2009 Tero Estates “Windrow” (Cabernet Blend)

Hello friends. We have the return today of one of the coolest, most intellectually compelling projects in Washington (er, technically Oregon) winemaking:

The Windrow bottling from Tero is an attempt to express one of the oldest terroirs in the Walla Walla Valley. Windrow Vineyard was part of the original Seven Hills, and it contains 1980-planted Cabernet Sauvignon vines (the oldest commercial Cab in the Walla Walla Valley). In the mid-’90s, part of Seven Hills Vineyard was sold, and the remainder was renamed Windrow. The vineyard and winery are located here, a twenty-minute drive from Walla Walla and well worth a visit. (Note: winery visits are by appointment only, but Tero also has a tasting room in the Marcus Whitman hotel with regular hours.)

In early 2007, Doug and Jan Roskelley purchased this site. Doug knows the historical significance of Windrow, and is bound and determined to pass along the story this vineyard wants to tell. He does it via this bottling, a field blend in the exact proportions of the overall vineyard. By acreage, Windrow is 70% Cab, 14% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc, and 6% Malbec. So Tero harvests using that precise varietal breakdown, co-ferments when possible, and ages in 500L puncheons.

The first vintage of the Windrow field blend was 2007. We offered that in October 2010, and then offered the 2008 vintage in January 2012. I know several of you are building verticals, and this is a brilliant choice for a vertical: Doug is keeping as many characteristics constant as possible. Differences from year to year are almost entirely about what that particular vintage looked like at Windrow.

This has also been a popular wine for our list members because it’s delicious, and the warm, fleshy 2009 vintage shines beautifully through the prism of Windrow. The site has a lovely floral component that seems to shine through each vintage; a cherry blossom topnote that lifts and freshens the crème de cassis and rich cherry. The palate sees more blackcurrant and blackberry fruit, mixed with earthy soil, beetroot, and bay leaf. It’s texturally gorgeous, a real palate-stainer with all the concentration of the best wines from this riper vintage. On the mid-palate, the fine-grained, black-tea-flavored tannins take over and carry into a lingering finish. As good for the senses as it is for the intellect.

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “($45); This is a field blend of the same percentage of varieties as in the vineyard: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 6% Malbec. It shows a deep ruby color and a sensuous nose of blackberry, cherry, plum, wild roses, tobacco, brambles and smoldering incense. The palate is thick and chewy, redolent of dark fruits, intermixed with bittersweet chocolate, cola, Sumatra roast and earthy minerals. The back picks up notes of roasted chestnuts, macerated berries, plum preserves and toffee, followed by a long, ripe chewy sweet-dry tannin finish. For sheer hedonism, this gets a plus. 19+/20pts.”

First come first served up to 12 bottles and the wine should arrive in a few weeks, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.

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