Full Pull Goodfellow

March 14, 2019

Hello friends. The last few years here at Full Pull have proven a trove of Pinot delights. The latest treats come from a winery that’s new to us—but a winemaker who has become a favorite in many Willamette Valley circles. Marcus Goodfellow is probably best known to many of our list members as the man behind Matello Winery. He launched Matello in 2002 after he spent time working with the folks at Evesham Wood and Westrey, and for the first few years, he made his own wine tucked away in a little corner at Westrey (good place for wine-knowledge osmosis!). He then moved to a co-op facility, and then his own facility in 2011. In 2014, he launched Goodfellow Family Cellars.

Marcus’ winemaking has long been praised, but his eponymous label allows him to take a step further and focus singularly on his passion for unique, beautiful vineyard sites. He is a stickler for conscientious farming, only working with non-irrigated, sustainably farmed grapes from growers he knows and trusts. Today, we have three single-vineyard bottlings for you, all sourced from different vineyards that Marcus works with. This may only be a snapshot of his winery, but it illustrates the sheer talent that exists behind the helm of this project—and what that talent can do with thoughtfully farmed grapes. This is among the most impressive lineups we’ve tasted out of Oregon in the past year or two—one that once we tasted, we had no choice but to offer. I truly hope you all enjoy these as much as we do.

2016 Goodfellow Chardonnay Durant Vineyard
The first vineyard up is Durant. Durant Vineyard lays atop a gentle east-west slope in the heart of the Dundee Hills. Marcus sources Pinot Noir from the mid-point of the hill, but it’s the vineyard’s Chardonnay that blew us away at our latest tasting. The volcanic soils there—famous for distinct mineral content—don’t just grow distinctive Pinot. They also grow distinctive Chardonnay.

The 2016 Goodfellow Chardonnay is sourced from a section of Dijon vines planted in 1993. It spent 22 months in French oak and clocks in with 13% list alcohol. It opens with a bountiful nose that showcases golden apples, lime zest, chervil, macadamia, and just a touch of lemon meringue. There’s an extreme minerality throughout. The palate expertly walks the tightrope between delicate and plentiful. It’s kept bright with soaring acidity, but for me, the most fascinating intricacies lie within its texture. It’s effortlessly elegant, vibrant, and pure. A wonderful expression of Oregon Chardonnay. There are no reviews yet, but it seems notable that the 2014 vintage received 95+ points from Wine Advocate, yet the 2016 is Goodfellow’s favorite vintage yet.

2016 Goodfellow Pinot Noir Fir Crest Vineyard
Next is Fir Crest Vineyard, a more coastal site that sits in the south-west corner of Yamhill-Carlton. This site is made up of ancient sedimentary soils, and the vineyard slopes south-east. This allows the first sun of the day to dry out that famous Willamette moisture, yet the vines are still warmed slowly by the afternoon sun. The vineyard is known for making dark and intense Pinot that still feels elegant and laser-focused. Marcus himself calls Fir Crest one of Oregon’s most under the radar gems.

Made from 100% Wadensville clones and aged in 500L puncheons, this Pinot definitely fits the bill when it comes to typicity—it’s moody yet graceful, powerful with precise purity. It opens with marionberry and black cherry fruit, layers of forest undergrowth, orange citrus rind, and whole rose bushes. On the palate, the fruit is pure and linear. Every inch of this wine is bursting with acidity, complemented fully by its glorious fruit and savory spice notes. The entire package feels balanced, bright, and powerful. The listed alcohol is 13.8%.

2016 Goodfellow Pinot Noir Whistling Ridge Vineyard
And finally, Whistling Ridge Vineyard. This site sits in the Ribbon Ridge AVA, roughly 1.2 miles north of Beaux Frères Vineyard, and was planted in 1990. Its sedimentary soils and placement at the top of a 450 ft. ridge create singular vineyard-designated wines. (Marcus actually makes two different bottlings from this site.) The slight south-east aspect along the ridge allows for cool evening breezes, while the shallow soils force the roots to grow deep in search of nutrients. The results are both refined and deeply structured.

2016 provided a vibrant juiciness to the Goodfellow lineup that paired well with many of their vineyard sites. In particular, it complements Whistling Ridge’s natural structure splendidly. This wine spent 20 months in French oak and clocks in at 13.4% listed alcohol. It is a wonderful comparison to the Fir Crest bottling. While the house style is evident and consistent, Whistling Ridge has a savory element that’s out of this world. The nose showcases red and black fruit, but the stars here are the notes of herbaceous savories, freshly packed Oregon dirt, knife-cracked peppercorns, and garam masala. The palate doesn’t disappoint—it’s a complicated layering of fruit, earth, and spice, interwoven with immense depth and structure.

Full Pull JRG

March 13, 2019

Hello friends. I’m thrilled with today’s offer, as it features one of the finest Washington* wineries we have not previously worked with at Full Pull. The wine itself is a well-sourced, Cab-dominant Bordeaux blend, from a terrific vintage, with strong reviews. And it comes to us at a tidy little discount off its $30 release price, and a few bucks better than the current internet low of 26.99:

2014 Pamplin Family Winery JRG
Now let’s unpack that paragraph. Why the asterisk after Washington? Because Pamplin is technically based in the Willamette Valley; it’s the sister winery to Pinot-focused stalwart Anne Amie. But under the Pamplin label, the winemaking team focuses entirely on Washington fruit.

Sean Sullivan has been banging the drum for years about this winery, and about JRG in particular. A recent tasting helped me understand why: this is a lineup that seriously over-delivers its price points, and no wine in the lineup captures that better than JRG.

I said “well-sourced.” Here’s a tidy graphic displaying the seven vineyards involved; not a dud in the mix, and a few vineyards that ought to cause a double-take when you pair them with this pricing

I said “Cab-dominant Bordeaux blend, from a terrific vintage.” The full blend is 73% Cab, 20% Merlot, 5% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot, and winemaker Robert Henry (who cut his teeth at, ahem, Pahlmeyer, whose own Cab-dominant BDX blend from the Napa Valley costs a cool $175), gave the juice 21 months in French oak (32% new, 23% once-used, 45% neutral). The 2014 vintage was warm, but not as crazy hot as ’15, and wines like this show a vintage rapidly coming into its own, with plenty of generous black-cherry fruit paired to emerging tertiary complexities: earth and chamomile and citrus peel. The palate is classy as hell, all elegance and smoothed edges, with just a finishing kiss of fine-grained green-tea chew. Those of you who enjoy Cadence Coda year in and year out (a brilliant bunch) ought to pay close attention here.

I said “strong reviews.” Wine & Spirits (Patrick Comiskey): “[TEXT WITHHELD]”

Full Pull Kimmeridgien Kloseout

March 12, 2019

Hello friends. We were recently reoffered a closeout parcel of one of the more delightful white wines we offered in 2018: Chablis specialist JM Brocard’s Kimmeridgien Bourgogne Blanc. By going long on this parcel, we were able to secure considerably better pricing than our previous 14.99 TPU. (Note: 14.99 is also the current internet low.)

2015 Jean-Marc Brocard Bourgogne Blanc Kimmeridgien
I’ll excerpt our original April 2018 offer below, and will only add that a recent sample bottle showed marginally more development than a year ago, with savory notes of sweet hay and hazelnut beginning to take on more prominence, lovely complementary notes to an appley core. What intellectual and sensual pleasure Burgundian Chardonnay offers with a few short years in bottle.

Excerpts from the original: White Burg is not a value-hunter’s paradise. There’s a sea of overpriced wine in this category. Yet it seems like each year, we end up with access to deals on one or two value white Burgs with a few years in bottle, and each time, our list members gobble the wine up.

Jean-Marc Brocard is a famous name in Chablis. And it should be—Brocard produces over 20 different bottlings from the region annually. A farmer’s son from the Cote D’Or, he stumbled into wine through marriage, and learned all about winemaking from his wife’s vigneron father. Brocard credits his father-in-law for teaching him how to understand terroir with a simple sentence: look, be quiet, and learn. With this knowledge, he planted his first vineyards in 1973.

Terroir has long been the cornerstone of Brocard’s winemaking, once saying: “the truth of wine lies in the soil where it has grown. The technique is an important factor in the wine growing, but it is only an aid, the wine is essentially the product of its soil.” While Brocard’s central production lies within the boundaries of Chablis, this Bourgogne Blanc is sourced from just west of Chablis in Auxerrois. This part of the region boasts the same chalky Kimmeridgien soils found in Chablis (as well as parts of Champagne and the Loire Valley). Kimmeridgien, named for the town in England where it was first studied, is made up of layered chalk and clay with miniature marine fossils. These layers provide drainage for the vines and impart their own limestone and oceanic minerality. Kimmeridgien is what sets Chablis apart—and in turn, what sets this region of Auxerrois apart. The term “baby Chablis” applies; this is a wine made by a leader in Chablis from the same terroir just a few miles down the road.

The nose opens with signature Chablis flint, green apple, citrus rind, and saline. It’s bright and fresh, with no touch of oak. At 12.5% listed alcohol, the palate runs vibrant, chock full of juicy acidity and salty minerality. For all of its bright qualities, there is a richness of fruit—apple, pear, peach—finishing smooth and creamy. Chablis is an ultra food pairing wine, which extends to this Bourgogne Blanc, too. Creamy cheeses, shellfish, sautéd mushrooms—name just about anything and this bottle would be a worthy companion.

Full Pull Tulpen

March 11, 2019

Hello friends. Today we have a new wine (and a bonus reoffer) from one of the true underground gems in Washington; a winery for whom we might be the only retail source west of the Cascades; a producer who has, over the years, become one of the most rapturously-loved of Full Pull’s winery partners.

2013 Tulpen Cellars Coalesence
International Wine Report (Owen Bargreen): “A right bank style wine, the warm vintage ‘Coalescence’ opens with aromas of milk chocolate, red cherry candy and toasty oak. Dense, plush and downright decadent, the mouthfeel entices. Dark cherry, coffee ground and damp earth undertones conclude this fantastic bottling. This great wine, already five years old, will cellar well for a decade or more. Drink 2018-2028. 93pts.”

I’m talking, of course, about Tulpen Cellars and Kenny Hart, grape-grower and winemaker yes, and also fisherman and forager and chef extraordinaire. But grower/farmer above all else. Kenny is among the premier grape growers in the Walla Walla Valley, always more likely to talk about dirt before talking about juice. He began Tulpen as a way to make his growing even better, but then the results were “tasty tasty” in the inimitable Hart lexicon, and the project grew from there.

On a trip to Walla Walla last year, we had the privilege of riding around in Ken’s pickup for a vineyard tour while he regaled us with various rumors and tall tales from the valley at large. One note that became clear in our valley wanderings: Kenny is extremely keen on the Mill Creek drainage. This is the area in the eastern part of the Walla Walla Valley where Mill Creek Road passes Abeja and continues climbing up into the foothills of the Blue Mountains. As the drainage gains elevation, the Blues start to wring moisture out of the atmosphere, so you also gain annual precipitation: just enough to support viticulture without added water. The progress of these dryland-farmed sites is fascinating, and there’s no better place to witness their development than through Tulpen.

Coalesence is a fine example. It’s Kenny’s Bordeaux blend, and it has been one of the most popular Tulpen wines we’ve offered over the years. In 2013, it’s a 52/48 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The Merlot comes entirely from Yellow Bird Vineyard. As you can see on the map, the Bird sits directly adjacent to Leonetti’s Mill Creek Upland Vineyard. This is prime real estate for Bordeaux varieties. A portion of the Cabernet also comes from Yellow Bird; the remainder from Tokar, another Kenny-farmed Mill Creek site, this one just a bit to the east (location here).

The total production here? Not much: just 199 cases. It clocks in at 14.4% listed alc and dazzles with its tightly wound layers of fruit: berries and cherries, currants and even stone fruits like peaches and nectarines. All of that good fruit is shot through with streaks of smoke and dusty earth. The palate is notable for its structure, the fruit currently brooding behind robust walls of mineral- and leaf-inflected tannin. This is chewy as can be, and needs some time in bottle (or a multi-hour decant) to show its finest. This augurs a fine, decades-long evolution to come.

2013 Tulpen Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Dryland
Originally offered in June 2018. Excerpts from the original: This is the fourth vintage of what has to be one of the most exciting Cabernet projects in Washington right now. It heavily features Tokar Vineyard, a tiny site planted in 2000, making it one of the oldest vineyards in this part of the valley. The remainder is Yellow Bird Vineyard, a 2007-planted site up by aMaurice’s estate sites. Production is miniscule: just 100 cases. This clocks in at 14.5% listed alc and begins with an appetizing note combining redcurrant and red plum fruit with insistent earthy notes of dust and peat moss. It’s a distinctive nose, one I more readily associate with good Napa Cab than I’m used to seeing out of Washington. The palate is in a terrific place now five years past vintage, with intensity and earthy complexity to spare. I love the purity of the dark red fruit; so too the classy, polished tannins, which offer a lingering kiss of green tea. This is singular Washington Cabernet.

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

Full Pull Yak Valley Vigneron

March 10, 2019

Hello friends. We have a pair of spring releases from Sheridan Vineyard today, a winery that has been hotter than hot the past few years, darlings of consumers and press alike. If we don’t time up this offer each year just right, we miss out. This year, we’re timed up right.

Scott Greer is that rare Washington bird: a true vigneron, managing both viticulture (growing grapes) and vinification (making wine), and doing it all from estate vineyards. The rarity of the model in Washington is a structural/geographical issue. Unfortunately in Washington, many of the places that are among the best for growing grapes are likewise among the worst for living. I mean, good luck convincing a young, promising winemaker to set up shop in the Horse Heaven Hills. Easier to contract with a grower, set up in Woodinville, and begin enjoying that bumpin’ eastside nightlife.

Because the vigneron model is rare, they tend to stand out, and we tend to offer them. That’s been true since our early days. Our first Sheridan offer was in December 2009, part of a select bunch of wineries we offered in our first few months of existence (we launched in October of that year). Nearly a decade later, the relationship is still going strong.

2016 Sheridan Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon L’Orage 
What seems to happen every year: we offer this wine in springtime. Then a few weeks later, Jeb Dunnuck releases his review, and that’s all she wrote for reorder requests. It was true with the 94pt 2015 vintage. It was especially true with the 96pt 2014 vintage, which Jeb said tasted “like a blend of Pontet Canet and Shafer Hillside Select.” Yikes.

Our first L’Orage vintage was the 2006, and I believe we’ve offered every vintage since then. And while Sheridan has subsequently introduced higher-tier wines (Block 1, Boss Block, Singularity), I still think of L’Orage very much as the flagship, as an introduction to the Sheridan house style: dense layers of delicious fruit; massive structure; incredible concentration.

The wine is named after the freak hailstorm that hit 1997-planted Sheridan Vineyard in 2001, decimating the site at a seriously vulnerable time. Fourth or fifth leaf. Right when you’re supposed to start seeing some return on the sloooooooow-cash-flow investment. There’s something about choosing that name, about the spirit of defiance and optimism in the face of everything that mother nature throws at an honest vigneron, that just gets me. It’s hard to make it in winegrowing and winemaking if you don’t possess that kind of attitude.

I don’t have a proper tasting note for the ’16, because our sample bottle was corked, and we’ve run out of time for a replacement. But we all know what to expect from L’Orage at this point, don’t we? Layers of fruit – cherries and berries, stone fruits and tropicals – complicated by barrel tones of cedar and smoke. A marvel of concentration and inky intensity.

2016 Sheridan Vineyard Cabernet Franc Boss Block
I won’t say much here, because as usual with the Boss, our access to any significant quantity is quite limited. Boss Block is a slippery fish. We’ve offered it just twice previously: the 2011 and 2015 vintages. The combination of small production and massive reviews (culminating with an eye-popping 97pts from Dunnuck for the 2014) makes for an ever narrowing buying window. I can tell you without question this is a one-and-done wine, with no prospects for reorders.

It comes from the original 1997 plantings at Sheridan, which means this is 20th leaf material. Certainly not young vines anymore, and it shows. This begins with an expressive, evocative nose encompassing everything we love about Cab Franc: the dark blackberry fruit, the haunting florals of dried rose petal, and perhaps most importantly, the smoky green edge of roasting poblano pepper. Glorious. In the mouth, this is a firm, densely-packed palate-stainer, offering tremendous fruit impact, power to spare, and no shortage of perfumed charm. Year in and year out, this is a singular Washington Franc.

Full Pull Double Bubble

March 8, 2019

Hello friends. The extra hour of sunlight we’ve enjoyed every day this week is as good of an excuse as any to pop open a bottle of sparkling wine. So, today we have two for you:

NV Case Paolin Col Fondo Asolo Prosecco Superiore
This is a wine we’ve been waiting six months to offer. Our staff first tried this bottle last fall, but it was already promised to a few choice restaurants (parts of Renee Erickson’s exquisite empire, I was told). Our list members were promised first crack at the next shipment, which was to arrive in Seattle in early Spring. It arrived, we tasted again, and here we are with an offer six months in the making.

This is the first Col Fondo we’ve offered at Full Pull; we don’t get to see them that often. Col Fondo is bottle-fermented sparkling wine from Italy that sits somewhere between Ancestral method and Champenoise method. Like Champagne, Col Fondo goes through a secondary fermentation in the bottle. Unlike Champagne, Col Fondo does not get disgorged. Instead, the lees stay in the bottle and all that sediment creates complexity aplenty. Col Fondo, which translates to with the bottom, has autolytic flavors (the bready, yeasty qualities we love in good Champagne) that are usually absent from tank-made Prosecco. In fact, before the Charmant method was introduced, all Prosecco was made this way. It dates back to the 9th century.

This particular bottle comes from the slopes of Montello, just north of Treviso, in Veneto. 100% Glera, the first fermentation takes place in stainless steel with all indigenous yeasts. The second fermentation is in bottle. And what a great bottle it is. (We don’t usually fall for great packaging around here, but the rusticity of this cork closure really hits the mark in my book.) The listed alcohol is 11.5%. White lillies, Golden Delicious apples, stone fruit, and stony minerals leap from the glass; it’s as fragrant as can be. The nose is complex yet still incredibly clean. The palate is closer to frizzante—a lighter style of bubbles which is typical for Col Fondo—but the light bubbles still carry a fine persistence. The palate is full of Bosc pear, citrus, touches of earth, and saline acidity. It effortlessly fluctuates between fruity and savory notes, evenly matched by a livewire acidity. This is a knockout bottle of sparkling wine; one that will probably find itself on my dinner table more than a few times this year. I would consider serving it with lots of Venetian-inspired cuisine: buttery polenta, spot prawn risotto, pan-fried soft shell crab, a board full of Asiago and Coppa.

Wine Enthusiast (Kerin O’Keefe): “[TEXT WITHHELD]”

NV Chateau de Breze Cremant de Loire Brut Rose
This bottle serves as an argument for the extraordinary caliber of French sparkling wine that is produced outside of Champagne. Château de Brézé is a medieval castle in the Loire Valley that dates back to 1060. To this day, descendents of the original lords live in its quarters. Though the exact date the Château started making wine is unknown, there are references as far back as the 15th century. King René of Anjou famously served Château de Brézé in his court, and subsequent monarchs followed his lead. Reportedly, Château de Brézé and Château d’Yquem used to engage in a wine exchange—the greatest Sauternes for Brézé’s signature, chalky bottlings.

Arnaud Lambert currently manages this estate, and since 2009 he has been working on converting this historical site back to entirely organic viticulture. He farms roughly 30 hectares in Saumur, though Brézé vineyards were historically thought of as their own sub-region due to their unique terroir. Tuffeau limestone—a porous, chalky, fine-grained stone with great drainage—sits just below the topsoil of Brézé’s hillside. That, coupled with the region’s cooler temperatures, creates wine with astonishing acidic structure. The sparkling wines from this hillside feel reminiscent of Champagne’s kimmeridgian soil—so full of verve and energy.

This rosé is made of Cabernet Franc in the Champenoise method. It clocks in with 12% listed alcohol and dosage of 8 g/L. The nose is vibrant with strawberries, cranberries, herbaceous spice, citrus rind, cream, and petrichor (that indescribable scent of rain on dry ground). The palate sits on the extra-brut side of brut—racy and dry without shutting out Franc’s inherent fruit and greeneries. It’s an everything sparkler; light enough to imbibe as an aperitif, but thoughtful enough for tons of food pairing. Our old faithfuls when it comes to sparkling rosé would all do: roasted chicken, buttered popcorn, creamy cheese, banh mi.

Full Pull Concrete Semillon

March 7, 2019

Hello friends. Today we have the fourth vintage running (how did that happen?) of the only white we currently produce under our Block Wines label: crystalline, minerally Semillon from a special parcel of Dick Boushey’s eponymous vineyard, fermented and aged entirely in one concrete Nomblot egg. It comes just in time for halibut season, followed by salmon season, followed by spot prawn season, followed by… you get the idea.

2018 Block Wines Semillon Tauro Block Boushey Vineyard 
When we inaugurated the Block Wines project as our house winery five years ago, I was dying to make Washington Semillon. There are still a few folks making varietal Semillon here (L’Ecole 41 being the most notable/consistent), but many are now going more of the Bordeaux Blanc route and blending their Semillon with Sauvignon Blanc. Nothing wrong with that! And in fact, versions from DeLille and Buty and Cadaretta are among the most successful whites made in Washington. But I wanted to do varietal Semillon, because I think it thrives in Washington, because I don’t think it necessarily needs Sauvignon Blanc’s acidity if you harvest the Semillon early enough, and because I think it can express terroir and age beautifully if grown by the right people in the right places.

And of course the opportunity to work with any of Dick Boushey’s fruit remains a dream come true. The Boushey Vineyard name in Washington is synonymous with quality and expressiveness. Dick himself is a wonderful man and a terrifically dedicated grower, and it continues to be a real thrill to be working with his Semillon (not to mention his Grenache). He has two blocks of Semillon, and we chose the Tauro Block (planted in 2008), which has more northern exposure and therefore ripens later and retains loads of beautiful natural acidity.

Perfect for our stylistic goal, which is more of a Hunter Valley (Australia) Semillon than a Bordeaux version. What that means is extra-bright limey acidity, and the ability to gain loads of savory complexity with just a few short years in bottle. To achieve this style, we always harvest our Semillon nice and early, which keeps acids fresh and bright and alcohols low (11.3% this year). It also helps that Dick’s vineyard is in the cooler part of the Yakima Valley. Morgan then cold-soaks the grapes on their skins for two or three days to help build texture and mouthfeel. This skin-contact process is also the one used to make “orange wines,” but the length of the soak is considerably longer, counted in weeks, not in days. For us, we just want enough contact for a little extra textural heft.

This was fermented entirely with native yeasts, and entirely in our concrete egg, a vessel that is near-to-perfect for whites, because it basically serves as a battonage (lees-stirring) machine. In previous vintages, we were stirring the lees in barrel weekly. In the egg we don’t do any; the vessel does the work for us, continuously agitating the lees, which builds beautiful mid-palate plumpness. It kicks off with a nose combining fruit (key lime, fig), flower (honeysuckle), and prominent mineral notes. The palate is nervy, racy, chockful of electric acidity. It’s a propulsive white, noteworthy for its energy and verve. I love the mineral character, the overall sense of complexity. This is fine as a chilled-down summer chugger, but will really show its best paired to the cold-water bounty about to hit our stores. Open a bottle next to a mid-summer sockeye, and you’ll be raising glasses to Morgan Lee and Dick Boushey before you know it.