2016 JB Neufeld, Two Blondes Cabernet Sauvignon, $42
Winery info: Justin Neufeld has been the winemaker at Gilbert Cellars since 2007, and he took over management of their extensive vineyards in 2009. His JB Neufeld label is his side project, where he focuses exclusively on Cabernet Sauvignon from a number of Yakima Valley vineyards, aiming to showcase a unique sense of place in each of his wines. He has access to fruit from some of the top vineyards in the state, including Andrew Will’s estate vineyard, Two Blondes.
Winemaker: Justin Neufeld
Grapes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 22 months in 75% new and 25% neutral French oak barrels.
Vineyard source: Two Blondes Vineyard in the Yakima Valley AVA. The relatively cool site was planted in 2000 on a complex mix of soils—silty loam over a lime/silica base.
Flavor profile: Justin says that the terroir of Two Blondes Vineyard gives his wines a delicate texture and pretty floral notes. This is a sumptuous Cab with rich, dark fruit flavors, balanced oak, and elegant structure. Very smooth and deft.
Availability: 198 cases produced. This vintage probably won’t be around much longer.
Drinkability: Now through 2024.
Food Pairing: Try it with herb-crusted roast pork, or roasted root vegetables.
2016 Tero Estates, Petit Verdot, $39.75
Winery info: Tero Estates is a collaboration of two longtime friends, Mike TEmbreull and Doug ROskelley. In 2007 they were able to purchase Windrow, one of the oldest vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley AVA, on the Oregon side of the border near Milton Freewater. Windrow was part of the original Seven Hills Vineyard, first planted in 1981. Over the years the vineyard has provided fruit for many top Walla Walla producers, including Leonetti, L’Ecole, and Walla Walla Vintners. We have always been very impressed with Doug’s wines and have featured a number of them in the club over the years.
Winemaker: Doug Roskelley
Grapes: 100% Petit Verdot. Doug cuts back about half the fruit in the vineyard to allow the vines to focus their energy on the best clusters and ripen perfectly.
Vineyard source: Windrow Vineyard, with soils varying from deep deposits of windblown loess to shallow layers over gravelly rocks, and large diurnal shifts between warm days and cool nights.
Flavor profile: It is a substantial Cab, with dark, but not heavy flavors of black cherry, white pepper, and spice. The texture is smooth and velvety, and the tannins silky on the long finish.
Availability: 72 cases produced. There is still a decent amount left.
Drinkability: Delicious now over the next seven or eight years.
Food Pairing: Doug says this wine pairs very well with steak au poivre or a big ribeye.