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During the last twenty years, Washington State has quietly established itself as one of the best places on the planet to grow Bordeaux varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon, in particular, made here, features the power and richness of California Cab while highlighting Bordeaux's balance, lift, and finesse. The result is a beautiful marriage of old and new world styles that continues to receive accolades from wine-lovers worldwide.
The beautiful rolling slopes of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA in Washington's Columbia Valley would make a perfect backdrop for any blockbuster Western movie. The dramatic, windswept landscape meets crystal clear blue skies, and you can't help thinking there's a posse close by getting ready to ride off into the sunset. The picturesque albeit brutal landscape and the harsh arid climate punish the vines -- history has taught us that suffering vines always produce the best wines.
Early settlers established vast networks of horse and cattle ranches and prospered until harsh winds, brutal temperatures, and arid conditions plagued the region for decades. Fast-forward to the early 1970s when Don and Linda Mercer planted the first grapes. They were the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in what is now known as the "Champoux Vineyard," one of Washington State's most famous and celebrated vineyards.
The Mercer family are true stewards of the land. They're farmers and certainly viticulturists; however, they prefer to be considered Agriculturists -- adhering to strict environmental and social values to respect and protect the land. In addition to world-class wine production, their diversified holdings span 12,000 acres of farmland along the Columbia River -- including acres of carrots, garlic, corn. kale, wheat, potatoes, onions, and broccoli.
The fruit for this bottling is sourced entirely from the family's "Estate Vineyards" in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. The warm days and cool nights of late summer and the family's nearly fanatical attention to crop levels result in a beautifully balanced Cab that features perfect ripeness with both power and brightness.
In the glass, this Cab is stunning! On the nose, aromas of mocha, black and red berry compote, combine with hints of baking spice and subtle notes of smoky oak spice. The gorgeous blueberry, blackberry, and blackcurrant notes on the middle palate are framed by chocolate, coffee, and gentle oak spice, all nicely lingering through the lengthy finish. The palate is super silky, with perfectly ripe, powdery tannins, making this voluptuous Cab equally suitable for casual sipping or paired with your favorite steak.
If you're a West Coast Cab lover, don't miss this one. I source this through the same connections that bring us many of the fantastic deals from Europe, so the quality-price ratio with this one is off the charts.