Hello friends. The soon-to-be-released September issue of Seattle Met contains that magazine’s annual list of Washington’s 100 Best Wines. This year, a familiar face compiled the list: Sean Sullivan of Washington Wine Report. Here is his methodology, as stated in the magazine:
“Sullivan started by authoring a call for submissions that was published in the Washington Wine Commission’s newsletter, which goes out to all wineries in the state. Wineries were allowed to send a maximum of four wines: one bottle (red or white) under $25; one under $50; one over $50; and one white wine of any price… Sullivan sampled each bottle blind in groups of four to six, organized by varietal. He rated them on a 100-point scale.”
The Full Pull warehouse served as Sean’s storage and tasting facilities for this project, which meant I got to gawk at (and taste a few of) the wines that were submitted. It was a stellar list, with just about all the big guns in the state represented. Here is a link to the online version of the story. As you can see, the wines finishing in the top two spots (one from Quilceda Creek; one from Cayuse) are utterly inaccessible. But then there’s number three.
Due to a few strokes of good fortune, I’m able to offer number three: Rick Small’s 2007 Old-Vines Cabernet Sauvignon. First, the wine was released recently, so it is still available (this one rarely lasts through the holiday season). And second, I had the chance to taste this wine with Rick Small during my July visit to Walla Walla. I was planning on holding off until closer to the holidays for this offering, but Seattle Met has no shortage of readers, and I suspect this article will hasten the wine’s disappearance.
I’m giddy with delight to be working with Woodward Canyon. After already having our inaugural offerings with Andrew Will and Grand Reve in July, to add Woodward Canyon to the list in August is the capstone on a fine summer for our list members.
Rick Small is a pioneer in the Walla Walla Valley and is still going strong today (a future Woodward Canyon offering will delve more into Rick’s singular passion for his estate vineyard land). He began his winery in 1981, and one of his wines was the Dedication Series Cab, which eventually morphed into the Old Vines Cab. He has been working with Champoux Vineyard fruit since 1985, when it was still called Mercer Ranch. The old blocks of Champoux comprise 74% of the blend here, with the remainder rounded out by the oldest Cabernet blocks at Sagemoor Vineyard, another stellar site.
The aromas here are deep and dark. It is apparent upon first sniff that this can be nothing but Cabernet, swaddled in a layer of luxurious French oak. Layers upon layers emerge on the palate. There is fruit: black cherries, cassis, mango, and citrus peel. There is barrel: sweet baking spice and vanilla bean. There is mineral: flinty metals and streaks of iron. It just goes on and on, and all of it with clarity, precision, and exceptional depth of flavor.
Seattle Met Magazine (Sean Sullivan): “($79); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”
Demand from lifestyle magazine articles like this takes time to trickle through retail channels. Let’s jump in before that happens. Please limit order requests to no more than 12 bottles, and we will do our best to fulfill all requests. We should have this wine in the warehouse in less than a week, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.