Hello friends. Today we have a holiday gift from Sean Boyd, the fourth vintage in a row where he has granted our list members access to what is otherwise a club-only wine for Rotie Cellars:
This began as one of those deals that proves there is no substitute for feet on the ground, for local intel. On just about every trip to eastern Washington, I learn about some kind of cool opportunity for our list members that could never have been unearthed from behind a computer screen, and that was the case with our original (2010) vintage of VdP.
But at the time, I thought it was a one-off, some wacky French-labeled bottles originally intended for Quebec. I figured we’d get a little parcel of 2010, and that would be the end of it. But then there was the response. Our list members, to put it mildly, freaked out over that wine. We had originally set an upper order limit of 24 bottles, and then our max allocations ended up being, I think, 4 bottles. Sean sent us every bottle he possibly could, and that was the beginning of something special.
Sean just released this wine to Rotie’s club, and now it’s our turn. I’m thrilled that we have access to another vintage of this (thank you to Sean and Maddie at Rotie, and also to our wonderful colleagues at Noble Wines for putting this deal together!), and here are some reminders about the VdP bottling:
1. VdP is, as you can see, a club-only wine for Rotie Cellars. Traditionally, this wine is a little gift from Sean Boyd to his club members: a well-priced Vin de Pays from the same vineyard sources that go into the higher-end ($40 and up) Rotie bottlings.
2. Like with the previous vintages, I’m expecting access to one parcel, one time, with prospects for reorders looking unlikely. Please try to get order requests in by Wednesday night, and then Sean will be sending one truckload over the mountains. No guarantees that we’ll have access to future vintages of VdP, either, so if you really love this bottle, consider joining Rotie’s outstanding wine club.
3. Sean doesn’t share the exact vineyard breakdown, but as I mentioned above, these are not declassified barrels. They come from the exact same sites that go into wines like Rotie’s Northern Blend, Southern Blend, Homage.
This year, the blend is one-third each Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. It clocks in at 14% listed alcohol and smells like it saw little to no new wood. The nose hits all the markers we look for in Rhone blends: roasted game and leather (thank you Mourvedre), huckleberry and black olive (thank you Syrah), raspberry and dusty sagebrush (thank you Grenache). As usual with VdP, this is a wild, complex nose, with more than a hint of the sauvage. The palate is supple, spicy, with wonderful flesh and generosity balanced by a sturdy acid spine. The finish is mouthwatering, inviting another bite of food (specifically, this made me want to make what I call half-ass cassoulet: essentially a pot of slow-cooked, herb-studded, garlicky white beans with whatever sausages happen to be handy).
Year in and year out, Sean’s VdP is a total charmer, true to the French Vin de Pays wines it’s based on, just full of character and pleasure. What a treat this wine is! What a fine, unusual opportunity for our list members. First come first served up to 24 bottles, and the wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.