I’ve been wracking my brain to think of a better offer than this (domestically speaking) but I don’t think we’ve ever had one. So here goes...
All hyperbole aside, this is the most exciting domestic red wine offer we’ve ever had. How’s that for a lead-in?
How do I summarize today’s offer? You can read the following blog article for a hint:
Being in the right place at the right time can pay dividends and there are times when it’s the only explanation for something special.
The only reason we have this today is because we’re here in Washington State with our ears to the ground. There was a rumor that a very prominent (famous?) winery in our state was quietly looking to sell a portion of their 2007 flagship wine to drum up funds (see blog above). The economy has hurt everyone but I never thought I’d see the day when THIS winery needed to raise money by underselling their wine. In no uncertain terms, this is one of the crème-de-la-crème entrants in our state with a style that is definitive. I’ve agreed under penalty of flogging to never reveal the name of the winery so don’t even ask – one taste of the wine and many of you will be able to guess. Keep in mind, this is not declassified wine – it is their exact top-drawer 2007 Bordeaux blend that retails (even on
discount) for $50-75 (maybe it’s over $100 this year). That’s the only information I can give you.
Which brings us to Renegade Wine Thieves.
The name says it all.
Trey Busch had an idea: the economy is bad, wineries need money and there’s going to be an emerging market for a “negociant” that can help drum up funds for top-quality wineries in need of assistance.
When a third party has something they wish to sell but does not (ever) wish the public to know what it is (for fear of losing their delicate brand image) Renegade Wine Thieves steps in and puts their own cork in and label on the wine. Trey has dabbled with this concept over the past few years (its not his day job – Slight of Hand is) and he’s bottled a few lots of Cabernet, Merlot and a Red Table Wine (that sells for around $8) but this is his first really big score and something tells me it’s only the first of many to come. When the big guns realize they can do this without taking an image hit, Trey’s phone is going to light up.
Let’s start with this wine, one that is among the elite in Washington State.
2007 was a great vintage in Walla Walla just as it was in Napa. The wines have a depth and intensity that many will swoon over. So, I have in my hand today’s 2007 labeled as “Renegade Wine Thieves” and the exact same 2007 with the “other” label. I poured both into a stem and tasted them over 24 and then 48 hours – they are identical (which I already knew). I did the math and the “other” wine would sell for $67.80 from us (at a very slim margin) so probably more like
$69.71 - the Renegade labeled wine is...
This is not April Fools Day.
While I rarely purchase domestic Cabernet or Merlot-based wine for my own cellar, I do have a long history of experience with domestic wines and I know a standout when I taste it. Simply put, this wine is a stunner. It has class, nobility, length and that special something that displays an obvious pedigree. It’s balanced and poised, feminine but still tannic and full of northern power (despite low-moderate alcohol). There’s no “creamsicle” or in-your-face quality and the wood alone on this wine was outrageously expensive (it was vinified in the finest cooperage). Like all of the best examples - there is nothing forced – it doesn't need to. With gorgeous length and very pure, deep dark fruit and spice tones left on the palate, the wine unfolds over several days and each encounter makes you believe in its breed with even more certainty. I’m not even sure what the Bordeaux varietal mix is - they don’t want that revealed or it would be too easy to figure out what the wine is.
What I do know is that there’s a difference between the first-growth quality wines in Washington State and everything else – this wine proves that adage without batting an eye. I was so impressed with it, I purchased a case for my mom, a case for my sister and five cases for myself (when was the last time you head me say that about anything, let alone a domestic wine?). I’m always looking for something like this in my cellar for certain dinner guests and I will put this wine up on a pedestal as the finest $16+ wine of its type in the US – you can quote me on that and I will take all the punches.
Simply stunning – no hyperbole, no gimmicks – it is what it is.
For those of you scrambling to find this on the open market – it doesn’t exist. This is a single parcel and single bottling – it is not available on the open market and none will be offered to the wholesale or retail trade. If you’re still trying to figure out what the wine is, maybe a blind tasting of the best 2007 wines in our state will do the trick? Put this in the line-up, and it will probably be obvious (I would decant it for 1-2 hours).
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (see all of the above)
This wine has impeccable provenance directly from the source:
Mystery Wine #1