Washington Wine Club – January 2008

2005 Cadence, Bel Canto
One of the highlights of the holiday season at West Seattle Cellars is tasting the new releases of Ben Smith’s single vineyard wines. Ben came out of the Boeing Winemakers Club to become one of the finest (and most highly-rated) vintners in the state. Bel Canto is his reserve wine, made from the 12 best barrels of three top-rated Red Mountain vineyards: Ciel du Cheval, Taptiel, and Klipsun. The wine is a blockbuster, a beautiful song of cocoa, roses, fruit, and spice. There is a bit more available at $55.00, and we’d give it another three to five years for the finely-wrought tannins to “gracefully unwind,” as Ben puts it. We have a small amount of his 3 single-vineyard releases in stock, but don’t wait to snap them up. The moderate heat and perfect ripening conditions that made the 2005 Red Mountain wines so opulent and concentrated also resulted in extremely low yields and limited availability.

2005 Fall Line Winery, Horse Heaven Hills Red Wine
It’s a complete sweep for the boys from Georgetown, also known as the South Seattle Artisan Wineries! In addition to tasting Ben’s wines this December, we got to enjoy three new releases from Tim Sorensen, Ben’s neighbor and former “vintern,” dedicated skier and a professor of economics at Seattle University. Tim’s wines have been stellar since the first vintage in 2003, and his 2005 wines are the best yet! This marvelous blend has the soft tannins and bright acidity characteristic of the Horse Heaven Hills, and shows lots of dark fruit and spice, with caramel and tobacco notes from French oak barrels. It is ready to drink (like his 2005 Cabernet) but still shows remarkable complexity (like his 2005 Red Mountain Red). It’ll match well with everything from pork to hamburger to the finest steak. Best of all, we can get more of all three of Tim’s wines, and all are great values at $29.75 each.