Hello friends. So, last July, you might remember, we offered the final vintage of Evening Land’s beautifully-priced Blue Label Pinot Noir. And I gave the e-mail a Game Of Thrones subject line (Full Pull And Now Its Watch Is Ended). Which some thought was funny. And some thought impossibly nerdy. It was probably both.
Well, it turns out the Iron Islanders were right: what is dead may never die. The Blue Label Pinot lives on, albeit under a different guise. And we have exclusive access to it:
Yeah, so they started making Cali Pinot. Then added Oregon Pinot. Then Burgundian Pinot. And now have scaled back to just Oregon. And more specifically, only to wines made from their estate Seven Springs Vineyard. Which meant Blue Label (sourced from across the Willamette Valley) had to go. That latest tumult (and scaling back to just Seven Springs) happened early in 2014, when Raj Parr and Sashi Moorman joined Evening Land. And it was around then that assistant winemaker LJ Brimfield, who had worked with Dominque LaFon and Isabelle Meunier, left Evening Land and took many of the Blue Label vineyard connections with him.
The 60 Souls label was essentially created because that Blue Label was too damned good to disappear. And I got hooked up with LJ in a way that was more lucky than good. Back in middle school and high school in the Philly suburbs, I was often seated right next to Joseph Zumpano (Zitarelli, Zumpano, you know?). And all these years later, we both ended up involved in the PacNW wine scene. Joseph, who has been a mainstay in the Willamette these past few years, told LJ to give me a call when he was getting ready to bring this new label to market, and the rest is history.
The 60 Souls team is launching their brand mostly with a restaurant focus, so this wine is something close to a ghost, despite its presence in markets scattered across the country. To put into context how non-existent the wine is at retail currently, it doesn’t have a single CellarTracker entry. And I saw exactly one result on wine-searcher (in Minneapolis). The wine has not yet been sold in Washington, and we’ll have dibs, at least for a little while. I’m certain the wholesaler bringing the wine in will be selling it to other folks eventually, but by then we’ll have safely absconded with our share.
Now then, the wine itself. It’s dominated by 90% Yamhill-Carlton fruit (Johnson, Briscoe, and Stermer Vineyards), with a 10% Eola Amity kicker (Redford Vineyard, Muska Vineyard). The wine spent just shy of a year in neutral French oak, and then another six months in bottle before its release. Grapes were harvested between September 12 and October 24 in the year 2014, already established as a wonderful high-yield/high-quality vintage in the Willamette Valley. It would have been a perfect vintage for the Blue Label, and instead, it has turned into a perfect debut vintage for 60 Souls. The nose combines deep black fruits (black cherry, blackberry) with dark mineral tones and wonderful resinous/earthy forest-floor notes. The palate is lush, generous, very true to the 2014 vintage. So yeah, we offer plenty of lean, Burgundian Pinots from Oregon. This is not one of them. Instead it offers real new-world pleasure: hefty, fleshy fruit; supple/silky texture; and a polished fine-grained tannin finish evoking cherry-pit bitters and ground coffee. It’s deep, complex, and chockful of charm: a wonderful debut of an important new Oregon label.
First come first served up to 24 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.