2013 Cadence, Bel Canto, $60
Winery info: Cadence hardly needs any introduction. Ben Smith produced his first vintage in 1998 and has since become one of the most respected winemakers in the state, if not the country. His focus is on Bordeaux varietals from select vineyard sites. This is the thirteenth vintage of this wine we’ve featured in this club.
Winemaker: Ben Smith
Grapes: 75% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot
Vineyard source: From Ben’s estate Cara Mia Vineyard on Red Mountain, originally planted in 2004.
Flavor profile: As Ben describes it: “Beguiling floral, herb and spicy aromas. The first sip packs as great an impact as anything we’ve bottled – power, texture, and energy pulse through the glass. Tannins are long, fine and discretely buried in waves of fruit. These, too, fully awaken after time in the decanter. There is a suaveness, completeness and tautness that is present only in the greatest of vintages.” A wine for the ages.
Production/Availability: 200 cases produced. It was just released in November so it is in good supply for now.
Drinkability: As with all of Ben’s wines, this one will definitely reward aging—at least five years, but up to 15 or 20 if you can wait that long.
Food Pairing: As always, this wine would pair beautifully with a juicy steak or roast duck.
2012 Wautoma Wines, El Prat, $25
Winery info: Started by Jessica Munnell, former assistant winemaker at Château Ste. Michelle and current winemaker at Mercer Estates, along with Tom Merkle, vineyard manager for Wautoma Springs Vineyard. The first release of El Prat, the 2010 vintage, was one of the most delicious $25 Washington wines we’ve ever tasted and the biggest seller in the shop of all time. This new vintage looks to be a repeat!
Winemaker: Jessica Munnell
Grapes: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon/24% Malbec
Vineyard source: The grapes are sourced from Wautoma Springs Vineyard, next to Ste. Michelle’s coveted Cold Creek Vineyard. They were able to buy the then-unused vineyard from Ste. Michelle since Jessica’s husband, Juan Oca, is the winemaker for Columbia Crest.
Flavor profile: A smooth and elegant wine with deep, rich, inviting flavors. 36 months aging in oak barrels (one quarter new) adds complexity and texture.
Production/Availability: About 250 cases. There are about 50 cases left, but it is going fast!
Drinkability: This wine is drinking beautifully now, or you could enjoy it anytime over the next few years.
Food Pairing: You could pair this with a wide variety of foods, or savor it on its own