Full Pull Dead Drop

Hello friends. Via one of our northwest dead drops, I recently received a dispatch from a hall of fame level member of Full Pull’s Vast Network of Wine Spies™. She (or maybe he? I’m not saying) was doing some consulting work for Andrew Rich Winery, and sent the following message:

Have spent month culling through inventory. STOP. Have uncovered handful of wine club gems. STOP.  Tasted six library wines over weekend and each drank well for release price. STOP. Developing glass pour strategy and thought crossed mind: great fit for FP? STOP. Would be of interest to you and if so when to taste? FULL STOP.  

I proceeded to arrange a time to meet said spy and taste a handful of wine club and library wines from Andrew Rich (as you can imagine, trench coats and sunglasses and Groucho mustaches were prominently involved). And wow, this is one hell of a spy, because it was a veritable treasure-trove of pristinely-aged, peak-drinking Washington wines.

The prices were *extremely* compelling if our volume-buy was high enough, so I decided to go long, and bought in on a number of different parcels. I’ve diced them up into a trio of offers: the first today, the second in August; the third during anniversary week in October.

We’ve offered Andrew Rich wines before, but let me offer some reminders about the winery. Andrew Rich is one of a very few wineries that successfully straddles the line between Oregon and Washington. As I think of other wineries that successfully walk that tightrope, I come up with Sineann, and Owen Roe, and that’s about the end of the list. For years now, Andrew has been making expressive Pinot Noirs from across the Willamette Valley, and then a series of burlier whites and reds from carefully selected Washington vineyards. It’s the Washington wines that will be the focus of our trio of offers, beginning with today’s white and red:

2011 Andrew Rich Roussanne Ciel du Cheval Vineyard
[Note: Andrew Rich makes a $22 Columbia Valley Roussanne. This is *not* that wine. This is his wine-club Roussanne, a micro-production bottling that comes entirely from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard and was released at $35 (it’s still $30 winery-direct).]

This wine is perfect for where my palate and cellaring habits are moving these days. I’ve found myself shifting more and more of my long-term buying towards white wines. Two main reasons. First, they tend to be considerably less expensive than their red-wine brethren. Second, the time investment needed for seriously interesting evolution in bottle is much shorter.

This Roussanne is a terrific example. At five years past vintage, it is showing a dazzling mix of primary and maturing notes: a completely different profile than it doubtless showed on release. When you have outstanding growers working with outstanding vintners, you know you’re getting an honest window into the ageing curve of this particular Washington white. And I really like what I see through that window. The nose offers a core of peach fruit and mineral tones complicated by wonderful emerging tertiary savories: earth and hay and honeycomb. The palate continues the theme: a compelling mix of plenty of primary fruit balanced by wonderful maturing savory and nutty notes. This is rich (14.1% listed alc) and intense, fanning out across the entire palate. There’s plenty of citrusy acidity still keeping things lively (and suggesting another good five years of evolution ahead), and as this rolled into its creamy, satisfying finish, I could only chuckle at what a cool opportunity we have here. Pair this with every rich seafood you can think of this summer: crabcakes, lobster bisques, spot prawns-and-grits, seared scallops: all would be elevated by this beautiful white.

2009 Andrew Rich Syrah Les Vignes En Face
[Note: this began its life as a wine club wine, sold for $40, and I believe it’s still being sold for that $40 tag winery-direct.]

Les Vignes en Face. The vines that face one another. In this case, the king and queen of Red Mountain: Klipsun and Ciel du Cheval. This Syrah is a 50/50 blend of those two stalwart vineyards, and it comes from the warm/generous 2009 vintage. For me, Washington Syrah from warm vintages generally has a peak window that opens at about three years past vintage and continues until about ten years past vintage. For 2009 Syrahs, that would put my estimated peak at 2012-2019. So we’re smack in the middle of peak drinking, and I’d guess this still has another three or four years left in the tank before it starts a slow fade.

This pours into the glass with serious inky color saturation for a wine with this age. It must have been black-purple in its youth; now it’s a deep blackish blood red. Fruit aromas run the gamut from fresh (raspberry, fig) to dried (cherry, apricot), with barrel complexities of smoke and espresso, spice notes of star anise, and maturing notes of soil and leather. It’s a complex, double-take nose: very expressive of this particular patch of Washington soil. In the mouth, this is a super-intense palate-stainer. Very quickly you notice that this has serious tannin structure for Syrah, but that’s Klipsun for you: not just the king of Red Mountain, but also the king of structure, seemingly offering handsome chew to every wine it touches. This is very much a powerhouse still, even after all these years of bottle age, and it finishes earthy and wild and very much alive. For what it’s worth, this was also the smallest of any Andrew Rich parcel we purchased, so I’m not sure any will survive past these initial allocations.

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles of each wine, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines are in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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