2008 Ross Andrew Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

Hello friends. Our support of Ross Mickel’s Glaze Cabernet last month has led to Ross offering our list a tremendous opportunity: the chance to access the final parcel of his 2008 Cabernet under his main Ross Andrew label – normally  a $40 wine – at a tariff well below that:

This wine is a ghost, effectively sold out. You won’t see it listed on the Ross Andrew website. It looks like there are still a few parcels kicking around the country, but they’re much closer to the normal release price ($38-$44 on the east coast; $40 on the west coast).

This is one of those spots where the Full Pull model works marvelously. A winery has a handful of cases remaining of an older vintage; they want to sell through the remainder but don’t want to damage the brand by blasting a discount price all over the internet (as you all know, our pricing is never published anywhere except for your inboxes); and they want to support the folks who are already champions of the brand. Perfect.

Tanzer reviewed this wine way back in 2011, and it’s a review worth exploring. International Wine Cellar (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91(+?)pts.”

As usual, Tanzer is reserved with the score. He frequently uses the “+?” to designate wines that are still too young to properly evaluate. I basically read it to mean “score could improve with age.” And I have to think this has indeed improved with age, because a recent tasting of this bottle was a total thrill-ride. “Lay this one down,” Tanzer said, and the winery has effectively done just that for three years. As you’d imagine, “youthfully tight” no longer really applies.

The pedigree here is outstanding. First off, you might remember that Ross cut his teeth making wine with Bob Betz at Betz Family Winery. The fruit sources and style are really not so very different from Pere de Famille. This is almost entirely Red Mountain Cabernet, from the king (Klipsun) and queen (Ciel du Cheval). The 2008 vintage was terrific, overshadowed a bit by the acclaim of the warmer 2007 but perhaps a better year for long-term aging.

This is showing beautifully right now, its nose a mix of cherry fruit, red licorice, rose petal, and briny black olive. In the mouth, darker tones emerge: graphitic minerals, smoke, espresso. The fruit is wonderfully layered in the mouth, with primary black cherry and cassis and guava along with maturing notes of dried cherry and dried apricot. While the silky fruit is the star on the attack and mid-palate, as we roll into the finish, the Red Mountain tannic chew takes over, redolent with black tea and chamomile.

This is a wine that conveys power and grace in turn, and is severely under-reviewed in my opinion. It will easily evolve and age well for another decade, and maybe beyond that, but resisting its current charms will be no easy task. We have one shot at this tariff, so no reorders will be possible. We’ll be placing our order on Monday, so please try to get requests in by the end of the weekend. Please limit those requests to 24 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. 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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