13 Oct 2010
Yellow Tail makes a reserve wine? This was my thought and the question I heard several times over when I told people I was reviewing Yellow Tail wine. According to the print material, “The fruit used is taken from Australia’s premium cool climate regions to maintain elegance, finesse and length of flavor. Great wine begins with the best grapes for [ yellow tail ] Reserve. You can taste the difference.” This is what I wanted to determine, could you taste the difference?
Over the last 30 years the Casella family has taken Yellow Tail from small production to over 11 million cases, making them one of the largest wine exporters in the world. In 2001 the little yellow wallaby was introduced to the US in an agreement with W.J. Deutsch. Americans fell in love to the sip of 8.5 million cases making Yellow Tail one of the most recognized wine brands in the US.
At prices between $12-$15 the five Yellow Tail Reserve wines (Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon) are about twice the price of the non-reserve line. I’ll admit I had my share of Yellow Tail magnum bottles of Shiraz from Costco. The fruity and slightly disjointed wine used to work as a standby from time to time (especially in my early wine exploration days). Now, however, I’ve discovered that a step up in price is well worth the drinking experience. I’m pretty curious to see what twice the price gets the consumer.
The reserve packaging is a picture of great branding. The use of a black label and silver foil wallaby convey quality while maintaining a tie to the core brand elements. The bottles seem to be slightly weightier as well. After receiving the wine, my step-son walked in the room and said, “oooh, these must be expensive.” He’s a pretty astute and observant 13 year old and has a keen eye for design and marketing. After noting the name, he said, “Oh, they’re only Yellow Tail.” Interesting…
2008 Yellow Tail Reserve Merlot – The 100% Merlot is from six regions in Australia, mostly King and Alpine Valley. The various fruit spent between 6-12 months in a range of new and used American and French oak barrels. With a soft burgundy rust color in the glass, the wine was fairly translucent. The nose on the wine was fairly woody like water logged wine soaked piece of cedar. Some underpinnings of sour red fruit graced the nose to. In the mouth the wine is soft and slightly unassuming with presentations of sour cherry on the mid palate. Hints of vanilla poke through the light tannin finish. At $12-$15 this is a drinkable wine but in comparison to the Velvet Devil on the Under $10 Team, I’ll pass on this one 3-/5.
2008 Yellow Tail Reserve Shiraz – The 100% Shiraz is from the Langhorne, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Barossa and Wrattonbully areas in South Eastern Australia. The fruit spent varying amounts of time (6-12 months) in new and used American and French oak. In the glass the wine is similar in tone to the Merlot but with a darker center. Slightly less translucent but could be the same wine to the untrained eye. A traditional aroma profile for what I’ve experienced in Yellow Tail Shiraz offering off scents of dark fruit and pepper. In the mouth the wine is fairly large and squishy with well balanced play of blackberry, blueberry and pepper spice. The oak components are more subtle and offer more layered flavor to the profile. While still on the simple side, the bold and rich flavor will appeal to a large audience. Having had my fair share of non-reserve Shiraz, at $12-$15 this is definitely a step up in flavor and quality. 3/5
2008 Yellow Tail Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – A multi-regional blend of 100% Cabernet from various sources in South Eastern Australia. As in the other two reserves, this fruit in this wine spent 6-12 months in new and used French and American oak. The Cabernet is thick in the glass with hints of ruby and rust color around the edge of the glass. The aroma profile suggests a well thought out combination of dark fruit, oak and hints of mint. I really enjoyed the nose of this wine. In the mouth the wine is big on fruit and big on oak. The superstar in this wine is the presentation of mint. The finish is average with moderate tannin. In comparison to other $12-15 price point Cabernet Sauvignon, this certainly can stand with them. The subtle differences in like/dislike could be a matter of preference and not quality. 3/5
*NOTE – In the video the graphic rating is mistakenly listed as a 3+/5
In summary, the reserve line of Yellow Tail provided a decent step up in quality and flavor from the regular line. These wines could be a natural next step in people’s evolution of expanding their palate without breaking the bank. The brand familiarity certainly helps in moving people up. Each of the wines, in retrospect, seemed to offer a similar mouth feel and flavor component with the subtle difference being the finish. On each bottle there is a two word description of the wine, i.e. “Dark and Spicy” “Bold and Thick,” my brief description of the reserve line is, “Better not Stunning.” If you see these wines at or around $10, give them a try for a comparison to what you know of the non-reserve line.
*Wines were provided as an industry sample with the intention to review
22 Sep 2010
I first met Cheryl Hodgins at Taste Washington in Spokane. This fireball of energy nearly tackled me when I saw her from across the room. We chatted about Skylite Cellars and even did a brief interview for the Washington Wine Commission (which either I dreamed up or got lost in cyberspace because I can’t find it anywhere). One thing I learned from chatting with Cheryl, she is passionate about wine and Walla Walla.
Skylite Cellars brings together a big city radio entrepreneur and a small town farm girl. Tom Hodgins was busy in the radio industry and Cheryl was content driving a tractor around the farm. Wine and travel brought these two love birds together. That love eventually led to diving into the wine business. In 2000 the Hodgins’ invested in Ash Hollow Vineyards with several other winemakers and the following year, Cheryl’s father planted a few acres of wine grapes in what would eventually be known as Skylite Vineyards. In 2003 the journey to full fledged winery was complete with the addition of wine maker Robert Smasne.
With only a few vintages under their belt, Skylite Cellars is making quite a name for themselves. Their 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon received 90 points from Paul Gregutt, Gold in the Seattle Wine Awards, and Double Gold at the Finger Lakes Wine Competition. During the #Cabernet day review, the wine performed very strong against two Caymus Vineyards Napa, CA wines with a strong 4/5.
Skylite Cellars has two locations in Walla Walla. Their production and main tasting room is located off the old Highway 12 close to L’Ecole, Woodward Canyon and Waterbrook Winery. You can also visit them in downtown Walla Walla in the historic Quinn building on 2nd and Rose Ave (just steps from the Marcus Whitman Hotel).
- The Stuff: 100% Walla Walla Cabernet that was aged 22 months in new American oak; 14%ABV
- The Swirl: A nice dark crimson purple color with about 90% opacity. Rich in color.
- The Sniff: Big a$$ cherry fruit. One you get around the bright cherries you pick up some campfire smoke. Dark red fruit dominates the aroma.
- The Sip: Amazed at the integration of the American oak in this wine. The mouth feel is dominated by big red cherry fruit that is smooth and lush. The tannins are medium and very well balanced. A quick finish ends up with a touch of alcohol head.
- The Score: At $28 the Skylite Cabernet is a very well made wine with a slick polish. If you like cherries, you’re going to love this wine. 3+/5
- The Stuff: 51% Malbec, 33% Cab, and 16% Carmenere make up this blend. Each barrel was chosen for their unique character and quality to be considered for the Reserve. Various combinations of French and American oak; 13.9%ABV
- The Swirl: Glassy purple center with bright purple pearl colors around the edges of the glass
- The Sniff: Strong aroma of blueberry and vanilla. A subtle hint of cinnamon rounds out this opulent nose. There may not be a lot of dynamic scents but what is there is full bodied.
- The Sip: A wine you want to just let sit in your mouth. Lush layers of blueberry and blackberry fruit envelop your tongue. After a few seconds a perfectly balanced spice of cracked black pepper and cinnamon create an additional layer in the wine flavor. The finish is bright and the acidity prepares your mouth for the next stip.
- The Score: At $47 this is a wine that is out of reach for quite a few people. If you have a chance to buy this by the glass or find it on sale (especially if you love Malbec), don’t hesitate. This wine would be a treat for any special occasion and the massive blueberry and vanilla flavors would win over almost any non red wine drinker! 4/5
09 Sep 2010
I don’t usually make a habit of travelling 3000 miles to taste wine, but this occasion deserved the trip. I packed my bags and headed east to the city they call the “big apple” to taste wine from Clare Valley, Australia. I mean really, how often does one get to taste Australian Shiraz?
Actually, I lie; we were in New York City (specifically Manhattan) for our annual family vacation. We gave our son the choice of NYC or Washington DC. He chose NYC, which means next year we’ll be headed to DC. Timing couldn’t be better as we can coordinate the trip with the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference and visit my family just a few hours south in Roanoke, VA.
Before I get back to the wine, let me just say that Manhattan is a-ma-zing! The energy, the vibe, the fashion, the hustle, the passion, the art! Walking the streets felt as if we were walking in the center of what makes the United States (and even the world) run. The eye wall of Times Square rotates out spinning its massive energy force touching the corners of our globe. Would I want to live there? Nope. I couldn’t afford to, but it sure is a fun place to visit.
While on our travels, through the wonders of Twitter, I learned that Cork’d was hosting a wine tasting at the Roger Smith Hotel. In a previous business trip to Manhattan, I had the opportunity to tip a glass with Jon Troutman of Cork’d and Kristen Murphy of Wine Library. Any opportunity to reconnect with these ambassadors of wine immediately shot to the top of my priority list. A quick tangent here – my social media experience has been amazing. Because of the relationships I’ve established on Twitter and Facebook, every city I travel to results in cheers and toasts with “old friends.”
On To The Wine:
When I say Australia, you say?
Okay, when I say Australian wine, you say?
Well, yes, that’s quite true. Most people have narrow thoughts when it comes to Australian wine and it is usually the little kangaroo of Yellow Tail, Jacob’s Creek or Penfolds. The wine tasting at Cork’d hoped to shed some additional light on a region that exports over 1 billion bottles of wine per year (fourth largest in the world).
After a long day of meandering through the Metropolitan Arts Museum, the family was very accommodating and semi-enthusiastically agreed to accompany me to the Roger Smith Hotel (just off Park Avenue and 47th). The eclectic, warm and urban vibe of the hotel made me re-think my lodging choice at a national chain.
At the tasting I was excited to finally meet Lindsay Ronga, CEO of Corkd.com. We’ve spoken via phone and twitter, but in person, Lindsay is infinitely more adorable. She’s also smart as a whip! Lindsay and Jonathan introduced us to their guest, Tom Barry, a third generation wine maker for Jim Barry wines and explained the tasting “rules of engagement.” Immediately the ladies, and some of the men, were smitten with Tom’s thick accent. Most of the crowd was armed with laptops, but I committed to my family to leave mine at home, so I attempted to document the journey with a smart phone whose battery was about to go the way of some of the art exhibits we had just discovered.
Due to the nature of the tasting, these are my initial thoughts and observations of Jim Barry wines. This is not the full attention that I typically try to give to one of my reviews, but should give you a general framework of my thoughts.
Jim Barry Wine Tasting
2007 Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling
The dry Riesling (under 2% residual sugar) had surprising aromas of toasted nuts, white pepper and that standard petrol aroma of a well aged Riesling. The wine was clean fermented with no malolactic and zero oak. With 13%ABV the wine is slightly off balance with only mild acidity. Great flavors of apple, lemon zest, lime and a tart finish. Quite a surprising wine and at $17-$20, could be a good selling price point in the US. 3+/5 (Recommend)
2008 Jim Barry The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon
This 100% Cabernet is a blend from various Coonawarra fruit. The name, and labeling design is inspired from the 30 acres of Cabernet that grow on former Cricket playing fields. The wine receives 12 months in American oak. In the glass there is a good thick color to the edge of the glass. Aromas of bright cherry, are offset by vegetal components, eucalyptus, and cinnamon. In the mouth the wine is slightly thin on fruit with heavy tobacco mid palate and a sweet zing at the end. A bold chalky tannin begs to be decanted, paired with food, or cellared for 5-7 years. $20. 3/5
2008 Jim Barry The Lodge Shiraz
We ended the evening by looking at two Shiraz; one, a new release, and the other from 2004 that should give an indication of age ability. In the glass, the 08 is thick and leaves a crimson residue on the edges of the glass. The 14.5%ABV is low comparatively speaking for some Aussie Shiraz. Fragrance of blackberry and clove present themselves to me. I love the way the wine feels in the mouth. A lush velvet coats the tongue. The black pepper is perfectly balanced with the sweet fruit. The wine is big without being jammy. $20 and a great buy. 3+/5 (Recommend)
2004 Jim Barry McRae Wood Shiraz
The final wine of the night is dark and inky in the glass; a brooding color similar to moonless foggy night. The nose offers up green berry twigs, sour black cherry and some hints of what I would guess coffee syrup would smell like. In the mouth the wine is big on fruit, but it is slightly sour. The finish offered moderate tannins with well integrated acidity. Many of the tasters were very impressed with the wine but this one left me feeling a little empty; a perfect example of taste variance and subjectivity. At $45 this was the highest priced wine of the night. 3/5
Tom Barry of Jim Barry Wines. Follow them on Twitter @JimBarryWines
07 Sep 2010
“How do you taste wine online?” “Is it just me or am I the only one who doesn’t get mass twitter wine tastings?” These are a few of the questions, I’ve heard related to the “taste and tweet” phenomenon. What is the benefit to the mass twitter fury, chatter, and tweet noise? I’ve participated in about a dozen online wine taste and tweet events. Some are small affairs featuring one wine from one winery with a group of 10-15 people. Others are massive world-wide tastings that bring together consumers, trade, aficionados, and beginners for the joy of the grape. The benefits of participating are many!
The intimate twitter tastings have been fun and informative. Experiencing 1 or 2 wines with a group of people, and often times with the winery, opens up my eyes to new things about the business of wine and the joy of drinking it. Each time I walk away with at least one new piece of information and one new twitter friend.
Mass online wine tasting events are an adventure and can often be overwhelming as you sift through the incredible cacophony of chirps and tweets. The recent #Cabernet day, while organized by Rick Bakas of St. Supery winery, quickly grew to be owned by the entire online community. A true use of the organic nature of social media, #Cabernet day was celebrated in New Zealand, Australia, many European countries, South America and North America. I even saw tweets from China as Brian Wing of norcalwingman.com struggled to find good #Cabernet. Several dozen wineries in Walla Walla joined together for a trade celebration. Large meet-ups were organized in Seattle, Phoenix, San Francisco, New York and more. Morton’s Steakhouse restaurant chain promoted #Cabernet day at all of their locations. Five Spokane wineries got on board offering discounts to Cabernet lovers across the city. The result, the king grape Cabernet, showed its worldwide dominance. Pretty amazing for something that started as a single tweet. There is power in an interconnected community that embraces a collaborative spirit.
As I tweeted and tasted three amazing #Cabernet Sauvignon, a few things came to mind. One, wow, people love their Cabernet. The sheer volume of tweets and participants dwarfed the previous tastings I’ve hosted and participated in. Two, consumers were everywhere. Hundreds and thousands of tweets and Facebook wall posts from people not in the “trade” consumed my feed. Three, where was the media or power players? Apart from a large presence from WineLibrary.com and Corkd.com, I saw very little interaction and involvement from those who are proponents and communicators of wine news. Where was Wine Enthusiast or Wine Advocate? How come bloggers and writers like Dr. Vino, Vinography, Tom Wark and others weren’t involved? While I can’t claim to know their schedule or their reasons, it was just a curious observation.
As a newbie to the online community, involvement for me means connecting with people. Keeping up with the blur of tweets is an overwhelming challenge but tasting along with everyone else exposes me to new people and also helps introduce my blog to fellow wine lovers. As a blogger, I want people to read my blog. I write about wine. How often do you get the opportunity to potentially touch 2000-3000 like minded people at once with your brand? For me, not being involved is a missed opportunity in my book.
Before I talk about #Cabernet day stats, it is helpful to put it in perspective with other successful broad scale online tastings. Bakas’ first event of the year, #CaliCabs generated about 1400 tweets from 275 participants. Our first Washington based tasting, #WAMerlot, brought 480 people together online for 1900 tweets. On May 6, #Chardonnay swelled to over 600 participants. Earlier in the summer, winetonite.com , suburbanwino.com, and sipwithme.blogspot.com hosted Pinot Noir with 2000 tweets by 325 people. This brings us to #Cabernet. Buzz leading up to the day indicated that the event was going to be massive. The twitter machines seemed to be coming alive with a love of #Cabernet. The result (according to www.wthashtag.com):
7200 tweets by nearly 1750 individuals
In addition to tracking tweets, Booshaka.com indicates that there were over 3500 Facebook wall posts mentioning Cabernet. This, combined with the 50+ in person tasting events easily drives potential participation rates to well north of 3000 people. Imagine the wine sales! Consider the economic impact! Keep in mind the total dollar amount spent to promote the event – $0
Upcoming Online Tasting Events
The NectarView – Hip Hip Hooray for my Cabernet
- The Stuff: 100% Cabernet from three Walla Walla vineyard sources. No specific information available on web site. 13.5% ABV, winemaker Robert Smasne
- The Swirl: Dark in the glass with about 70% opacity. Wonderfully thick with a slight cloudiness
- The Sniff: Initially the wine presented a musty barrel room smell. After about an hour of decanting the nose came a live with cedar, dark cherry aromas, tobacco, and hints of burnt campfire wood (like right after you douse it with water).
- The Sip: Very impressed with the mouth fell of the wine. An immediate attack of cherry fruit envelopes your whole mouth and then dissipates to include black tea and dark chocolate. The oak is well integrated and the finish is full with smoother tannin and nice acidity.
- The Score: At only $32 this is a superb Cabernet that outperforms the price point. Drinks well with or without food but really shined when paired with our dinner, Guinness Angus burgers and blue cheese. 4/5
Scored 90 pts Wine Advocate and won gold at the 2010 Seattle Wine Awards
- The Stuff: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from various Napa Valley vineyards; 16 months in new French oak; 15.2%ABV; winemaker Chuck Wagner
- The Swirl: Medium body color with crimson highlights in the deep purple hue
- The Sniff: Coy nose with moderate fragrances of cranberry, vanilla and chocolate milk
- The Sip: A very smooth and elegant presentation of a Cabernet that offers up flavors of spiced oak, creamy vanilla and under ripe red berries. The mid-palate feels slightly hollow and the finish offers silky tannin and moderate acidity. Surprising balance with the high ABV as it’s not noticeable.
- The Score: At $60, this isn’t a big full bodied Cabernet that I would expect (especially for the age). The flavor is quite nice and will certainly impress even your most discriminating wine friends. I appreciated the easy sipping and well balanced flavor. 3+/5
- The Stuff: 100% Cabernet from select barrels of various Napa Valley vineyards. 16 months of new French oak; 15.4%ABV
- The Swirl: The dark purple colors are nearly opaque. The clarity is like liquid jewelry and the light refracts across the top.
- The Sniff: Vibrant aromas of eucalyptus, menthol, dark chocolate, and vanilla. A slight under-ripe red berry note is also detectable
- The Sip: An impressively well made wine that showcases the balance of fruit, oak treatment, and Napa Valley Cabernet. The wine has a flavor of thick cream, under-ripe red berries, and what I would imagine an evergreen tree to taste like. The finish is full and lush and the tannins have a surprisingly smooth velvet finish with only a slight chalkiness on the back end.
- The Score: Not many people have $120 to drop on a bottle of wine. If 2008 is a special year for you (celebrating a birth or a wedding), I can definitely recommend this wine as a buy and hold. The Special Selection performs nicely now, but will definitely live up to its price point in 7-10 years. 4/5
Check out this great video from Caymus Vineyards about part of the wine making process.
*Wine was provided as an industry sample with the intention to review
31 Aug 2010
Ahhh, Cabaret…what’s not to love about a good French Cabaret? Singing, dancing, fishnet stocking…some Cabarets even tease with a hint of nudity…the whole thing can be quite a fun experience…
What? Cabernet…oh…that’s a completely different thing! Let’s try this again!
Attention, cows! Run in fear! Thursday, September 2 is the official international Cabernet Day. For 24 hours thousands of people across the world will celebrate with the king grape of Bordeaux. Left Bank lovers will longingly lap up the thick juice and their food accompaniment of choice will be a perfect cut of filet mignon or NY strip steak.
Cabernet Day is happening wherever you and Cabernet Sauvignon can be found. You can join at hundreds of Morton’s Steak Houses, dozens of participating wineries, or open your favorite Cabernet and join the online conversation using Twitter or Facebook. Visit the event site for specifics and additional information.
Participate using Twitter:
- Sign in to Twitter
- Talk about your wine
- Make sure your tweet uses the #cabernet hashtag
- Follow the conversation by using http://search.twitter.com/ ( or a program like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck) and search the hashtag #cabernet
- Engage, connect, learn, and have fun
Participate using Facebook:
- Sign in to Facebook
- Go to www.facebook.com/tasteandtweet “like it”
- Talk about your wine by writing on the wall and commenting on others wall posts
- Engage, connect, learn and have fun
Cabernet is so much fun. If you have enough you just might end up with some singing, dancing, fishnet stockings and a chance of nudity too…
Spokane Cabernet Sauvignon
For those of you in the Spokane area, 12 of our local wineries have you covered with 16 different big full bodies Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve had the privilege of enjoying 13 of these wines and Spokane does Cabernet right! I encourage you to drink local for #Cabernet day and together we can show the world what Spokane winemakers are doing! If, for some reason you need another reason, check out “Eleven Reasons to Participate in #Cabernet Day” from my friend Ben Simons of Vinotology.
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon; $20 – This complex and full-bodied Cab is a delicious blend from five unique vineyard sites in the Columbia Valley. A great value at $20. 3+/5
2007 Sillwater Creek Cabernet Sauvignon; $32 – Fruit from the well- regarded Stillwater Creek Vineyard lends intense concentration and depth to this wine’s black cherry, current, chocolate and cedar flavors. A nicely layered wine that doesn’t go over the top with tannin and pairs well with full bodied food. 4/5 (Recommend)
2006 Kipsun Cabernet Sauvignon; $32 – From one of the warmest, driest and most respected vineyards in Washington State. Sadly I have not experienced this wine.
*This wine is on Paul Gregutt’s “Best Varietally Labeled Cabernet Sauvignon” for Washington State list.
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon; $22 – Made from grapes from Dineen Vineyards and Seth Ryan Estate Vineyards, this 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is the good blend of fruit and structure. Boasting chocolate, black raspberry, and a hint of cracked pepper, this wine delivers. Enjoyed this wine during release weekend. Comes across as a big sipper would recommend with food. 3+/5
2007 Sagemoor Cabernet Sauvignon; $33 – This Cab is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon from Sagemoor’s Weinbau Vineyard blended with 15% Merlot and 10% Syrah, both from Sagemoor’s Bacchus Vineyard. The wine has a nose of black cherry, red raspberry and dark cocoa with a hint of vanilla in the background. The Cab has a soft but full mouth feel, a nice mid palate and a finish that will last until your next sip. One of my favorite Cabernet offerings. 4/5 (Strongly Recommend)
*This wine is on Paul Gregutt’s “Best Varietally Labeled Cabernet Sauvignon” for Washington State list.
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon; $19.95 – This elegant Cabernet Sauvignon sets out a smorgasbord of flavors: plum, cassis, smoke, loam, a hint of the barnyard. It’s nicely balanced, with polished but astringent tannins that carry the flavors into a lingering finish (Wine Enthusiast 90 pts). An incredible Cabernet value. Open and decant to smooth out the finish and aroma. 3+/5 (Value buy)
*This wine is on Paul Gregutt’s “Best Varietally Labeled Cabernet Sauvignon” for Washington State list.
2008 Bridgepress Cabernet Sauvignon; $39.99 – Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley. 60% New French Oak, 40% one year old French barrels. I have not had the opportunity to try this wine.
2005 Pepperbridge Cabernet Sauvignon; $29.99 – An intense Cabernet that competes with the big boys from Walla Walla. I really enjoyed the full bodied fruit on this wine. It is aging nicely and could see an additional 2-3 years in the bottle before reaching its prime. Recommend decanting. 3+/5
LIBERTY LAKE WINE CELLARS
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon; $28 – This bold Red Mountain Cabernet is loaded with blueberries, plums and cherries. Ample acidity and tannins of green tea strike balance and there is a finish of milk chocolate and more cherries. Love Red Mountain fruit. Big and bold with a little bit of chewiness on the finish. 3+/5 (Recommend)
2006 Walla Walla Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; $45 – This is a classic Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon with big upfront fruit, an amazing mouth feel, and a long finish. Two years in French oak. Only 50 cases made. Limited quantities remain available. One of the finest offerings out of Spokane. It may be pricy for most, be definitely worth it. Drinking well now but will drink even better in 5-10 years. 4+/5 (Strongly Recommend)
2007 LaTour Cabernet Sauvignon; $24 – This is a single vineyard, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Made in the new world style, your palate will sense cherry, caramel, chocolate and spice. Exhibits bold front and mid-palate with an elegant and lingering finish. Nicely done. 3+/5
2007 Duality Cabernet; $31 – The Walla Walla Valley terroir shines through in this incredibly complex 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Chocolate, coffee, cherry, spice, toffee and blackberry notes in perfect balance. A well made wine that is still showing a little young. If opening now, decant for 30 minutes or buy and hold for 3-5 years. 3+/5 (Recommend)
ROBERT KARL CELLARS
2006 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon; $30 – Pure varietal, this captures the house style perfectly, with a ripe blend of brambly berries set against crisp natural acids. Almond candy and chocolate graham cracker flavors appear, reflecting 28 months in 75% new oak barrels. The transition to the silky finish brings a refreshing minerality. -P.G. (Wine Enthusiast, 92pts). Loved this wine. 4/5 (Highly Recommend)
2002 Cabernet Sauvignon; $27.95 – Aromas of black cherry cola & blackberry introduce flavors of bright plum, blackberry & cherry with an earthy, smokey lingering finish. The oldest “new release” I’ve had. After spending 30 months in oak and FIVE years in the bottle the wine is showing beautifully with several years of life still to come. 4/5 (Recommend)
VINTAGE HILL CELLARS
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon; $25 – I have not had the privilege of having this wine.
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon; $28 – Spokane’s only fully estate vineyard operation, Michael Haig grows and produces a well balanced Cab that offers medium body, dark cherry fruit, coffee, and a slight minerality. The wine reminds me of an old world presentation of Cab. 3+/5