2009 Adams Bench, Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, “the V”
In our continuing quest to find worthy new Washington wineries for this club, we are very proud to present this Cabernet from Adams Bench winery in Woodinville. Customers had already been asking about Adams Bench, and we were delighted when owner-winemaker Tim Blue showed up at the shop one day with some mighty tasty wine in his bag. Tim and his wife Erica founded the winery in 2005, advised by the legendary Chris Camarda of Andrew Will on Vashon. They make 1,000 cases each year of Cabernet and Cabernet blends on their 3.5 acre farm about a mile up Hollywood Hill from the Old Hollywood Schoolhouse. They source their fruit very carefully from top Washington vineyards, including but not limited to Artz in Red Mountain, Red Willow in the Yakima Valley, and Stillwater Creek in the northern part of the Columbia Valley. All of their wines are aged in French oak, much of it new, and bottled without filtration. “The V” Cabernet is smooth, layered, and well balanced, with lots of dark fruit, well-integrated accents of spice and smoke, and a long finish. It should start to reach its peak in about a year or two and will continue to evolve for another two to three years after that. A great wine for steak or barbecue, it’s $49 and we seem to be one of the few wine shops where’s it’s available outside of the winery.
2009 Guardian Cellars, Gun Metal
Since Tim Blue is a lawyer, we thought it only right that we also feature a wine from our favorite police officer-winemaker! Jerry Riener first discovered the world of wine in the late nineties when, while serving as an undercover detective, he checked out a suspicious warehouse in Woodinville, which turned out to be Matthews Cellars. Eager to drive the big new shiny forklift, Jerry soon found himself volunteering forty hours a week. With a college degree in chemistry, he was soon just as fascinated by the winemaking as the equipment, and he started collaborating with Mark Ryan McNeilly in 2001. At first, Jerry made the elegant Gun Metal and juicy Chalk Line blends for Mark’s winery, and then opened his own winery, Guardian Cellars, in 2007. This is the sixth vintage of the Gun Metal under the Guardian label and, in our opinion, the most polished and best so far. (I know – we say that every year!) The fruit is from the top notch Connor Lee Vineyard, well known as a source for Buty’s Chardonnay and Merlot-Cabernet Franc. The wine sees 21 months in 80% new French oak, and it displays a nice balance between dark, brambly fruit, luscious oak notes of cocoa and vanilla, and ample minerality. This vintage has a bit more Cabernet than in past years, which makes it a touch richer and more chewy. 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, and a new release, so still in pretty good supply.