2012 Waters, Cabernet Sauvignon, $48
Winery info: Jamie Brown has been crafting elegant, sumptuous wines under his Waters label since 2003, and they have graced our shelves for just as long. Originally from Walla Walla, where he continues to make his wines, he now lives in West Seattle and produces his wines in partnership with Tero Estates and Flying Trout. With access to some of the top vineyards in the state, Jamie produces gorgeous single-vineyard offerings as well as blends, with an annual production of just a few thousand cases each year, “aimed at reflecting the unique character of each varietal and the qualities of the land that they came from.”
Winemaker: Jamie Brown
Grapes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard source: Predominantly Cold Creek Vineyard, in central Washington, on a gentle, south-facing slope, originally planted in 1973. With one of the longest and warmest growing seasons in the Columbia Valley. The old vine fruit from these vines adds power and concentration to the wine. Also, Candy Mountain Vineyard planted in 1998 near Red Mountain and managed by Tom Waliser, and Olsen Vineyard, a cool climate site across the river from Red Mountain, in the Yakima Valley. Aged in 35% new and 70% neutral French oak.
Flavor profile: This is a serious Cab from an excellent vintage. It is layered with aromas and flavors of savory herbs, dark fruit, and spice, and has beautiful structure and texture.
Production/Availability: 375 cases. It is in decent supply at the moment.
Drinkability: Now through 2025
Food Pairing: A great match for grilled beef, roasted wild mushrooms, or similarly hearty food.
2012 DAMA, DAMAnation GSM, $36
Winery info: Walla Walla’s DaMa is one of Washington’s few woman-owned wineries. It was founded by Mary Tuuri Derby (the “Ma” of “DaMa”), and Dawn Kammer (the “Da”). Mary had been working with her husband, Devin, then winemaker at Spring Valley Vineyard. After his death in a car accident in 2004, nine Walla Walla wineries quickly came together and donated a specially-created barrel of wine (“a large barrel of love”) to Mary. Sales of that wine helped her get through that difficult period and eventually to launch DaMa.
Winemaker: Mary Derby
Grapes: 55% Grenache, 23% Mourvèdre, 22% Syrah
Vineyard sources: Lonesome Spring Vineyard, in the warm, well drained Rattlesnake Mountain bench, near Benton City.
Flavor profile: Full bodied and elegant, with rich, complex flavors of spice and earth, that evolve in the glass. Very approachable now.
Production/Availability: 350 cases. There is still a fair amount available.
Drinkability: Drinking beautifully now and it continues to develop and open up as it breathes.
Food Pairing: GSM blends are very versatile and go especially well with beef, pork, game, lamb, or root vegetable dishes. Great for any holiday meal!