Hello friends. Looking back on 2016, one of the best deals we made all year took place in May, when we secured outstanding pricing on four parcels of well-aged wines from Andrew Rich. The feedback on these wines has been consistently good all year long. One of the wines just recently sold out (2011 Roussanne); we’ll recap the remaining trio today, for all your reorder or holiday-gift needs.
Originally offered June 5, and we have just 62 bottles remaining:
[Note: this began its life as a wine club wine, sold for $40, and I believe it’s still being sold for that $40 tag winery-direct.]
Les Vignes en Face. The vines that face one another. In this case, the king and queen of Red Mountain: Klipsun and Ciel du Cheval. This Syrah is a 50/50 blend of those two stalwart vineyards, and it comes from the warm/generous 2009 vintage. For me, Washington Syrah from warm vintages generally has a peak window that opens at about three years past vintage and continues until about ten years past vintage. For 2009 Syrahs, that would put my estimated peak at 2012-2019. So we’re smack in the middle of peak drinking, and I’d guess this still has another three or four years left in the tank before it starts a slow fade.
This pours into the glass with serious inky color saturation for a wine with this age. It must have been black-purple in its youth; now it’s a deep blackish blood red. Fruit aromas run the gamut from fresh (raspberry, fig) to dried (cherry, apricot), with barrel complexities of smoke and espresso, spice notes of star anise, and maturing notes of soil and leather. It’s a complex, double-take nose: very expressive of this particular patch of Washington soil. In the mouth, this is a super-intense palate-stainer. Very quickly you notice that this has serious tannin structure for Syrah, but that’s Klipsun for you: not just the king of Red Mountain, but also the king of structure, seemingly offering handsome chew to every wine it touches. This is very much a powerhouse still, even after all these years of bottle age, and it finishes earthy and wild and very much alive.
Originally offered August 1, this was the largest parcel by some measure, and is also the most aggressively priced. We’ve sold through 61% of our original stash, with 39% remaining. Excerpts from the original:
Malbec in Washington tends to be a great $30 wine to sell through winery tasting rooms, but when it sits on a retail shelf next to $10-$20 versions from Argentina, it stagnates. So I was thrilled to have the chance to purchase this one, because it’s rare to see $15 Washington Malbec period, let alone five years past vintage, let alone single vineyard. The vineyard is Alder Ridge in the Horse Heaven Hills, a site that gets plenty of heat even in a cool year like 2011 (born out by this wine’s 14.1% listed alcohol).
This is a great window into the glacial ageing pace of Washington’s 2011s. I could not believe how primary this looked and drank. It pours into the glass inky black-purple, and offers explosive aromas of boysenberry and huckleberry fruit, threads of smoke, and wonderful iron/sanguine minerality. There’s a complexity here you just don’t see in youthful Malbec. Then the palate, really very primary still, with such aching purity of fruit, such intensity. This feels like tiny mountain-grown berries have been pressed directly into your glass. I found it a completely charming example of Washington Malbec, chockful of character and pleasure, and with years of evolution still ahead.
Originally offered October 2, this was the finale of the quartet, offered during our anniversary week. We have just about one third of our original stash remaining, and I suspect today’s offer will take care of what’s left, considering the extra-positive feedback on this one. Excerpts from the October original:
Red Willow Syrah usually commands a price point in the $40s or $50s. Occasionally the $30s (this one had a $38 release price), but those are rare. Being able to offer RW Syrah in the low $20s is pretty much unheard of, and especially a peak-drinking Red Willow Syrah seven years past vintage. I should also note: “Red Willow” can refer to a few different blocks, and I want to emphasize that this comes from the old 1986 block, generally believed to be the oldest Syrah planting in Washington.
This one was done with 20% whole clusters, clocks in at 14.1% listed alc, and begins with a nose of black cherry and sultana fruit along with smoky tones both earthy (peat moss) and meaty (bacon fat). This is a great example of maturing Washington Syrah. The fruit is beginning to take on a dried character on the palate, so you get wonderful dried cherries and figs and dates. The texture is beautiful, the extra bottle age sanding down any rough edges and leaving a wine that fans out and coats the palate with its rich mix of fruit and earth tones. The fine-grained tannins are mostly integrated now, offering a subtle finishing kiss of espresso and leather spice.
Please limit order requests to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines are in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.