Hello friends. We have a serious price drop today (from a release of $29) on a wine whose previous vintages have been well-loved by our list-members: a Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon now six years past vintage and drinking beautifully:
What was fascinating about that blog entry was that PaulG published his scores from when he had initially reviewed the wines for Enthusiast, and then revised scores based on how the wine was drinking at the vertical tasting. One wine went down a point (the 2005 vintage, from 92pts to 91pts); all the others increased, by anywhere from one point to a whopping eight points. The conclusions I think many of us drew from the exercise: first, as PaulG himself said in that post, “Beresan makes my short list of the most important, consistent, stylistically riveting small wineries in Washington. It is also among the state’s best value plays…”; and second, that Beresan’s Cabernets generally improve mightily with age.
Why the price drop, you might be asking? It goes back to the story behind the 2007 Beresan Merlot and Syrah we offered back in February 2014. Remember in that one I asked if you have ever cleaned out a closet and found an awesome t-shirt that you had completely forgotten about? It’s kind of like that.
There are a series of wine warehouses scattered throughout Washington, and wineries stash little parcels here and there to make fulfillment easier. I believe the one in question for these wines was outside of Spokane. Unsurprisingly, inventories get screwed up sometimes, vintages get confused, and little treasures get tucked away. Every now and then, a winery cleans out the closet (via a physical inventory) and finds some retro t-shirts, in this case solid little stashes of 2007 and 08. Rather than ship the wine back to the winery and deal with the headache of selling multiple vintages at once, the folks at Beresan had a better idea: they presented the wines to us, and sweetened the deal with a significant price drop. Because our list members supported those 07s and 08s so forcefully, we’ve continued to be approached off and on by the winery with further opportunities to offer their wines at discount.
Beresan really is one of the gems of the Walla Walla Valley, and it starts with their outstanding estate vineyards. This Cabernet is equal parts Waliser and Yellow Jacket. Both of these estate sites are in the rocks; both are farmed by Tom Waliser (one of the valley’s finest growers). Waliser Vineyard was planted in 1997, Yellow Jacket in 1999. That is early says as far as the rocks are concerned. As the folks at Beresan note, “The vineyards are planted on old cobblestone riverbed soils, providing the wine with unique and distinct earthy minerality qualities.”
That beautiful rocks Cabernet fruit was brought to bottle by Tom Glase, who makes Beresan wines in addition to his own Balboa wines. It spent about two years in barrel (all French, 30% new), and now has another three to four years of bottle age. Perfect. I really am starting to believe that 2010s are going to age like another cool vintage in Washington: 1999. Many ‘99s are drinking beautifully right now, and I think we can expect a similarly positive 15-20 year evolution for well-made 2010s. Aromatically, this mixes primary notes of dried blackcurrant and blackberry fruit and eucalyptus with beginning tertiary notes of mushroom and leather. But more than anything, the nose has a ribald Cabernet earthiness that is deeply attractive. The bright acid of the cool vintage is the perfect foil to a core of rich (14.4% listed alc), earthy fruit. You can almost feel the honest-to-Cabernet tannins evolving, any rough edges being slowly sanded down by bottle age. This still has a lovely sense of toothsome chew on the back end, a finishing impression of green tea. It’s a wine with miles left in the tank, but there’s nothing wrong with opening bottles right now; it’s already a harmonious bottle of Cab.
Given the available parcel size, I’d say it’s even odds that this will be available for reorder. For now, it’s 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.