Full Pull Ring Out (Final Offer of 2018)

December 24, 2018

Hello friends. This is our final offer of 2018. We’ll plan to stay out of your inboxes until January 6, when you can expect our first offer of 2019. 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 2019 will be Thursday January 10.

Today’s offer will include reorder links for a handful of our well-loved in-house wines – three from the Block Wines line, four from Full Pull & Friends, and one from Starside – but first, 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 have always loved quoting those stanzas, the way they speak to the cleansing grace of the end of a year. But this year is complicated. My father died, suddenly and unexpectedly, on December 3 (here is a remembrance I wrote soon after). And while I would normally be inclined to keep family matters like this private, that doesn’t seem appropriate for my dad, who had become interwoven with Full Pull over the past few years. He loved working the tasting bar on Thursdays and telling stories. (Some of them were even true.) He loved Full Pull, loved our team, and really loved our list members. So in addition to the thanks I would normally give to you all, for all the support you’ve given to Full Pull in 2018, I also want to say thank you for enlivening and enriching the last years of my dad’s life. We’ll be doing a small ceremony at Full Pull in late January to celebrate my father’s life. If any of you are interested in attending, please just reply to this email and let me know, and I’ll send along details when we have them.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind for those that here we see no more. I’m trying.

Moving to happier topics, this was a wonderful year for Full Pull, a year of surprising growth. Way back on April 23, I christened 2018 “the year of the deal” and my goodness was that borne out by the subsequent eight months. It felt like kismet: Full Pull growing to a point where we have substantial buying power on behalf of y’all, right at the same time that many wineries needed help moving significant volumes of juice, with a willingness to do so via significant discounts. All signs point to more of the same in 2019.

But of course we’re not all about the discount deals; in fact they remain a small minority of our offers. The vast majority still focus on the finest wines from the compelling boutique producers of the Pacific Northwest. Our goal remains connecting the finest farmers and winemakers of this corner of the world with a vibrant community of wine lovers who can’t seem to get enough of all this good juice. Speaking of good juice…

NV Block Wines Extra Brut Rose Marchant Vineyard D.2018
Finally! We finally produced enough Block bubbly to make it to the end of the year. All it took was nearly doubling our production from the 2017 disgorgement. Dry, bright, and balanced, this disgorgement offers plenty of rich red fruit paired to subtleties of earth and flower, bread and mineral. The ultimate goal is to have this wine stay in available stock long enough to make it to our spring disgorgement of the FP&F Blanc de Blancs, but at the rate this is moving, I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

2016 Block Wines Semillon Tauro Block Boushey Vineyard 
Our first Semillon fermented and aged in concrete egg, this has been a hit since its release: a frequent buy at the tasting table and a frequent reorder target too. We’ve now sold through about 85% of our production, so this is moving into last-call territory.

2016 Starside Cabernet Sauvignon 
Here is our attempt to make the finest possible Washington Cabernet that can hit the magic $20 price point. We originally offered this sequel to the 2015 Puget Purveyors Cab in April, and it too has been a steady reorder target since. We’re 70% sold-through, right on pace to sell out around the time we’re due for the release of the ’17 in April. Declassified barrel-fermented Discovery Vineyard Cab, blended with fruit from Sagemoor, Red Willow, Klipsun, and [REDACTED].

2016 Block Wines Grenache Golden Block Boushey Vineyard
The only red wine in the Block lineup not sold out, but it’s getting there: 83% sold, with 17% remaining. This beauty was fermented and aged in a single concrete egg, and right from release, I have adored this wine’s propulsive energy.

2011 Full Pull & Friends CVSIP (FPF-26)
Here’s what our (fantastic, redacted) winery partner is willing to share about our private-label Rhone blend: it’s 57% Syrah, 31% Grenache, 8% Mourvedre, and 4% Cinsault, from Red Mountain, Wahluke Slope and the Walla Walla Valley. Probably goes without saying that it spent a decent amount of time in barrel (two years; French oak; not much new; barriques and puncheons) and even more time in bottle. I suspect – based on the 14.7% alc in a cold year like 2011 – that there’s a solid component from (very warm) Red Mountain here. Red Mountain also reveals itself in the nose, with that AVA’s signature iron-tinged minerality, paired to brambly black fruit and dark roast coffee beans. With time and air, Syrah savories of bacon fat and black olive emerge. This is drinking in its peak window for sure, with a fine mix of primary fresh fruit, maturing dried fruit, and tertiary complexities galore (dust, leather, mushroom). We’re halfway sold through our parcel.

2012 Full Pull & Friends Grenache Olsen Vineyard (FPF-23)
Our first FP&F wine of 2018 is also our most scarce, with just 28% remaining after selling through 72% of our stash. When we had the opportunity to go long on Grenache from an A+ vintage and an A+ vineyard, we didn’t hesitate. This was raised in large puncheons, mostly neutral (20% new) for 18 months, and clocks in at 14.6% listed alc. The nose contains fruit layers both primary (fresh strawberry) and maturing (fig, dried raspberry), alongside complexities of hot-stone minerality and green savories of garrigue and Castelvetrano olive. The extra bottle age shows itself texturally on the palate, where all rough edges have been sanded down by the power of time, leaving a supple beauty that saturates the palate with its rich mix of fruit and earth notes.

2011 Full Pull & Friends CVBDX (FPF-25)
This one has sold briskly since release in June, and is now 71% sold through, with 29% remaining. This comes from “Winery Alpha,” the partner for our first ever FP&F wine (2007 Cabernet Sauvignon), and for the 2007 and 2009 vintages of CVBDX. This is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot (no precise percentages, but the varieties are in order of their proportion in the blend). The vineyards involved here ([cough] lots of Red Mountain fruit [cough cough]) are pretty damned warm, even in cooler years. Some evidence: our alcohol for the 2007 was 14.5%. The 2009 was 14.9%. The 2011? Wait for it… 14.4%. So yeah, still plenty of generosity and richness here. The nose offers red plum and black cherry, good clean soil and lovely green notes (hello Cab Franc) of bay leaf. I love how the palate contains such densely packed layers of fruit, unfurling over hours of oxygen exposure. This is evolving beautifully, not only in the complexity of its palate, but also in its structure, the finishing lick of tannins combed to a fine sheen by the power of extra bottle age.

2016 Full Pull & Friends Syrah Boushey Vineyard (FPF-27) – $49.99 (TPU $29.99)
Our most recent entry in the FP&F roster, offered in October and already two-thirds sold through. A wine originally intended for Block Wines and a $50 price point, this landed in the FP&F lineup after a forklift accident saw the entirety of the 2015 vintage disappear in a blink and after I made the (maybe not so smart in hindsight) decision to discontinue the wine after 2016. So a one-off, yes, but what a one-off it is! Fermented with 50% whole clusters and aged for 18 months in neutral puncheon, this clocks in at 14.8% listed alc and pours inky black-purple. The nose is an ever-evolving pastiche, but the core is marionberry fruit and savory notes of black olive tapenade and smoky ham hock. Boushey Syrah always seems to carry a heavier tannin profile than is typical for the grape, and that’s true here. Not that this drinks like Cab – it doesn’t – but the finish does offer a pleasing toothsome character, an attractive leafy farewell.

Full Pull 2012 Chardonnay

December 23, 2018

Hello friends. Today we have the latest in our year-ending Instant Gratification series of offers (only three left after today). These all contain wines that are in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup post-allocation (allocations will take place tomorrow at 10am). We have just one more pickup weekend in 2018 (Dec 20-22), then our usual two-week holiday closure. Our first open pickup weekend in 2019 will be Jan 10-12.

Technically, this is a reoffer, as we originally offered this wine in October 2015. But good Chardonnay evolves quite a bit in three years, and so too have the circumstances of the offer. Including pricing, which is a good bit lower than our 2015 TPU of 26.99:

2012 Carter Lamour Chardonnay 
I’ll point you to our archive for the full version of the story behind this wine. The short version is that this was a wine developed by a pair of Washington winemakers to help a pair of their brethren going through an enormously difficult time. And the project did just that. But that was three years ago, and now it seems like everyone involved is eager to see the wine move out of gloomy warehouses and into happy homes where it will be consumed by Washington wine enthusiasts.

The folks behind Carter Lamour offered us excellent pricing on their entire remaining stash, and (after sampling) we purchased all of it. Our list’s interest in carefully-aged Washington Chardonnay was made clear to me when we offered our 2007 FP&F Chard back in 2017. This puppy is a little younger, but is also five bucks less than the FP&F 19.99 price point.

The winemakers and the fruit behind this bottling are outstanding. Half comes from Aryn Morell and his La Reyna Blanca Vineyard (the 2012 La Reyna Chard he bottled for Alleromb was released at $48). The other half comes from Andrew Latta and Roza Hills Vineyard (the 2012 Roza that Andrew worked on for Sixto was released at $55 and snagged a 94pt Wine Spectator review).

Of course all of it comes from 2012, still the consensus choice for finest vintage of the 2000s in Washington to date. And now six years past vintage, plenty of time for good Chardonnay to begin evolving and offering some of the savory subtleties that make this such an ageworthy white. This clocks in at 14.5% listed alc and begins with a nose still retaining plenty of primary fruit (peach, pineapple, lemon curd) but also beginning to see tertiary threads emerging: earth and hazelnut and crème fraiche. It’s a complex, deeply appetizing nose. The palate offers mouth-coating, saturating intensity, with plenty of weight and heft all lifted and brightened by a sturdy acid spine. This has length, complexity, and typicity to spare. It is a fabulous winter white right now and would be outrageous with any manner of shellfish pulled from cold northwest waters. But I’ll aim to stash at least six bottles away to open every couple years. This drinks like a northwest Chard that will age more like a Meursault.

Full Pull Heather Hill

December 22, 2018

Hello friends. Today we have another in our year-ending Instant Gratification series of offers. These all contain wines that are in the warehouse and ready for immediate pick-up post allocation (allocations will take place tomorrow at 10am). We have one more pickup weekend in 2018 (Dec 20-22), then our usual two-week holiday closure. Our first open pickup weekend in 2019 will be Jan 10-12.

This wine marks an important occasion for Full Pull. We have received small allocations of this wine over the years—always 6 and 12-bottle allocations that we sold through our retail rack—but we have never been able to offer it in any real quantity. Until today.

2015 Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Heather Hill Vineyard
Even today, our parcel is barely large enough to warrant an offer. We’ll set upper order limits at 6 bottles, but please don’t be surprised if actual allocations are closer to 2 or 3. This is a rare and special bottling from Abeja, extremely difficult to source outside the winery’s cellar door; it was a clear choice as we talked about this year’s Instant Gratification series. This would be a knock-out holiday gift for any of your loved ones who are geeky about the Walla Walla Valley—or anyone who just loves vineyard expressive Cabernet.

Heather Hill is an estate vineyard for Abeja, one they planted in 2001. It sits adjacent to Seven Hills Vineyard on the south side of the Walla Walla Valley AVA. The soil, aspect, and growing conditions are unique, and ideal for growing Cabernet fruit. The vineyard consists of a high hillside with a steep slope. Grapes are planted on top of the hill, down the slope, and along the bottom, which provides three distinct growing areas. The varied topography is like having three unique vineyard sites; each provides diverse characteristics in chemistry, ripening, and flavor profiles. The lowest planted elevation in the vineyard is the same as the Rocks District, and produces savory, earthy grapes. The top of the hill’s high elevation gives Abeja grapes with distinct, bright fruit. The slope-planted grapes in the middle provide density.

Dan and Amy Wampfler, the husband-and-wife winemaking team at Abeja, get to use these differing growing regions within their vineyard to their advantage. Not only does it allow for thoughtfully blended, terroir-driven, vineyard-specific wines, but it also helps mitigate any growing issues from the vintage. Did a freeze come through and hurt lower elevation plantings across the Walla Walla Valley? If so, that only accounts for â…“ of Heather Hill vineyard, and Abeja still has plentiful fruit throughout the other elevations. Dan and Amy retain a certain freedom to explore the very best, most representative grapes of the vintage—something many winemakers dream of.

This site has always been thrilling for Washington Cabernet, and it’s getting increasingly complex year after year. Dan and Amy have both worked with these grapes for years now—with purchased parcels before either came to Abeja—and they have seen the growth within the vineyard over this time. It shows through in the wine; the layers of flavor in 2015 are abundant. Almost 20 years in the ground, these vines have proven themselves expressive, intricate, and balanced.

This bottling is 100% Cabernet and clocks in at 14.4% listed alcohol. It offers a nose full of rich red fruit influenced with herbaceous greens, star anise, savory earth, and high-quality wood spice (it spent 18 months in 50% new French oak). The complexities here run deep. The palate is full-bodied and mouth-coating; all encompassing Cabernet. Yes, there is plenty of dark, brooding fruit, but the detailed beauty of this wine lays in its cocoa-dusted wood spice, soaring acidity, and chewy tannins. The theme of this wine is layers, and these layers can last for years in the cellar, taking their sweet, delicious time to unfurl fully. This is a wine worthy of your cellar space, a reward for the patient, and a treat for all lovers of Cabernet.

Full Pull Alsace

December 21, 2018

Hello friends. Today we have another in our year-ending Instant Gratification series of offers. These all contain wines that are in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup post-allocation (allocations will take place tomorrow at 10am). In addition to today, we have just one more pickup weekend in 2018 (Dec 20-22), then our usual two-week holiday closure. Our first open pickup weekend in 2019 will be Jan 10-12.

Do we all like the idea of Alsace more than the reality? I kinda think so. We hear Alsace and think of full, dry, age-worthy whites from little French-Germanic hillside plots turning gold in autumn as a tarte flambée bubbles in a rustic hearth. Which all sounds great. Right up until we see the price. At which point we’re like: or maybe Savoie.

It helps to explain why we don’t send out very many Alsace offers, but I can say that when we do send them out, they tend to be compelling. Including today, where we have a pair of vintages of Grand Cru Riesling at varying stages of evolution:

2014 Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Saering
Schlumberger has among the largest vineyard holdings of any domaine in Alsace, and it allows them to work with estate fruit only, something of a rarity in the region. Founded in 1810 by Nicolas Schlumberger (this guy), the domaine is now on its 7th generation, in the form of Séverine Schlumberger, the current winemaker (the one in the middle of this picture).

Saering is one of their steeper sites (check out this picture), and it yields outstanding, age-worthy Riesling from its marl/limestone soils. Only the best plots of Saering make it into Schlumberger’s GC bottling, and this one clocks in at 13.5% listed alc.

Wine Enthusiast (Anne Krebiehl MW): [TEXT REDACTED]

2012 Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Saering 
We have about half as much ’12 as ’14, so I won’t say much here, except that accessing grand cru Alsace Riesling at six years past vintage is a rare treat indeed. This one clocks in at 12.5% listed alc and comes blasting out of the glass with the clear smoky/diesel tones indicating a fine aged Riesling. Those are paired to orange blossom and lime leaf and mineral, rounding out a fine, compelling nose. The palate is dry, with lovely glyceryl heft belying the moderate alcohol and carrying a mix of fruit and earth tones easily across the palate. This still has years left in the tank.

Full Pull Club (Almost) Only

December 20, 2018

Hello friends. Today we have our annual holiday-season gift from Sean Boyd, the seventh vintage running where he has granted our list members access to what is otherwise a club-only wine for Rotie Cellars:

2016 Rotie Cellars VdP
This began as one of those deals that proves there is no substitute for feet on the ground, for local intel. On just about every trip to eastern Washington, I learn about some kind of cool opportunity for our list members that could never have been unearthed from behind a computer screen, and that was the case with our original (2010) vintage of VdP.

But at the time, I thought it was a one-off, some wacky French-labeled bottles originally intended for Quebec. I figured we’d get a little parcel of 2010, and that would be the end of it. But then there was the response. Our list members, to put it mildly, freaked out over that wine. We had originally set an upper order limit of 24 bottles, and then our max allocations ended up being, I think, 4 bottles. Sean sent us every bottle he possibly could, and that was the beginning of something special.

Sean just released this wine to Rotie’s club, who, as usual, gobbled up the majority of it, and now it’s our turn. Here are some reminders about this bottling:

1. VdP is a club-only wine for Rotie Cellars. Traditionally, this wine is a little gift from Sean Boyd to his club members: a well-priced Vin de Pays from the same vineyard sources that go into the higher-end ($48 and up) Rotie bottlings.

2. Like with the previous vintages, I’m expecting access to one parcel, one time, with prospects for reorders looking unlikely. Please try to get order requests in by Sunday night, and then Sean will be sending one truckload over the mountains. No guarantees that we’ll have access to future vintages of VdP, either, so if you really love this bottle, consider joining Rotie’s outstanding wine club.

3. Sean doesn’t share the exact vineyard breakdown, but as I mentioned above, these are not declassified barrels. They come from the exact same sites that go into wines like Rotie’s Northern Blend, Southern Blend, Homage, etc.

In 2016, VdP is an even split of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre, and it clocks in at 14% listed alc. The nose is very Mourvedre- and Grenache-forward, with plummy fruit and roasted game from Mourvedre, and sagebrush-dotted red fruit courtesy of Grenache. With time and air, this gets brinier and brinier, all Castelvetrano olive goodness. The overall aromatic package is perfumed, evocative, deeply appetizing. And then this is texturally-splendid, with fruit impact aplenty balanced by acid-driven vivacity. Sean always pitches this as a holiday party wine, and the ’16 absolutely fits the bill, with plenty of yum factor for wine noobs and wonderful complexity and polish for the more experienced tasters in the crowd. Ultimately, this is absolutely delicious wine, and one hell of a value.

Year in and year out, Sean’s VdP is a total charmer, true to the French Vin de Pays wines it’s based on, just full of character and pleasure, and seemingly born to pair with cassoulets and other stews combining silky legumes and savory pork products. Many thanks to Mr. Boyd for continuing to offer such a fine opportunity to our list members.

Full Pull Cosme

December 19, 2018

Hello friends. Over the years, families build holiday traditions. Over the past six years, Full Pull has created one of our own: offering an excellent (albeit short-term) tariff on a reference-point Rhone Syrah. The Saint Cosme Cotes-du-Rhone has become one of our best-selling wines in Full Pull history—and it would not truly mark the transition into the holiday season without offering this wine at a price well below its usual $16 release.

2017 Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 
Quick logistics note before we move onto the wine itself: we only get one shot at this pricing, and it’s volume-based (one of those times when we all benefit from Full Pull’s growth over the last few years). We’ll try to build in a buffer for late orders and *some* reorders, but once we exceed that buffer, any reorders beyond that will be at a tariff closer to this wine’s normal $15-$16 range.

Now, onto the wine.

Wine Advocate (Joe Czerwinski): “[TEXT WITHHELD]”

That review sums up this wine perfectly. It has become Saint Cosme’s calling card: as good a Syrah, year in and out, that you can buy for under $20.

Another thing I love year after year is winemaker Louis Barruol’s own notes: When I create my Côtes du Rhône, my first thoughts are for you, my customers. At every stage, I wonder what you would like to taste, what you might enjoy. I imagine my bottle of wine on your table and I want to be proud of what I give you to enjoy. No detail can be taken lightly and you have to say to yourself that every tiny decision and every gesture will go towards shaping the final result. Every wine must be made as if it was designed to be the best. As far as I am aware, when you bring up your children, you do your utmost for each and every one of them, irrespective of intellect or beauty. I will always ensure that our Côtes du Rhône is a fine ambassador for our estate. In 2017, low yields produced wines with lots of intensity. Their vibrant fruit adds ‘crunchiness’ and salinity. As always, the bouquet is guided by the Syrah and the clay soils. Tannins are there but they are nicely rounded.

Here Louis touches on one of the most intriguing things about this Côtes du Rhone. While most CdRs are majority Grenache, this version is made entirely of Rhone Syrah. (Louis’ Grenache goes into the Little James Basket Press, another list favorite wine.) The Syrah comes from two of Cosme’s holdings—one in Vinsobres (a bit cooler, on limestone and sand) and one in Gard (warmer, on large terraces of medium-to-large rolling stones). The Saint Cosme CdR clocks in at 14.5% listed alcohol. Done entirely in concrete, the wine begins with a nose of robust plum and berry fruit, crushed purple flowers, sandalwood, Rhone garrigue, and lots of savory minerals. On the palate, the fruit is savory and spiced, with a medium-full body. It’s kept bright with electric acidity and rustic tannins; balanced as all get out. CdRs are typically made for early consumption—and you wouldn’t regret drinking this one now—but this bottle truly has the stamina to age. This is the 20th vintage for Saint Cosme’s CdR and again it’s a Syrah that shines with depth and complexity. The overall sense of balance and class at this tag is unusual for sure, and the reason why we’ve offered every vintage since 2011.

Full Pull Champoux

December 18, 2018

Hello friends. Washington doesn’t have officially designated cru vineyards—but if we did Champoux would undeniably be one of Washington’s cru Cabernet sites (see location here on our vineyard map). Four Washington wineries have ownership stakes in Champoux Vineyard, and these four wineries have access to the best grapes, including the highly desirable Block One fruit. We have Quilceda Creek (they of the $140 Cabernet Sauvignon), Woodward Canyon (Old Vines Cabernet is $110), and Andrew Will (Sorella, which comes entirely from Block One Champoux fruit, is $83). Today’s wine comes from the fourth winery partner, Powers.

2013 Powers Champoux Vineyard Reserve Red Blend 
Powers is the fourth winery in the Champoux puzzle—and what a win for us value hunters. There are very few ways to taste the oldest blocks from Champoux Vineyard; Powers’ ownership stake allows them to be the only way to do so under $80. We’ve got access to unbeatable pricing today—a thank you from Powers for the years of Full Pull support, and well of this wine’s regular $60 pricing—but this is likely to be a one time only deal. Reorders will likely be at the original tag, it they are possible at all.

The Powers family planted their 80-acre family estate, Badger Mountain Vineyard, in the 1980s and became the first Certified Organic vineyard in Washington State in 1990. (Remember, this was waaaaay before the notion of organics was trendy.) They launched their eponymous winery two years later and formed the partnership that purchased Champoux (then called Mercer Ranch) in 1996. They’ve been working with Champoux fruit ever since—and it shows.

The blend is all from Champoux—42.5% Cabernet (all blocks one and three), 28.5% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, and 14% Malbec—and clocks in at 14% listed alcohol. It spent 40 months (!) in barrel (65% new French, the rest second and third time use) before bottling. Champoux has such a trademarkable nose; a wonderful graphite minerality cloaked in low-toned darkness. Cab Sauv and Franc shine here, exuding dark, brooding berries, eucalyptus, dirt, and smoke. This bottle is five years past vintage and some intriguing tertiaries are just starting to emerge (leather, foraged mushrooms, dried tobacco). The palate is awash in juicy red and black fruit. It’s downright mouthwatering as it shows off its solid structure, savory subtleties, and dusty tannins. An impeccable balance between the hard and the soft, this wine has just entered its prime drinking window, with many years ahead. Textbook Powers, this is classy juice that punches well above its price class and offers a wonderful introduction to one of Washington’s most important vineyards.