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Coral Wines Rhone White & Red

Coral Impulse

Coral Wines 2013 Rhone Style White and Rhone Style Red

Fellow wine lovers, we enjoyed a big bold Malbec with our previous feature, so now the pendulum is swinging completely to the opposite side of the spectrum with something very light and delicate. There is a brand new Washington winery called Coral Wines, with a focus on elegant wines which are fresh and minerally – something great for the Spring and Summer. An old friend of mine and former Sommelier at the Rainier Club, Christopher Chan, is just launching this new set of wines.

Coral Wines 2013 Rhone Style White $19.95

For those who are fans of Jon Meuret and his Maison Bleue Winery, this wine is actually made by him, in the style of his Metis Blanc which sells for $30. Like all of the white wines made by Jon Meuret, this one is beautiful example of a crisp and mineral Washington white wine.

A Rhone style blend of 37% Marsanne, 27% Viognier, 24% Grenache Blanc, and 12% Roussanne, it has classic notes of stone fruit, citrus, and orange blossoms on the nose, with an essence of peach, apricot, and nectarine. This white wine is aged in 100% Neutral French Oak for 7 months, making for a palate that is rich and creamy, with a medium-full bodied mouthfeel, and hints of toast and brioche bread. The finish is dry, with moderate acidity and a hint of pebble stones. Certainly a great wine with shellfish and other seafood.

Only 400 cases of the Coral Wines White were made.


Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State
Vineyard: Boushey, Arthur’s, and Olsen Vineyard
Grape: 37% Marsanne, 27% Viognier, 24% Grenache Blanc, and 12% Roussanne
Aging: 100% Neutral French Oak for 7 months
Drinkability: Now through 2018
Body: Medium-Full
Alcohol: 14.2% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Rhone Style Whites, Maison Bleue Winery Metis Blanc
Food Pairings: Oysters, Cheese and Nuts, Grilled Prawns
Production: 400 cases


Coral Wines 2013 Rhone Style Red $22.95

The Coral Wines Rhone Style Red is, again, made by Jon Meuret of Maison Bleue Winery. This is similar to his Metis Rouge GSM, which is a Southern Rhone Style red blend typically going for $40. Once more, a wine with a very light touch, it approached the softness of a Pinot Noir. A blend of 56% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 14% Mourvèdre, the fruit is harvested from top vineyards in the Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys such as Boushey, Olsen, and Pepper Bridge. Aged in 100% Neutral French oak 12 months, there is no new oak on this red, so there are no qualities of heaviness. This is a great red for a sunny day on the patio; you can even drink it with a slight chill.

In the glass, the color is a very light ruby hue, again, much like a Pinot Noir. The nose demonstrates pretty aromas of rose petals and candied cherries, with hints of herbs de Provence. The delicate palate is medium-light in body, showing notes of juicy raspberries and red cherries, hints of bramble bush, thyme, and spice, leading to a finish of crushed rocks with a bit of grip in the end.

Only 200 cases of the Coral Wines Red were made.


Region: Columbia Valley
Vineyard: Boushey, Olsen, Pepper Bridge, and others
Grape: 56% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 14% Mourvèdre
Aging: 100% Neutral French oak 12 months
Drinkability: Now through 2019
Body: Medium-Light
Alcohol: 14.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Southern Rhone Reds, Maison Bleue Winery Metis Rouge
Food Pairings: Grilled Veggies, Pork, Wild Boar Ragu
Production: 200 cases




Milbrandt Vineyards Malbec

Malbec Impulse

Milbrandt Vineyards 2012 “The Estates” Malbec

Fellow wine lovers, the Milbrandt Family has been farming in Eastern Washington since the 1950’s, where they tend to a series of vineyards on the southwest facing Wahluke Slope. This small wine growing region is protected from adverse weather systems, from the north and the west, by rises in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. This is a high desert climate, with temperatures which are moderated by cooling winds, and the flowing of the nearby Columbia River.

One specific site here, Northridge Vineyard, in my opinion is one of best held secrets in quality grape growing. This vineyard consistently turns out some of the most dense Bordeaux grapes in Washington State, including Malbec.

Wines from the 2012 vintage are disappearing quickly, so we want to jump on them as much as possible. Some are saying that 2012 is among the top 3 to 5 vintages in the last 30 or 40 years of Washington’s winemaking history. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the Milbrandt Vineyards 2012 Malbec was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. It’s a great example of Washington Malbec, and a lovely wine all around for those looking for a bold and complex red. If you regularly like big Cabs, and want to try something new, this Malbec might be just right.

This is a bigger red than what we’ve typically featured here on Impulse. It’s full, and heavy, with plenty of generous oak character. Big and ripe, with juicy fruit, it’s brimming with vanilla, cookie dough, and toast qualities from the 16 months it spent in French oak barrels. The mouthfeel shows a wealth of gripping tannins, which are firm yet not aggressive, and will continue to smooth with another 1 to 4 years in bottle. There is no lack of flavor on the palate, with stacks of blackberry jam, hints of chocolate covered cherries, lots dark berries, and traces of white pepper spice. It’s 83% Malbec, blended with 11% Merlot for softness, and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon for extra backbone.

Harvey Steiman, writing for Wine Spectator Magazine, refers to it as, “Taut, focused and appealing, with floral overtones around a core of red berry and red plum flavors, lingering gently on the velvety finish.”


Region: Wahluke Slope AVA, Washington State
Vineyard: Northridge Clifton Bluff, by Milbrandt Vineyards
Grape: 83% Malbec, 11% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon
Aging: 30% New French Oak for 16 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2019
Body: Full Bodied
Alcohol: 15.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Big Bold Wines, Argentine Malbec
Press: Double Gold Medal at San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Food Pairings: Beef Jerky, BBQ




Analemma Sparkling Blanc de Noir and Rosé

Columbia Gorge Impulse

Analemma 2010 Sparkling Blanc de Noir and 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir

Fellow wine lovers, March is officially “Taste Washington Wine Month,” culminating with the biggest Washington Wine event of the year, Taste Washington, on the 28th and 29th. This year, I’m especially excited for the event, as I am joining the ranks of wine experts, from around the nation, as a panelist for one of the morning seminars. I’ll be on the panel, that Saturday morning, in the seminar spotlighting the Columbia Gorge AVA, along with Matt Stamp MS and three winemakers from the region.

Since I’ll be focused on the Columbia Gorge for this seminar, I thought it would be appropriate to offer a wine from the region- something that really demonstrates the breathtaking qualities of Columbia Gorge wines. I can hardly think of anything more appropriate than the wines of Analemma, made by Steven Thompson, who will also be on the panel, as we’ll be tasting and discussing one of his wines then.

Since we’re practically seeing Spring weather on a near regularly basis now, I’ve picked Analemma’s Sparkling wine and their Rosé, both of which are made fully using Pinot Noir grapes from Atavus Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge at the foothills of Mount Adams; which was planted in the 1960’s, making it one of the oldest in the state. This vineyard has always been dry farmed, meaning no irrigation is used, and today it’s also farmed organically.

Analemma 2010 Blanc de Noir Sparkling Wine $49.99 (Regularly $56)

Analemma’s bubbly has garnered a lot of attention, with some calling it the best Washington sparkling wine to date, and one of the best on the west coast. This sparkling wine is made in the traditional French Champagne style, and it’s what the French call a Blanc de Noir, which translates to “White from Black”. This means it’s a white wine made from black/red grapes, traditionally Pinot Noir. The wine spends an astounding 42 months on the lees, well beyond anything else I’m aware of in Washington State. This extended aging regimen has helped to jam pack the bubbly full of complexity and nuance. Visually, the wine does show just a slight hint of coppery pink color, extracted from the Pinot Noir Grapes. The nose has just a hint of strawberries, cherry blossoms, and citrus peel. The palate immediately fills your mouth with bubbles and has a smooth creamy texture. There are hints of almond flavors, along with toasty warm notes freshly baked biscuits. The wine has a rich and supple finish, with lots of exuberant acidity, as is the hallmark of many Columbia Gorge Wines.

The Analemma Sparkling Blanc de Noir was chosen by Jon Bonné of the San Francisco Gate as most standout Sparkling wine in his list of Top 100 Wines. Additionally, it was reviewed for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, where it was said to have completely ”floored” the reviewer with its “profoundly complex” nature.

Just 250 cases were made of the Analemma 2010 Atavus Sparkling Blanc de Noir, and today we just 2 cases to offer on Impulse, first come first serve.

Region: Columbia Gorge AVA, Washington State
Vineyard: Atavus Vineyard
Grape: 100% Pinot Noir
Aging: 6 months in Neutral French Oak, 42 Months en tirage, disgorged October 2014
Drinkability: Now through 2020
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 12.7% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Champagne, high acid wines
Press: Top Sparkling Wine in SF Gate’s Top 100 Wines
Food Pairings: A good sparkling wine goes with almost any food
Production: 250 cases
Availability: 2 cases

Analemma 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir $22.99 (Regularly $25)

It’s never too early in the year for Rosé, and with the series of sunny days we’ve been having, I think it’s high time we share one. The Analemma Rosé of Pinot Noir is made using the same Pinot Noir grapes as the sparkling wine above. Once harvested, the fruit undergoes a long and very gentle whole cluster pressing, which extract just a enough color to make it a Rosé. It has a beautiful yet understated pink hue, and a lovely nose of crushed rose petals and tangerine zest. The palate is rich, creamy, and a little nutty, with lots of crisp acidity and bright citrus flavors. It’s aged for just 6 months in all neutral French oak, to give it extra roundness of texture and hints of brioche flavors from being aged on the lees.

Much like the bubbly above, this Rosé was chosen by Jon Bonné for the San Francisco Gate’s Top 100 wines list- it was among only 4 other Rosés from the west coast which made the list. Additionally Jon Bonné chose it in his list of 10 Key Wines, in a separate article. He described it as being, “As soulful as Rose gets”, with a “feather touch”.

Only 220 cases were made of the Analemma Rosé , and we have just 2 cases to offer today on Impulse, first come serve serve.

Region: Columbia Gorge AVA, Washington State
Vineyard: Atavus Vineyard
Grape: 100% Pinot Noir
Aging: 6 Months in 100% Neutral French Oak
Drinkability: Now through 2016
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 12.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Lighter Style Rosé
Press: SF Gate Top 100 Wines
Food Pairings: Salmon, and a Sunny Day
Production: 220 cases
Availability: 2 cases




Long Shadows “Dance” Chardonnay

Gravitas Impulse

Long Shadows Vintners 2013 “Dance” Chardonnay

Fellow wine lovers, Long Shadows Vintners continues to impress public and press alike with their array of highly awarded labels. Many of your are already familiar with Long Shadows and their line up of 9 world famous winemakers, each producing a distinctly different wine. I’ve often touted that Gilles Nicault, their day to day winemaker, has long been a best kept secret of Washington State wine, because he has the added benefit of working directly with, and learning from, each of these talented vintners. Some of my favorite Long Shadows wines are often the unofficial side project labels which Gilles undertakes on his own- most of which are never really fully exhibited to the public. A perfect example is the semi-secret estate vineyard Chardonnay they have been making, for just a few years now, called the “Dance”.

Long Shadows Vintners 2013 “Dance” Chardonnay $36.99 (Regularly $40)

The Dance Chardonnay comes from Long Shadow’s own estate, Kaiser Vineyard, at The Benches in the Horse Heaven Hills. You may remember this vineyard as having formerly been known as Wallula Vineyard. This site is among the most fantastically positioned plantings of grapes anywhere in Washington State. If you want to get a sense of how they have mixed grape-growing and gravitas with this vineyard. What you see in the image is key to the prime grape growing abilities of The Benches. It is situated in the desert conditions of the Horse Heaven Hills, but its high altitude atop the Wallula Gap and its proximity to the Columbia River provide a much needed cooling effect, allowing for the growing of more balanced grapes.

Many of you may enjoyed the 2011 Dance Chardonnay when we featured it on Impulse over a year ago. By comparison, this 2013 has almost half as much new oak, and is more focused on showcasing the pretty fruit flavors of the grape itself. When you put your nose to the glass, you get an intense aromatic experience of bright, fresh, pears with light hints of honey and white flowers. The palate starts with white peaches, crisp jonagold apples, and smooth texture. The wine has a lightly creamy mouthfeel with hints of toast and baking spice, coming from the 11 months of aging in 20% new French oak and the 75% complete malolactic fermentation.

This Long Shadows 2013 Dance Chardonnay was awarded an impressive Double Gold Medal in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, one of the top wine judgings nationwide. Just a tiny amount of 175 cases were made.


Region: Horse Heaven Hills, Washington State
Vineyard: Kaiser Vineyard at The Benches (Wallula)
Grape: 100% Chardonnay
Aging: 11 months in 20% new and 80% in a five year old oval oak cask
Drinkability: Now through 2018
Body: Medium
Press: Double Gold in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Food Pairings: Roast Chicken with Herbed Chèvre
Production: 175 cases




Ross Andrew “Glaze” Cab & “Meadow” White

Meadow Impulse

Ross Andrew Winery 2012 “Glaze” Cabernet Sauvignon and 2011 “Meadow” White WIne

Fellow wine lovers, we have a couple of easy-going, every-day drinking, kind of wines from an old pal of mine, Ross Andrew Mickel, of Ross Andrew Winery. For those not familiar with Ross and his off the radar winery, he started his winemaking career at DeLille Cellars and went on to become assistant winemaker at Betz Family Winery, where he worked under the tutelage of Bob Betz, Master of Wine. He then launched Ross Andrew Winery in 1999, and is today one of the few winemakers invited to make wine under the highly revered Grand Reve/Force Majeure label.

Ross Andrew 2012 “Glaze” Cabernet Sauvignon $14.99

I’ve said it before, and it’s worth saying again that 2012 was a superb vintage for Washington State, from which we are seeing outstanding wines from most every region and vineyard. When a vintage is great like this, where great wine is made up and down the range, it’s an ideal situation for value driven wines, as the quality of all wines is at an elevated level.

The Ross Andrew “Glaze” Cabernet is a nice, casual drinking, Cabernet with a bit of Merlot blended in to smooth things out and add extra complexity. It’s aged in just 30% French oak barrels, so it’s far from being an oaky Cabernet, and it weighs in at a very approachable 13.8% alcohol.

The wine shows qualities of red and black berries, hints of Valrhona chocolate, earth, and Grand Marnier, with a touch of ripe plums. Andy Perdue of Great Northwest Wine calls it a “Best Buy”, and I would have to agree.


Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State
Grape: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot
Aging: 30% French Oak Barrels for 20 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2017
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 13.8% by volume
Press: Andy Perdue of Great Northwest Wine calls it a “Best Buy”


Ross Andrew 2011 “Meadow” White Blend $16.99

11.19 The Ross Andrew “Meadow” white is a really fun, unique, and well thought out wine. Year’s ago, Ross told me that he had conceptualized it when inspired by the wines of Marcel Deiss, from Alsace, France. In order to make a white wine with richness and complexity juxtaposed with fresh exuberance, Ross has done what few winemakers do and blended grapes from both Oregon and Washington States. He’s gathered up a handful of traditional Alsatian varieties: mostly Pinot Blanc from the Willamette Valley with bits of Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling from the Columbia Gorge, and co-fermented them. The resulting wine is aged for 5 months in 100% stainless steel, to maintain its freshness, while on lees to add a creamy mouthfeel and additional layers of flavor.

The final product is a wine which is rich yet crisp, complex yet refreshing with just a slight hint of sweetness, and truly emulates the wines of Alsace better than most any other from the northwest. When I was the Sommelier at the Willows Inn on Lummi Island, I often paired this with our richer seafood dishes such as crab, spot prawns, and squid, and it was extremely well received. It’s an excellent seafood food wine!

A great white to drink during colder times, given its richness, yet also perfect on a sunny day, given its refreshing crispness. The nose is aromatic with white flowers, Asian pear, and a slight nuttiness. The palate is fresh and vibrant with tangerine zest, white peaches, and hints of minerality. In the classic Alsatian style, there’s a touch of sweetness in the mid-palate, which really opens it up to serious food friendliness, then the acidity on the back end helps give it a clean and dry finish.

Sean Sullivan calls the Meadow White, “exquisitely balanced”, giving it 91 Points in Wine Enthusiast Magazine, where it is also an “Editor’s Choice” wine.


Region: 53% Columbia Gorge, Washington and 47% Willamette Valley, Oregon
Grape: Mostly Pinot Blanc, with Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer
Aging: 100% Stainless Steel Aged on Fine Lees for 5 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2018
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 12.7% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Alsatian Whites, Marcel Deiss
Press: 91 Points and “Editor’s Choice” from Sean Sullivan of Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Food Pairings: Spot Prawns, Squid, Crab, Lobster, Skate




Avennia 2012 Sestina, Valery, and Gravura

Right Bank Impulse

Avennia 2012 Sestina, Valery, and Gravura

Fellow wine lovers, we’ve been featuring the wines of Avennia since Impulse Wine first began, and they just continue to impress. Today we have 3 of their latest release of Bordeaux style wines, from the outstanding 2012 vintage, which includes a brand new Right Bank Bordeaux style red called “Valery”.

For those who have yet to hear of Avennia, this is a remarkable new winery, now in their third vintage, with long-time veteran winemaker Chris Peterson turning out some of the best wines in the state. Chris made wines at DeLille for several years before connecting with his now business partner, Marty Taucher, a Microsoft alumn. Together, they’ve caught the attention of every major magazine and wine reviewer, quickly becoming the most talked about new winery of the past five years.

Avennia 2012 “Sestina” Left Bank Bordeaux Red $59.99

The Sestina red is their flagship Bordeaux wine, featuring the most body, complexity, and age worthiness. Jeb Dunnuck of the Wine Advocate sampled it while still in barrel and gave it a rating of 94-96 points, calling it a “knockout”. It has significantly more Cabernet Sauvignon than the other two Bordeaux, with 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc. The grapes are sourced from some of the oldest Cabernet vines in the state, from top vineyard sites, including a 1973 planting from Dionysus Vineyard and a 1972 planting at Bacchus Vineyard. The Sestina also receives a more generous oak regiment than the other two, spending 21 months in 70% new French Oak barrels.

The result is a layered and beautifully structured wine, which is tasting great right now, and will easily continue to develop in the bottle for several years – it’s also well worth decanting if you open it up sooner rather than later. This blockbuster 2012 vintage brings forth a Sestina with a more generous and boastful nose that has lots of dark fruits, nuanced by baking spices and earth. The palate is full bodied, though not heavy, coming up very balanced and smooth, with a hint of grip on the finish which will soften over time. It shows classic notes of blackberries and blackcurrant, with a background of blueberry, hints of vanilla, new leather, and scorched earth and graphite. Its essence is deep and dark, with a long finish that keeps on giving. This wine is absolutely outstanding, and will only continue to get better.

Chris only made 250 cases of this lovely Sestina, and we are able to offer just 3 cases on Impulse, first come first serve.


Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Vineyard: 33% Dionysus Vineyard Cab, planted 1973 33% Red Willow Cab, planted 1985 6%
Bacchus Vineyard Cab, planted 1972 19% Red Willow Merlot, planted 1985 9% Bacchus Cab Franc, planted 1997
Grape: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 70% new French Oak for 21 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2027
Body: Full
Drink This if you Like: DeLille Chaleur Estate Red, Betz Pere de Famille Cabernet
Press: 94-96 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Food Pairings: New York Steak with Demi-Glace
Production: 250
Availability: 3 cases


Avennia 2012 “Valery” Right Bank Bordeaux Red $44.99

This is their newest wine in the line-up, and it’s very exciting that we are able to get some of it, because there’s so little made and its announcement is so well received. The “Valery” red is named for Saint Valery, the patron Saint of wine in the town of St. Emillon, in the right bank of Bordeaux. Like the wines of St. Emillon, Valery is a Merlot based blend of 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and no Cabernet Sauvignon. This turns out a lighter style, that leans more towards red fruits.

I asked Chris and Marty if there is a particular reason they’re introducing a new wine, and they told me it was inspired by Dick Boushey, of Boushey Vineyards. Seems Dick has an old, 1986 planting, of Merlot within his vineyard, which is unique. It’s planted in an especially rocky site, not unlike the new Rocks AVA, which was just designated in Walla Walla. Apparently, Dick had mentioned the site saying, “You wouldn’t be interested in this Merlot, it comes off really earthy,” and that was enough to peak everyone’s interests. They acquired some of the Merlot with the intention of adding it into one of the preexisting Avennia blends, but once they tasted the outcome, they immediately felt it was worthy of its own label, Valery.

These rocky Merlot vines have turned into another winner for Avennia, with a polish mouthfeel and dusty gravel subtleties. The wine has already received a preview score of 92-94 Points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, where Jeb Dunnuck referred to it as “voluptuous” and “sexy”. It shows hints of cocoa powder, fresh ground peppercorn, red cherries, red plums, and hints of Herbes de Provence coming from the 20% Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Franc.

Another great wine from Avennia, and they made just 125 cases, of which we are able to offer 3 cases on Impulse, first come first serve.


Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Vineyard: 80% Boushey Vineyard Merlot 1986 planting, 20% Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Grape: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 60% new French oak for 20 months
Drinkability: Now through 2023
Body: Medium
Drink This if you Like: Clos de Betz
Press: 92-94 Points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Food Pairings: Meatloaf, Beef Brisket, Grilled Pork
Production: 125
Availability: 3 cases


Avennia 2012 “Gravura” Left Bank Bordeaux $34.99

The Gravura continue to be a standout value among the Avennia showcase, and Washington State Wines as a whole. It’s like the little sibling of the Sestina, with less Cabernet Sauvignon, being almost equal parts Cab and Merlot, with 11% Cabernet Franc. It receives a more mild barrel treatment of 50% new French oak for 20 months, and is more suited for early drinking, though can surely lay down for a while. It has a more up-front showing of bright fruits, with notes of juicy black raspberries and cherries, red liquorice, hints of sage and cedar. The palate is firm and dense, yet velvety and generous, with the wine really opening up nicely over time. I’ve saved several bottles of their 2011 and 2010 vintages, and found that they really evolve beautifully. Easily one of my favorite wines, and an outstanding value. Something I am happy to have poured for me anytime – in fact, this is the wine I most often take to dinner and parties, and give as gifts to friends whom I know really appreciate great wine. The responses I get when showing the Gravura, to someone who has yet to have it, are extremely positive.

Stephen Tanzer of Vinous gives it 92 points, calling it, “A steal for the price”. Chris made only 625 cases of this beauty.


Region: Columbia Valley
Vineyard: 19% Angela’s Vineyard Cab, 15% Bacchus Vineyard Cab, 14% Red Willow Cab, 23% Red Willow Merlot, 14% Klipsun Merlot, 4% Boushey Merlot, 7% Champoux Cab Franc, 4% Bacchus Cab Franc
Grape: 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 50% new French oak for 20 months
Drinkability: Now Through 2025
Body: Medium-Full
Drink This if you Like: DeLille D2
Press: 92 points from Vinous/Tanzer
Food Pairings: Steak
Production: 625




Nicolas Perrin 2012 Saint-Joseph

Collaborative Impulse

Maison Nicolas Perrin 2012 Saint-Joseph

Fellow wine lovers, I don’t think we’ve featured any wines from the Rhone Valley of France yet. No worries, I found a really good one for, just right for today. It’s a new collaborative project, done by two well known wine producers in the Rhone Valley. One partner is the Perrin Family, the people who own Chateau de Beaucastel in the Southern Rhone, perhaps the most famous of all Châteauneuf-du-Pape – also it’s a member of the Perrin Family who is in charge of making the Chateau Miraval Rosé from Provence, the one owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (aka Brangelina). The Perrin family has teamed up with the likes of Nicolas Jaboulet of the Northern Rhone, a highly respected producer of Syrah from the villages of Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage.

Maison Nicolas Perrin 2012 Saint-Joseph $29.99 (Regularly $37)

Saint-Joseph is a village in the Northern Rhone Valley of France, where Syrah in King, near other village such as Croze-Hermitage, Cote-Rotie, and Hermitage. Here they only do Syrah, and virtually nothing else – just sticking to what they’re good at.

This is a big, chewy, chunky wine that goes on, and on… and on. I shared a bottle of it with a few friends, and we agreed that it was only just starting to open up after several hours. It shows lot’s of concentration, with deep, dark, ruby red color. It’s juicy, with lots of red berries, cherries, and blackberry pepper compote. It hints at a barnyard and leathery quality, with a tannic grip in the finish that helps it pair very well with fatty meats – I had it with Rib Eye Steak. Over time, it opens up with more ripe fruits, more than your average French red wine, but still remains distinctly Rhone, exhibiting a certain sense of place. It’s bright up front, lush and silky in the mid-palate, and has a firm finish which softens up with time. There are notes of wild black raspberry bush, and hints of red currant. After several hours, it becomes meaty and savory, with hints of strawberry jam, tobacco, dried figs, and raisins.

Region: Saint-Joseph, Northern Rhone Valley, France
Grape: 100% Syrah
Aging: In 1 and 2 year old French Oak Barrels for 10 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2019
Body: Full Bodied
Alcohol: 13.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Rhone, Syrah, Valpolicella, Amarone, Hermitage
Press: 91 Points Wine Spectator, 90 Points Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Food Pairings: Roast Beef, Cigars, Rib Eye
Availability: 2 cases