Hello friends. August is usually a sleepy month in the wine trade. Not so in 2014. We kicked off the month with a serious price drop on a Walla Walla Valley Syrah five years past vintage. Let’s bookend the month with another serious price drop (from a release price of $29) on another Walla Walla wine, this time Cabernet, this time six years past vintage:
Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($29); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91pts.”
I have a feeling this one is going to be hugely popular. I know there’s pent-up love for this wine, since it was November 11, 2011 (yes, 11/11/11) when we last offered a Beresan Cabernet. That was the 2006 vintage, and you might remember we offered it in conjunction with a Paul Gregutt blog where he tasted a six-year vertical of Beresan Cabs.
What was fascinating about that blog entry was that PaulG published his scores from when he had initially reviewed the wines for Enthusiast, and then revised scores based on how the wine was drinking at the vertical tasting. One wine went down a point (the 2005 vintage, from 92pts to 91pts); all the others increased, by anywhere from one point to a whopping eight points. The conclusions I think many of us drew from the exercise: first, as PaulG himself said in that post, “Beresan makes my short list of the most important, consistent, stylistically riveting small wineries in Washington. It is also among the state’s best value plays…”; and second, that Beresan’s Cabernets improve mightily with age (perhaps with the exception of a super-hot vintage like 2005, but no worries on that front; 2008 was slightly cooler than average).
Why the price drop, you might be asking? It goes back to the story behind the 2007 Beresan Merlot and Syrah we offered back in February. Remember in that one I asked if you have ever cleaned out a closet and found an awesome t-shirt that you had completely forgotten about? It’s kind of like that.
There are a series of wine warehouses scattered throughout Washington, and wineries stash little parcels here and there to make fulfillment easier. I believe the one in question for these wines was outside of Spokane. Unsurprisingly, inventories get screwed up sometimes, vintages get confused, and little treasures get tucked away. Every now and then, a winery cleans out the closet (via a physical inventory) and finds some retro t-shirts, in this case a solid little stashes of 2007 and 2008 wines. Rather than ship the wine back to the winery and deal with the headache of selling multiple vintages at once, the folks at Beresan had a better idea: they presented the wines to us, and sweetened the deal with a significant price drop.
Beresan is one of the gems of the Walla Walla Valley, and it starts with their outstanding estate vineyards. This Cabernet is nearly equal parts Waliser and Yellow Jacket. Both of these estate sites are in the rocks; both are farmed by Tom Waliser (one of the valley’s finest growers). Waliser Vineyard was planted in 1997, Yellow Jacket in 1999 (it’s worth noting that Christophe Baron planted his first Cayuse vineyards in the rocks in 1997, so these vineyards are contemporaries). As the folks at Beresan note, “The vineyards are planted on old cobblestone riverbed soils, providing the wine with unique and distinct earthy minerality qualities.”
That beautiful rocks Cabernet fruit was brought to bottle by Tom Glase, who makes Beresan wines in addition to his own Balboa wines. It spent about two years in barrel (all French, 30% new), and now has nearly another four years of bottle age. Perfect. You can tell from the aromatics that this is a wine in the early stages of its evolution. The blackcurrant and blackberry fruit is just beginning to take on a dried quality, and it is also sharing the stage with emerging earth and soil tones, and great green topnotes of mint and poblano. In the mouth, it’s a wonderfully mineral Cabernet, with great pure cassis fruit and integrated high-cacao chocolate barrel notes. The tannins have developed a fine grain with bottle age. The finishing lick is all savory green tea. The overall package conveys harmony and grace, depth and power.
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.