Washington Wine Club – July 2009

2005 Matthews Estate, Columbia Valley Red Wine
As many of you may know, Matt Loso, the founding winemaker of Matthews Estate, was bought out by his partners last summer. Not surprisingly, change is in the air; they have announced that this will be the last Matthews Columbia Valley Red Wine, one of the standout wines in Washington since its first vintage in 1995. Consistently using all five Bordeaux varietals, Matt’s goal was to produce Cabernet Sauvignon-driven wines with all of the power and elegance that made the Paulliac and St. Estephe regions of Bordeaux famous, with the added intensity of Columbia Valley fruit. Unlike the challenging 2004 vintage, when Matt put all his fruit into the outstanding Claret, the 2005 vintage was almost perfect: warm in the summer, but then cooling in August and September. The wine features aromas of ripe cherry, black currant and an earthy espresso, and has intriguing notes of black tea and eucalyptus on the palate. The result is a structured wine with the polished elegance of earlier Matthews Red Wines that will last an easy 15 years. But it is tasting very well now, so you could just decant it and enjoy it with pork tenderloin. It’s $49.75 and in good supply.

2006 Dumas Station, Cabernet Sauvignon
When Pete Thorson from Minnick Hills Vineyard stopped by the shop last year with a couple of Cabernets from a previously unknown winery just north of Walla Walla, we were not expecting very much. Until we tasted the wines! Jay and Doug DeWitt are longtime vineyard managers well known for producing some lovely white wine grapes. After some years of working with some of Walla Walla’s top winemakers, they finally released their first commercial Cabernet from the 2003 vintage. At the Saturday tasting last November, our customers enjoyed and bought up the first three vintages, and we even put the star of the group, the 2004 Cabernet, in the Washington Club. The 2006 Cabernet will be officially released in September, but, thanks to your support for the winery, we are able to put it in the club this month. It features a lot of the blackberries and currants recognizable from their first release, as well as the spiciness of the 2004, but it is by far the best structured and most food friendly of their wines so far, a great pairing for any big meaty dinner. (At a wine dinner in February, Jay paired the last vintage of the Cab with bison strip with blackberry brandy sauce.) It could benefit from another year or so in the bottle, although it is very tasty now. The price is $32 and we can get quite a bit more of the 400 cases that Jay produced.