Hello friends. Two new wines today (and two reoffers) from one of the most consistently-thrilling lineups in Washington right now: the wonderful Spanish varieties from Javier Alfonso’s Idilico. We have new-release Albarino and Tempranillo, as well as bonus reoffers of his delicious 2013 Garnacha and Monastrell.
As a reminder, Javier developed Idilico as a sister label (his main label is Pomum Cellars) to highlight Spanish varieties grown in Washington. These wines are rarely reviewed, but even without the critics weighing in, the label has developed serious buzz, spurred on by the sommelier set and other insider types who know value when they see it. The sales focus for Idilico is mostly restaurant wine lists, and the wines are priced accordingly. That makes them terrific values at retail.
2015 Idilico Albarino
This is the sixth vintage of Albarino (we’ve offered all of the previous five) under the Idilico label. Quick primer on Albarino: it’s the main varietal grown and produced in Rias Baixas, along the northwest coast of Spain. Light-bodied and highly aromatic, with screaming acidity and generally low alcohols, these wines pair perfectly with the abundant shellfish and finfish of the region. To the best of my knowledge, there are no more than a handful of Albarino vineyards in Washington. Javier’s comes from Dutchman Vineyard, a DenHoed-planted site in the cooler part of the Yakima Valley, north of Prosser.
The wine moves from those vines to bottle with little intervention: stainless steel fermentation and aging; moderate lees contact; no malolactic fermentation. It’s pure Albarino, 12.5% alc and awash in mineral-soaked stone fruits and citrusy lemon-lime goodness. The verve and energy here are wonderful; this positively hums across the palate on a live-wire of fresh acidity, finishing salty and refreshing. I’ve said it before: I’m not sure there is another Washington white more evocative of our long northern-latitude summer days, with those blue twilights that last for hours.
2013 Idilico Tempranillo
In a small field of Washington Tempranillos, this is always a standout, offering terrific value for the tag. It’s a sign of the grape’s recent success that Javier can now source from sites across our state, including Snipes Mountain (Upland Vineyard), Horse Heaven Hills (Elerding), and the greater Yakima Valley.
Aged all in neutral French oak for a year, this begins with a nose of black cherry and blackberry fruit, complemented by threads of smoke and tobacco leaf, and star anise spice notes. The palate displays a beefier side, both in flavor (where beef stock subtleties enhance a core of cherry fruit) and in texture, where this is pleasingly rustic, with wonderful toothsome tannins framing delicious Tempranillo fruit. Idilico’s Tempranillo has become a standard-bearer for the grape in Washington, especially at a value tag, and this vintage is a fine example of why.
2013 Idilico Garnacha
Originally offered May 25, 2016. Excerpts from the original: This is the fifth vintage of Garnacha (aka Grenache) for Idilico, and we’ve offered all of them. At this price point, the wine tends to get snapped up by restaurants looking for exciting glass-pour options. It’s a blend of two vineyards: Elerding in the Yakima Valley and Upland on Snipes Mountain (evidence continues to mount that Upland is the finest site in the state for Grenache). Aged entirely in neutral puncheon, it clocks in at 14.7% listed alc. The nose has a deep, expressive core of brambly blackberry and raspberry fruit, with complexities both meaty (beef broth) and herbal (herbes de provence). The palate offers a lovely, supple, polished mouthfeel, carrying fresh berry notes and crushed-rock minerality on a fresh, vibrant frame. This is such a characterful rendition of Washington Grenache, and it always offers so much charm for such a reasonable tag.
2013 Idilico Monastrell
Originally offered May 25, 2016. Excerpts from the original: Always a rarity, both because of its tiny production (usually less than 100 cases) and the overall rarity of single-vineyard Washington Mourvedre (the French synonym for Spanish Monastrell) at a sub-$20 tag. This may be restaurant-only outside of Full Pull. I think Javier is doing us a favor because of our list’s long support of Idilico. Like the first two vintages, this comes entirely from Upland Vineyard, and it comes blasting up out of the glass with a super-expressive nose: spicy plums, leather, pepper-dusted game. This is positively electric in the mouth, humming along with beautiful nervous energy. Bright, spicy, and chockful of character, this dazzles with its mix of rich (14.3% listed alc) plummy fruit and continuing smoky/meaty notes. Javier is really bullish on Monastrell/Mourvedre’s prospects in Washington, and I can see why
First come first served up to 48 bottles total, and the wines should arrive at the warehouse in a week or two, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.