Full Pull Instant Gratification 8 of 8: Ring Out (Final Offer of 2017)

December 25, 2017

Hello friends. This is our final offer of 2017. We’ll plan to stay out of your inboxes until about January 7, when you can expect our first offer of 2018. In the meantime, after our open hours today (Saturday; 11am-7pm) we are CLOSED for pickups for the next few weeks, and our first TPU pickup day in 2017 will be Thursday January 11.

Today’s offer will mostly focus on reflections from a busy 2017. At the end of the offer we’ll include reorder links for a handful of our in-house favorites; and at the beginning we’ll do what we’ve done every year since 2009: excerpt Tennyson’s In Memoriam.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

I love quoting these particular stanzas, because they speak to the cleansing grace of the end of a year, the power of first remembering and then letting go.

One memory that stands out to me from 2017 was our team’s September trip with Morgan Lee to visit all the vineyards we work with for our in-house winery, Block Wines. This was the first year that we were able to bring nearly our entire team on that eastern Washington swing, and it led to all sorts of interesting conversations, several of them sober even.

And I remember Pat making the point – after seeing all these pristine, carefully-tended vineyards and tasting all these perfect grape berries ripening on the vine – that the raw materials we start with in the Pacific Northwest are truly beautiful, and that the role of the winemakers is to convey that beauty in the finished wines. Our job at Full Pull is to suss out the winemakers who are achieving the honest expression of this rigorous farming, and to shield our list members from all the rest.

I see our role as that of the curator/matchmaker: the curator side tasting broadly so that you don’t have to; the matchmaker side connecting the best winemakers in the northwest (and a few in the rest of the world) to a group of people who care about the beverages they consume.

And that’s what always strikes me about our list members. In a world where cool detachment seems to be in the ascendancy, our list members are a countercultural group who choose to *care* about something. In this case, it’s wine, but it’s the caring itself that’s telling of the kind of folks who populate our list. Our Full Pull team feels very fortunate to have such a thoughtful, engaged, kind group of people as our list members. Thank you all for such robust support in 2017.

Now then, let’s do this quixotic thing we do – attempting to use language to convey sensory experience – one more time, and then let’s close the door on 2017.

2015 Block Wines Chenin Blanc Gnarl Block Rothrock Vineyard 

Last call on this vintage of Chenin. At the end of 2017, we’re placing the remainder in the library, where it will be off limits for at least another two or three years. International Wine Report (Owen Bargreen): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 91pts.”

2016 Block Wines Semillion Tauro Block Boushey Vineyard 

Our first Semillon fermented and aged in concrete egg, this has been a hit since its September release: a frequent buy at the tasting table and a frequent reorder target too. International Wine Report (Owen Bargreen): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 90pts.”

2007 Full Pull & Friends Chardonnay (FPF-22)

Despite going really long on this decade-old Chardonnay, it still may not last out the year; we’re down to just 18% of our original stock remaining, thanks in part to this recent review. Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 92pts.”

2015 Temporal Vintners Tempranillo

We released this less than a month ago, and it has already become a frequent reorder target, just like the 2014. You may remember, though: production here is half that of the ’14, so this is moving fast. All Tempranillo from Dineen Vineyard, with some Ribera clone and some Toro clone material, this easily outperforms its $15 tag. It is not the soft side of Tempranillo; it’s burly, muscular, powerful Tempranillo; Tempranillo with Cabernet structure—full of polished, fine-grained tannins that offer a texture to perfectly complement all sorts of meals throughout the winter. Tempranillo is the wine for braising weather: for days indoors slow-cooking a tough piece of protein into something supple and delicious. Pot roasts and short ribs and oxtails. Big messes of root veggies and potatoes.

2015 Puget Purveyors Cabernet Sauvignon

Here is our attempt to make the finest possible Washington Cabernet that can hit the magic $20 price point: Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 91pts.”

2009 Full Pull & Friends CVBDX (FPF-21)

Another one where we went long but have seen brisk sales since this wine’s original offer in May. We have 39% of the original stock remaining, and this was the only FP&F red we offered in 2017. International Wine Report (Owen Bargreen): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 92pts.”

2014 Full Pull & Friends Merlot Klipsun Vineyard (FPF-19)

2017 is the first year since starting Full Pull (in 2009) that I’ve felt the stirrings of a Merlot comeback. It’s way overdue. We’re getting close to last-call time on our FP&F Merlot, with just 19% remaining of the original stock. International Wine Report (Owen Bargreen): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 92pts.”

2015 Block Wines Syrah Ankleroller Block Stoney Vine Vineyard
Oh the Ankleroller, beloved by FP team members and list members and reviewers alike. And we only made a single puncheon’s worth. Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan):[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 93pts.”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 93pts”

International Wine Report (Owen Bargreen): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 93pts”

Full Pull Instant Gratification 4 of 8: Library Cali Price Drop

December 12, 2017

Hello friends. Today we have the fourth of eight Instant Gratification offers to close out 2017. This series features wines that are already in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup. No need to wait until mid-January; these wines are here, available for pickup during our remaining three pickup days, and looking for happy homes for the holidays.

IG4 features a pair of maturing Cali Rhone blends from singer-songwriter Boz Scaggs’ vineyard, which is I believe the only California winery represented by Kermit Lynch. The wine normally retails at $45, and the best price I see for any vintage online is 39.99. Today we have prices well below that, for one wine at eight years past vintage, another at eleven. To secure that pricing, we had to purchase the entire remaining stock in Washington, but it was still a borderline parcel size-wise for an offer.

The wine comes entirely from a single estate vineyard at the northern edge of Mt. Veeder within the Mayacamas Ridge, at high altitudes (1100-1400 feet). The site was originally planted in 1998 and has been certified organic since 2005. It seems like the Scaggs wines fly mostly under the radar, but I did find a Wine Enthusiast review of one vintage of Montage, the 2008, where the wine earned 95pts and text calling the wine “among the best [GSM blends] in California.”

Accessing well-aged parcels of Cali wine is rare to begin with. Rarer still to see them at 45-55% off release price. Seems just right for the holidays.

2009 Scaggs Vineyard Montage

The blend for the ’09 is 48% Mourvedre, 38% Grenache, 9% Syrah, and 5% Counoise. It clocks in at 14.3% listed alc and begins with a nose of dried cherry and fig fruit paired to maturing notes of leather spice and dusty earth. The palate features a mix of supple primary fruit paired to lovely earthy tertiary notes (earth, mushroom, exotic spice). The structure is still alive and kicking here, especially in the form of sneaky fine-grained finishing tannins. This strikes me as a wine in the early stages of peak drinking.

2006 Scaggs Vineyard Montage

And now for a wine right in the middle of peak drinking. The ’06 sees the same proportions of Mourvedre (48%) and Grenache (38%) as the ’09, but it contains no Counoise and so has double the Syrah (18%). Listed alc is 14.2%. It’s more clearly mature on the nose, with earth and roasted shitake notes paired to deep black fruit and a salty soy sauce reduction. There’s a real umami kick on the palate too: this is briny and delicious, those savory notes a perfect foil to a core of rich fruit. Tannins are close to fully integrated here, and the acidity is still fresh and lovely.

Full Pull Instant Gratification 3 of 8: Top 100 #s 2 and 13

December 10, 2017

Hello friends. As you can see from the schedule above, we have just three more pickup days remaining in 2017. The past few days, we’ve been instituting a new series of offers to close out the year: our Instant Gratification series. Today makes the 3rd in the series, and possibly one of the most exciting (and probably frenzy inducing). Like the previous offers, both wines below are already in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup. No need to wait until mid-January; these wines are here, delicious, and looking for happy homes for the holidays.

Whether you believe in it or not, karma can feel very real in the wine business. Obviously, bad actions can bring about bad results, but we’re not here to focus on the negative today. We’re here to focus on the positive side of Karma. Karma is really just cause and effect—what you do in the world impacts what happens do you. For example, it’s never more clear that we are doing good work here at Full Pull than when we receive access to highly-desirable, completely-sold-out, top-scoring wines.

2014 K Vintners Syrah Powerline Estate Vineyard

We originally offered this wine well before it landed the #2 spot on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of 2017. Typically, this type of accolade means that every bottle still available gets gobbled up immediately. Full Pull (or at least a few of our list members) must have done something karmically good over the past eight years, because Charles Smith and his team were kind enough to offer us a second parcel of the highly lauded wine.

Wine Spectator Top 100 (#2): “The first Syrah release from a new vineyard, Powerline is a bold statement from winemaker Charles Smith. But what do you expect from the bad boy of Washington wine? Located just south of Walla Walla at an elevation of 1,200 feet, the 30-acre vineyard was planted by Smith in 2012. The site is an ancient riverbed containing well-drained soils, thick with cobblestones, sand and gravel, that produce about 2.5 tons per acre. Smith fermented the 2014 with native yeast and soaked it on the skins for 41 days before aging the wine 27 months in French puncheons, 53 percent of them new oak.”

Wine Spectator (Tim Fish): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 95pts”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 94-97pts.”

Notes on logistics:
1. I suspect we’ll have to under-allocate here, given the parcel sizes, so a quick reminder of our allocation technique: Our allocations favor breadth over depth, so that everyone gets one bottle before anyone gets two. And our formula for prioritizing allocations includes overall orders, frequency of orders, recency of orders, and list tenure, among other factors.

2. We’ll run our initial allocation at noon Pacific time tomorrow (Tuesday).

3. If you’ve already placed a reorder request that’s in Pending, no need to order again; we’ll consider your request along with everyone else’s.

2014 Sixto Chardonnay Uncovered 

Originally offered April 7. Excerpts from the original: Wine Spectator (Tim Fish): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 94pts.” *Note: When we offered this in July, we mistakenly quoted the score in Spectator as 93pts when it was actually 94pts. Luckily the winery saw fit to forgive us and allocate us another parcel of this wine!*

The Sixto label is intended to explore old-vine Washington Chardonnay, named after the musician Sixto Rodriguez, subject of the outstanding Oscar-winning documentary Searching For Sugar Man. Uncovered is Sixto’s gateway drug, a blend of each of the three vineyards (which go for $55 in single-vineyard form) involved in the project – Frenchman Hills (33%), Moxee (28%), and Roza Hills (27%) – along with a dash (12%) of Evergreen.

Full Pull Instant Gratification 1 of 8: Serious Crush

December 9, 2017

Hello friends. As you can see from the schedule above, we have just five pickup days (including today) remaining in 2017. This year, we’re instituting a new series of offers to close out the year: our Instant Gratification series. For the remainder of December, all our offers will be for wines that are already in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup. No need to wait until mid-January; these wines are here, delicious, and looking for happy homes for the holidays.

Our first in the series comes from a familiar winery, but it’s an unfamiliar wine. We’ve offered nine red wines from Result of a Crush, and all nine have been Syrah-based. Today we have something different, and we liked the wine enough that we cornered the market on the entire western Washington parcel.

2015 Result of a Crush Claret

As you can see, this wine is already sold out at the winery. Apparently it was a massive hit in the tasting room. If there’s anyplace outside of Full Pull to source this beauty, I don’t know about it.

It’s a four-variety Bordeaux blend: 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot. Unlike many of the previous RoaC wines, which have combined Reynvaan estate fruit with purchased juice, this 2015 Claret is 100% Reynvaan estate; a mix of their rocks and foothills sites.

What’s exciting is that these are the same vineyards that go into the high-end Reynvaan BDX program, and those wines *start* at $75. To access that kind of juice at a twenty dollar tag is a terrific opportunity, and helps explain why I was comfortable going long.

The nose displays a fascinating interplay between the Bordeaux varieties, which want to be more fruit driven, and the terroir, which seems to want to express a savory/briny character regardless of grape. For every black plum there’s a black olive; for every red cherry a red-blooded sense of sanguine minerality. It’s a complex, ever-evolving nose. The palate (13.5% listed alc) is bright, juicy, lively, with an insistent sense of brine and minerality. There’s lovely resinous freshness here – like fruit muddled with douglas fir boughs – that I found deeply compelling. Between the bright acidity and the polished tannin, this drinks very much like a wine that will evolve in fascinating directions for years. Right now, it would make an awfully attractive pairing to a rosemary-studded standing rib roast.

International Wine Report (Owen Bargreen): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 92pts.”

Full Pull Hedonistic Holiday Deal

December 8, 2017

Hello friends. This time of year is crazy in the wine trade. Wineries trying to make hay while the sun shines know that the sun shines particularly bright during the holiday season, and then is basically extinguished for much of the beginning of the year. December is a time for excess. January is a time for paying off credit card bills. So the deals fly fast and thick this time of year, and our once rigidly set offer calendar becomes fluid. Offers scheduled for December get bumped to January; wines that weren’t on our radar until recently jump the line; and December pricing reigns supreme.

Today’s offer is a great example. One of our regularly featured winemakers, Chris Gorman, offered December pricing on an interesting pair of wines, a compelling enough holiday deal to move into a coveted December slot (also, see the bottom of today’s email for a reoffer of a terrific Chardonnay)

2015 Gorman Winery Zacharys Ladder

Normal pricing: $30. The 2014 vintage of this was just named on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2017. With that press, it’s possible the 2015 may be gobbled up before we know it, which made this offer ever more pressing.

Always on the lower-priced end of the reds in Gorman’s lineup, Zachary’s Ladder is a $30 bottle that gets all the procedure and trappings of its $60 siblings. Gorman’s calling card has always been bold, lush wines—unapologetic pleasure bringers. He has long known how to turn grapes into something of a hedonistic fever dream. Sourced solely from Red Mountain (Quintessence, Kiona, Shaw), Zachary is made up of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot. Aged for 20 months in two-thirds new French oak, the end result clocks in at 14.8% alcohol. This bottle leads with a nose driven by Cab, layered with cassis, blackberries, fresh fig, and tobacco. The palate continues with plenty of juicy, plush fruit, but is quickly balanced with mouthwatering acidity and ever-present tannins. True to style, this wine is generous, texturally lavish and supple, but the true star is the finish, lengthy and full of anise, dusty earth, and leather. In 2002, this wine was the first Gorman ever made, and now, 13 vintages later, it still proves a righteous example of the luxurious style and ample technique this winery has been built on.

2012 Gorman Winery Evil Twin

Normal pricing: $65. Evil Twin has long been the best way for Chris Gorman to show off one of his signature blends— Red Mountain Syrah and Cabernet. Red Mountain’s power matched with Syrah and Cabernet characteristics make for a sumptuous bottling, fitting right in with Gorman’s house style. Even better yet? The spectacular 2012 vintage. Lauded as one of the best of the century in Washington, when Chris told us he had some 2012 Evil Twin stashed away, and was willing to give our list members a December deal, we pounced.

This bottles does not disappoint—proving as resplendent as ever. Made from 75% Syrah and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine gets barrel fermented and aged in 100% new French oak for 23 months before bottling. As the nose opens, you can pick out exactly which quality comes from which grape. The leafy green and herbs layered with anise, Cabernet. A touch of umami and smoked meat, Syrah. Red and black fruit, both. The palate is grand and unapologetic, showing off plenty of dense fruit and toasty barrels. Texturally deluxe, this is a wine with significant gravity that still manages to shine brightly. Two years in barrel and three in bottle have lead Evil Twin to a sweet spot—it is entering its prime drinking window right now, but will stay delicious for some time.

2016 Ashan Cellars Chardonnay Barrel Fermented

Normal price: $25. New review in the December Enthusiast: Wine Enthusiast (Sean Sullivan): “($25); Aromas of candy corn, spice and almond butter are followed by full-bodied, tropical-fruit flavors that show a pleasing sense of richness and intensity. It’s a delicious example of the variety, with a lingering finish. Editor’s Choice. 91pts.”

Originally offered July 26th, 2017. Excerpts from the original: Chris launched his Chardonnay-only Ashan Cellars label with the 2012 vintage. The philosophy of this project: to use historical and well-managed vineyards, press very lightly, allow native yeast fermentation, wild ML, extensive battonage, long ferments and extended barrel and bottle aging. Along with his excellent single-vineyard Chardonnays, Chris releases one that is a blend of several of his vineyards. While the single vineyard bottlings are $50, the blend comes out a year earlier and is usually sold for $25 (we have slightly lower pricing today).

This vintage contains fruit from Boushey, Celilo, and Conner Lee. It is barrel fermented (duh) in 100% new French oak, aged on the lees for seven months in once-used French oak, and clocks in at 14.5% listed alc. 2016 was not nearly as warm as the previous two vintages, and these are all three cool to coolish vineyards. The result is a balanced beauty, layered and weighty like the best Napa Chards, but without overt buttered popcorn or vanilla ice cream. Instead, we get an alluring mix of lemon curd, mineral, crème fraiche; a palate full of luxurious fruit without obvious oak; and intensity and length to spare for a twenty-dollar tag.

Full Pull Northern Rhone

December 7, 2017

Hello friends. We have a gorgeous set of Northern Rhone wines today from what may be an unfamiliar winery to our list members, but is very much a familiar owner/winemaker: Michel Chapoutier.

We’ve extolled the virtues of Chapoutier’s Roussillon project – Bila-Haut – time and time again. Today we touch on another realm in this brilliant winemaker’s empire: Ferraton Père et Fils. Chapoutier began partnering with the Ferraton winery two decades ago, and then purchased the winery outright in 2004. Since then, quality has been on a slow-and-steady uptick, culminating in a fast-and-sudden additional uptick since the building of a new winery facility in 2013. It’s to the point where these wines now represent that rare bird: quality in the Northern Rhone at accessible pricing.

The press has begun to notice, summed up nicely by James Molesworth’s article last year for Wine Spectator, and that has made these wines marginally more difficult to source. The main feature of today’s offer – a dynamite Crozes-Hermitage – wasn’t even being imported into Seattle. We had to ask for a special-order, and it arrived this week, just in time to offer up for the holidays. In addition we’ll offer two entry level Cotes du Rhones (one white, one red), and a special treat: an Hermitage six-plus years past vintage.

2015 Ferraton Crozes-Hermitage Rouge Les Calendes 

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 92-94pts.”

In my opinion, Crozes-Hermitage is the most uneven appellation in the Northern Rhone. I’m sure one of you who recently paid $35 for crap Saint-Joseph is shaking your head in disagreement right now, but I’d still argue that Crozes takes the cake for hit-or-miss bottles. It’s one of those appellations where there is simply no substitute for tasting to separate the wheat from the chaff. As you can see on the map, Crozes is an area in the crook of the neck made by the confluence of the Rhone and Isere rivers. While up to 15% Marsanne and Roussanne are allowed in red Crozes, this is 100% Syrah, entirely destemmed and aged in concrete. It clocks in at 13.5% listed alc and offers a lovely nose of plum sauce, black olive, and stony minerality; just the kind of savory/fruity mashup the northern Rhone does best. The outstanding 2015 vintage shines on the palate, offering its signature palate-staining goodness, its rich fruit paired to naughty brackish notes. Texturally, this fans out and saturates every square inch of the palate. It’s terrific Syrah for the tag, and a lovely pairing for many a winter braise or roast.

2016 Ferraton Cotes du Rhone Blanc Samorens

Wine Spectator (James Molesworth): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 90pts.”

A lovely mid-weight winter white (13.5% listed alc), this possesses a savory element – straw and sweet pea – almost reminiscent of a nice Gruner, paired to lovely melon and white peach fruit. It’s balanced, bright, and delicious, with a robust citrus-mineral spine to counter a core of creamy fruit.

2015 Ferraton Cotes du Rhone Rouge Samorens

This is predominantly Grenache (80%), rounded out with Syrah and Cinsault, and it’s another delightful 2015 value, pairing plush raspberry and black cherry fruit to flower-inflected garrigue and mineral tones. There’s a smoked-meat subtlety here, a bacon fat note presumably from the small amount of Syrah, that really gets the blood pumping. And as usual with the better ‘15s, this offers almost new world–style density and concentration of fruit. It’s a delicious sub-$15 value.

2011 Ferraton Hermitage Rouge Les Miaux 

Very little of this available, so I won’t say much, but Ferraton’s base is very much Hermitage, and their Hermitage bottlings are their flagship wines. This clocks in at 13.5% listed alc and offers a complex, maturing nose: huckleberry fruit paired to notes savory (mushroom stock, roasting meat) and green (rosemary, green olive) and floral. It’s still surprisingly intense and primary on the palate, and there’s a succulence and exoticism to the fruit that is just wonderful. A rare chance to access maturing wine from one of the world’s beating hearts of Syrah production.

Full Pull Italian Bubbles

December 6, 2017

Hello friends. The story goes: We taste A LOT of sparkling wine this time of year. The autumn-into-winter months are when just about every producer, importer, and wholesaler are trying to convince Seattle restaurants to program their particular bubbly for the holiday season. Year after year, some of the best QPR sparklers we taste come from Italy.

The other story goes: Full Pull is a house built on bubbles. Sparkling wine is emotional currency around these parts. When Full Pull started back in 2009, Paul and his wife, Kelli, developed a simple agreement. Kelli’s responsibility: supply several years of steady income and health insurance while Full Pull figured out what it could be. Paul’s responsibility: keep at least one case of sparkling wine on hand at all times. And it’s not just in our fearless leader’s house—Mountain Dome Brut was the first bottle ever offered to our list, and since then, sparkling wine has been a mainstay in our warehouse.

Given these two tales, offering sparkling wine from Italy this time of year seems like a natural fit. So today, we present our sophomore offer of Italian bubbles. The first version, offered last October, was so well received we decided to do it again—a Lambrusco, a rosé, and a Franciacorta. Hopefully this marks an annual tradition here at Full Pull, an homage to our beginnings, and our staff and list full of bubbleheads.

2015 Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco Secco

As Italy goes, a decent rule of thumb is: if a region is better known for wine than food, expect to pay top dollar for the wine (think Tuscany and Brunello di Montalcino; think Piedmont and Barolo). If a region is better known for food than wine, expect to find serious value. To wit: Emilia Romagna. Many of the best-loved foods of Italy come from ER. Parmigiano-Reggiano. Prosciutto di Parma. Balsamico di Modena. Lasagne alla Bolognese. All products of this region. But what do they drink? They drink Lambrusco.

And not the crap that was exported to the United States (and became hugely popular) in the 1970s and 1980s. We’re talking about dry, juicy, lightly sparkling, slightly bitter red wine. Lambrusco is squarely in comeback mode, and as serious importers begin bringing in more serious Lambruscos, these wines are only going to grow in popularity. For example, Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco is imported by the wonderful Kermit Lynch—the only Lambrusco his company imports. Can it get more serious than that?

Fattoria Moretto is a certified organic Lambrusco producer interested in terroir-driven bottlings. It’s unclear if anyone has ever had the sole passion of terroir-driven Lambrusco before this family, but whatever the Altariva family is doing is working. Kermit Lynch himself wrote, “Moretto is to Lambrusco what Tempier and Terrebrune are to rosé. It reminds me of the best reds of Bandol and Tuscany, with herbs like thyme, and a sort of dusty mineral quality, like you find in some of the top Bordeaux and Tuscan wines.” This bottle, clocking in at 11.5% alcohol, is a fresh, decidedly drinkable version that isn’t playing around. Sourced from 20-40 year old vines, this wine is chock full of black cherries, raspberries, and wild strawberries, but balanced with an intense minerality and fistfuls of fragrant Italian herbs. At this price, and with this palate, there may be no greater pizza wine in the world.

2015 Bortolomiol Filanda Rose

This is the outstanding Prosecco house Bortolomiol applying the same Charmat method used to make Prosecco, but here working with 100% Pinot Noir grapes from one of their neighboring regions to the west, Oltrepo Pavese. Note, this is the same vintage of Bortolomiol that we offered last fall in our inaugural Italian bubbles offer, but it is a brand new, fresh disgorgement. This bottle clocks in at 10 g/L dosage and 12% listed alc, and it pours into the glass a pale delicate pink. The nose is a marvelous mix of cherry, stone fruit, and blood orange fruit speckled with warm spice and subtle earth tones. The palate pairs bright acidity with creamy texture and Pinot Noir earthiness with lovely floral tones, all while highlighting a textured chalk-minerality. This is a mouthwatering rosé with a crisp clean finish and an overriding sense of elegance.

The greatest thing about sparkling rosé is that it pairs with everything. This bottle is ready to go with a thoughtfully made cheese plate, various types of charcuterie, or a simple salad. The earthiness of the Pinot Noir and bright acidity would also be great with main courses, specifically whole roasted chicken, pork loin, or a feast of seven fishes. Its fun and effervescent nature make it an ideal companion for brunch, eating buttered popcorn on the couch, and decorating gingerbread cookies—hell, eating gingerbread cookies.

NV Corteaura Franciacorta Saten 

I know we have list members who will be stoked to see this one return. Last year, we set upper order limits at 6 bottles, ended up with max allocations of 2 bottles, and had to zero out more than a dozen folks who got in too late. We’ll optimistically set limits at 6 bottles again, but no promises.

Franciacorta is generally regarded as the finest sparkling wine region in Italy. Established as a DOC in 1967 and then as a sparkling-only DOCG in 1995, it puts Champagne-level restrictions on the wines, and produces bottles that can act as Champagne ringers in blind tastings. Year after year, these bottles get gobbled up in Europe, with very few escaping the continent in any meaningful number. Which makes it such a delight when there are enough bottles available for an actual offer to our list members.

Non-vintage Franciacorta must spend at least 18 months on lees (compared to 15 months in Champagne), but this particular bottling was aged on the lees for 30 months. A “Saten” in Franciacorta means a Blanc de Blancs, and this is indeed 100% Chardonnay. It clocks in at 12.5% listed alc and offers a head-turning, autumnal nose: apples and cream, woodsmoke and fresh baked bread. There’s so much to love about the palate: the fine mousse, the insistent intensity, the depth and richness, the savory chicken-stock subtleties, the long salty finish. It’s really an awful lot to expect at this price point, but in my experience, that’s Franciacorta for you, a must-try category for lovers of sparkling wines.