Yashar Shayan has sommed (and wine directed) at places like Seastar, Palisade, and most recently Willows Inn on Lummi Island. He’s a firm fixture in the local wine community and its many events, on both the judging and tasting side of things. Though recently Shayan departed the sommelier world—for the most part—to put his acumen to another use. His new venture, ImpulseWine.com, will dispatch email write-ups on Shayan’s favorite new wine discoveries, along with a link to purchase, naturally.
Email lists are a wine enthusiast’s staple, from specific wineries’ updates to sites like Garagiste or Full Pull. Shayan will focus on Northwest wines—small production wines, sold-out wines, library wines, club wines, and wines you’re unlikely to encounter on most store shelves.
Shayan doesn’t score wines, but he does explain why each bottle caught his eye. “My intention is to bring wines to the customer that they hopefully otherwise wouldn’t have seen,” he says. “The wine you want that you didn’t know you wanted.” Hence the name. His first few communiques, sent this week, read like an insidery guide to the West Coast wine circuit, with a dash of travel journal thrown in.
Some California and imported vintage will make their way on the list, but Shayan spent most of his adult life in the Washington wine industry and says Impulse will definitely reflect his background, connections, and affinity for emerging wineries. “I’m very picky,” he says. “I racked my brain over whether there will be enough wine that I like enough to recommend.” He considers his new venture an opportunity “to only do the wines I want to do,” without worrying about the profitability/accessibility balancing act that often accompanies a restaurant wine list.
Shayan is aiming for about five emails a week, each one recommending a few bottles from a single winemaker. Thus far he has spotlighted a few wines from family-focused winery Sonoris (at $18 and $30) and a sold-out wine from Mark Ryan Winery, available for $45. Bottles can be shipped or picked up at Seattle Wine Storage, and Impulse is working out arrangements with storage facilities like Phenol55, Wine Storage Bellevue, and Elliott Avenue Wine Storage.
Sign up right over here.