Two from Woodward Canyon

Pickup Calendar Reminder: You’ll see from the schedule below that there are two remaining pickup days for TPU members in 2014. We expect them both to be busy, so please make an appointment if you’re planning to come in.

Thursday, Dec 18: OPEN 10am-7pm
Saturday, Dec 20: (with Champagnes and FP&F wines open for sample/sale) OPEN 10am-2pm
Thursday, Dec 25: CLOSED
Thursday, Jan 1: CLOSED
Thursday, Jan 8: OPEN 10am-7pm
Hello friends. Today we have two benchmark Washington wines, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a (reoffered) Chardonnay, both from venerable superstar Woodward Canyon:

2012 Woodward Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon Artist Series

What makes this a benchmark for Washington Cabernet? I’d say three things: quality, consistency, and longevity. This is Artist Series #21 for Woodward Canyon (Artist Series has reached legal drinking age!). The program has been around since 1992, and it is such a wonderful, characterful wine, year in and year out. “What about Quilceda Creek Cab, Leonetti Cab, or even Woodward Canyon’s Old Vine Cab?” I can hear some of you asking. Fair enough, but those price points are around $140 and $90 and $100. Woody Artist Series isn’t exactly cheap, but neither is it priced in the stratosphere.

For the third vintage running, Artist Series sees a sizeable chunk of Champoux fruit (27%) that usually ends up in Old Vines, as well as a hearty portion of Woodward Estate fruit (36%). The remainder is an all-star cast of vineyards, including Discovery, Sagemoor, Summit View, and Les Collines. It begins with an overtly pretty, high-toned nose setting violet and lavender and mint above crème de cassis, rich soil, and espresso. Just lovely, and very Cabernet. The palate possesses real mouth-staining intensity, with a core of evocative Cabernet fruit (Rick Small has noted that, as the vine age for their main sources increases, they’ve been slowly dialing back the new wood and letting the fruit shine). Supple blackcurrant rules the day until the finish, where burly black-tea tannins take over and won’t let go. This is chewy, delicious Cabernet from an epic vintage, well worthy of the benchmark tag.

[Note: of all the 2012-vintage Washington Cabernets reviewed in Wine Enthusiast to date, only one – Sineann’s $72 Champoux Vineyard Block One – has received a stronger review than this Artist Series.]

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

2012 Woodward Canyon Chardonnay

Originally offered December 13, 2013. Excerpts from original offer: Woodward’s bottling comes from the yin-yang vineyards of cooler Celilo, in the Columbia Gorge, and Woodward’s warmer Estate Vineyard, in the northern part of the Walla Walla Valley. Much of Rick Small’s focus and interest in the last few years has been in the estate vineyards, and that has paid clear dividends in this Chardonnay, which contains a full 71% estate fruit. When I visited the site, all I saw was a small vineyard surrounded by a sea of wheat-fields in every direction; there aren’t many other vineyards in this area.

This is outstanding Chardonnay, luxuriating in a return to a normal vintage after the cooler 2010 and 2011. I love the full, rich, creamy texture, but the fruit is never overblown, displaying lovely restraint to the peach, plantain, and lemon curd flavors. Woodward’s Chardonnay consistently supplies mineral and leesy complexities to complement that fruit, and that’s certainly the case here. Long and powerful, this cries out for rich fare to complement. I had doodles of crabs and lobsters next to my tasting note, and those would match well with the full texture and the cleansing lemon-drop acids.

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

Since I mentioned crab and Sean Sullivan threatened crab-cake-related incarceration, it would be a misdemeanor not to include a crab-cake recipe. Here’s the one I like to use.

Please limit order requests to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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