Hello friends. Plenty of chatter these days about the value of listening to your constituents. I’m no MOC, but I do keep my ears open regarding what our list members want to see more of. And in the past year or two, one consistent message, via e-mails and warehouse-shelf sales and in-person conversations, has been: More sparkling wines. More white wines.
Music to my ears. Many of you know that I’ve shifted my own collecting/cellaring towards a higher proportion of whites and bubblies. They’re just so damned rewarding to age, and all it takes is a few years before they show signs of maturity, signs of tertiary complexity. Furthermore, it seems like more and more of my wine consumption is happening with food. And as I accept the unfair ravages of ageing and their impact on how much red meat I should be eating, suddenly there are fewer and fewer opportunities to pop a Cab with that fatty ribeye. And more opportunities to turn to a cold, crisp bottle of still or sparkling white wine.
We’ve already offered (and reoffered!) the red CdR from Saint Cosme from this outstanding 2015 vintage. Today we have their lovely Blanc – a blend of 30% each Marsanne, Picpoul, and Viognier, rounded out with Clairette – at a significant discount off its $22 release price. Marsanne and Viognier dominate the nose, with notes of nectarine and orange peel, almond and ginger, but Picpoul assets itself on the palate, offering an electric vein of acidity that cuts through a core of fleshy fruit. A lovely, balanced Rhone white.
Wine Spectator (James Molesworth): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91pts.”
I knew it had been awhile since we had been able to offer Abeja’s Chardonnay, but when I looked at our records, it has been five (!) years: the 2010 vintage, way back in spring 2012. I mean, in spring 2012 we were still in our little old warehouse on Utah Ave, and I didn’t have a mortgage or a pair of children. Simpler times. Anyway, that helps underscore what a rare opportunity this is. And even here, our parcel is borderline. No way this could have supported its own offer, but inserted into a multi-white offer, maybe we won’t be totally overrun. Because of the limited nature of this one, I won’t say much: just that this wine has long been a benchmark Washington Chardonnay over the years, always with a foundation of excellent fruit from Celilo, Conner Lee, and Abeja’s Estate Mill Creek vineyards, always with an appealing mix of dense stone and tropical fruit and toasty butterscotchy notes from 100% barrel fermentation. Apologies in advance if we have to under-allocate this one.
One of our local importers here in Seattle recently began to bring in a portfolio of sparkling wines from the UK. I tasted a sampling of them recently, and this was a total standout, and a pretty damned good ringer for Champagne. The vein of chalk that runs through Champagne and has made the region the undisputed king of sparkling wines happens to run right through the English channel and into southeast England. As global temperatures have risen over the past decade, this part of the world once thought too cold to support viticulture has suddenly become trendy in sparkling wine circles.
This particular bottling is 100% Chardonnay, and it spent 30 months on the lees. Listed alc is 12.5%, and it begins with an attractive nose: a core of lemon curd and apple fruit complicated by leesy subtleties of biscuit and savory chicken stock. The palate is razor sharp, electric, all nervy acid and salty mineral and austere fruit. It drinks drier than Brut thanks to all that beautiful mouthwatering acid. I was completely smitten, both for the intellectual thrill and the aesthetic pleasure of this beauty.
The Saint Cosme is first come first served up to 24 bottles. For the Abeja and the Bolney, please limit order request to 6 bottles each, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests (I wouldn’t be shocked if actual allocations are closer to 2-3 bottles). All 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.