Hello friends. Longtime readers know that I’m always aiming to suss out trends and themes for a year as that year is progressing. A fool’s errand, maybe, but I’m just the fool for the job. What I’m noticing about 2016, now nearly halfway in, is that this is the Year of the Quantity Discount (did you think it was the Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade for Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems for Home, Office or Mobile? No, that was last year.)
So, a quick primer on “QDs” (there’s a piece of trade jargon for you). Illegal for a long time in Washington (although there were always gray-area ways to make it happen, usually through illicit sample bottles). Made legal as part of liquor privatization, so perhaps here we should pause and give thanks to Costco (as Kent Brockman would say: I, for one, welcome our new corporate overlords.) But then, in the subsequent few years, it took awhile for everyone to accept the new normal. You’d see occasional 1-case and 3-case and 5-case deals, but those were like 2% and 3% and 5% off; nothing crazy.
But this year, it’s like a switch has been flipped. Lots of 10-case QDs. Half-board (28-case) QDs. Full-pallet (56-case) QDs. And with aggressive pricing to match. Fortunately, the timing of this development dovetails beautifully with Full Pull’s growth, and now it’s like this virtuous cycle, where these crazy QD discounts help us grow, and the growth allows us to pursue even more aggressive volume buys, and those volume buys offer even better discounts, which let us grown even more. Maybe soon we’ll be the corporate overlords. (Let’s hope not.)
Anyway, long preamble, and all to say: we’ve had a lot of really great deals lately. And today we have another one. Outstanding winery; one of their top wines; from a smashing vintage; with a great review.
For a good primer on Baer, whose story is one of tragedy and renewal, I highly recommend Andy Perdue’s article from August in Great Northwest Wine.
All Baer wines are 100% from Stillwater Creek Vineyard. Arctos is their left-bank blend, and I believe it is the winery’s highest-priced wine at its normal $43 tag. The wine spent nearly two years in French oak (a mix of new and used) before bottling in summer 2014. It has now had another two years to mature in bottle. Listed alc is 14.5%, and this begins with a nose combining blackcurrant and black plum fruit with notes of dark mineral, spice (clove and anise), and smoky notes of grilled bread. It’s downright succulent wine, offering a supple silky attack and lovely plump mid-palate, all with a dark brooding core of fruit. English breakfast tea-tannins take over on the middle of this one and hold on through the long, potent finish.
I can see why Mr. Sullivan suggests waiting another five years to crack one of these. The brooding nature of the fruit, the prominence of the powerful tannins: both suggest a wine whose best years are ahead. Still, for those of us comfortable with chewy Cabernet or comfortable using a decanter, this is already balanced, classy, and well-proportioned. For list members whose usual buying ceiling is $20, I’d heartily suggest a splurge here, as those extra seven bucks get you a wine that drinks every bit like its $43 release price.
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.