Hello friends. We have a pair of goodies from Woodward Canyon today: one a last call on an exceedingly popular and well-reviewed 2012 Cabernet; the other a Chardonnay that rarely escapes the clutches of the winery’s cellar doors.
Way back in August 2013, during a Walla Walla trip, I visited with Rick Small and tasted this wine. I was totally smitten, and when I got back to Seattle, I inquired with Woodward’s sales folks about whether we could potentially offer the wine during the 2013 holiday season. The response (I still have the e-mail!): [TEXT WITHHELD]
Well, two holiday seasons later, here we find ourselves. Woodward released a tiny amount of this single-vineyard Chardonnay to the Seattle market. As far as I can tell, the remainder (including the winery’s own stash) is sold out. So count on this being a one-and-done.
Now we’ve offered Woodward’s regular Chardonnay on many occasions (09, 10, 11, 12, and probably soon 13), and that one is always a yin-yang combination of two sites. Woodward’s estate vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley, and the venerable old Celilo Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge. Usually, with the way their blend works out, they either end up with extra Estate juice or extra Celilo juice, and that gets bottled on its own and sold through the winery doors. It is very rare to see any of their single-vineyard Chards available at retail.
And rarer still at a discount. This is normally a $66 retail bottle, so our pricing today is a real treat. The other wonderful aspect of this wine is vintage. Not just that it’s the exquisite 2012 vintage; but also that we’re now three years past harvest. Which, you know, for red wines, no big deal; but for whites, you can already start to see development three years in. This begins with a lovely, expressive nose of peaches and lemon curd and cream, along with maturing savory subtleties of sweet corn and hay. The palate delivers a real jolt of intensity. It’s a live-wire Chardonnay, balancing bright nervy acid with plenty of rich plush (14.3% listed alc) fruit. The mix of fruits and savories and good Celilo minerality is a knockout, and the supple texture is equally seductive. Rare, exquisite, Washington Chardonnay just entering a beautiful drinking window.
Originally offered December 12, 2014, this has been a popular reorder target throughout 2015. Now we’re down to official last call. The 2013 is set for a November release, and the winery is down to their last handful of cases of the stunning 2012. I re-tasted it at an event a few weeks ago, and my word is it in a knee-buckling spot right now. Excerpts from that original 2014 offer:
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. 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.
Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
[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.]
[Ed note to that note: since the original offer was published, three 2012 Cabs have earned 95pt reviews: Betz Pere de Famille ($72), Gramercy Reserve ($85), and Quilceda Creek ($140).]
Please limit order request to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. 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.