Full Pull Leap Day

Hello friends. It’s not too often that a wine slinger gets to send an offer on February 29. And I know that Feb 29 is not quite March, but it’s as close to March as a day can be without actually being in March. So I want to take advantage of this February day’s March-iness to embrace the onset of spring. Let’s do so with a six-pack of white wines (okay, technically five whites and a sparkling rosé; close enough!). Three new wines, three reoffers. With so many wines on offer today, I’ll try to keep the verbiage relatively short for each one:

2014 Dowsett Family Riesling Aunt Diane’s Vineyard
This wine would totally have had its own solo offer if the available quantity had been greater. The wine is great, the story is great; perfect for a Full Pull offer. Except… total production was 37 cases. I tasted the wine, and loved it for its dry style (0.4% RS; 13% alc), its austerely-fruited (light lychee and green papaya), mineral-driven core, its lean/racy/nervy texture. When I expressed interested in grabbing as much as possible, Chris Dowsett said: “I have [REDACTED; think small number] cases you can have if you would like.  It would be just you, my mailing list and a Massachusettes distributor who picked up 5 cases.”

Chris’ Gewurztraminer is consistently one of the finest white wines made in Washington, and I have to believe it’s one of the finest new-world Gewurzs period. No surprise: he makes a damned good Riesling as well. When I told him I liked the name of the vineyard, too, his response: yeah, that’s literally my Aunt Diane. So yeah, Aunt Diane inherited this semi-abandoned, 1980s-planted vineyard in the Columbia Gorge, and Chris and his aunt have been rehabbing it since. They got 5 gallons of juice in 2013; 37 cases of this 2014; and maybe 50-55 cases in 2015. It’s a wild, fecund place that grows not just grapes, but apparently also strawberries and morel mushrooms in between the rows (here’s a pic of morels picked from between the vines in spring 2014).

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

2014 Leth Gruner Veltliner Steinagrund

Wine Enthusiast (Anne Krebiehl): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 90pts.”

There has been a lot of interest in Gruner lately, spurred in part by some lovely bottlings coming out of Columbia Gorge vineyards from both Syncline and WT Vintners. So I’ve been keeping my eye out this year for a solid, classic, well-priced Gruner from its ancestral home of Austria. This bottling from Leth fits the bill. It clocks in at 12.5% listed alc and offers a nose of smoky lentils, peach, earth, and sweet corn. There’s such a wonderful sense of fullness and palate-weight here despite the judicious alcohol; the texture is marvelous. It’s a classic, savory, palate-staining Gruner.

2014 Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.”

Jason Lett is managing the near-impossible dual feat of carrying on a family tradition (see our inaugural Eyrie offer for the full story) while carving out space for his own vision, and doing it with a preternatural sense of calm and equanimity. Now certainly, the Eyrie star has risen on the back of its Pinot Noirs, but Eyrie whites are wonderful little gems, perhaps none more so than their Pinot Gris. This too clocks in at a very reasonable 12.5% listed alc, and it offers a compelling, expressive nose: red pear and grapefruit, mineral and hay. This drinks quite dry and full, much more in keeping with Alsatian Pinot Gris than with Pinot Grigio from northern Italy. It offers impressive stuffing and complexity for its tag, and it should age in fascinating directions for another five years at least.

2014 Block Wines Chenin Blanc Block V10 Rothrock Vineyard
Originally offered last June and a frequent reorder target since, this is our exclusive old-vine Chenin made in partnership with winemaker Morgan Lee. Rothrock is a vineyard in the Yakima Valley that no one has really heard of, but that has these beautiful old Chenin vines. It was planted sometime between 1974 and 1978 (exact planting date lost to sands of time), so these are 40-year old vines, ancient by Washington standards (here is a picture of Morgan and me in front of a Rothrock Chenin vine; photo courtesy of Morgan’s son Oliver).

The Chenin fruit was harvested on September 10, then whole cluster pressed and fermented with native yeasts in two used French oak barrels, then aged for 7 months with weekly battonage and no malolactic conversion. Finished alcohol is 12.6%, and residual sugar was 0.6%, just a touch off-dry. The nose has a core of apple and pear fruit, dusted with a sweet-and-savory note unique to Chenin. It reminds me of malt powder (like the inside of a Whopper), but I’ve also heard it described as honeysuckle. That might be closer, since there is definitely something floral and apple-blossomy going on here. I like my Chenin just off-dry, and that’s how this one drinks, the residual sugar perfectly balanced by Chenin’s bright natural acidity. It broadens out in the mid-palate with rich fleshy fruit before finishing more austere and minerally/savory. There’s something deeply appetizing about this wine.

2011 Full Pull & Friends Chardonnay (FPF-13)

Originally offered August 16, and we’re down to just a handful of cases remaining. It’s likely last-call time for this one. The wine 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.

NV Block Wines Extra Brut Rose Marchant Vineyard

Originally offered on October 18, this was a frequent reorder target around the holidays and makes a glorious spring/Easter bubbly. The wine is an exclusive project partnering with the Griebs of Treveri Cellars to produce a sparkling rosé from 100% Washington Pinot Noir, from a single block of a cool Yakima Valley vineyard. Our low dosage allows Pinot’s mineral and savory complexities to play a major role here, balancing the delicious red fruits (strawberry, cherry) and stone fruits (peach, nectarine) and autolytic notes (bread, almond paste). Pale pink, delicate, charming: this is the starter of parties, loosener of lips, destroyer of worlds. It’s also a beautiful bottle to look at (here’s the front label).

Please limit order requests to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests.  The wines that aren’t already in the warehouse should arrive in the next week or two, at which point they will all be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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