Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hailing a Washington Cab

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, hosted by Catie, was a real treat for me. While the call is for a tasting of Washington state cabernets, I did not have far to go in order to comply. In fact, it was the perfect excuse to run down cellar and grab a delicious wine I've been sitting on for four years. And, it brought back fond memories of our wine tour through Yakima Valley and Walla Walla in the summer of 2003.

We were on our way to an Alaska cruise, and I just knew we had to find time to visit some Washington wineries since we were going to be so close by. We tasted a lot of terrific wines in a largely unspoiled, rustic setting. Among my favorite wines were those of the Seven Hills Winery in Walla Walla.

Now, I really enjoy wineries located in bucolic farmland, surrounded by acres of grapevines. But visiting Seven Hills was a change of pace, and an enjoyable one at that. Seven Hills is located in an old, restored industrial building in the heart of downtown Wall Walla. The brick structure gives the winery a hip, urban feel unique to the wider region. We had a delightful tour there courtesy of their Kiwi cellarmaster, and tasted a number of terrific wines.

I carried back and cellared both an awesome syrah and a 2000 Klipsun Vineyard Cabernet. Now I remembered the cab as a really rich and delicious wine full of cassis, black cherry and a bit of cedar and cocoa on the nose. It's still very good, but I was sorry to note just a couple of days ago that it may be just a bit past peak.

It still tastes of cassis and black cherry with a bit of earthy complexity, and the tannins have softened quite a bit so that it's drinking quite smoothly. However, I couldn't help but feel that it tasted just a bit faded, as though its just a wee bit tired.

I've tasted enough outstanding cabs in the Walla Walla area to know that these are wines of great body, so seven years shouldn't be much of a challenge to this wine's backbone. But I can't help it -- I'm certain this wine had a bit more power when I first tasted it. Perhaps it did not travel well during the return trip home.

One thing I know, however, is that there are plenty of fantastic wines to try from Washington state. In addition to Seven Hills, we also were very impressed by the wines of L'Ecole No. 41. I also brought some of that home, though that's gone almost two years now. I've got one more special wine from the 2003 trip -- more on that another time.


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