Hello friends. The flow of wines from the outstanding 2012 vintage in Washington is beginning to slow to a trickle, and that’s especially so for wines in the value tier. So, before the year ends, here’s one more beautiful value from a memorable year, and from a list-favorite winery:
Dave Larsen is one of the great success stories of the Boeing Winemaking Club. He began making wine in 1987, moved from amateur to commercial winemaking in 1989, and kept both gigs (Boeing and Soos Creek) until 2004, when he retired from Boeing to pursue winemaking full time. Despite all those years in the business, Soos Creek is very much a boutique winery, with total production still under 2000 cases.
Because Dave grew Soos Creek conservatively, the winery was well-positioned for the recent economic downturn. As other wineries dropped out of older blocks at vineyards like Ciel du Cheval and Champoux Vineyards, Dave moved in. So his fruit quality, and the resulting wines, have continued to get better and better with each passing vintage. And the prices have remained stubbornly low.
None lower than Sundance, which is Dave’s entry-level bottling, the gateway drug into the Soos house style. In 2012 it is a blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Cabernet Franc, and 25% Merlot, and it is all Soos-vinified juice, which narrows the vineyard candidates to a small, excellent list. The nose combines black cherry fruit and cherry-blossom florals, earthy soil notes with spicy/smoky pimenton agridulce. The mouthfeel drinks like anything but an entry-level wine. This is classy, polished juice, with beautifully managed tannins contributing to an overall sense of elegance. The balance of fruit and earth notes is pinpoint, and you can tell right away that there are seriously good vineyards involved here.
I was on the tasting panel that awarded the 2011 vintage of this Seattle Magazine’s Best Red Blend, $20 or Less in their 2015 Washington Wine Awards. For my palate, the 2012 is better still. First come first served up to 24 bottles, and the wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.