Hello friends. The main thrust of today’s offering is Klipsun Cabernet from Seven Hills (we have managed to secure an excellent tariff on that wine). Below that, I will also include brief offerings on two other Bordeaux varietals that were drinking really nicely during a recent visit to the winery:
2007 Klipsun Cab
Developing a house style is an evolutionary step in winemaking. It requires focus and commitment to produce, vintage after vintage, wines of a certain, notable kind. Casey McClellan at Seven Hills has a clear house style: acid-driven and texturally elegant, and he has stuck with that style as fashion trends have waxed and waned (certainly, in the early part of the last decade, he defied trends towards more alcohol and more oak; now, as he stands still, the pendulum falls back towards him). I consider Casey a grower’s winemaker. Vineyard owners and vineyard managers love him, because he picks fruit early and is single-mindedly dedicated to expressing those sites.
This Cabernet (100% Cab, 100% from Klipsun Vineyard), was one of the most pleasurable wines I tasted in my latest Walla Walla sojourn. Those of you who had the chance to try Casey’s 2007 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard blend (long since sold out, I’m afraid) will remember his expertise with Red Mountain, and his experience with Klipsun predates his work in Ciel by a decade.
Klipsun Cabernet Sauvignon is an iconic vineyard-varietal love affair in Washington, as I first mentioned when offering Klipsun’s Sauvignon Blanc from Stevens. Where Ciel Cab is known for textural elegance, Klipsun is known for muscular structure and raw power. Stubbornly imposing in their youth, Klipsun Cabs typically reward the patient, presenting a wall of (admittedly delicious) tannins to those who pop their corks too early.
I was a bit surprised, then, when sampling the Klipsun Cab from Seven Hills, to taste a wine this approachable in its youth. The aromas and flavors are dark and brooding, a cauldron of black fruit, violets, white flowers, and chalk. This is Klipsun Cab, so let’s talk tannins. First, the texture: fine-grained and chalky. Now, the tannin flavor: my closest sensory memory to the tannin flavor is a cup of cherry-varenya-sweetened black tea I tasted at a Russian restaurant in New York more than a decade ago (isn’t it amazing, the ability of flavor memories to outlast many other neurons?).
While I was visiting the winery, I learned that the September issue of Wine Enthusiast will carry the following review:
Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($32); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”
That review will doubtless put pressure on their remaining stock, but we’re getting in early. 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.
2007 Klipsun Malbec
From Windrow, McClellan Estate, and Minnick Hills Vineyards, all in the Walla Walla Valley. This is bright, tart, and delicious, filled with brambly boysenberries and blueberries and dusted with baking spice.
September or October Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 90pts.”
2007 Klipsun Petit Verdot
Entirely sourced from McClellan Estate Vineyard, which is rapidly becoming a star vineyard for PV in the valley. Saviah and Watermill also make excellent varietal PV from this site. A deeply floral wine, both on the nose and in the perfume-drenched mouth, this also carries flavors of blue fruit, chalk, and iron. This is just 13.6% alc, and the tannins (which can sometimes be quite aggressive in Petit Verdot) are wrangled neatly into submission.
September or October Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91pts.”