2009 Côte Bonneville, Carriage House, DuBrul Vineyard, $49.75
Winery info: Dr. Hugh Shiels and his wife Kathy bought DuBrul Vineyard in the Yakima Valley in 1992 and continue to do most of the cellar work themselves. They founded Côte Bonneville as an estate winery in 2001 to show off the vineyard site.
Winemaker: Their daughter, the very impressive Kerry Shiels. She was trained as an engineer and worked for Fiat in Italy (learning Italian on the job), among other projects, until she came home to work with the previous winemaker Stan Clarke and her family in the winery
Grapes: 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, and 11% Cabernet Franc, all from their estate vineyard. It’s aged in French oak (43% new) for 20 months.
Vineyard source: DuBrul Vineyard is one of the most impressive sites in Washington, towering 1375 feet over the Yakima Valley, and it has a unique blend of exposed basalt rock mixed with sedimentary soils and volcanic ash. Unlike warmer areas, DuBrul Vineyard wines seem to retain marvelous acidity while producing intense, powerful wines.
Flavor profile: An elegant wine, with distinct floral aromas, a core of cherry fruit, lots of spices, moderate tannins, and a touch of chocolate. As the reviewer for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate wrote, it “finishes with lusciously lingering fruit in a vibrant exchange with floral, herbal and mineral elements.”
Production/Availability: 906 cases. It was just released at the end of September and so is in very good supply.
Drinkability: Drinkable now with decanting, or you can cellar it for ten years.
Food Pairing: Try it with a steak or pork chops with cherry sauce.
2012 JB Neufeld, Yakima Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $36
Winemaker: Justin Neufeld has been the fulltime winemaker at Gilbert Cellars since August, 2007, and he took over management of their extensive vineyards in 2009. As he is extremely busy, he has time to make only a few of his own wines each year.
Winery info: Justin makes his wines at the Gilbert Cellars facility in Wiley City, just west of Yakima. His first vintage was two barrels of wine that he gave away to the guests at his wedding in 2005.
Grapes: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Malbec, aged for 22 months in French oak, 72% new.
Vineyard source: A very well constructed blend of the structured fruit of Artz Vineyard from Red Mountain (33%) with somewhat riper and minerally fruit from the high altitude DeBrul Vineyard in the Yakima Valley (28%) and the very juicy fruit of Gilbert’s own WGE Vineyard (39%).
Flavor profile: Reflecting the nice warm 2012 vintage, it is simply delicious, with just enough structure to provide nice layered flavors.
Production/Availability: Justin’s largest production at 430 cases, so it’s in good supply at the distributor.
Drinkability: Drink this now and come back and buy more!
Food Pairing: It’s a good match for any kind of red meat, from hamburgers to steak.