Hello friends. Reoffers today on a trio of wines that have been popular reorder targets for the past few months:
Originally offered May 15, 2016. Excerpts from the original:
So, 2013 Cadence Coda. I loved it. You loved it. We all loved it. Released in May 2015. Sold out by December 2015. And that was with 1300 cases produced. Production for the 2014 Coda: 713 cases. Gulp. The issue, according to Ben, was low yields. They ended up with tiny little buckshot berries on Red Mountain, which means very little juice. It also means high skin-to-juice ratio, which translates to burly tannic structure in the finished wine.
Coda is an incredible value, year in and year out. Why? Well, Ben Smith makes exactly four single-vineyard wines for Cadence, all from Red Mountain. Two come from the estate Cara Mia Vineyard, one from Ciel du Cheval, and one from Tapteil. And that’s it. Ben carefully crafts the blends for those high-end ($45-$60) wines, and then whatever barrels aren’t included during those blending trials end up in Coda. What that means for Coda is that it’s always a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot, always a blend of Cara Mia, Ciel du Cheval, and Tapteil, and always barrels that were raised with the exact same care as the higher-end bottles. And we get all of that for a tariff that is about half the single-vineyard wines.
The blend in 2014 is 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, and 9% Petit Verdot, and it clocks in at 14.4% listed alc. The ’14 is much more reminiscent to me of the structured, serious 2012 than the more charming, approachable 2013. It kicks off with a glorious nose, all perfumed and exotic with its notes of star anise and juniper over dark blackcurrant and black plum fruit. The palate balances the richness of the vintage with Ben Smith’s deft hand and somehow still conveys textural elegance and earthy minerality, even in the warm year that wanted to be all fruit. But it’s the structure that really shines on the palate. “ROBUST tannic structure,” says my notes, and I tend to use all-caps sparingly. But truly, this is a muscular, powerful wine, without question cellar-worthy. The long, long finish is awash in black-tea tannins, a final grace note on a deeply impressive wine.
Originally offered June 8, 2016, and we bought out the remaining handful of cases in Seattle, so it’s last-call time on this one. Excerpts from the original:
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.
Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”
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.
Originally offered January 8, 2016 (our first offer of the new year), and since then, it received a sparkling review in Wine Enthusiast. Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”
Now then, excerpts from original offer: What makes this particular wine so exciting is that it’s the lowest-priced, most accessible Syrah I’ve ever seen from Gramercy. It’s a chance for those interested in Greg’s Syrahs to see what all the fuss is about, and it’s a chance for the Gramercy true believers to grab a wine that doesn’t need to be hoarded for special occasions.
I tasted this late in 2015 and was immediately seduced. Smoky bacon, briny Castelvetrano olive, brackish umami nori, brambly marionberries: this offered the kind of aromatic complexity and savory character I associate with the upper tier of the Gramercy lineup. So then I followed up with Brandon Moss (Gramercy’s wonderful Partner/Assistant Winemaker), to figure out where all this good fruit was coming from.
The answer: the 2013 combines the freshness and acidity of Minick and Upland Vineyard, sitting at 1300 ft in the Yakima Valley, with the funk and meatiness of the rocks at Stoney Vine and SJR Vineyards in Walla Walla. There’s also a smidge of Gramercy’s Estate Vineyard in the mix, finishing off a quintet of seriously excellent Syrah sources. Greg’s tasting note captures the palate beautifully: Raspberries, blackberry, plum, gravel and clove. Rocks funk and bacon, saline. Some baking spice and tar. Medium to full bodied wine with medium plus acid and silky tannin. Very fresh.
Please order with no upper limits, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two (except Arctos, which is already in), at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.