The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Clajeux Vineyard is soft, open and wonderfully accessible. Dark red/blackish fruit, smoke, tobacco, menthol and new leather meld together in a juicy, approachable Cabernet. The wine's mid-weight structure appears best suited to near-term drinking, but I doubt that is going to be much of an issue here. Sweet floral notes reappear on the expressive finish. There are no hard edges or angular contours here.
(12.7% alcohol; made with 30% whole clusters and native yeasts; aged in one-third new wood for 22 months): Vibrant ruby-red. Zesty redcurrant and cherry on the nose, with a smoky mineral quality adding urgency. Taut red berry, bitter cherry and licorice flavors show good power but no excess fat, picking up tangy minerality and spiciness with air. Juicy, sharply focused cabernet, with subtle tannins adding finishing grip.
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)