the meantime, we are CLOSED for pickups for the next few weeks, and our first TPU pickup day in 2016 will be Thursday January 14.

Today’s offer will mostly be about reflections on a wonderful 2015. At the end of the offer we’ll include reorder links for the Full Pull & Friends we offered this year, all with strong recent reviews from Rand Sealey. And at the beginning we’ll do what we’ve done every year since 2009: excerpt Tennyson’s In Memoriam.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

I love these stanzas, because they speak to the cleansing grace of the end of a year, the power of first remembering and then letting go.

And what a year it has been. Soon after the birth of my first child nearly two years ago, I adopted a personal mantra that has served me well since:

Embrace the chaos.

There’s no fighting it. Trying to raise a child, trying to do meaningful work, trying to be a loving family member and a loyal friend, trying to, you know, sleep from time to time, maybe read a David Mitchell novel; it all adds up to a stiff pour of chaos. And so why fight it? Might as well embrace it.

Here are some reflections on a happily chaotic year gone by:

FULL PULL HIGHLIGHTS
A huge highlight of 2015 was getting to offer Elizabeth Bourcier’s 2012 La Rata, which allowed me the first chance to write at length about the incomparable Cayuse Vineyards. And a happy late-in-the-year surprise was getting to write about and offer a Quilceda Creek wine for the first time. We debuted three wines from our new Block Wines project, which is almost like having a winery inside Full Pull. In addition to our list members enjoying those wines, they’re also being poured at Purple Café (Semillon), SkyCity at the Space Needle (Chenin Blanc), and Hitchcock (Extra Brut Rose, Chenin Blanc). We offered wines at $9.99 and $179.99 and all points in between, always with a goal of offering extraordinary value at any price paid. Our team tasted a scary amount of wine this year, and we offered less than 5% of all the wines we tasted. I hope that sense of strict curation shines through in all of our wines.

It was also a good year for PR. It began in January, when Full Pull was awarded Retailer of the Year at the Washington Wine Commission’s 2015 Washington State Wine Awards ceremony. We were then written up in Jameson Fink’s Wine Without Worry, in Great Northwest Wine, and in Seattle Magazine.

WASHINGTON WINE TRENDS
It really was a fabulous year for Washington wines. We continued to see a number of exquisite releases from the exceptional 2012 vintage. The charming, early-drinking 2013s began to hit the market, and we even began to see some 2014 reds, which show real promise.

While Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah remain far and away the most popular varieties among our list members, there is undeniable momentum building for Grenache and GSM blends. Grenache makes growers in Washington crazy, because it’s a delicate finicky flower indeed, but winemakers love it, and so too do our list members. When we release our first Block Wines red later this year, it’s no mistake that it will be a Grenache. I’m not sure any variety has more growth potential in our state. Finally – and this could be wishful thinking – I felt like I began to see the stirrings of a Merlot revival. I hope it’s true. Outside of Bordeaux’s right bank, there is no place on planet Earth making more compelling Merlot than Washington.

TEAM FULL PULL
The major change we saw this year in Team FP was losing Matt Tessler to his beloved home state of Texas in April, and hiring RhiAnnon Kaspar as our new List Member Services Manager. I think any of you who have interacted with RhiAnnon, virtually or in-person, will agree that we made a very good hire.

And then there’s Pat Malloy and Dennis Felipe and Nick Peyton, who put in another wonderful, hard-working year. Thanks to our entire team! And I include in that all the wineries and distributors and importers that we count as partners. Seattle has a vibrant, committed wine trade, and we’re lucky to be a part of it.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS
I was thrilled to spend another year as Seattle Magazine’s wine writer, and I want to thank Rachel Hart for her graceful editing. Another big highlight of the year for me was finally passing all units of the WSET Level 4 Diploma, the precursor to the Master of Wine program. That accomplishment was such a team effort, involving so many friends and family and colleagues, that I’m not even going to try to call out everyone who helped. You know who you are, and hopefully I’ve thanked you all individually many times over.

A few of you have asked me if I’m going to jump right into the MW program. The answer is no, and it’s no for a very happy reason. My wife and I are expecting another child, due in late February, so 2016 ought to present an unparalleled opportunity to test that “embrace the chaos” mantra.

It’s comforting going into next year knowing that we have such a capable team in place, and also knowing how wonderful and supportive our list members are. You folks are the power that cranks this virtuous cycle. None of this fun happens without your support, and you can bet that we don’t forget it.

Many thanks to all of you for another year of supporting this little venture that somehow got out of control, in the happiest of manners. Thank you for being willing to slow down over an e-mail, to slow down over a special bottle of wine, to care about something deeply. Y’all are a special group.

Now then, let’s do what we do. Let’s offer a few wines (in this case, the five FP&F wines released in 2015, each with a positive recently-published review from the inimitable Rand Sealey), and then let’s close the door on 2015:

2013 Full Pull & Friends Syrah Angelas Vyd (FPF-12)  

Originally offered July 29, 2015. Angela’s is a site on Red Mountain owned by Efeste Winery, and it was planted in 2008 by none other than Dick Boushey, who continues to manage it. This is 100% Clone 383 Syrah which, according to our winemaker, “is a great clone on red mountain, emphasizing the meatier side of the grape.” To keep the focus on that meaty fruit, this is done entirely with native yeasts and aged entirely in neutral French oak for 18 months. As you’d expect from a warm region (Red Mountain) in a warmish vintage, this is a powerhouse, perhaps the richest/most openly delicious wine we’ve put under the FP&F label.

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 18.5+/20pts.”

2011 Full Pull & Friends Chardonnay (FPF-13) 

Originally offered August 16, 2015. It has been a good year for accessing maturing Chardonnay, and this private-label bottling may be the best of them. It comes from two vineyards, one of which is a prominent Columbia Gorge vineyard, the other an excellent Chardonnay site in the greater Columbia Valley. The nose is immediately appealing: apple and lemon fruit, leesy brioche, chalky minerality, and lovely maturing hazelnut notes. Loads of complexity; suggestions of maturity. It will be a joy to watch its savory tertiary notes (hazelnut and corncob) evolve from subtleties and gain prominence.

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 18.5/20pts.”

2013 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Franc Bacchus Vyd (FPF-14)  

Originally offered September 7, 2015. The second vintage of one of our most popular FP&F wines. Bacchus is probably best known for Cabernet Sauvignon, but it’s also a stellar site for Franc. The Franc block was planted in 1997 on sandy/silty loam with pockets of clay. Good Washington Franc offers a middle ground between super-vegetal, 12.2%-alc, Loire Valley Chinon and Cabernet Francs allowed to get so ripe that they express themselves only as half-assed Cabernet Sauvignon. That middle ground is fascinating, because it can lead to aromas and flavors that are both ripe and green. I’m thinking of poblano pepper. Brambles. Spicy greens like arugula or watercress. Really delicious flavors that are completely unique to Franc.

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

2013 Full Pull & Friends Merlot Red Willow Vineyard (FPF-15)  

Originally offered October 7, 2015. Mike Sauer planted his first vines at Red Willow in 1973, and for many years, his vineyard was deeply tied to the fate of Columbia Winery, and especially its talented winemaker, the late David Lake MW. This particular Merlot block was planted in 1991. According to our partner winemaker: “Mike Sauer says it was always David Lake’s favorite block and is one of the first things to be picked at the vineyard every year. It has a gentle south to southeast slope to get the morning sun (and a little less of that late afternoon heat blast).” After writing my own tasting notes on this one, I asked our partner winemaker what he likes about this vineyard’s Merlot. He specifically mentioned “the savory complexity of the old vines at Red Willow,” and then I looked down to my note, which begins with “real sense of savory character.” For me, the savory character is a mix between roasting meat (almost like demi-glace) and smoky peat, lovely and unusual for Merlot.

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

2009 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon (FPF-16)  

Originally offered November 16, 2015. It comes from two of the brilliant sites managed by Kent Waliser and Lacey Lybeck under the Sagemoor group – Dionysus and Weinbau – along with a bit of fruit from Stillwater Creek, and it is a little marvel at six years past vintage. I think this compares favorably with some $50+ Washington Cabernets on the market. The fact that it’s a chance to access the rarely-seen-anymore 2009 vintage is just the icing.

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 18.5+/20pts.”

Please give us your requests, with no upper limits, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. These wines are all in the warehouse and available for pickup from today on, or for shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

The end of another year is always a reminder to me that it’s a dream job, this: writing about wine for people who care. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to do so, and my holiday wish is the same as ever: that our wines bring the same happiness to you that this endeavor brings to me. Here’s to a year light on sorrows and heavy on joys. On behalf of the whole merry Full Pull family: happy holidays, happy new year, and onwards to 2016.


Full Pull Last Call No I Really Mean It This Time

December 29, 2015

Hello friends. Here is my vow to you. When I am presented with a yay/nay decision on a wine, where there is a clear benefit to our list members, and the only drawback is that I look stupid, I will take a deep breath, put on my dunce hat, and say yay. Every time.

Including today. Back in August, we sent out a “last call” e-mail for what I believe is our most popular import wine of all time. I had been told that the August parcel was the last that would arrive in Seattle. Ever.

So when an unexpected bonus parcel landed in September, I faced a choice: 1) ignore it completely, save face, and deny our list members another reorder opportunity; or 2) buy it, figure out what to do with it, and probably end up looking foolish. As you’ve probably guessed by now, I went with option 2:

2011 D. de la Renjarde Cotes du Rhone Villages Massif d’Uchaux 

This is last call on this wine. No seriously. I mean it! We ended up buying the entire available stash in September, and I figured I would squirrel it away and offer it as a holiday treat. To the best of my knowledge, no more magical parcels have arrived, and I don’t foresee any arriving in the future.

And as you might remember, this is also last call on this project. The Ricard family (behind Chateau La Nerthe in Chateauneuf-du-Pape) is giving up stewardship of the Renjarde project and instead moving their efforts towards their $20-something Cotes du Rhone Villages. Which is no slouch itself (I tasted it recently), but which is priced appropriately. Whereas, I think we can all agree, Renjarde has always been priced inappropriately.

Renjarde had already been popular from the previous 2010 vintage as a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape for $19.99. And then the winery dropped the price further with the 2011, which I didn’t understand at the time, but now makes sense considering they were looking to close out the brand.

One of the most recently added villages to the eighteen allowed in Cotes-du-Rhone Villages is Massif d’Uchaux, and it’s also one of the most compelling. Why? Because it’s as close a named village as we have to Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Renjarde has its roots in Chataeuneuf. It is owned by the Richard family, proprietors of the outstanding Chateauneuf producer Chateau La Nerthe, as well as Prieure de Montezargues in Tavel. The vineyard is more than 40 years old, majority Grenache rounded out with Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Carignan. In 2011, the blend is 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, and 5% each Mourvedre and Carignan, and it was fermented and aged in a combination of concrete and stainless steel, so there’s no oak influence here whatsoever.

The wine is a great ringer to slip into a Cheateauneuf du Pape tasting. It has the wonderful Provencal scent: the brushy garrigue, the floral lavender and cherry blossom, the resinous mint, all framing a core of pure black raspberry and rocky mineral. What I especially like about this is that it’s a ringer not for modern (over-rich, over-alc’d) CdP, but for classic CdP. Alcohol is right around 14%, and the whole package is balanced, classy, with a great cooling mineral tone to balance Grenache’s fleshy fruit. There’s sneaky back-end chew, loads of complexity, and terrific palate-weight. “Ultra impressive” says my note, and at sub-$15, it has become a house wine for many of our list members.

Please send us your requests, with no upper limits (it is last call, after all), 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.


Full Pull Barbaresco

December 29, 2015

Hello friends. Quick Christmas week reoffer today on a well-priced Barbaresco from a terrific Piedmont vintage. This bottle is drinking beautifully right now, and presents a wonderful winter-into-spring option:

2010 Veglio Barbaresco 

Originally offered on January 26, 2015. Excerpts from original offer:

This wine is a ghost. It looks like it’s sold regularly in Europe (Italy, Poland, the Netherlands), but very rarely in the United States. This presents a good honest Nebbiolo nose from a cooler year, with lots of chamomile and red cherry along with streaks of menthol and tar. The palate is full of earthy notes and tea leaves, and as usual with Nebbiolo, this shines with a good meal much more so than as a cocktail wine. The structure seemed quite accessible for Nebbiolo, the tannins softer and more approachable than usual for this category. All that to say: this isn’t a wine you’d need to sit on for years and years; it brings plenty of pleasure, plenty of immediate gratification.

Wine Enthusiast (Kerin O’Keefe): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.”

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 (as early as this Wednesday) or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Full Pull You’re A Thistle

December 22, 2015

Hello friends. The hour is late, I know, and we have a fantastic end-of-year offer today. A trio of wines that I believe are not currently available at retail. An exciting new label from an old friend of our list. The personal, evocative wines of Brennon Leighton.

Brennon, who left Efeste a few years ago to join Charles Smith’s winemaking team, made so many beautiful wines under the Efeste label that were well-loved by our list members. It has been some time since we’ve been able to offer wine with his personal imprint, so this is an exciting day.

His label is called B. Leighton (as I said: personal), and it showcases grapes grown by Leif Olsen. Brennon and Leif’s relationship goes all the way back to Brennon’s Ste Michelle days, and the two have a clear comfort level. As the winery states: [TEXT WITHHELD]

Quick logistics note: because the timing is tricky here, we pre-committed to a stash of these, and they should be available for folks who want to do a last-minute pickup on Wednesday Dec 23. Now, onto this lovely trio of wines:

2012 B. Leighton Grenache Olsen Brothers Vineyard
 

First, a quick note on the packaging (which you can see here). Brennon wanted a simple, rustic label featuring an eastern Washington flower. After a bunch of backs and forths about this flower and that flower, finally Brennon’s wife weighed in: “You’re not a flower, Brennon. You’re a thistle.” Beautiful.

Now the wine itself. Grenache cropped at 2.5 tons/acre. All whole cluster, all native yeasts, 35 days on skins. A year and a half in neutral French puncheons. Listed alc of 14.5%, and a grand total of 90 cases produced. For what it’s worth, the only other account in town with this wine is the wonderful Wild Ginger Restaurant. This begins with a wow nose: ultra-impressive notes of strawberry fruit, cherry blossom florals, and beautiful hot-rock minerality. The rich stew of mineral-studded, briny, brambly black raspberry fruit is absolutely delicious, and carries wonderful inner-mouth perfume from attack to finish. Washington Grenache can be so, so beautiful, and this is a perfect example of the kind.

Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

 

2012 B. Leighton Syrah Olsen Brothers Vineyard
 

This is Syrah cropped at 2.5 tons/acre, done 100% whole cluster, 100% native yeasts, 31 days on skins, and 18 months in French oak puncheons, 20% new. Listed alc is 14.5%, production is 100 cases, and this is a beautiful dark brooder, offering black fruit, black olives, and tarry streaks. Super intense on the palate and VERY savory, this is a smoky/briny palate-stainer, supply textured, with a long, attractive, salty finish. Wild, red-blooded Yakima Valley Syrah!

Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

Vinous (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94+?pts.”

Those are strong reviews from a pair of tough reviewers. To wit, the only 2012 Syrahs from Washington reviewed more favorably by Tanzer were a trio from Cayuse (95pts, 95+?pts, 96pts), and Royal City from Charles Smith (95pts). The *least* expensive of that quartet is $80.

2012 B. Leighton Petit Verdot Olsen Brothers Vineyard
 

I can’t even remember the last time we offered varietal Petit Verdot, which under the wrong hands can turn into a total tooth-sucking tannin monster. But Brennon does right by PV here, offering a version that spent 33 days on skins, and then 22 months in 50% new French oak. Listed alc is 14.5% and production is 120 cases. PV ratchets everything up to 11: big acid, big tannin, loads of spice and floral notes and purple (plummy) fruit. It’s a characterful alternative to anyone stuck in a Cabernet rut.

Vinous (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].94+pts.”

Please limit order request to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive Tuesday and be available for our final open pickup day (Wednesday Dec 23), or for shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Full Pull Whisper Down The Lane

December 22, 2015

Hello friends. Just about a year ago today, we offered what turned into our most popular holiday-season wine of 2014. I was surprised to hear recently that the wine is still available in decent quantity. Happily surprised. It seems our local importer went long on this one, and that’s good news for all of us.

Today we’ll re-print last year’s offer, giving list newbies a chance to access this beauty, and giving those of you who already love this one another chance to reorder:

2010 Maison Sichel Margaux  

Growing up in the Philly burbs, one of the dumbest games we’d play was “whisper down the lane.” I’ve since come to learn that most folks who didn’t grow up in the Philly burbs call this game “telephone,” but I think “whisper down the lane” is much more evocative, and the rest of the country is missing out. Anyway, it’s the game where you have a line of kids. First in line whispers a phrase to the second in line, who whispers to the third, and so on and so on, down the lane, until you get to the last person, who reveals the phrase, which of course bears passing resemblance at best to the original, and which almost certainly has been studded with references scatological (when we were pre-teens) or sexual (when we were teens).

When I started thinking about today’s offer, that ol’ game came immediately to mind, because our list members are essentially getting fifth-hand information, and even that info has to be redacted. Not exactly the height of journalistic integrity, I know, but the wine is so damned good that I’m inclined not to care.

So, here’s the geography of this particular lane:
1. At the spring 2014 Bordeaux En Primeur tastings, one of the Sichel brothers…
2. …told the owner of their Seattle import partner…
3. …who told the representative of that import partner who calls on Full Pull…
4. …who told me (Paul Z)…
5. …who is now telling you…

…that today’s wine is declassified juice from world-class winery Chateau [REDACTED] in Margaux. Could something have been lost in translation at some point along the lane? Certainly. But some cursory internet research sure seems to confirm the story that I’m hearing about this one, and the wine itself is phenomenal. Basically, to get access to this wine, I had to promise not to reveal any Chateau names, and that was a deal I was willing to make. These aren’t easy wines to find in the United States. Outside of some parcels floating around the Pacific Northwest, I’m not sure anyone else in the country is selling this one.

Maison Sichel is now into its fifth generation in Bordeaux. They’ve done a little of everything over the years: negociant, distributor, merchant, exporter, owner of properties, winemaking. They’re woven into the fabric of Bordeaux, and they’re only going to put their family name on something they’re proud of. They have a few different partners in Margaux, and this bottle comes entirely from one of those partners. And it’s a damned good one. As in: a bottle will cost you multiple hundreds of dollars good.

The blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot (more clues!), and it comes roaring out of the gates with lovely earthy animal mushroom Bordeaux character paired to cherry and redcurrant fruit and cherry-blossom top-notes. In the mouth, it is terrific, honest Bordeaux, not overpolished but instead earthy, sultry, throwing the kind of come-hither glances that only top-notch BDX can. Tight and chewy now, this beauty’s best years are likely well ahead of it, and I plan to stash plenty of bottles away in the personal cellar. If the story on this one is true (and again, I’m in the camp of believing that it is), this is an outrageous value.

First come first served up to 24 bottles. We’ve already pre-purchased a stash of this, so it will be available for pickup during our two remaining open dates in 2015, and ready for shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Full Pull Rasa

December 22, 2015

Hello friends. Today’s set of new releases from the growing-ever-more-culty Rasa Vineyards would make fine holiday gifts, as the higher end of the Rasa lineup can be very difficult to source outside of the winery itself. Because our list has grown up with the Naravane brothers’ project, and we’ve all been enthusiastic supporters from the beginning, we get access to small parcels, from Washington’s exquisite 2012 vintage.

Since these are limited, I’ll keep my own verbiage to a minimum, but I will say: what’s special about these small-production wines from Rasa is that they hit both the left and right sides of the brain, lighting up intellectual and sensual receptors in turn. Billo Naravane has real skill when it comes to texture, and that is on fine display with this trio:

2012 Rasa Vineyards Plus One Cabernet Sauvignon Kiona Vineyard  

Plus One is, I believe, Rasa’s only straight Cabernet Sauvignon, coming entirely from Kiona Vineyard. Planted in 1975, it sits in the heart of Red Mountain. While it may not have quite the name recognition of Ciel du Cheval and Klipsun, its Cabernet fruit (especially the original vines that make up the backbone of this wine) is just as prized by Washington winemakers and insiders. This vintage got about a week-long cold soak prior to fermentation, and was then raised in 60% new French oak. It clocks in at 15.1% listed alc, and production is a tiny 114 cases.

The nose combines fruit (pure black cherry, cassis, kirsch) with deep earthy tones (soil, tobacco) and minty top-notes. This is an attractive Red Mountain Cabernet nose indeed. The palate possesses wonderful depth and purity. It’s all lushness and beauty up front, then moving into broad, powerful tannins as it hits the mid-palate and finish. Suavely textured, perfectly polished, this is classy, classy Cab.

2012 Rasa Vineyards Creative Impulse DuBrul Vineyard
 

The blend this year is 59%/41% Cab/Merlot. The fruit got a week-long cold soak and was fermented entirely with native yeasts. It spent 31 months in 60% new French oak, and clocks in at 14.6% listed alc. 152 cases produced. As usual, Billo has captured the exotic, sultry, earthy side of the incomparable DuBrul Vineyard. The texture beggars belief, offering all the intensity we could want on a weightless frame. Tanzer puts it beautifully in his review when he says that the wine “delivers superb flavor impact without coming across as overly powerful.”

Vinous (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

2012 Rasa Vineyards In Order To Form A More Perfect Union 

In 2012 the Perfect Union is a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, and 11% Petit Verdot, from three sites in the Sagemoor family (Dionysus, Weinbau, Bacchus) and three others (Echo Ridge, Kiona, XL). This too had a week-plus cold-soak and was fermented entirely with native yeasts. It was raised in 70% new French oak and clocks in at 14.8% listed alc. The nose combines blackberry and black plum fruit, lovely poblano notes from the Franc, and dark chocolate and dark-roast coffee from the barrels. The structure here indicates a serious wine meant for long-term aging. Both the bright acids and chamomile-tinged tannins are robust and lovely.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93+pts.”

Please limit order request to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive next week and be available for our final open pickup day on Wednesday Dec 23 (the exception is Perfect Union; that one needs to ship direct from Walla Walla and is unlikely to arrive before January), or for shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Full Pull Gorgeous and Stoney

December 16, 2015

Hello friends. This summer, wine writer Jamie Goode visited Washington for the first time. Goode, who is the wine columnist for the UK national newspaper The Sunday Express, also has a wonderful website, www.wineanorak.com. While he is not particularly well-known in the United States, his writing is excellent, and he is well-respected in Europe. If you’re looking for some end-of-year, not-much-going-on-at-work, I-want-to-extend-my-lunch-break reading, check out his entire report on his visit to the northwest (here is the intro, and here is Day 1, which will lead you to the rest of the days).

Goode has nice things to say about a number of Washington wineries, but he reserved some of his highest praise for Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen’s WT Vintners: [TEXT WITHHELD].

Quick reminder on JLT’s background: By evening (and probably a good chunk of day), Jeff is the Wine Director at RN74 in Seattle, which means he basically tastes every important wine that comes into Seattle. That gig came after previous stints at Cascadia, Wild Ginger, and Café Juanita. He has a wickedly sharp palate, and a clear point of view, honed from tasting thousands of wines for his various restaurant gigs. We’ve offered his Gruners a couple times, as well as his red blends from Stoney Vine Vineyards, but never his Syrahs. Until today.

2013 WT Vintners Gorgeous Syrah Destiny Ridge Vineyard  

Here is how Jeff introduces Destiny Ridge: [TEXT WITHHELD].

I visited Destiny Ridge way back in 2009 in harrowing weather (here’s our pic from the road to the vineyard). Jarrod and Ali Boyle do a wonderful job with this site, and JLT is expressing it beautifully through the lens of Syrah. Done with 45% whole clusters and 18 months in neutral barrel, this clocks in at 14% listed alc and offered such a soaring, floral nose that I would have sworn there was a dash of Viognier in the mix. Not so, said Jeff. That’s just how the vineyard expresses itself. Violet and rose, fresh blueberry and broken sagebrush: this really is aptly named.  Freshness is the watchword here. This hums across the palate, supple but weightless. Jamie Goode didn’t review this vintage, but as you can see, he gave the previous two vintages 94pt and 93pt reviews.

2013 WT Vintners Syrah Stoney Vine Vineyard 

[Please note: this is different than the 2013 Stoney Vine blend we offered in June; that one was predominantly Grenache.]

From Dusted Valley’s estate vineyard in the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, and specifically from Block 2 of that site, this was done with a high proportion of whole cluster fruit (75%) and clocks in at 14% listed alc. Total production is just 72 cases, so this one is quite limited.

Jeff tries to dial in his pick date early enough that the rocks funk is a grace note, not the main player, and so this is a fascinating, different expression of rocks terroir. The nose combines marionberry fruit and white florals with subtleties of green olive and smoked ham hock. In the mouth, there is a thread of funky goodness that runs through a bowl of mixed berries. This is a really fresh, bright, vibrant example of rocks Syrah. The funk is dialed back to a complementary role, and it works beautifully.

Wine Anorak (Jamie Goode): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

Please limit order request to 12 bottles of each wine, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive within the next week and should at least be available for our final open pickup day (Wednesday Dec 23), or for shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.