Hello friends. Reoffers today on three wines that have been popular reorder targets for the past few months:
We don’t offer many $[WITHHELD] Willamette Valley Pinots. And the truth is: this isn’t actually a $[WITHHELD] Pinot. It’s actually a $[WITHHELD] Pinot (through the winery) that we’re selling for $15 because we committed to a truckload of it and subsequently secured a very good price. August Cellars has produced wine under their own label since 2002, but winemaking is only one part of a multi-generational, multi-agricultural business. In 1890, August Schaad (the winery’s namesake) emigrated from Germany to the United States. August’s oldest son, Clarence Schaad, purchased the winery’s 42-acre property in 1942, and the farm is currently run by Clarence’s two surviving children, Lewis and Grace. About half of the farmland is devoted to mature English Walnut trees, the remainder split among Italian plums, woods, the winery itself, and yes, some Pinot Noir vines. The winery is managed by Lewis Schaad’s two sons, Jim and Tom, with Jim in charge of winemaking (Jim would be August’s great grandson, for those counting at home).
This 2012 was raised entirely in neutral barrels, and it clocks in at 12.5% listed alc. The nose offers real purity to the blackest of black cherry juice, paired with dark loamy/leafy forest floor notes and black tea. In the mouth, it’s the texture you notice first: this has an impressive sense of palate weight and presence, and conveys real richness and deliciousness, all on a frame that zips along with moderate alcohol and plenty of mouthwatering blood-orange acidity. This offers sneaky back-end chew, serious stuffing, and way more overall complexity then we have any right to expect at a $[WITHHELD] tag.
Secret Squirrel is a new project for the Corliss family of wineries (Corliss Estates, Tranche). The name is obviously pretty playful, as is the packaging. The juice inside, however, is deadly serious. I mean, really serious, really high quality, really bottle aged juice. This new label is mostly a result of Corliss’ Red Mountain estate vineyards coming online. With Corliss Estates making otherworldly wines at the high end of the spectrum, and with Tranche focusing squarely on their Blue Mountain Estate Vineyard, they needed a home for all the excellent Red Mountain juice that didn’t make sense for the Corliss wines. Enter the squirrel.
What I love about this project is that it shares the Corliss/Tranche ethos of extended ageing, but it does so at pricing about half that of the Tranche reds, and one-third to one-quarter of Corliss reds (note: this is normally a $25 Cabernet; we had to commit to a sturdy volume to push our price under $20, but I’m quite sure we’ll sell through that stash and end up needing more). This Cabernet is a blend of three Corliss Estate sites: Red Mountain Vineyard, Blue Mountain Vineyard in Walla Walla, and Blackrock Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. It was aged for 28 months in 70% new French oak (pause and let that sink in: $20 new world wines are not aged for more than two years in majority expensive French wood). It clocks in at 14.5% listed alc and comes roaring up out of the glass with notes of blackcurrant and black olive, tarragon and espresso, rich loamy soil. This is a complex, maturing, attractive nose. In the mouth, we find a foursquare Cab, with elements of fruit and soil and leaf and barrel in fine balance. After a plump mid-palate, this moves onto a noticeably grippy finish, the tannic structure very true to Red Mountain Cabernet and beautifully redolent of Irish breakfast tea. What a wonderful, well-priced window into Andrew Trio’s outstanding winemaking!
What a roller coaster ride for the folks behind Proper, who jumped at the chance to purchase a cherry orchard in the rocks a decade ago. In 2007, the cherries went out, and the vines went in (all Syrah). They built great momentum with outstanding harvests in 2009 (mostly a friends and family wine) and 2010 (the first Proper Syrah we offered), and then…then came trouble. The Thanksgiving freeze of 2010 knocked out their entire vineyard for the 2011 vintage. To keep the brand alive, they used purchased fruit from a neighboring rocks vineyard and did a small 2011-vintage release. That 2011 was lovely, but I think all of us who fell in love with the 2010 were eagerly anticipating our next chance to watch this evocative vineyard evolve. That was last year’s 2012, which turned out to be just as popular as the 2010, and received a 94pt review from Jeb Dunnuck of Wine Advocate to match his 94 for the 2010 (no Jeb review yet for the 2013.
As a reminder, it’s Sean Boyd from Rotie Cellars who is behind this wine. A notorious Rhone freak and lover of earthy, ethereal Syrahs, Sean has crafted a crystalline expression of funky Walla Walla Rocks terroir. Someday this wine may command prices commensurate with the best Syrahs in the state, but for now, it remains a fine value for lovers of funky rocks Syrah. Still a babe, this really revealed its finest aromatics after a few hours open. That’s when the briny black olives and roast beef notes came to the fore, melding beautifully with blueberry and huckleberry fruits, violet topnotes, and lovely sanguine mineral tones. The palate, on the other hand, was rocking right on pop-and-pour, with a swirling mass of deep fruit and umami tones. There are enough brackish sea-funk nori notes that this is like a cross between red wine and dashi. And setting aside the wild flavors for a moment, the texture is beautifully managed here: soft and supple, rich (14.8% listed alc) and seamless, true to the 2013 vintage and its immediate charms.
First come first served with no upper limits, and 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.