Washington Wine Club – July 2014

2011 Abeja, Cabernet Sauvignon
We’ve been featuring wines from Abeja in the club every year for the past eight years, ever since their third vintage, and the wines continue to get better and better. 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 2011 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 Kiona 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 also includes 14% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot.) It is a wine of polish and finesse, with floral notes and cocoa, cassis 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 Balboa Winery, Constrictor, Walla Walla Valley Red Wine
It would seem that 2010 was a banner year for Balboa, since we also put Tom Glase’s Mith in our March club this year. Tom is the winemaker at Beresan, and he founded Balboa Winery to make inexpensive yet elegant, ready-to-drink Washington wines from up-and-coming new vineyards. Balboa is a collaboration with Mike Sharon of L’Ecole 41 and this wine is 75% Syrah, with quite a bit of Petit Verdot (12%) for richness, 9% Cabernet, and a touch of Malbec (4%). The label was drawn by Tom’s nine-year-old daughter, Amelia Mary. It’s sourced mostly from Tom’s own Eidelon Vineyard and Pepper Bridge, both in Walla Walla. The wine was then aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. Like the Mith, the Constrictor is definitely ready to drink. It has nice aromas of plums and dark cherry, with the damp earth and game notes characteristic of Walla Walla Syrah. It features a blend of red and dark fruits on the palate, and has savory flavors of sage and truffles, rich tannins and a smooth, long finish. It would be perfect for grilled mushrooms. It is $39.75, and in good supply.