2010 Woodward Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon Artist Series

Hello friends. We have an exceptional Cabernet today: a new vintage of an old favorite, and one that contains some secret stuffing that only heightens its appeal. [Note: since we’re into summer, we’ll also include a reorder opportunity for Woodward’s Chardonnay – now sold out at the winery – at the bottom of the offering.]

To talk about Artist Series in 2010, we have to talk about Old Vines Cabernet in 2010. What you need to know about 2010 Woodward Canyon Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon:

It doesn’t exist.

With the cooler vintage, Rick Small and Kevin Mott decided not to bottle Old Vines, instead rolling all those barrels (which normally wind up with an $89 tag) into the Artist Series program. What that means: this year’s Artist is chock full of old-vine Champoux Vineyard fruit (Champoux is 55% of the blend) and old-vine Sagemoor fruit (17%). The remainder mostly comes from Woodward’s Estate site in the Walla Walla Valley. It’s an especially poignant bottle, because very little Champoux fruit was harvested in 2011 due to frost damage, so this will be the last chance to taste any serious Woodward Canyon work with Champoux fruit until the release of the 2012s.

For me, this bottle is a total killer; a return to form for one of Washington’s foremost labels after alcohol levels had swung up significantly in recent years. This one clocks in at 14.1% alcohol, and opens with classic old Champoux aromas: a huge whack of graphite minerality, mixed with blackcurrant fruit and black brewed coffee. It smells like Champoux, and it drinks like some of those Old Vines bottles from the middle of last decade (2006, 07) that sent many of us swooning. There is an undeniable core of earth and mineral, soil and graphite, encircled by deep black fruit (cassis, blackberry). The texture is seamless and picks up steam, with a plump mid-palate rolling into an espressoey-tannin finish, with big Cabernet chew.

When Woodward Canyon is on with Cabernet, they’re *really* on. This is one of those bottles that could be slipped into a blind Napa tasting, or a blind Bordeaux tasting; it’s a total bridge wine between old world and new; a balanced, black-hearted beauty.

Only one review so far, but I have to think more praise won’t be far behind:

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “($50); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19/20pts.”

First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive at the warehouse in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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