2004 Modern Wine Project Cabernet Sauvignon

Hello friends. Those of you who pay attention to such things might have noticed that we rarely send out offerings on Thursdays. That’s because on most Thursdays, I’m running around the warehouse, pulling and pouring for TPU members. The fact that this offering is hitting your inbox today, then, should indicate the urgency level for today’s wine.

This wine might be Trey Busch’s biggest coup to date: 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, drinking at peak, and priced in the low $20s.

The only problem is availability. Trey (whose main label is Sleight of Hand) only got enough juice for 122 cases, and he allocated 56 to all of Western Washington. By the time I sampled the wine yesterday, those 56 cases were already down to 27. I immediately placed an order to set some aside, and I’m sending this out just as quickly as I can, so that we might be able to access the remainder of the parcel, if there is any. This will not be available for reorder, and it’s clear that the entire western Washington allocation is going to disappear the same week that it lands. I’m going to place my final order Friday afternoon, so please try to get your orders in as soon as possible (I’ll try to add a little extra for latecomers, but no promises).

Perhaps no winemaker in Washington has feelers out to more corners of the state. Trey has his finger on the pulse of available Washington juice, and he has a proven track record of releasing incredible values under the Renegade label.

Much like with his Renegade wines, Trey isn’t saying much about this juice, his first release under this new Modern Wines label, and I suspect that’s because he signed a non-disclosure agreement. The likely scenario here is that a higher-end winery had plans to release this wine with a much higher price tag attached, but in today’s economic clime, that price tag became an impossibility. Rather than harm the brand with a price-drop, they sell the juice to Trey, who bottles it, slaps an attractive label on it (see label here), and sells it for a massive discount.

And the big winners in this scenario: us.

For those wine Sherlocks among us, there are really only two clues here: the vintage (2004), and the elevage (30 months in mostly-new French oak). Not much to go on, but still, that’s enough to narrow the field considerably.

Texture, for me, is the first clue to quality, and as soon as you sip this wine, you can tell that it’s classy winemaking at work. The tannins that haven’t already fully-integrated are beautifully fine, conveying a wine that is silky and powerful at the same time. The aromatics show a wine entering its peak, with the fruit taking on that lovely, mature character of dried cherry and dried apricot. All the oak is fully integrated at this point, weaving a layer of smoke through the flavors of red licorice, earth, and graphite. Integrated and complex, this is a terrific example of seven-year-old Washington Cabernet.

I’m going to set the upper order limit at 12 bottles, but allocations may end up in the 4-6 bottle range if I cannot tap into more than the initial parcel. The wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.

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