Full Pull You’re A Thistle

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.

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