Hello friends. When was the last time you drank a bottle of wine that was more than a few years old? The majority of wines on the market are bottled young, bought young, and drunk young. There are cash flow pressures on wineries, distributors, and retailers like me to sell wines as quickly as possible, and few of us have the space and patience required to cellar wines for five years at a time. So when a producer is bottle-aging their wines for years at a time, it’s worth taking notice.
When I tasted the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon at Forgeron (smack in the middle of Walla Walla), I was struck by the gorgeous tobacco and earth notes on both the nose and palate. This wine contains subtleties, born from the slow integration of tannin, fruit, acid, and alcohol, that are impossible to find in younger wines. If Washington wines are developing a calling card, it is their ability to straddle styles of the old-world (Europe) and the new-world (everyplace else). Forgeron is an exemplar of this model.
The winemaker, Marie-Eve Gilla, was trained in France, and she applies that sensibility to grapes from a number of highly-respected Washington vineyards. In the case of this Cabernet Sauvignon, those vineyards are Klipsun on Red Mountain, Pepper Bridge in Walla Walla, and Alder Ridge in the Horse Heaven Hills. With stellar vineyard sources like these, I noted this wine as a “buy” at $30 (the price at the winery). My excitement deepened appreciably when I returned to Seattle and realized I could offer the wine for substantially less than that.
Here is Paul Gregutt, writing about this wine in July of 2008 (Gregutt is the preeminent writer on northwest wine, and his book Washington Wines & Wineries: The Essential Guide is a must-have for anyone interested in the topic):
Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($30); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]; 92 pts.”
We will have this wine in our warehouse in less than a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping.