2007 Waters, Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
We’ve been impressed with Jamie Brown’s wines since his days with James Leigh Cellars; we featured two of his wines in the August 2003 Club when it was a “new outfit” in Walla Walla. Jamie joined Waters Winery in 2005 where he continues to demonstrate his extraordinary winemaking talent. While he is best known for his three single-vineyard Syrahs, we were blown away by this limited Cabernet from the acclaimed 2007 vintage. We can only agree with the description of the wine on the bottle, and just add it is simply delicious. The vineyard sources are Cold Creek and Pepper Bridge, and you can clearly taste the family relationship to the nicely structured Cold Creek Cabs of Mike Januik, with Pepper Bridge adding depth and power. It’s an excellent match for grilled beef, roasted wild mushrooms, or similarly hearty food. It costs $49.75, and if you can give it some time, it should really develop over the next two or three years.
2007 Guardian Cellars, Gun Metal
As we told the story in our May club write-up, police officer Jerry Riener began in the wine trade by first volunteering for Matthews Cellars and then by collaborating with Mark Ryan McNeilly in 2001. Jerry first made the elegant Gun Metal and juicy Chalk Line blends for Mark’s winery, and then opened his own winery, Guardian Cellars, in 2007. His wines have been very polished, complex, and sophisticated, and they were a big hit at a shop tasting a couple of years ago. This is the fourth vintage of the Gun Metal under the Guardian label and, in our opinion, the best so far. The fruit is mostly from the top notch Connor Lee Vineyard, well known as a source for Buty’s Chardonnay and Merlot-Cabernet Franc. The wine sees 22 months in 100% new French oak, and it displays a nice balance between the chalky-textured fruit, luscious oak notes and ample minerality. As with Jerry’s other wines, it should be on the wine list of every self-respecting Washington steak house. It gives a lot of pleasure now (with decanting) or you could let it develop for three to five years in your cellar. It’s $37, but somewhat more limited than in past years.