Full Pull Rarities

Hello friends. We have a trio of rarities from the Charles Smith empire today. One each from the K Vintners, B. Leighton, and Sixto projects. Please note that two of these three wines are already sold out at the winery (the other is close). It’s only because of our long support of these wines, and our current strong relationship with a number of higher-ups at the winery, that we have a hold on most of the remaining stock in Seattle. But after we place our order next Tuesday, that hold evaporates, so please do try to get orders in by Monday night, and please know that these are all unlikely to be available for reorder.

I also think there’s a better than 50/50 chance we’ll have to allocate one or two of these, so a quick reminder of our allocation technique: Our allocations favor breadth over depth, so that everyone gets one bottle before anyone gets two. And our formula for prioritizing allocations includes overall orders, frequency of orders, recency of orders, and list tenure, among other factors. Now, onto the wines:

2013 Sixto Chardonnay Moxee Vineyard
As a reminder, the Sixto label is intended to explore old-vine Washington Chardonnay, especially sites released from contract by Ste Michelle after natural yields fall too low with vine age. It’s named after the musician Sixto Rodriguez, subject of the outstanding Oscar-winning documentary Searching For Sugar Man.

Moxee was my favorite of the 2013s. The vineyard sits on limestone-strewn silt loam soils at very high altitude (1400’), and its vines used to go into Ste Michelle’s sparkling wine program. These are seriously old vines by Washington Chardonnay standards, planted in 1979, and that old-vine depth is on fine display here (14.2% listed alc). Notes of lemon curd, brioche, and chamomile tea fly across the palate with energy and verve to spare. This is propulsive, mountain-grown Chardonnay.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.” [Note: this was a strong a review as Jeb gave to any Washington white wine during his most recent set of annual reviews in June 2016.]

2013 B. Leighton Syrah Olsen Brothers Vineyard
Here we have the second vintage of the personal, evocative wines of Brennon Leighton (formerly of Efeste before joining Charles Smith’s winemaking team a few years ago). His label is called B. Leighton (as I said: personal), and it showcases grapes grown by Leif Olsen. Brennon and Leif’s relationship goes all the way back to Brennon’s Ste Michelle days, and the two have a clear comfort level. As the winery states: this is a continuation of what Brennon was doing before and what he does best: feral fermentations with longer maceration and reductive winemaking that captures the varietal and the place it is from.

This is Syrah cropped at 2.2 tons/acre, done 100% whole cluster, 100% native yeasts, 31 days on skins, and 18 months in French oak puncheons, 20% new. Listed alc is 14.5%, production is 100 cases. This is sold out at the winery, and we only have access to a handful of cases. It’s a dark brooder, exotic but still tightly wound. Notes of blackberry and barbequed brisket, damp earth and anise emerged, but only after a few hours open. This little baby needs hours in the decanter, or a few years in a cool cellar, but it’s going to unfurl into something truly beautiful.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

2012 K Vintners Charlotte
The less said the better here, as the winery is sold out, and we don’t have access to much. This was a new wine under the K label inaugurated with the 2012 vintage, to celebrate the birth of Charles’ daughter Charlotte in 2012. It’s a Mourvedre (47%)/Grenache (37%)-driven Rhone blend, with 6% Syrah, 6% Counoise, and 4% Picpoul rounding things out. Most of the fruit comes from River Rock Vineyard in the Rocks District; the remainder from Morrison Lane, another outstanding Walla Walla Valley site. The different varieties were all picked together and cofermented, all whole cluster, all native yeast, and then aged in neutral puncheon for just shy of two years.

Listed alc is 14.5%, and this comes roaring up out of the glass with a nose of raspberry fruit, loads of cured meats, wild herbs, wild game; hell this is just a wild nose overall, truly floral and fragrant. Bright, energetic, and deeply savory on the palate, this seems driven by Mourvedre’s plummy fruit and gamey complexities. It rolls into a long finish awash in polished, dusty tannins and a last salty/briny lick, inviting the next sip or next bite of food. A compelling addition to the K lineup, to be sure.

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.

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