Hello friends. There are some wineries we encounter that completely embody a place. The location of the winery seeps into everything they do—into every wine that’s made within its walls—and in return, the winery itself gives back to the community. Whether it’s a devastated old world countryside that’s been revitalized through viticulture or an urban neighborhood that grows through local business, like a basement-turned winery in Seattle, wineries have a responsibility to the places they live. And as people of the community, we have a responsibility to those wineries. Good thing so many of them in our corner of the country are making grade-A, delicious juice.
The latter is exactly what we have to offer you today—wine from a basement in Seattle. And it’s damn good basement wine, too. Truthfully, Sous Sol has actually moved their production to our little neighborhood and are now operating out of Kerloo’s space. However, the winery started as a basement project of Derek Shankland and Co., the team behind Pioneer Square favorite, Delicatus. This team has a intimate knowledge of the Seattle restaurant world, and have used that to create a line of expressive-yet-balanced, food friendly wines.
Sous Sol, which means “basement” in French, began as a passion project in 2008, and has slowly moved from hobby to legitimate business over the last nine years. In 2012, Sous Sol moved all of their winemaking from Derek’s small basement to a production space in Pioneer Square. Between opening Delicatus in the midst of a recession, when Pioneer Square was losing businesses left and right, and moving their winemaking production just blocks away, the Sous Sol team is truly thought to be pioneers of the neighborhood’s revitalization. With a focus on food pairing built from Seattle’s impeccable restaurant world, Sous Sol produces unique, old world-style wines that are incredibly terroir driven from vineyards around Yakima Valley. These are Washington wines in every sense of the word.
Sous Sol’s winemaking philosophy? Work diligently to elevate the natural expression presented by the Vineyards. We think they do just that.
2013 Sous Sol DuBrul Syrah
DuBrul is a well-loved site in Washington and a site that is hard to source from—especially when it comes to Syrah. There is exactly one other winery that gets to bottle single-vineyard DuBrul Syrah, and that’s Cote Bonneville, the house winery attached to DuBrul as an estate vineyard (Owen Roe used to bottle a DuBrul Syrah, but not for the past decade). Dubrul is famous for high quality grapes, high quality wines, and high prices (the Cote Bonneville Syrah retails at $65).
Sous Sol’s terroir driven ‘13 Syrah spends 24 months in barrel and a minimum of 6 months in bottle. The nose gives off beautiful syrah fruit—blackberry and boysenberry—but stands out for its savory aromas of whole peppercorns, spicy crushed red pepper, and oregano. The palate is incredibly pretty (almost unexpectedly after that wildly aromatic nose); a medium body filled with rich, layered fruit and earth. The robust and lingering finish begs to be paired with food—anything roasted with herbs de provence, peppery bbq, soft funky cheeses, or hearty roasted vegetables would do the trick.
2015 Sous Sol Riesling
This example of Washington Riesling comes from Handprint Farm Vineyard, right outside of Prosser. This vineyard was planted directly along the Yakima river, creating a super cool-temperature planting site. Nearly half of Washington state’s Chardonnay and Riesling grow in cool climate sites like this across Yakima—stretches of cooler terrain that can give heightened acidity and later pick dates to acid driven whites. Sous Sol’s grapes were picked in late October, a time of year where much of Yakima has already been picked and pushed over the pass for most of Seattle’s urban wineries.
The Riesling opens with a nose full of dried and fresh apricot and expressive floral notes. The palate is wildly acidic, which can be directly traced to the cool site of Handprint Farm, and comes through with tart flavors of lime, meyer lemon, and green apple. There is a very, very small amount of residual sugar—this is definitely a dry wine—with a finish that’s long and comes back to acid driven citrus. This wine would pair perfectly with a soft cow’s milk cheese, dried fruit, drizzled honey, and a porch.
2013 Sous Sol Red Blend – $19.99 (TPU $17.99)
This red blend will immediately perk up the ears of some of our vineyard-groupie list members. 49% Sangiovese from Full Pull favorite Boushey Vineyard and 43% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Syrah from ever-elegant DuBrul. Heavy hitters like this and an out-of-the-Washington-box Super Tuscan blend usually mean good things—and this wine does not disappoint.
This is a wine that balances the beauty of Washington’s fruit and savory sides—with red fruit and earthy, roasted notes from the Sangiovese; leafy green and black cherry that is decidedly Cab. Sauv; and a touch of pepper from the Syrah. The nose is red and black cherry, plum, fig, roasted red pepper, and leafy tobacco. It’s heavy on the Sangiovese and wants you to know it. The palate follows through with light spice, continued fruit, and leathery tannins with a touch of grip—all leading to a satisfying finish. This is a perfect food wine—delicious enough to pair with a special meal, inexpensive enough to open on a boring-old-Wednesday
We’re close to end-of-vintage for all three of these wines, so reorder prospects are murky at best. 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 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.