Washington Wine Club – June 2013

2010 Abeja, Cabernet Sauvignon
We’ve been featuring wines from Abeja in the club every year for the past seven years (ever since their third vintage), and we are very proud to present their 10th anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker John Abbott is unerring in his craft and his wines are simply some of the best in the state every year. We have found that the cooler 2010 growing season has allowed the top Washington winemakers to make wonderfully structured ageable wines, and this Cabernet is no exception. The fruit is sourced from Abeja’s own Heather Hill Vineyard, as well as from Sagemoor’s Bacchus, Dionysus and Weinbau vineyards, and Hedges on Red Mountain. Since there will be no 2010 reserve Cabernet, the wine includes the very old vine fruit from Sagemoor’s best plots. It is a wine of polish and finesse, with floral notes and cocoa, cedar and spice characteristics, a wine both complex and youthfully exuberant. John says it has the perfect structure for aging, for those who have the patience to wait. Whenever you chose to enjoy it, he suggests pairing it with lamb, or with duck or goose breasts on a bed of grains with wild mushrooms. It is $49.75 and we do have more, although the distributor reports that it will probably sell out by the end of the summer.

2010 Guardian Cellars, Gun Metal
Here’s another repeat offender, as it’s the fourth year in a row that we’ve put the Gun Metal in the club. 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 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 seventh 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. It was the standout at a recent Saturday tasting, even amidst five other outstanding Guardian Cellars wines. 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 $39, and a recent release, so still in pretty good supply.