Full Pull Temporal

December 6, 2016

Hello friends. Tucked away at the bottom of our September offer for our new Temporal Tempranillo project was this note: this will begin as a Full Pull exclusive, and then we’ll sell whatever remains out into the broad market (mostly restaurant, maybe a little retail, maybe even a little out-of-state distribution).

Well, we’ve now reached what I could call advanced discussions with a distributor. A distributor that is very interested in this wine. So interested, in fact, that I think they’re going to take every last bottle not claimed by our list members. Before that happens – and now that many folks have had a chance to sample the wine – I want to offer y’all one last chance to access this well-priced beauty, which has proven to be temporal indeed.

2014 Temporal Vintners Tempranillo

Originally offered September 9, 2016. Excerpts from the original:

I thought about trying to keep our winemaking partner in this venture a secret, but what’s the point? You all are smart enough to know that if we’re partnering with a winemaker to make Washington Tempranillo, there’s only one person it could be.

So yeah, in March, Javier Alfonso and I began to talk about Tempranillo. He had some 2014 juice, all single-vineyard (Dineen, in Yakima Valley), all Tinta del Pais clone (the clone used predominantely in Ribera del Duero). In our first e-mail exchange, Javier said that “this clone and site produces Ribera del Duero styled wine with a high tannin content contributing structure and length,” and asked if I’d be interested in tasting the wine. You can guess what my answer was.

On April 18, I tasted the wine, was blown away, and immediately worked to secure the entire lot for our list. It was bottled August 10, delivered August 11, and offered September 9. About six months from concept to product.

A good portion of those six months was spent developing the name and packaging. Here’s what the label looks like. And here’s a bottle shot. [Ed note: I was lucky enough to meet our outstanding label designer Lindell Serrin through our mutual love for/obsession with Seattle Sounders FC (and specifically, through the comments section on Sounder at Heart). You may know them as the club that will be representing the western conference in MLS Cup 2016!]

“TEMP” came to my mind right away with this project. It’s Tempranillo of course. But Javier’s first e-mail also mentioned that this is likely a “temporary” opportunity (as in: one or maybe two vintages). And “temporal” is a fantastic word (yes, I have opinions about words), with two major meanings: first, of or relating to time. And second, relating to our worldly affairs.

To condense things, the basic concept behind this wine is: we only have so much time on this earth, so we might as well enjoy it. And this bottle can help!

The juice was raised in a mix of neutral and twice-filled barrels. It clocks in at 14.8% alc and begins with an attractive nose of dusty, leafy black fruit. Black plum and black cherry; tobacco leaf and dusty soil. A just right mix of earth and leaf and fruit. And then it’s the texture of this wine that really excites me. This is not the soft side of Tempranillo. This Tinta del Pais clone is burly, muscular, a real powerhouse, with serious tannic scaffolding. Tempranillo with Cabernet structure. But those tannins aren’t mean or aggro; they’re polished, fine-grained, offering perfect texture to complement all sorts of meals as we move into autumn and winter. Tempranillo is the wine for braising weather: for days indoors slow-cooking a tough piece of protein into something supple and delicious. Pot roasts and short ribs and oxtails. Big messes of root veggies and potatoes.

First come first served with no upper limit, and the wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Full Pull Cara Mia

December 6, 2016

Hello friends. It has been marvelous over the past few years to see Cadence receive the acclaim the winery has long deserved, as well as some serious sales momentum. And the buzz just keeps building. For example, here is Stephen Tanzer’s opening quote about Cadence, published last week as part of his annual set of Washington reviews for Vinous:

“[TEXT WITHHELD].”

With that lovely preamble, from both Tanzer and Ben Smith himself, we present the first of Cadence’s 2013 single vineyard wines, the pair from Ben’s estate Cara Mia Vineyard on Red Mountain:

2013 Cadence Bel Canto Cara Mia Vineyard

Those of us who love Bel Canto love it, I think, for its profound Cabernet Franc character. Here Franc is 75% of the blend (the remainder Merlot), and the grape dazzles with its savory green and floral complexities, contributing poblano and arugula and dried flowers to a core of red and black fruits. Texturally, this is as classy as ever; clearly there is a confident hand and a clear point of view at work here.

Vinous (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.” [Tanzer context note: out of 634 reviews published in last week’s annual Vinous blast, only 19 wines earned stronger marks (two @ 96pts, six @ 95pts, eleven @ 94pts); mostly the folks you’d expect: Quilceda Creek and Cayuse, Leonetti and Corliss and Betz, etc.]

2013 Cadence Camerata Cara Mia Vineyard

Normally Camerata has a very high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2013 it still makes up the preponderance of the blend, but only barely, at 40% (the remainder is 30% Franc and 20% Merlot and 10% PV). Side note: that probably means there was a healthy chunk of Cara Mia Cabernet Sauvignon in the 2013 Coda, which helps explain why that particular wine was so damned good. This version of Camerata still possesses plenty of Cabernet character, with cassis and black plum fruit overlain with a lovely minty-fresh eucalyptus topnote. Graphitic minerality and star anise spice emerge with time and air, only upping the ante of complexity. This is exotic, elegant, and clearly structured for long-term evolution.

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

Please limit order requests to 24 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.


Full Pull Last Call

December 6, 2016

Hello friends. We’re down to the last handful of cases for one of our most popular Full Pull & Friends wines to date. It’s last call time for Angela’s Cab:

2012 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon Angelas Vyd (FPF-9)

 
Originally offered December 3, 2014. Excerpts from previous offers:

We went longer on this particular wine than all the other FP&F wines save one. Why? Well, first off, because I thought accessing Red Mountain Cabernet at our price point presented an extraordinary opportunity. And second, because the winemaker involved made it pretty clear that seeing Angelas Cab in future vintages was unlikely at best.

And you may have noticed: no Angelas Cab since, and none expected going forward. We’re going to look back on the 2012 as the exception, not the rule, I’m afraid.

Angela’s is a vineyard owned by Efeste Winery, and it was planted in 2008 by none other than Dick Boushey, who continues to manage it. When we began doing FP&F wines, I knew we’d do some Cabernet Sauvignons, and I hoped one of them could come from Red Mountain. It is an area that makes a singular style of Cab, and with Dick at the farming helm, we know we’re starting with pristine fruit.

This juice was aged in 67% new oak for 20 months, and it clocks in at 14.4% alc. It opens with a great Red Mountain nose: redcurrant fruit, iron minerality, and smoky/nutty (bourbon barrel, almond paste) notes that could come from barrel but I suspect come from the terroir, since I’ve seen them in so many Red Mountain wines over the years. In the mouth, this is a smoky/spicy mélange of deep red and black fruits and continuing earth notes. The structure, as you’d expect from Red Mountain, comes mostly from tannins, which take over somewhere around the mid-palate and just won’t quit, coating the palate in a layer of toothsome chamomile goodness. If you’re planning to open one of these during this holiday season, I’d recommend pairing with a fatty piece of meat or a large decanter. From an outstanding grower-winemaker combo, an outstanding vintage, and an outstanding piece of Washington terroir, I’d expect a long and fascinating evolution ahead.

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: **** (Excellent).”

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19/20pts.”

Please limit order requests to 6 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Full Pull Club (Almost) Only

December 6, 2016

Hello friends. Today we have our annual gift from Sean Boyd, the fifth vintage running where he has granted our list members access to what is otherwise a club-only wine for Rotie Cellars:

2014 Rotie Cellars VdP

This began as one of those deals that proves there is no substitute for feet on the ground, for local intel. On just about every trip to eastern Washington, I learn about some kind of cool opportunity for our list members that could never have been unearthed from behind a computer screen, and that was the case with our original (2010) vintage of VdP.

But at the time, I thought it was a one-off, some wacky French-labeled bottles originally intended for Quebec. I figured we’d get a little parcel of 2010, and that would be the end of it. But then there was the response. Our list members, to put it mildly, freaked out over that wine. We had originally set an upper order limit of 24 bottles, and then our max allocations ended up being, I think, 4 bottles. Sean sent us every bottle he possibly could, and that was the beginning of something special.

Sean just released this wine to Rotie’s club, and now it’s our turn. I’m thrilled that we have access to another vintage of VdP, and now here are some reminders about this bottling:

1. VdP is a club-only wine for Rotie Cellars. Traditionally, this wine is a little gift from Sean Boyd to his club members: a well-priced Vin de Pays from the same vineyard sources that go into the higher-end ($40 and up) Rotie bottlings.

2. Like with the previous vintages, I’m expecting access to one parcel, one time, with prospects for reorders looking unlikely. Please try to get order requests in by Monday night, and then Sean will be sending one truckload over the mountains. No guarantees that we’ll have access to future vintages of VdP, either, so if you really love this bottle, consider joining Rotie’s outstanding wine club.

3. Sean doesn’t share the exact vineyard breakdown, but as I mentioned above, these are not declassified barrels. They come from the exact same sites that go into wines like Rotie’s Northern Blend, Southern Blend, Homage, etc.

This year, the blend is one-third each Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. The Grenache stays quiet on the nose. It’s the Mourvedre that sings loudest, with its notes of plummy fruit, silty mineral, leather, and exotic spice. Syrah subtleties of black fruit and black pepper add complexity. The Grenache does turn up more on the (very characterful!) palate, adding textural flesh to a wine with plenty of verve and energy. This year’s version has a dense core of rocky minerality, around which swirl grace notes of fruit and spice. It’s a lovely wine to contemplate on its own, but it really puts me in mind of cassoulets and other stews combining silky legumes and savory pork products.

Year in and year out, Sean’s VdP is a total charmer, true to the French Vin de Pays wines it’s based on, just full of character and pleasure. Many thanks to Mr. Boyd for affording such a fine opportunity to our list members.

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.


Full Pull Take Me Home

December 6, 2016

Hello friends. Back in late August, I received the following e-mail from one of my favorite Oregon wine folks, who has requested anonymity:

Mr. Z – I happened to do some consulting work this year which gave me the opportunity to take payment in wine.  Part of the work was crafting a Pinot Noir blend from a prominent single vineyard in the Willamette Valley.  The final blend for their needs is dark fruited, tight knit tannin with restraint (for 2014) – the alternate blend is red cherry, 75%+ dark chocolate and rounded, plush tannin.  This is what I’m bottling on Thursday under my new brand. 2014, aged 20 months barrel – 20% french oak for 9 months, racked into neutral for remainder. Unfined/Unfiltered. Below is a descriptor of the previous vintage, which scored 93. The average price online is $48. I can’t say more than that, and will not answer questions to its provenance. Production: 250 cases in total. Please let me know if you’re interested in tasting the wine, I’m going to be in Seattle either Wed or Fri this week. PS – in the spirit of my love for Phil Collins, the wine is named “Take Me Home.”

Unfortunately I can no longer reprint the 93pt review that was included in the e-mail above, because by punching that review into a Google search, you can learn which vineyard this wine comes from in approximately five seconds. I will say: this is an excellent vineyard for Pinot Noir, and one that we’ve only had opportunity to offer once previously. It’s a vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains AVA (although this label says Willamette Valley to anonymize as much as possible), on marine sedimentary soil, and it has a high proportion of Wadensvil Clone planted. If you can figure out the vineyard from those clues, then congrats; you’re a serious Oregon wine geek!

Which is still pretty excellent for a single vineyard that usually retails in the $40-and-up range. But I pushed back. If this was going to be our last Oregon Pinot-themed offer of the year, I wanted it to feel like a real gift to our list members. So I offered to commit to a sturdy stash, in exchange for an even better tariff:

2014 Take Me Home Pinot Noir

We received our stash of this wine twelve days ago. No delayed gratification for this one; it’s in the warehouse and ready for pickup or shipping whenever you like. As we move into December tomorrow and thoughts turn to holiday festivities, this is a Pinot that easily outpunches its price class. It’s the continuation of a real theme from the 2014 vintage in Oregon. The combination of high quality and high yields has led to all sorts of fascinating opportunities for those of us with our ears to the ground.

I can’t say much more about this one than what I’ve already included above, so let me jump straight to a tasting note. My anonymous connection mentioned red cherry and high-cacao (75%+) chocolate. By the time I tasted it, the fruit profile was a little darker (black cherries instead of red), and I got a mix of dark chocolate and cocoa and cola spice. I wonder if there is a goodly chunk of Wadensvil material here; the floral notes – which began as subtleties and emerge in a compelling way with time and air – would suggest so. Texturally, this has energy and verve that would almost make me think it’s an old-world wine. So too the vein of blood-orange acidity and the salty-mineral finish. But ultimately, the fleshiness and pleasure make it clear that this comes from one of the beating hearts of new world Pinot: the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon.

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Full Pull Cyber Monday Stickies

December 6, 2016

Hello friends. Our normal Cyber Monday tradition has been a big mishmash of sparkling wines and sticky wines: our attempt to provision you for holiday needs.

This year, for a number of different reasons, we’ve offered a bunch of sparkling wines already over the past few months. So today, we’re going to offer just one bubbly (a last call reoffer on a list favorite), and focus the majority of our energy on a panoply of sticky wines. Riesling and Sauternes, Port and Sherry, Madeira and Tokaji. Our first Coteaux du Layon.

It’s an embarrassment of riches. Those of us who love this style of wine know that this is the one time of year when we can safely share our forbidden love with others. And if circumstance forbids us from opening these stickies this year, we can rest safe in the knowledge that these categories of wines approach immortality. Another year in the cellar is only going to make these wines that much more exciting next year. Or maybe the year after that.

NV Block Wines Extra Brut Rose Marchant Vineyard D.2015

Please note: this is the inaugural bottling, the 2015 disgorgement, in dark green glass. We originally offered it on October 18, 2015, and we’re now down to our last 89 bottles. Between today’s offer and having this wine open for RhiAnnon and Dylan to pour at our tasting bar, you can bet this will be last call on our debut bubbly for our house winery, Block Wines. Now then, excerpts from the original offer:

The wine is an exclusive project partnering with the Griebs of Treveri Cellars to produce a sparkling rosé from 100% Washington Pinot Noir, from a single block of a cool Yakima Valley vineyard. Our low dosage allows Pinot’s mineral and savory complexities to play a major role here, balancing the delicious red fruits (strawberry, cherry) and stone fruits (peach, nectarine) and autolytic notes (bread, almond paste). Pale pink, delicate, charming: this is the starter of parties, loosener of lips, destroyer of worlds.

OLD PORTS

We did this for the holidays last year, and I know a lot of folks really enjoyed the opportunity, so it’s back! Again we have the ability to access the entire available stock of locally-warehoused Kopke Colheitas, thrilling single-vintage tawny ports ranging from 1937 to 1989. Here is a PDF showing an inventory snapshot as of November 16. We’re not the only ones accessing these, so it’s possible that quantities have changed, or even gone out of stock. All we can do is try. If you’re interested in any of these, please just respond to this e-mail with the vintage and the number of bottles requested, and we’ll do our best to bring them in.

OLD MADEIRAS

Accessing glorious, perfectly-cellared old D’Oliveira madeira, on the other hand, is new for this year. And it’s a little different from the Colheitas. With the madeira, we’re ordering from the Rare Wine Co warehouse in California. Please get order requests in by end of day on Thursday. We’ll be placing our order first thing Friday morning, and the wines *should* arrive on Dec 12. We also don’t know exactly how many bottles of each wine are down in Cali; just that there are “some.” Here is the PDF, current as of Nov 18. Again, if you’re interested in any of these, please respond to this e-mail with the wine and the number of bottles requested, and we’ll do our best.

2010 Castelnau de Suduiraut Sauternes 375ml

This is the same Sauternes we offered last year at this time, so technically this is a reoffer. A new shipment is literally scheduled to arrive today. Of course it’s a little risky sending out this offer when the wine is not yet out of the container (wineries have been known to send different vintages than expected), but I think another chance to access this well-priced beauty is worth the risk. As a reminder, Chateau de Suduiraut is one of just eleven Sauternes First Growths (all, of course, bowing before d’Yquem, the “Superior First Growth). Castelnau is the Chateau’s second wine, coming from its younger vines, and as such, represents a fine value in Sauternes. It shows plenty of funky/honeyed botrytis character over a core of bitter orange, fig, and golden raisin fruit. A long, rich, opulent sticky, this is of course the classic foie gras pairing but is also phenomenal after dinner, either with dessert or soft/salty cheeses.

2014 Mulonniere Coteaux du Layon-Beaulieu 375ml
Coteaux du Layon is one of my favorite categories of sticky wine we’ve never previously offered. It’s Loire Valley Chenin Blanc, from a tributary of the Loire called the Layon. Chateau de la Mulonniere has occupied a spot along the riverbanks of the Layon since 1860. I tasted this wine all the way back in May and pegged it for this offer then, hoping it would last in enough quantity until the end of the year. It clocks in at 12% listed alc and opens with a nose of malt powder, honeyed apple, earth, and lemon. The palate continues the theme of malted, caramel-dipped fruit, lovely Chenin earth tones, and citrus-peel bitters to balance the delicious sugar. You could probably get away with pairing this with Thai or Indian curries; the thread of acid that cuts through this wine is that strong.

2015 Owen Roe Late Harvest Riesling The Parting Glass 375ml

Another one I tasted a long time ago (August) and hoped would last out the year, and it has. Barely. This is among the finest sweet wines I have tasted from Washington in some time. It’s three-quarters Outlook Vineyard fruit; the remainder DuBrul, and here’s how David O’Reilly describes the process: [TEXT WITHHELD] The result is something special. A wine with 9% alc and 22.9% RS, it begins with a nose of pineapple upside down cake and marmalade, moving into a glorious palate with layer upon layer of clover-honey-drenched fruit (stone, citrus, tropical) all cut through by bright acidity. The finish is long, rich, and deeply satisfying. Pass the duck liver mousse!

NV Alvear Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927 375ml

Wine Advocate (Robert Parker): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 98pts.”

Need I say more? I was totally smitten with this motor oil of a wine: brown sugar and sultanas, cherries and figs, brown butter and coffee, mixed nuts and caramel corn. The most unctuous of the bunch, and a chance to taste a wine comprised in some small part by grapes harvested in 1927.

2007 Kiralyudvar Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos (500ml)

Founded in the 11th century, Kiralyudvar has spent most of its thousand years as the property of the Hungarian royal family. After World War I, the estate was transferred to the Tokaj Research Institute of Viticulture and Oenology, and by the 1990s, the estate had fallen well out of fame. That was the state of affairs in 1997, when Anthony Hwang came along. Hwang, a partner in famed Loire superstar Domaine Huet, purchased Kiralyudvar, and brought with him Huet’s winemaker Noel Pinguet to consult on the project. Twenty years on, Kiralyudvar’s star has risen immensely, no surprise given the folks involved.

All the Aszu wines combined – from 3 Puttonyos (least sweet) to 6 Puttonyos (most sweet) – represent about 1% of Tokaji’s total production. These are rare treasures indeed, and this one is so new to market that tech info is hard to come by. Expect alc of around 11% alc, RS of around 20%, and a laser beam of acidity cutting through botrytis-tinged layers of citrus and stone and cherry fruit. It’s only the second 6 Putts Kiralyudvar has produced since the 2003 vintage.

Please request what you like, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. These wines should all arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.


Full Pull Force Majeure

December 6, 2016

Hello friends. Back when Force Majeure launched (actually, the winery was called Grand Reve back then, pre-trademark lawsuit), the idea was to produce the Collaboration Series of wines while waiting for the estate vineyard (planted crazily high and crazily steep towards the top of Red Mountain) to come online. The Collaboration Series combined different Washington winemakers with plots of beautiful old Ciel du Cheval Vineyard fruit, and they quickly established a rabid following, from both consumers and critics.

Well, the estate site is now fully online, and the 2013 vintage will be the final vintage for the Collaboration Series wines. After that, it’s all estate all the time. What that means for us: this is the last chance to access the CS wines in any meaningful way (I believe there’s still one more to come out next spring, perhaps the 2013 CS VI). I have a feeling that the looming end of the Collaboration Series will make allocations as challenging as ever for this fine winery.

2013 Force Majeure Collaboration Series I

Collaboration Series I is a Cabernet-dominant Bordeaux blend, and the winemaker is Ben Smith from Cadence, who knows a thing or two about Red Mountain fruit (his entire lineup for Cadence comes from Red Mountain). He’s working with some of the oldest (1975 and 1982-planted) blocks of Ciel du Cheval fruit here. This marks Ben’s tenth and final vintage making Collaboration Series I, an impressive record of consistent excellence. As usual, this is a hauntingly perfumed rendition of Ciel, with floral notes galore to go with traditional dusty Red Mountain red and black fruit. The richness of the vintage and the elegance of Ben’s winemaking style balance beautifully here. This is a fine sendoff to a lovely wine.

2013 Force Majeure Collaboration Series V

Collaboration Series V is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the winemaker is Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery. This is always a deeply impressive example of old-vine Red Mountain Cab.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 95-97pts.”

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.