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:
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.
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.”
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.