2011 Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

Hello friends. I have long admired the pithiness of the “Winery” section of Abeja’s website. It currently contains two sentences: “Our winery is housed in what was once the mule and horse barn of the old Kibler Farm. We are a very small team passionately dedicated to quality, and this is where our pursuit of extraordinary Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon begins.”

While they produce a whole host of other delicious wines, at Abeja Cabernet is king. Their Columbia Valley bottling is a benchmark for Washington Cabernet Sauvignon. We’ve been lucky enough to offer every vintage released in Full Pull’s existence – the 2007 through the 2010 – and today we’re back with the latest:

Now some quick reminders on the Abeja story: It was during his time as a pre-vet at Oregon State University that John Abbott happened upon sensory evaluation work in the Food Sciences department. Soon after, he traded in ungulates for grapes, transferring to Fresno State’s Viticulture and Enology Program. After post-grad stints in Napa making Cab at Pine Ridge and Pinot Noir at Acacia, he moved to Washington in 1994 to make wine from the nascent Canoe Ridge Vineyard. He remained at Canoe Ridge, making outstanding wines (the Merlots from this site were especially well-received) until 2002, when he helped launch Abeja.

The winery quickly developed a sterling reputation for its Cabernet Sauvignon, and its mailing list has been closed for years now, one of only a handful of Washington wineries with closed lists (here’s a link to their waiting list). Their Columbia Valley Cab is consistently beautiful, displaying purity, depth of fruit character, and real suppleness in the mouth. While I should know better, I find these Cabernets irresistible in their youth. Yes, aging will bring out subtle pleasures, but man oh man do these shine with vibrancy when they’re young.

This 2011 comes from Abeja’s outstanding Heather Hill Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley, along with three of the Sagemoor Farms family of vineyards (Bacchus, Dionysus, Weinbau) and Kiona Heart of the Hill on Red Mountain. The sources are as good as it gets for Cabernet. The blend includes 14% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, and it spent 22 months in 60% new French oak. Listed alc is 14.5%.

It is true four-corner Cabernet, hitting notes of fruit/flower (cassis, blackberry, violet), earth (good clean soil), herb/savory (beetroot, mint), and barrel (coffee, high-cacao chocolate). And as is the norm with Abeja, it’s a textural marvel. Beginning with a soft entry, moving into a creamy mid-palate, it then transitions silkily/seamlessly into a long finish, with just the right amount of Cabernet chew. All the elements are in place. All the elements are precisely balanced. In a vintage where it was difficult to make fine Cabernet, this is a real standout among the ’11 Cabs I’ve tasted.

No reviews yet for this wine, and it’ll likely be all gone before a single review is published. Please limit order requests to 12 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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