Hello friends. Long-time list members will remember that for about a three year stretch from 2010 to 2013, we offered a bunch of wines from Washington’s magnificent 2007 vintage. And each time, I offered a warning: that our opportunities to access ‘07s were dwindling to a trickle, that our list members should get while the gettin’ was good. Each offer was the last possible 2007. Right up until the next last possible 2007.
It became a running joke, such that pretty much every ’07 we offered got the subject line “The Department Of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” But eventually, you know what happened? The ‘07s really did dry up. Last year, in 2015, we offered a grand total of four Washington ‘07s: two were library wines (Scarborough and Dunham); one basically only happened because of a tragic death (Berg Family); and one happened because the owner is off in Japan running his restaurant and not really paying attention to Washington sales (Zephros).
So far in 2016, the number of ’07-vintage Washington wines we’ve offered? Zero.
And no, this is not a long-winded way to introduce some obscure 2007 wine. Today’s offer is actually about 2012, the vintage in Washington that picked up the mantle from ’07 of “vintage of the century.” We can argue on the margins about which vintage is better (or whether ’08 was sneakily the best of the bunch), but the fact is: both vintages were glorious.
And the fact is: our opportunities to access ‘12s are dwindling to a trickle. Our list members should get while the gettin’ is good. Seriously! I mean it! And I’ll mean it again the next time I say it.
So, today we have three new 2012s (two very different Syrahs and one Cabernet), as well as a reoffer for a lovely 2012 whose supply in our warehouse is beginning to wane.
The place that fascinated me with this wine is a vineyard called Francesca’s, which makes up nearly 80% of the blend here. It is located just north of the WA/OR border in the Walla Walla Valley, about halfway between Pepper Bridge (to the east) and Les Collines (to the west). I’ve never seen Syrah from this site, and since Syrah is about as terroir-expressive a grape as we grow in Washington, you can bet I was interested.
This saw a coferment with 0.5% Viognier and spent about a year and a half in barrel, 31% new. It clocks in at 14.4% listed alc and offers its own unique savory character on the nose: not quite Pepper Bridge, not quite Les Collines. Overlain on a core of blackberry fruit are all these savory goodies – mushroom, smoky hay, tobacco leaf – and then the little kick of Viognier helps with a violet topnote. The whole aromatic package presents a compelling, maturing profile. Texturally this is in a beautiful drinking spot. I often say that Washington Syrahs are at their best 4-6 years past vintage, and this is a lovely example, with all rough edges sanded down by bottle age, and only supple, luscious, savory mouthfuls remaining. This offers loads of pleasure, and more than a little terroir-expressiveness for a very reasonable tag.
I don’t think it says so on the label, but this is 100% Dineen Vineyard fruit, 100% from Catherine’s Block, at the top crest of the vineyard, where the soil is extremely shallow and rocky, giving natural yields of tiny, concentrated berries. Raised in a mix of new (46%) and once-used (54%) French oak, this clocks in at 14.8% listed alc and (no surprise) pours into the glass inky black-purple. The nose is complex and expressive, with loads of naughty brackish/briny tones (seaweed, olive) and threads of smoke complicating a core of black plum and blueberry fruit. This is rich, palate-staining (tongue-staining?) Syrah, with a just-right mix of dark dark fruit tones and all those smoky/briny savories. Just 315 cases produced, and Tim tells me the winery is right down to the end. We’re limited in what we can purchase here, and please do not expect any reorder requests to be fulfilled. The winery is trying to stretch their remaining stock until the release of the 2013 in July, so we’re lucky to have access to this at all.
In 2012, Marie-Eve’s fruit (which includes 10% Petit Verdot) comes from vineyard sites scattered across Walla Walla and Red Mountain, as well as a solid whack of good old-vine Dionysus material. It spent 18 months in barrel and now another two years in bottle, and it is just in a glorious drinking spot right now, early in its peak window I’d say. The soaring nose combines blackcurrant and black cherry fruit, violet topnotes, and wonderful bass notes of smoke and mineral. Cabernet all the way. The texture is perfectly proportioned, with fleshy fruit lifted by bright acid and framed by sturdy tannins that gain prominence across the palate and make for a toothsome, earl gray tea-flavored finish. Balanced, classy, outstanding Washington Cabernet.
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.
Please limit order requests to 24 total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should all be in the warehouse in a week or two and ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.