I was working at Columbia Crest during the 1992 Harvest and I was working the red wine fermentation. This was my first time doing that type of work and it shaped my future. Working under Doug Gore, some memorable wines were crafted. Winemaking was very different back then. Grapes were picked between 22.8 and 23.8. Water backs were unheard of. 12.5% to 13.5% alcohol was the norm. I picked up 3 cases of the Barrel Select Cab and I have been opening a bottle each harvest before the Cabernet gets picked. This 21 year old Cabernet was brick in color, clean, aged aromas of fruit like cooked plum, canned cherries and herbs. The tannin and the acidity really held this wine together. Positive comments from 5 of the 6 tasters. This is not a wine to let breath long, as it oxidizes in a few hours.
September 12 began my 30th harvest in Washington. We got in 22 tons of Quintessence Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain. One would think after 29 years, I wouldn’t see many things new. This year is different. This is the first time I have ever seen Cabernet Sauvignon be the first variety crushed. Normally it’s Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo or Merlot, not a late ripening variety like Cab. Now the fun begins!
We went to Quincy to visit our friends Pete and Katie who have Beaumont Cellars. We tasted through the 2012 reds they have in barrels. All the wines were very good and I found 5 that were great.
The first great wine I ever had from Beaumont Cellars was the Syrah, the 2012 Syrah is just as good. I think Pete has that variety down.
Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, My 4 favorite words.
The Wahluke Slope Malbec is just loaded with bramble berry and mulberries. Big bold and beautiful.
I have never seen fruit like this in a Wahluke Slope Merlot. It’s destined for Gold metals.
The Ancient Lakes Cabernet Franc was a complete surprise to me. I was expecting something thin, light weight, tannic and loaded with bell pepper and fresh cut alfalfa. This was the complete opposite. It was big and jammy with nice ripe dark red fruit and just a touch of clover in the finish to remind you that it is Cab Franc