Washington Wine Club – January 2015

2010 Gamache Vintners, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine is a classic Washington collaboration between top notch grape growers and a highly skilled winemaker, in this case Charlie Hoppes of Fidelitas. Bob and Roger Gamache have been growing grapes on a remote, southern slope of the eastern ridge of White Bluff at the foot of Red Mountain since 1982. For their flagship wine, they have added to their own best barrels equal amounts of old vine Cabernet fruit from two of the other pioneering vineyards in Washington: their cousin Paul Champoux’ iconic vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills and Jim Holmes’ Ciel du Cheval Vineyard on Red Mountain. The result is an impressive Washington Cabernet with powerful herbal notes and a touch of tea leaf and eucalyptus. It is full-bodied, but also well-balanced between succulent dark blackberry and plum flavors, a touch of earth, and an elegant complexity. A lasting, silky finish pairs well with roasted meat dishes or grilled Portobello mushrooms. We’d give it another two or three years for it to integrate fully. It’s also relatively limited, since only 298 cases were made, but we do have a bit more available. It’s $49.75.

2010 Ross Andrew Winery, Force Majeure Vineyard Red Blend
Ross Andrew Mickel has been involved in the wine industry since he went fly fishing in 1996 with Mark Canlis, heir to Canlis Restaurant. After a stint working under Canlis Master Sommelier Rob Bigelow, now Senior Director of Wine Education for Chateau Ste. Michelle, Ross went on to serve as cellar master for the legendary Bob Betz for another decade. In 1999, with Bob’s support and guidance, Ross started Ross Andrew Winery, making three barrels of wine in his first year. Fifteen years later, Ross is up to 125 barrels, and our customers know him for his tasty value wines, particularly his Pinot Gris and the Glaze Cabernet Sauvignon. For this reserve wine, Ross has sourced the fruit from one of Red Mountain’s hidden treasures, Force Majeure Vineyard. Force Majeure is a steep twelve acre southwest-facing site that rises in elevation from 950 to 1230 feet and includes nine different types of soil, from sandy loam to compact ash to rocky basalt deposits. With an incredible diversity of soils and altitude, Force Majeure consists of a wide variety of micro-sites, which utilize different vine-training systems and clonal selections. It’s not surprising that this blend would be quite unusual, with Cabernet Franc the dominant grape (45%), a generous dollop of the very rich Petit Verdot (36%), and a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon (19%). The Cabernet Franc provides a wonderful floral component that is backed up by the black fruit character and spice of Petit Verdot and the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon. It can be drunk now with decanting or you can profitably give it a couple of years in your cellar. It would pair well with diverse foods; try it with Cornish game hen, grilled vegetables, or pepperoni pizza. It’s $39.75 and in reasonably good supply.