Washington Wine Club – February 2018

2014 Cadence Winery, Bel Canto, $60

Winery info: This is the fourteenth vintage of the Bel Canto we’ve featured in this club, so Cadence Winery hardly needs any introduction. Ben Smith produced his first vintage in 1998 and has gone on to become one of the most respected winemakers in the state, if not the country. His focus is on Bordeaux varietals from select vineyard sites. He recently made his annual visit to the shop to pour his current line-up and, once again, we selected his Bel Canto to put in the club.

Winemaker: Ben Smith

Grapes: 50% Cabernet Franc, 38% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot

Vineyard sources: Ben’s estate Cara Mia Vineyard on Red Mountain, originally planted in 2004.

Flavor profile: Ben notes that this vintage of Bel Canto boasts “quintessential Red Mountain Cabernet Franc character married with equally serious Merlot.” Its aromas of violets, white pepper and tart cherries are echoed on the palate. It is an elegant and silky wine, with wonderful concentration, and fine-grained tannins.

Production/Availability: About 250 cases. It should be available for a while.

Drinkability: As with all of Ben’s wines, this one will definitely reward aging—at least five years, but over 15 if you can wait that long.

Food Pairing: It would pair beautifully with a juicy steak, roast duck, or herb-crusted lamb.

2014 Darby Winery, “Livewire” Cabernet Franc, $25

Winery info: Darby English began making wine in 2001 and established his winery in the Woodinville warehouse district in 2005. With access to fruit from some of the best vineyards in the state, and innate winemaking talent, he quickly gained the attention and respect of the local wine world and his wines just keep getting better and better.

Winemaker: Darby English

Grapes: 100% Cabernet Franc

Vineyard source: Stillwater Creek Vineyard, a steep site on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills, and Stone Tree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope.

Flavor profile: Soft and spicy, with rich, full, dark fruit flavors and a lovely underlying elegance. It has a nice touch of pepper and a lingering finish.

Production/Availability: 220 cases. It should be available for a while

Drinkability: Anytime over the next five to seven years.

Food Pairing: Enjoy on its own, or with a wide variety of meat or vegetable fare.