Hello friends. For the first four years that we offered his wines (2012-2015), Kevin White had one release per year. We’d offer his ridiculously excellent La Fraternite and En Hommage, immediately sell out, and set the clock 365 days forward.
Fortunately for us, beginning in 2016 Kevin inaugurated a second release, with one well-priced gateway-drug wine and one rare single-vineyard gem. Last year we had to scramble a little, and offered them separately: the red wine in March and the DuBrul in April. As usual when it comes to Kevin’s wines, both sold out instantly, and I recall DuBrul allocations being especially rough.
This year we’re better prepared. Both wines are scheduled to be released March 1, and we’re offering the pair of them together today so that I know exactly what our list’s desires are when it comes to Mr. White’s wines. That will allow me to advocate as forcefully as I can for as much of these gorgeous wines as possible.
Most winemakers, when they’re as trendy/buzzy as Kevin, find ways to *raise* prices, not introduce wines at lower tags. Just one of many reasons to admire what Kevin is doing with this winery, which has to be viewed as one of the most exciting to launch in Washington in the past decade.
This is commercial vintage number six for Kevin, and I’m pretty sure we’ve offered every single wine he has ever released to retail. His pricing is ridiculous, his bottles easily competing with wines at twice the tag. Kevin seems determined to offer exceptional value as he builds his brand, and I’m thrilled that our list members can continue to be the recipients of his efforts in that direction. The reason we continue to get competitive allocations of these scarce wines is in part due to the fact that Kevin himself was a long-time Full Pull list member (we first talked about this potential winery project way back in 2010).
As far as logistics go with this particular wine, the first thing I should say is that we’re likely to only get one shot. Unlike Kevin’s higher-end wines, which are carefully allocated and doled out, this red is being offered in open inventory. The good news: we can ask for whatever amount our list members want; the bad: so can every other account in town. And that includes restaurants, because this wine comes in at a price point that allows for glass-pours (always scary when it comes to depletion pressure).
Probably the most important thing to know about the wine itself is that it comes entirely from Kevin-vinified juice. He’s not purchasing any bulk juice to fluff this wine up. And while he’s not revealing the exact vineyards or breakdown involved (wisely, so as not to aggravate the excellent growers he’s working with, who might not be so crazy about seeing their grapes end up in a sub-$20 bottle), we can intuit the suspects: Upland and Olsen, Boushey and Elephant Mountain: fantastic sites for Rhone varieties in Washington.
And this is indeed a Rhone blend: 44% Syrah, 31% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre. It clocks in at 14.9% listed alc and begins with an exuberant nose, all fresh youthful goodness. Blackberry fruit, berry flower blossoms, and emerging threads of olive and mineral. This is the most openly delicious wine I can remember tasting from Kevin. It still possesses his trademark textural elegance, but here it’s paired to fruit character squarely in line with warm-vintage generosity. The overall package is one of the strongest sub-$20 Rhone blends I can remember tasting from Washington, punching well above its price class, and another data point arguing that this is a real growth category for our state going forward. Pair with a sausage and white bean stew for transcendence.
Heritage is an unusual wine for this Rhone specialist, as it is a squarely Bordeaux blend of Merlot (53%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (47%), raised in 40% new French oak for about two years. I suspect Kevin could not resist the siren call of DuBrul Vineyard, one of the finest sites in the state. After all, a bottle of wine from DuBrul and an eventual visit to the vineyard are parts of the winery’s origin story, as richly recounted by Sean Sullivan in an old posting on Washington Wine Report.
You may also remember what Mr. Sullivan wrote about last year’s debut (2013) vintage in Seattle Met Magazine: [TEXT WITHHELD].
I think Sean is right. As DuBrul’s reputation has grown, so too have prices, and it has become more and more difficult to source wines from this outstanding vineyard. The only other DuBrul wine we offer with any regularity is Rasa’s Creative Impulse, and that one generally goes for about a hundred bucks. As you can imagine, DuBrul fruit plus buzzy winemaker plus moderate pricing plus small parcel equals, ahem, allocation challenges. Hence the need to get in and stake our claim nice and early.
This vintage immediately blasts out of the glass with signature DuBrul exoticism: anise and smoldering Indian spice, orange peel and smoky grilled bread. All that over a core of blackcurrant and black cherry fruit. It’s a thrill-ride nose, deeply complex and attractive. In the mouth, the silky, polished texture provides just-right framing for those continuing exotic notes, as well as a spicy note on the finish that reminded me of jalapeno. This is complicated, pleasurable wine; a fine introduction to an important, difficult-to-source Washington vineyard
Please limit order request to 36 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.