Hello friends. Today we have the sophomore vintage of the wine that kicked off our Block Wines red program last year, quickly became a sensation (making Sean Sullivan’s Top 100 for Seattle Met Magazine didn’t hurt), and has been sold out since February:
2015 Block Wines Grenache Golden Block Boushey Vineyard
Since this is the first of the 2015 reds for Block Wines, it seems as good a time as any to offer a reminder on what this project is all about. Block Wines is essentially a house winery for Full Pull. In partnership with Morgan Lee (with the exception of our sparkling wine; that one is done with Christian Grieb), we’re stewarding these wines from grape harvest to bottle. And the plan is to have a consistent lineup. So for example, today we’re offering the ‘15 Boushey Grenache, we already have the ’16 in a concrete egg (!!), and we’ll be harvesting the ’17 in another few months.
The goal with Block Wines is two-fold. First, to offer truly terroir-expressive wines: single varieties, from single blocks within single vineyards. And second, it allows us to lock in vineyard-variety combinations that – over many years of offering Washington wine – I know our list members love.
Boushey Vineyard Grenache is a terrific example. Dick Boushey is one of Washington’s true grape-farming treasures, and a pioneer of Rhone varieties in the state. I remember a conversation with Dick years back where I expressed enthusiasm for his Grenache, and he just sort of shook his head ruefully. I’m paraphrasing here, but my memory is that he said something like: that grape is a true pain in the ass to grow, finicky as can be. I’d pull it all out if the results weren’t so darned good.
While he’s certainly best known for Syrah, Dick’s Grenache (planted in 2003) has been quietly outstanding for years now. I know (from experience) that our list members love well-made Boushey Grenache. So why not go out and make it ourselves? That way we can lock it in, year-in and year-out, and we can control pricing.
My hope continues to be that our list members feel a sense of ownership of the Block Wines winery. It’s your feedback (both via anecdote and via purchasing decisions) that informs the decisions of what grapes we pursue, and the style of the resulting wines. In this case, we harvested pristine Grenache from Dick Boushey’s Golden Block in early October. We fermented with native yeasts, and left 30% as whole-cluster (stems and all). We pressed into one large French puncheon and one French barrel (both neutral), and aged for 15 months with a single racking before bottling in January. That is nearly identical treatment to the 2014. Any differences are vintage related, which is what we’re looking for when we drill down to micro-terroir levels. 2015 was a hot year, even hotter than 2014. We picked 10 days earlier in ’15 (Oct 5 versus Oct 15) and still ended up with finished alc a touch higher (15.0% versus 14.7%).
This pours into the glass medium ruby – true to Grenache – and comes soaring up out of the glass with a nose of briary raspberry, hot-rock minerality, and dried flowers and grasses; just right for Grenache. And what I’ve always loved about Boushey Vineyard for Grenache is similar to what I love about the site for Syrah: it plays on the wild, savory side of the grape. So with time and air, we also get subtleties emerging of exotic star anise and smoked meats, auguring more good things to come as this evolves. Texturally, 2015 seems to want to be a modern-Chateauneuf kind of vintage, all lushness and succulence. This really fans out and coats the palate with its mix of anise-tinged fruit and Boushey earth. The finish goes on and on, and had me wanting to fire up the grill for some mixed sausages. As we move into autumn/winter (or “cassoulet season” as we call it in my house), you’ll want a few bottles of this beauty tucked away.
Please limit order requests to 24 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.