Full Pull Reoffers

May 23, 2016

Hello friends. Reoffers today on three wines that have been popular reorder targets for the past few months:

2012 August Cellars Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
Originally offered January 10, 2016, and we’re down to the last 20% remaining for this popular value Pinot. Excerpts from the original:

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.

2012 Secret Squirrel Cabernet Sauvignon
Originally offered March 14, 2016, and this is our biggest seller of the year, bar none. We’re reoffering it now because our volume pricing deal ends on May 31, and with it will end our ability to fulfill reorders at 19.99 TPU (it’ll be closer to $25). Let’s get while the gettin’s good! Excerpts from the original:

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!

2013 Proper Syrah
Originally offered October 21, 2015. We had sample bottles open for our most recent TPU pickup day, and this is showing beautifully right now. Supplies are beginning to dwindle, and I should also note that I’m hearing the 2014 is going to see a price hike, so this is likely our last opportunity to access Proper at a tag beginning with a ‘3’. Excerpts from the original offer:

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.

Full Pull Owen Roe

May 23, 2016

Hello friends. We have time-limited discounts on three wines from a list-favorite producer: Owen Roe. I’m pretty sure this pricing expires at the end of May, so I’ve left it a little late here. We’ll probably wait until May 30 to place our order, for arrival May 31, just to give everyone as thorough a shot as possible at accessing these wines at these tariffs.

2013 Owen Roe Yakima Valley Red

The blend here is 45/33/22 Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon, and it comes from five stellar Yakima Valley Vineyards: two Owen Roe estate sites (Union Gap, Outlook), as well as DuBrul, Red Willow, and Elerding. Aged for about a year in French oak, this clocks in at 14.1% listed alc and offers a nose where the Franc really takes over with its wonderful combo of flowers and cress complemented by red cherry and redcurrant fruit. The best wines from the Yakima Valley display this kind of dense layering of fruit. The texture here is so supple, so free-and-easy, that a taster could be forgiven for missing the complexities, earthy and savory in turn, and the overall sense of stuffing and harmony. This offers loads of power and class for the tag.

2012 Owen Roe Yakima Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Release price was $45, and I do see an east coast parcel on wine-searcher for $33.74, so we’re not the very lowest, but we’re awfully close.

This is another in a dwindling set of opportunities to access an epic Washington vintage. It is comprised of four of the five vineyards mentioned in the Yak Red: Outlook, Dubrul, Red Willow, and Elerding. Barrel regimen was 19 months in French oak, 35% new, 20% 1-2 year, and 45% neutral. Listed alc is 14.1%, and this kicks off with a soaring nose: blackcurrant and black plum, violet and black tea; dark indeed, but oh so expressive. I love the purity and clarity of the palate, which is so very Cabernet. It’s dense and intense to be sure, but all on a perfectly-weighted frame, and it’s lifted by all these minty-fresh topnotes. The tannins begin to emerge on the plump mid-palate and roll into a powerful finish, a last kiss of bergamot. This is a polished, classy late-release ’12.

2014 Owen Roe Pinot Noir The Kilmore

The Kilmore – based entirely on Yahmill-Carlton fruit – drinks like an Oregon-Cali tweener, with the best of both worlds. It has the depth and richness (14.1% listed alc) of a good Cali Pinot, and the freshness and earthiness of Oregon. It comes from two vineyards – Lennè and Merriman – in the Yamhill-Carlton District AVA. While YCD is just adjacent to the red jory soils of the Dundee Hills, the Yamhill soils are completely different: old marine sedimentary soils, at elevations between 200 and 1000 feet. They tend to produce deeply colored, powerful Pinots with wonderful herbal/tobacco/woodsmoke complexities. This vintage spent 10 months in French oak (44% new), and it opens with a nose of cherry preserves and black coffee, woodsmoke and earth. There is plenty of fleshy fruit here, underlain by beautiful earthy/smoky bass notes, and there’s even a little fine-grained tannin chew on the back end. The overall package: a long, rich, satisfying Pinot.

First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), 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.

Full Pull Baby Chateauneuf

May 23, 2016

Hello friends. Finally. Finally today we have the return of one of the most popular import wines we have ever offered: La Chaussynette.

2015 La Chaussynette

The only vintage we’ve ever offered of this wine is the 2012, and it was *hugely* popular among our list members. I figured it would turn into a list mainstay, a wine where we offered every single vintage year in and year out, but things ended up being more complicated. First, the 2013. The 2013 was great, but our local importer just never had enough stock in at any one time to justify an offer. Then the 2014, a vintage I thought was a miss quality-wise (I tried it over and over, hoping it would come around; it never did).

The 2015 we have dialed in perfectly. There is a parcel en route, expected in Seattle no later than mid-June. It’s a parcel large enough to warrant an offer, but not much larger. I was able to taste a sneak-preview bottle of the ’15 recently, and it’s lights-out good, every bit the equal of the ’12 and ’13, and quite possibly superior. Perhaps that’s no surprise, given the early buzz on the 2015 vintage in the Rhone Valley.

Despite La Chaussynette carrying the more generic Vin de France designation, its heart is very much in the Rhone. The winery is named after these folks, Christine and Daniel Chaussy, siblings who happen to be the sixth generation of their family to run Mas de Boislauzon. Way back in December 2012, we offered the 2010 Mas de Boislauzon Chateauneuf-du-Pape for $44.99 TPU, and that’s the cheapest of the Boislauzon CdPs. The tags only go up from there. In that offer, we quoted Robert Parker himself: [TEXT WITHHELD].

More recently, here is Jeb Dunnuck, also writing in Parker’s Wine Advocate: [TEXT WITHHELD].

The Vin de France to which he’s referring – the one that’s “superb” and sells “for a song” – that would be La Chaussynette. I’ve seen references to it being declassified CdP. I’ve also seen references to it including some of the Chaussys’ Cotes-du-Rhone Villages juice from Coudoulet. It’s a little unclear, but from the palate, if I had to guess, I’d guess there’s some of each in there.

It’s a blend of near equal parts Syrah and Grenache, fermented and aged in concrete. The 2015 clocks in at 13.5% listed alc and is already terrifically complex and expressive on the nose: fruit notes of black cherry and brambly raspberry; leafy notes of garrigue; and loads of earthy savory notes, like smoky peat moss, mushrooms, and beef broth. “Baby CdP” was my first note on the palate, and by that I don’t mean ultra-modern 16%-alc CdP. I mean old-school CdP, with the holy trinity of bramble-berry and garrigue and hot-rock minerality. This has outrageous density and palate presence for its price point. It’s such a charmer, and I’m thrilled that it’s back in our stable of offers. Please slip this as a ringer into a CdP tasting, and watch folks’ heads explode when the bag is pulled. Or keep the bag off and enjoy it with anything you grill or smoke this summer, anything you braise or stew this fall.

I don’t think most folks in Seattle even know this wine is on its way. So let’s get in, stake our claim, and get out, quickly. First come first served up to 60 bottles, and the wine should arrive no later than mid-June, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

Full Pull Peak Drinking

May 23, 2016

Hello friends. We have outstanding pricing today on a pair of peak-drinking wines from Walla Walla stalwart Chuck Reininger. Both wines come from Reininger’s Helix line, launched to represent the greater Columbia Valley (the main Reininger line contains Walla Walla Valley fruit).

2010 Reininger Helix Sangiovese Stillwater Creek Vineyard
This was released at a $30 tag and is still being sold for that tariff through the winery doors. It’s also something of a blast from the past, as we had some real success in the early days of Full Pull working with the 2005 and 2006 vintages of Chuck’s Stillwater Sangiovese.

Getting to check out six-year-old, single-vineyard Washington Sangiovese is a pretty cool, pretty rare opportunity. Stillwater Creek (an outstanding site on the Royal Slope; don’t be surprised if Royal Slope is Washington’s next designated AVA) has a proven track record of growing rustic, full-blooded Sangiovese, and this 2010 is a wonderful example of its kind. It spent about two-and-a-half years in neutral French oak, before being bottled in May 2013. So it has also had another three years to mature in bottle. I love how the winery’s notes on this wine begin: “We have cellared this wine for you. It is ready.”

It is ready indeed! The nose very much suggests a Sangio on its path to maturity: dried cherries to go with the more primary pomegranate and cranberry notes; lovely tertiary tones of earth and mushroom. The palate (13.6% listed alc) continues the theme. It’s a dry, earthy mix of cherry fruit and attractive savories. And my oh my, the structure! Of course because it’s Sangiovese, there’s loads of natural acidity to begin with (this is, after all, the grape that evolved in Tuscany to pair with the acidic tomato-based dishes of that region), and that’s only ratcheted up by the cool 2010 vintage. And then this is also full of rustic, toothsome tannins. Those tannins are beginning to unwind and soften, but they’re still plenty present, plenty burly (I can’t imagine what a chew-monster this was in its first year or two after bottling). They contribute to a lovely note of Aperol bitters on the finish, and an overall sense that this is a wine for adults, and definitely a wine made for food.

2012 Reininger Helix Cabernet Sauvignon
Released at $31, this one is currently going for $28 winery-direct. I’m thrilled that we are able to offer it for $20, a price that should make it accessible to a broad swath of our list membership, and a tag that is really outstanding for the pair of Cabernet vineyards involved here.

Those sites are Phinny Hill, in the Horse Heaven Hills, and Stonetree, at the top of the Wahluke Slope, both of which have burnished reputations for quality Cabernet Sauvignon. Chuck ages that good Cabernet juice in a mix of French, American, and Russian oak, with just 8% new barrels, for about a year and a half. This was bottled in June 2014, so it too has had a significant amount of time to mature in bottle (nearly two years).

It’s a glorious expression of Cabernet from a singular Washington vintage, and it kicks off with a nose of crème de cassis, violet, soy sauce, and lovely graphitic pencil-lead minerality (we can thank Phinny for that note). There’s real electric fruit intensity in the mouth, a sense that the Cabernet fruit was perfectly extracted here. The oak notes are subtleties, wafts of smoke that wend and weave through the delicious fruit and mineral. And the finish is all English breakfast tea tannins, grippy but polished. This is complex, classy Cabernet for the tag. The last note in my notebook asks the question: is this a twenty-year-Cab for twenty dollars?

First come first served up to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), 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.

Full Pull Coda

May 16, 2016

Hello friends. I think I’ve exhibited real patience in waiting a full 24 hours since Cadence released their new vintage of Coda before sending our own offer for the wine. In all seriousness: when I tasted this wine with Ben Smith and Heather Jeter from Cadence last week, they said their release date was May 14 and asked me when I wanted to offer the wine. “Um, Is May 15 okay?”

2014 Cadence Coda
Why the urgency? Two main reasons: high quality and low quantity. Let’s tackle the latter item first.

So, 2013 Cadence Coda. I loved it. You loved it. We all loved it. Released in May 2015. Sold out by December 2015. And that was with 1300 cases produced.

Production for the 2014 Coda: 713 cases. Gulp.

The issue, according to Ben, was low yields. They ended up with tiny little buckshot berries on Red Mountain, which means very little juice. It also means high skin-to-juice ratio, which translates to burly tannic structure in the finished wine.

Coda is an incredible value, year in and year out. Why? Well, Ben Smith makes exactly four single-vineyard wines for Cadence, all from Red Mountain. Two come from the estate Cara Mia Vineyard, one from Ciel du Cheval, and one from Tapteil. And that’s it. Ben carefully crafts the blends for those high-end ($45-$60) wines, and then whatever barrels aren’t included during those blending trials end up in Coda.

What that means for Coda is that it’s always a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot, always a blend of Cara Mia, Ciel du Cheval, and Tapteil, and always barrels that were raised with the exact same care as the higher-end bottles. And we get all of that for a tariff that is about half the single-vineyard wines.

The blend in 2014 is 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, and 9% Petit Verdot, and it clocks in at 14.4% listed alc. The ’14 is much more reminiscent to me of the structured, serious 2012 than the more charming, approachable 2013. It kicks off with a glorious nose, all perfumed and exotic with its notes of star anise and juniper over dark blackcurrant and black plum fruit. The palate balances the richness of the vintage with Ben Smith’s deft hand and somehow still conveys textural elegance and earthy minerality, even in the warm year that wanted to be all fruit. But it’s the structure that really shines on the palate. “ROBUST tannic structure,” says my notes, and I tend to use all-caps sparingly. But truly, this is a muscular, powerful wine, without question cellar-worthy. The long, long finish is awash in black-tea tannins, a final grace note on a deeply impressive wine.

This is one of the strongest renditions of Coda I can remember tasting. A pity there’s so little of it. Ben figures the wine will at least last through the summer, but let’s not take any chances: first come first served up to 60 bottles, and the wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

Full Pull Bang The Drum

May 16, 2016

Hello friends. We’ve banged the drum for Memaloose for some time now. In fact, our first Memaloose offer (2007 Cabernet Franc) came just a month after Full Pull launched (November 2009). But after a recent tasting of Brian McCormick’s lineup, I have to admit: we haven’t banged the drum anywhere near loudly enough.

It’s clear to me now that Brian has spent the six-plus years since we first wrote about his wines getting better and better at growing grapes in the Columbia Gorge, better and better at making wine from those grapes. But alas, not better and better at self-promotion. The winery’s own website describes him thusly: Bookish and a bit reclusive, Brian describes his task as “working, with real humility, to deliver wines of originality and fidelity to the growing site.” Bookish/reclusive winemakers don’t tend to get tons of attention. No one would describe Charles Smith, for example, as bookish and reclusive. But I mean, that quote – working with humility to deliver wines of fidelity to growing site – if that doesn’t set the heart of a wine lover aflutter, I don’t know what will. Or maybe it’s just that I’m a little bookish and reclusive myself. Anyway, it’s all to the point where now I feel like Memaloose is this amazing northwest gem that almost nobody knows about. So let me try to bang the drum again. A little louder this time.

Let’s start with this: Brian McCormick is a vigneron. He both grows grapes and makes wine. In some wine-producing regions, this is unexceptional. In Washington, it’s exceedingly rare. A few factors are at play here. One is that the place where many winemakers want to live (west of the Cascades) is different from the place that grapes like to grow (east of the Cascades). Another is that it’s just plain hard; growing grapes requires an entirely different skill set from making wine, and it’s a rare bird that is skilled at both.

But the reason the vigneron model is so exciting is that the person involved is able to steward every step of the process that translates dirt into bottled wine; able to really express a point of view and a house style, should the vigneron be so inclined. And Brian is so inclined. A former philosophy major (parents of philosophy majors, take heart!), he graduated from the Masters program in Enology and Viticulture at UC-Davis (as prestigious a program as there is in the United States), worked for a time at Domaine Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace, and eventually picked the Gorge as a location to plant his vineyards, specifically because the climatic conditions would allow him to make Old World-styled wines. The Gorge is different from eastern Washington, with a cooler, more marginal climate and wilder swings in vintage. It’s a nerve-wracking, exciting place to grow and make wine.

The entire McCormick family is nuts about food. Brian’s father Rob worked in the food industry for his entire career before “retiring” to help Brian launch his winery (his quasi-retirement involves serving as business manager, marketer, and cellar rat). Brian’s mother is a former chef, and Brian himself is a dedicated chef and baker, and he farms not only wine grapes, but also cherries and pears. The lesson here: food-crazy families make food-friendly wines.

And yeah, lots of winemakers in Washington will tell you that they’re aiming for Old World-styled wines, aiming for food-friendly wines. But outside of Michael Savage and Brian McCormick, I can’t think of other winemakers who so clearly push their chips all-in on that proposition. It can’t be easy (for sales I mean) defying commonly held beliefs about what the style of Washington wine has to be, but my oh my does it make for an exciting lineup of wines.

What I’ve decided to do today, after this lengthy preamble, is to offer three wines from Brian, each a different vintage, each a different variety. The goal is to showcase as broadly and forcefully as possible how outstanding this winery is. These are fresh, energetic wines perfect for spring and summer, and I hope many of you will check them out. I really believe this is a winery that is only going to gain in importance and prominence as the years go on. [Note: I’m not going to even get into the brand confusion of having “Idiot’s Grace” as a label and then having “Idiot’s Grace Vineyard” on wines with the Memaloose label; suffice it to say: these are all Brian’s wines.]

2014 Idiot’s Grace Riesling
I mean, this guy worked at Zind-Humbrecht. You want to try his dry Riesling, don’t you? Yes, yes you do. Just 185 cases produced, and it comes entirely from Pear Blossom Vineyard on Underwood Mountain, the westernmost vineyard in the Columbia Gorge, sited at 1400’ elevation. Done entirely in stainless steel, it offers a lovely, typical nose combining citrus fruit (tangerine, lime), and tree fruit (pear), and chalky mineral. The palate is dry, lithe (12.4% listed alc), and clean as a whistle, with a super-impressive sense of extract on what seems like a weightless frame. Spicy, minerally, with rippin’ acid and length for days, this is one damned impressive Washington Riesling.

2012 Idiot’s Grace Syrah
This is – sadly – the final vintage for this Syrah, which comes from Hogback Ridge Vineyard. The problem is that Hogback sits 400 yards outside of the Gorge AVA (that’s why it gets the Columbia Valley label), and Brian has decided his lineup needs to be 100% Gorge AVA fruit. Selfishly, I’d argue that this is a mistake, because this is a very exciting, terroir-expressive Syrah from a part of the northwest where very little Syrah is grown.

The vineyard is near The Dalles on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. It’s owned by the guy who does most of the UPS deliveries for the wineries in the Gorge. Small world down there. And it sits at 1200 feet elevation. The nose is complex, expressive, and maturing: earth and black olive, smoked ham hock and black fruits (blackberry, black cherry). The palate has a salty/umami character that I just could not get enough of, and at 13% listed alc, it sails across the palate with energy and verve to spare. Any rough edges that ever existed on this wine have been sanded away by bottle age, and it is drinking beautifully right now.

2013 Memaloose Cabernet Franc Idiot’s Grace Vineyard
This is such a Chinon ringer that I just shook my head and chuckled for like a full thirty seconds after smelling it. Just smelling it! All those wonderful green notes that get folks excited for Bernard Baudry and Charles Joguet: spring cress and sweet pea and poblano pepper. All those haunting evocative florals. All of that aromatic character that makes Franc so different from its genetic relative Cabernet Sauvignon when it’s grown like this and picked at the right time. Listed alc is 12.8%. No, that’s not a typo. And so yeah, you get the palate you’d expect at that alc: bright, spicy, characterful. Alive. If you’ll forgive me some hyperbole, it is the most exciting Cabernet Franc I’ve ever tasted from the northwest, and it is one hell of a summer red.

First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), 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.

Full Pull Avennia Rarities

May 11, 2016

Hello friends. We have a couple rarities from our friends at Avennia today; a pair of wines each within spittin’ distance of being sold out. The winery has set aside small parcels of both wines for us, and we’ll get one shot to access them. We’ll place our order Monday morning (May 16), so please try to get order requests in no later than Sunday evening.

2015 Avennia L’Egerie Rose
Avennia doesn’t make much rosé (150 cases), and the vast majority gets snapped up by their mailing list at their spring pickup party. But a little gets set aside for other Avennia supporters. Like us.

It’s a 70/30 blend of Grenache from Upland Vineyard on Snipes Mountain and Mourvedre from Kiona Heart of the Hill on Red Mountain. Half whole-cluster-pressed, half saignee juice; 60% neutral French oak, 40% stainless steel. It clocks in at 13.9% listed alc and pours into the glass delicate pale pink. The nose combines lovely pure Grenache fruit (strawberries, red raspberries) with crushed rock notes and exotic spice courtesy of Mourvedre (an argument could be made that Mourvedre is the very best grape for Washington rosé). The palate beautifully balances richness and bright acidity, conveying plenty of flesh and density, plenty of complexity. A mid-weight rosé, with suppleness to spare, this finishes long and satisfying. It’s pretty much a perfect roasted chicken wine.

2013 Avennia Valery
This is the sophomore vintage for Avennia’s most limited red wine. Production here is 172 cases, and to put that into perspective: their next smallest-production red is Justine, at 325 cases. The story behind Valery is that Chris Peterson was looking to make an earthy, rocky, Saint Emilion ringer, and when Dick Boushey offered a block of 1986-planted Merlot on a soil base that is essentially a large Yakima Valley rock-pile, he pounced. That fruit comprises 86% of this blend, the remainder Champoux Cab Franc. It gets 20 months in French oak, 40% new.

This beautifully emphasizes the rocky, earthy side of Merlot. The nose has all sorts of stony goodness, a real mineral-floral core complemented by deep black cherry and black coffee tones. In the mouth, this has everything that gets folks excited about Washington Merlot. The supple attack and mid-palate. The seamlessness. And most importantly, the structure. That’s what Washington shares with right-bank Bordeaux when it comes to Merlot: the ability to express delicious tannin, here via a robust sense of finishing chew, awash in tea leaves and espresso. There’s so much wonderful structure here – in the form of both acid and tannin – that’s it hard to know how long this wine can go. Another ten years minimum, I’d think, but it offers plenty of youthful charm in the meantime, not to mention a chance to experience Dick Boushey’s terroir through the prism of Merlot.

Please limit order requests to 12 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.