Leading off the 2013s, the 2013 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon comes all from estate vineyard and is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot and 7% Malbec, all of which spent 22 months in new and once used French oak. It’s vibrant purple color is followed by classic notes of crème de cassis, violets, tobacco leaf, lead pencil shavings and graphite. This full-bodied, ripe, yet still elegant Cabernet (which checks in at 14.7% alcohol) has terrific purity, ripe, polished tannin and a great finish. It has the purity and finesse to drink beautifully today, but it will have 20-25 years of overall longevity. (JD)
(70% new French oak): Bright red-ruby. Very sexy aromas of blueberry, dark raspberry, pomegranate, mocha, cola and top-quality oak, lifted by violet and mint high tones. Very rich, deep, creamy wine, with its intense, vibrant red and darker berry flavors accented by spices. Slightly edgy acidity and youthfully clenched tannins call for patience; I would not be at all surprised if this seriously structured but plush and very long wine eventually merited an even higher rating. Chris Figgins described 2013 and 2014 as "pretty much identical vintages, although 2014 was a more even growing season, with fewer heat spikes." Both vintages, he said, had "good acidity considering their warmth. The 2013s are a bit angular while the "14s are more user-friendly wines." Incidentally, Figgins told me that he's not afraid to water back his musts in hot years, "but not with Seven Hills fruit, which typically matures in terms of flavor and phenolics at fairly low sugars so it's not necessary." Figgins added that Seven Hills fruit shows "a more feminine profile" that he believes would be damaged by any dilution. (ST)
Broad and expressive, with a sense of elegance to the savory-accented black cherry, berry and underbrush aromas and flavors, wrapped in fine, firm tannins. Best from 2018 through 2023. 2,876 cases made.
Sweet oak and very ripe fruit but there is an attractive herbal character giving some extra dimension. Very typical New World Cabernet Sauvignon.
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)