Hello friends. It can be surprisingly difficult to find a winery with a true house style. We talk about this idea frequently—the importance of knowing what’s coming from a winery, consistently, so you can buy with confidence. A house style is what can set a winery apart in a sea of stand-out Washington wines. The grapes in our corner of the world are proving more beautiful and complex every vintage—and the amount of wineries is growing exponentially—how can wineries set themselves apart? Ben Smith has mastered this art with Cadence, creating a vineyard-focused bordeaux lineup that is consistent year in and year out. His house style focuses on three components: textural elegance, carefully-tended structure, and finely-tuned balance. This style allows Cadence to hyper focus on creating high-quality, delightfully ageable wines from three vineyards on Red Mountain. We’re here today with the newest release of Ben’s best-priced wine—and one of Washington’s best deals vintage after vintage.
2015 Cadence Coda
The history of strong reviews and sub-$30 price points proves it: Coda is an incredible value, year in and year out. What truly makes this wine stand out is the serious juice and vineyards being used. Ben makes exactly four single-vineyard wines for Cadence, all from Red Mountain. Two come from the estate Cara Mia Vineyard, one from Ciel du Cheval, and one from Tapteil. And that’s it. Ben carefully crafts the blends for those high-end ($45-$60) wines, and then whatever barrels aren’t included during those blending trials end up in Coda. What that means for Coda is that it’s always a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot, always a blend of Cara Mia, Ciel du Cheval, and Tapteil, and always barrels that were raised with the exact same care as the higher-end bottles. And we get to enjoy this lovely juice for about half the price of the single-vineyard wines.
The blend in 2015 is 46% Cabernet Franc, 28% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot, and it clocks in at 14.4% listed alc. With ’15 continuing the trend of hot vintages, it is shocking how Ben Smith is able to make this red blend so fresh and vibrant (especially given how hot Red Mountain can be to begin with). As always, this wine is testament to not only Ben Smith’s winemaking skills—but the vineyards he chooses to work with, including his own estate vineyard, Cara Mia.
The nose opens with lush, deep fruit of plum and black cherry, herbaceous spice, leafy greens, fresh flowers, and hints of lightly smoked wood. While this nose highlights characteristics of all of the grapes in the blend, the Cabernet Franc notes are especially enticing and welcoming (this is most definitely a wine for all of you Washington Cab. Franc lovers, and drinks like baby Bel Canto). On the palate, the wine is rich, with fresh acidity and an earthy, mineral-driven backbone that leads to a robust finnish full of grip. It’s elegant, structured, and balanced. The tannins prove powerful and strong—which speaks to its ageability. You could easily lay this wine down for 5 – 10 years, but given the price, you could also give it a decant and enjoy it sooner. In my mind, Cadence always proves to be one of the best examples of what Red Mountain can achieve. It’s the kind of wine you give to a friend who has never had Washington wine—or never heard of Red Mountain. In this respect, the 2015 Coda does not disappoint.
First come first served up to 36 bottles total, and the wine should arrive in the next week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.