Washington Wine Club – March 2009

2006 Cadence, Bel Canto
One of the highlights of the holiday season at West Seattle Cellars is tasting the new releases of Ben Smith’s wines. This year the tasting was delayed until January 31 by our December snowstorms but the wait was definitely worth it! For the first time his reserve wine, Bel Canto, was sourced completely from Ben’s own Red Mountain vineyard, Cara Mia. He planted it in 2004 and named it after his daughter Cara McNutt Smith. We recommend a visit to Ben’s website (cadencewinery.com) to learn how an elite Washington vineyard is created. You can taste Ben’s hard work and great craftsmanship in this “Right Bank” blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, which is powerful, intense, and full of deep flavor. Give it another three to five years for the finely-wrought tannins to “gracefully unwind,” as Ben puts it, and then try it with a nice pepper steak or roasted duck. It was $55 and we put all we could get into this club. We do have a small amount of his three other 2006 releases in stock, but don’t wait to snap them up – Cadence was named winery of the year last year by the national magazine Wine and Spirits.

2006 Lost River, Winery Massif
In the last two years, Lost River has become one of the most popular Washington wineries in our shop. Customers eagerly snap up their well-priced Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah, and we can barely keep their whites (Pinot Gris and the Rainshadow Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend) in stock. Now winemaker John Morgan tackles Malbec in this wonderful new blend with Cabernet Sauvignon. The Malbec produces nice black cherry flavors, while the Cabernet adds density and complexity. Unlike many of the lighter Washington Malbecs, it’s probably the biggest wine yet from Lost River and begs to be paired with a big juicy steak. With additional cellaring time, say three years or so, this wine promises to get even better. It is a bargain at $26 and, thanks to our great relationship with the Morgans, we can get more.