Hello friends. One year ago today, we offered what has become one of our most popular private-label wines to date: the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Bacchus Vineyard. We also went longer on that particular wine than any other in the lineup so far. Why? Well, first off, because I thought accessing Bacchus Vineyard Cab at our price point presented an extraordinary opportunity. And second, because the winemaker involved made it pretty clear that seeing Bacchus Cab in future vintages was unlikely at best.
And so it came to pass, that when we inquired about accessing some 2013 vintage Bacchus Cab, the message back was: Sorry. It’s too good. We’re using it all. While that was sad to hear, it also made me feel justified in having purchased as much 2012 juice as we did. At least we’ll have 2012 to cuddle with during the long cold night until, perhaps, someday, we see Bacchus Cab again.
The plan in my head is to continue to offer this on its anniversary each year until it’s sold out. Will it make it to its 2016 anniversary? Unclear. We’ve already sold through 78.6% of our initial stash, and every time we open a bottle and pour it on a Thursday or Saturday pickup day, boxes disappear. All that to say: this may be last call on this beauty. Time will tell.
Originally offered October 13, 2014. Excerpts from original offer:
Bacchus Vineyard is one of the Sagemoor properties managed by Kent Waliser and Derek Way [ed note: Derek has since moved on to a job in China; now it is Kent and Lacey Lybeck]. It contains some of the state’s oldest Cabernet vines (planted in 1972) and some of the most important.
I still remember one of the most magical barrel tastings I’ve ever done was in January 2011 out at Abeja with John Abbott. We were tasting through some of the 2009 barrels John was considering for Abeja’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (which to date has only been made in 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2009), and suddenly we hit this barrel of 1972-planted Bacchus Block 3, and my world stopped. I remember just shaking my head at John, and I was sure then and there that he would make a Reserve in 2009, and that it would contain Bacchus fruit. As it turned out, it contained only Bacchus fruit, 165 cases made entirely from that block, $85/bottle and so limited that we were never able to offer the finished wine.
When we began doing private label wines, I knew we’d do some Cabernet Sauvignons, and I hoped we’d be able to source Bacchus fruit. I’m thrilled it has all come to fruition, and I’m not surprised this wine has been so popular during the sneak preview tastings. The vineyard source, the grape-growing, the winemaking: all impeccable here. [And just to be clear, in case I was implying it, the winery involved in this one is not Abeja, although I’d love to work with John on an FP&F bottling someday.] It spent 20 months in 60% new French oak, and it does come from 40-year-old blocks of Bacchus.
While the winemaker here obviously can’t comment, the grape-grower certainly can, and Derek Way was kind enough to send a bunch of information about this block of Bacchus, which was also among the original 1972 plantings:
Block 10 is super interesting and is very unique among Bacchus Cabernet. First off, this block was planted in 1972 from, what we believe, clone 8 stock… The block is planted North/South, on a relatively flat piece of ground, at just under 900 ft. elevation… The soil is made of sandy loam and silty loam complexes, with areas of clay.
Block 10 happens to be the coolest (and, maybe the coolest!) Cabernet site in the Sagemoor portfolio. This, along with its age, make it very unique among what we do. To start, it is very difficult to over-ripen this block. The fruit profile here dances between red fruit and blue fruit, with hints of spice and herb. The tannins, although present, are very well integrated. Because this block, in most vintages, hangs to late October/early November, the tannins are allowed to mature and integrate. That is one of the beautiful characteristic of this block: relatively low sugar accumulation with ripe fruit. This block is structure, but not in the over-the-top tannin sort of way. It is possible to have elegance and structure in the same profile…Block 10 is a great example.
As I mentioned above, this has been getting better with each passing month, and it also seems to be true for each passing moment of oxygen exposure. With a little time and air, this unfurls into an honest Cabernet nose awash in bright fruit (blackcurrant, redcurrant, blueberry) and wonderful complexities of violet and mint, espresso and good clean soil. I love the balance of fruit and earth elements on the palate, the seductive silk of the mid-palate, the way this pulsates across the palate on a lithe 13.8%-alc frame. It’s a wine built for the long-haul, and that’s never more clear than on the long, chewy, beautiful finish, redolent of earl-grey tea and with just the right amount of Cabernet tooth. I’m smitten with this one, and it has been thrilling to see our list members who have tasted respond with equal affection.
Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19/20pts.”
Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.