Full Pull Friday Reoffers: The Outrageous 2012s

Hello friends. Something we like to do early in the year is reoffer some of our most popular wines of the previous year, one more chance to access these beauties before they sell out. I know many of you opened a lot of bottles over the holidays, so hopefully you now have personal impressions to supplement our own notes.

We’ll begin with a pair of wines from the outrageously good 2012 vintage in Washington:

2012 Ardor Cellars Red Wine  

Originally offered October 11, 2015. Excerpts from the original offer: I love the “red wine” category. Why? Because it rewards homework, and we’re good at homework here at Full Pull. Some red wine is plonk: cast-off, declassified dreck that would have been better off poured down a drain. But some red wine is 70% Rocks Syrah from a single vineyard, and from an outstanding vintage.

I barely even had to taste this one. The nose alone was so wonderfully Rocks-funky that I was already mentally negotiating a parcel before the wine was in my mouth. In the end, the remaining available parcel was a little on the large side, but I decided to go long and just buy out the entire vintage. The wine is fabulous; I know our list members respond to wines with this funky profile; and purchasing the entire lot allows us to offer this one for considerably less than the $28 release price.

Ardor Cellars is a new winery from Brandon Kubrock, with Aryn Morell as consulting winemaker. I have a soft spot for Brandon because he gave me one of my best tasting experiences ever when he was the tasting room manager at L’Ecole 41, pulling a number of exquisite library bottles from deep in the L’Ecole caves, including an unforgettable Semillon from the ‘90s that exploded my entire concept of what that grape was capable of.

Brandon has been working in Walla Walla since he was 18 years old, and he has good connections all over the valley. I’m sure it was those connections that allowed him to source Syrah fruit from Stoney Vine Vineyard for his inaugural 2012 vintage. He bottled most of that Stoney Vine fruit as a $50 single-vineyard wine, one that turned a lot of heads (and immediately sold out), when it turned up in the #1 spot in the Top Syrah section of Sean Sullivan’s Top 100 list for Seattle Met Magazine (note: it’s also set to receive a 94pt review from Mr. Sullivan in the November Wine Enthusiast).

But a portion of that excellent Stoney Vine Syrah also went into this “red wine” bottling, where it was blended with 30% Grenache from Art den Hoed Vineyard. While the Grenache plumps up the texture of the wine, it doesn’t really touch the aromatics, which are all funky Rocks Syrah, helped along by a full 50% whole clusters in the fermentation. Stephen Tanzer, in reviewing Brandon’s single-vineyard Stoney Vine bottling, called the wine “a bit funky in the style of a Cornas from the 1980s.”

I (unfortunately) haven’t consumed as many 1980s Cornas bottles as Mr. Tanzer, but this wine is unapologetically funky and savory, with a real sense of wild fecundity to the aromatics: earth, smoky charcoal, a full plate of charcuterie, sweet pea, and a fantastic sense of naughty green-olive brackishness. There is plenty of rich supple fruit here (blueberry, marionberry), but it is a supporting player to the loads of olive and smoky bacon fat and other umami goodies. For those of us who love this savory Rocks profile, this is a bottle not to be missed.

2012 Maison Bleue Metis Rouge  

Originally offered November 12, 2015. Excerpts from the original offer: The Maison Bleue reds that we have offered over the past two-plus years have all been at prices $40 and up. Not since we offered the 2011 Jaja back in June 2013 have we seen a tag on a Maison Bleue red beginning with a ‘2’. If you usually set a hard ceiling of $20/bottle, this would be a perfect place to splurge. The packaging on the outside of the bottle and the juice on the inside way over-deliver today’s price point.

This is Jon Meuret’s GSM blend (heavy on the ‘S’, at a full 70% Syrah; the remainder 25% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre). With Jaja going away, this becomes the gateway drug into the outstanding Maison Bleue lineup. The vineyards involved are head-turning to be sure: Boushey, Boushey-McPherson (astute list members might recall Ron Bunnell’s outstanding $45 single-vineyard Syrah from Boushey-McPherson), Upland, and Ciel du Cheval.

And of course there’s the vintage. The flow of new-release 2012s has slowed to a trickle in recent months, and we’re running out of opportunities to access this (arguably) best-of-the-millennium vintage in Washington, especially at a price point in the $20s. This one was saw a four day cold-soak, and after fermentation was raised for a year in French oak (20% new for the Syrah; neutral for everything else). It has now had nearly two years in bottle to continue evolving and maturing.

Metis kicks off with an expressive, attractive nose of plum, star anise, and a plate full of smoked meats and sausages (thank you Boushey fruit!). With time and air, earth and mineral tones begin to emerge with force. This is a wine that seems to evolve aromatically minute by minute in the glass. It’s a contemplative tasting experience to be sure. In the mouth, the first thing you notice is the texture, which is positively brimming with verve and energy, especially impressive considering the rich (14.5% listed alc) fruit involved here. The purity and intensity of fruit is wonderful, and it is complemented by continuing notes of meat and mineral. Among the crop of late-release 2012s, this is a real standout: balanced, seamless, deeply charming.

Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.” [Sullivan context note: Sean has only bestowed higher scores on five Washington GSMs, all five 93pt reviews, with prices ranging from $40 to $75.]

Please limit order requests to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: