Hello friends. The first time I walked into Sleight of Hand’s tasting room, an album was just finishing up on Trey Busch’s record player, and he told our group to pick the next one. After perusing his tasteful, eclectic vinyl collection, we settled on Steely Dan. During my most recent visit, Trey was playing Everywhere at Once by The Plimsouls. Okay, so there’s no hard evidence that taste in music equates to taste in wine. But on some level, taste is taste, right?
It was actually music that helped get Trey Busch out to Walla Walla in the first place. He first met Jamie Brown (winemaker at Waters) when Jamie owned a record store in Seattle, and it was Jamie who introduced Trey to Eric Dunham, who gave Trey his first winemaking job as assistant winemaker at Dunham Cellars. His next stop was at Basel Cellars, where he spent five years as Basel’s winemaker, crafting well-received wines that garnered plenty of critical acclaim. At that point, he was looking for his own gig, and he found willing partners in Sandy and Jerry Solomon. Together, they started Sleight of Hand Cellars in 2006.
Sleight of Hand’s portfolio includes several limited-release, higher-end wines, but the real focus is on red table wines like the Spellbinder. Since the winery’s inception, Spellbinder has represented excellent quality for the price, and the 2007 vintage is the strongest yet. The blend here is 57% Cab, 29% Merlot, and 14% Sangiovese. Although the Sangiovese comprises a small portion of the blend, it seems to dominate the pure, expressive nose with its lovely notes of dusty cherries and red licorice. The palate brings black licorice, black cherries, brown spices, and more dusty red fruits. Juicy, vibrant, and lithe, this is far from the fruit bombs that dominate this price segment for red wine. The structure here comes from acid; there is barely a hint of tannin on the back end.
Rober Parker’s Wine Advocate (Jay Miller): “($19); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 90 pts.”
Review of Washington Wine (Rand Sealey): “($19); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 18+/20 pts.”
First come first served up to 24 bottles. This wine should arrive in the warehouse in less than a week, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping.