Hello friends. This is the week of aged wines. After our aged Champagne offer Wednesday, today we have the return of one of the most fascinating projects going on in Washington currently, the remarkably mature wines of Kendall Mix’s Lawrelin Cellars.
We kicked things off in August 2013 with an offer of Kendall’s 2000 and 2001 vintages, followed by the 2002s in November 2014. Today we move onto the ‘03s. As a reminder, Sean Sullivan wrote a great, detailed article about Lawrelin for Washington Wine Report, and I encourage you to check it out if you have time. If you don’t have time, the summary version is:
Kendall has worked in Washington winemaking since 1993, going from Chateau Ste Michelle (breeding ground of many a fine Washington winemaker), to a memorable stint at Corliss, to Goose Ridge, and now to Cadaretta. But beginning in 2000, he started setting aside barrels for his own label, with the intention of adding evidence to the argument that Washington wines can age in magnificent directions.
Still, even Kendall didn’t anticipate holding the wines this long. I suspect the additional delays (which seem to have lasted for years, not months) have centered on the fact that Kendall is a Canadian citizen (born in Edmonton) launching an American business to release American alcohol. So let’s stop and thank all the earnest bureaucrats who contributed to these wines being released a full baker’s dozen years past vintage. We couldn’t have done it without you!
As you’d expect, these wines are well matured and are throwing significant sediment, so pour carefully or decant. Many thanks to Kendall for continuing to consider Full Pull as the right fit for these beautiful mature wines.
This is actually single-vineyard, although it doesn’t say so on the bottle, coming entirely from Clifton Hill Vineyard, a Milbrandt-farmed site on the Wahluke Slope. It also contains 20% Grenache, which I didn’t even realize was being grown on the Wahluke way back in 2003. Crazy. Aged in a mix of new and used French and American barrels, this clocks in at 14.4% listed alc. A mere 68 cases produced.
The nose is a riot of smoky/earthy mature Syrah notes. Air-dried olives. Chipotle pepper. Smoked cocoa nibs and paprika. Red cherry and blood orange fruit; figs and dates too. Mushrooms. You get my point. Serious complexity. Serious perfume. And then a beautiful palate texturally, seamless from front to back with its silky mix of fresh and dried fruits and all manner of savory goodies. Tannins are mostly resolved at this point, but the acidity still drinks bright and lively. This has at least a few years left in the tank, and is showing beautifully right now.
A blend of 86% Cab and 14% Malbec (again, didn’t even know Malbec was in production as early as ’03) from a trio of vineyards: Kiona on Red Mountain, Sundance on the Wahluke, and Alder Ridge in the Horse Heaven Hills. Aged 50/50 in new and neutral oak (nearly all French oak this time), this saw a slightly larger production level (167 cases) and the same listed alc (14.4%).
The nose is deeply exotic, with loads of smoky spices: cardamom and citrus peel, paprika and anise. There’s a real dusty-cellar note here too, a lovely dusty earthiness that permeates the nose and the palate. Fruit tones are a mix of currant and berry, fresh and dried. Again, the acidity is lovely here, and the overall package drinks elegant and classy. Tannins have been combed to a fine sheen via bottle age, and what little chew they still provide is earthy and fecund, a finishing kiss of truffle to send you off into the night.
Please limit order requests to 24 bottles total, 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.