2011 Cadence Coda

Hello friends. Year in and year out, Cadence Coda is one of the best values produced in Washington State, and it’s easy to understand why.

Ben Smith makes four single-vineyard wines for Cadence, all from Red Mountain. Two come from the estate Cara Mia Vineyard, one from Ciel du Cheval, and one from Taptail. And that’s it. Ben carefully crafts the blends for those high-end ($45-$60) wines, and then whatever barrels aren’t included during those blending trials end up in Coda.

What that means for Coda is that it’s always a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot, always a blend of Cara Mia, Ciel du Cheval, and Tapteil, and always barrels that were raised with the exact same care as the higher-end bottles. And we get all of that for a tariff that is about half the single-vineyard wines:

Cadence, although still a winery that may fly a bit under the mainstream radar, has huge cachet among the insider/somm/message-board crowd. Ben has a profound sense of focus, and he has developed a deft hand managing what can be difficult-to-tame Red Mountain fruit.

Perhaps more importantly, he developed a house style in the early days of Cadence that emphasized textural elegance, carefully-tended structure, and finely-tuned balance. Because of those components, Ben’s wines are marvels when it comes to medium- to long-term aging. Those of you who went in on one or more of our Cadence library offerings will know what I mean.

Even in ripe years, Ben can’t help but make elegant wines. But the cooler 2010 and 2011 vintages seem positively made for the Cadence style. Coda serves as a crystal ball into the higher-end releases for 2011, and the future looks bright indeed.

This is a glorious wine. Lovers of elegance and low-palate-weight intensity should not miss this bottle. It starts with a gorgeous high-toned flower garden of a nose: lilies, lilac, redcurrant, and red cherry. The palate, per my note, is “so bleeping pure.” It displays wonderful concentration without a bit of excess weight, gliding across the palate with mineral-inflected fruit, seamless texture, and pulsing intensity.

No surprise that lovers of this style of wine have already weighed in with positive reviews (recall that a 90pt score from Tanzer is a fine review indeed):

International Wine Cellar (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 90pts.”

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: ****/***** (Excellent/Exceptional).”

First come first served up to 24 bottles, and the wine should arrive 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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