Hello friends. Paging through Jeb Dunnuck’s first set of Washington reviews released on June 28, I was thrilled to see a series of positive reviews for Lauren Ashton Cellars. Kit Singh debuted the winery in 2012, and we offered a total of six Lauren Ashton wines last October and November. They already had a set of strong reviews from Paul Gregutt in Wine Enthusiast, and now we can add Jeb to the chorus singing the praises of this still-under-the-radar rising star.
Of course, Lauren Ashton won’t be under the radar for long. Along with all the positive critical prose, Kit is also about to hit a milestone when he opens a new tasting room in Woodinville in the old Cougar Crest space (14545 148th Ave NE, Suite 211; open Thursday-Sunday 1-5pm). Once those wines become accessible to the weekend wine-touring crowd, I’m afraid depletions will pick up significantly.
But for now, because of our early support of his venture, we’ve been offered access to one more shot at a handful of Kit’s best-reviewed bottles. I’ll direct you to our initial Lauren Ashton offering for the story behind Kit and his winery. For now, let’s dig into these bottles:
2009 Lauren Ashton Cellars “Cuvee Mirabelle” (Rhone Blend)
Originally offered on November 14, 2012. My original notes: “Tiny production (49 cases) of this 80/10/10 cofermented blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. It comes entirely from Red Haven Vineyard, a site between Col Solare and Hedges Estate on Red Mountain, and it sat in neutral oak for 30 months before bottling. The Red Mountain fruit is on fine display, with rich red raspberry fruit interplaying with meaty notes and dustings of white pepper.”
Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($52); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
2009 Lauren Ashton Cellars “Cuvee Arlette” (BDX Blend)
Originally offered on November 14, 2012. My original notes: “Slightly higher production here, although at 116 cases, I don’t think we’ll be giving Kendall Jackson a run for their money anytime soon. Another single-vineyard wine from Red Haven, this is a Merlot-dominant (57%) blend, rounded out with all four of the remaining Bordeaux varietals. The aromatics spill out of the glass, a riot of black fruit, cocoa powder, marzipan, and pecan. On the palate, this is so well-coiffed, so perfectly-balanced; there is not a single element out of place. PaulG has it right below when he says ‘perfectly proportioned.’ I had the exact same phrase in my own notes. Red cherry fruit and mocha form the core, and there is enough power and density here to remind you that Merlot from Washington is something special indeed.”
Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($50); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.” [Note: #22 in Paul Gregutt’s Top 100 list of 2012.]
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”
2009 Lauren Ashton Cellars “Proprietor’s Cuvee” (BDX Blend)
Originally offered on October 12, 2012. My original notes: “All from Red Haven Vineyard, a fine spot on Red Mountain tucked between Col Solare and the Hedges properties, this is a BDX blend with Cabernet Sauvignon predominating (69%). Blackcurrant, blackberry, and graphite introduce a wine with a deep, dense core of Red Mountain minerals, with espresso and cases swirling around that core. Balanced and textural, deep and intense, this is a palate-staining mouthful of wine, finishing with refined tannins evocative of English breakfast tea.”
Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($50); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”
First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.