Hello friends. Back in March, we offered the first two of Ben Smith’s four single-vineyard Red Mountain wines from the 2011 vintage. Today we’re back with the final two, along with a reorder opportunity on the 2013 Coda, which just received a lovely review that is accelerating sales pressure.
As I mentioned earlier this year, Cadence really seems to be having a moment. What I have come to admire about Ben Smith over the years is his consistency. Fashion trends in wine wax and wane, but Ben has his house style, has his Red Mountain vineyard sources, and has just continued to pump out bottle after marvelous bottle. And at some point in the past few years, it seems like everyone caught on.
The pair of cool vintages in Washington (2010 and 2011) seem put on this earth specifically for Ben Smith to make wines at Cadence. Those vintages are just so well suited to the house style (textural elegance, carefully-tended structure, finely-tuned balance) of the man who, according to Stephen Tanzer, makes “some of Washington’s most Bordeaux-like wines.” For lovers of terroir expression in general, and Red Mountain terroir in particular, these are wines from a man dedicated to delivering sense of place in the glass, and from a vintage that gave him the raw materials to do just that.
Vinous (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 93pts.”
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 94pts.”
Tapteil is a bit lesser known on Red Mountain than sites like Ciel and Klipsun, and it is a beautiful vineyard with a dark, sultry heart. The spine of this (59%) is 1985-planted Cabernet Sauvignon (the remainder is Merlot and Cabernet Franc). Even by Red Mountain standards, Tapteil is a windy site, and those Cabernet berries develop extra-thick skins to compensate, leading to wines with powerful tannic structure. In other hands, those tannins can get a little out of control. In Ben’s hands, they are managed capably, always adding a lovely toothsome quality, a rusticity, to the Tapteil bottling. Aromatics are dark and exotic: black plum, star anise, cardamom, loamy soil. On the palate, this is noteworthy for its deep inherent minerality, a core of crushed rock that pairs beautifully with a laser beam of the purest darkest blackcurrant fruit. A seamless powerhouse, this is a truly beautiful vintage of Tapteil, dark and alluring.
Vinous (Stephen Tanzer): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 94+?pts.”
Ben’s Bel Canto is so wonderfully Cabernet Franc, with its unique and evocative mix of earth and pimenton and dried flower complicating a core of blackberry fruit. I love the smoky earth notes here, too: something like peat moss. As usual, this is a wine that conveys power and grace in turn. All of us who have paid attention to Bel Canto over the years (arguably the queen of the Cadence lineup in terms of elegance) had high expectations of the 2010 and 2011 vintages. Even with those high expectations, Ben has over-delivered. To put that Tanzer review into some context: of all the 2011-vintage Washington wines that he reviewed, only five received stronger notes: Cayuse Bionic Frog Syrah (96+?pts; $95); Cayuse En Chamberlin Syrah (95+?pts; $80); Corliss Cab (95+?pts; $85); Quilceda Creek Cab (95+?pts; $140); and Leonetti Cab (95+?pts; $90). Impressive company to keep.
Originally offered July 19, 2015. Original offer text here. You may remember that Cadence moved Coda up from its usual autumn release to a late-spring release, in part because the demand for this wine is just so damned high. And then this happened:
Wine & Spirits Magazine (Patrick Comiskey): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD] 93pts.”
Now the winery is saying it’s iffy as to whether their remaining stock will see out the year. So if you’re looking for a high-QPR gift for holiday time or a reasonably-priced way to build a Washington cellar, now would be the time to jump on this vintage of Coda; it’ll likely be the last time we offer it.
First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.