Just an update on the 2009 vintage, one that is sure to create lots of dialogue as it was a very interesting vintage. I tasted through every lot today and am very happy with the results, although every lot (minus one) is still going through ML. That makes it a bit tougher to evaluate, but I got the overalll essence of each wine and the notes are below.
Cab Franc lots:
2009 Blue Mtn Cab Franc (Walla Walla Valley AVA) - Dark blood red to the rim, amazing color and density. My favorite CF lot of the year, super meaty, herbal, green tea, spicy dark fruit. HUGE structure, this wine will be the base wine for the Archimage. I may even bottle a barrel on its own it is so good.
2009 Red Mtn Vineyard Cab Franc (Red Mtn AVA) - Equally as dark and brooding as the Blue Mtn Vineyard, but more mineral, wet stone, and less fruit intensity...will make a great blending component. Big tannins as well.
2009 Chelle den Millie Cab Franc (Yakima Valley AVA) - Not as dark, but much more perfumed than the first two. Will add lots to the nose. Medium weight and density, and great acid.
2009 Seven Hills Merlot (Walla Walla Valley AVA) - Bright ruby red, lots of candied red fruits in the nose. Cherries come to mind. Should blend well with the Cab Franc lots.
2009 Blackrock Vineyard Merlot (Yakima Valley AVA) - In full ML mode, lots of spritz, dark red but cloudy in color, one of the bases for the Spellbinder program. Really impressed with the structure of the wine, and dark purple fruits, lots of plums.
Cabernet Sauvignon lots:
2009 Blue Mtn. Cab Sauv (Walla Walla Valley AVA) - Like the CF, dark to the rim. Blueberries to the max, very reserved and dense, wall of tannins. Great wine, great vineyard.
2009 Red Mtn. Cab Sauv (Red Mtn. AVA) - Bright red to the rim, lots of classic cab characteristics, leafy, cassis, but again, the mineral component that makes Red Mtn. special. Tannins all in the front of the mouth right now. Finishing ML.
2009 Double Canyon Cab Sauv (Horse Heaven Hills AVA) - Currently my least favorite lot, not a lot of fruit, and a bit reductive from the ferment (trouble from the start), will splash rack after ML and re-evaluate.
2009 Blackrock Cab Sauv (Yakima Valley AVA) - Another winner from Blackrock, destined for the Spellbinder. Great fruit intensity, dark, happy.
Notes in advance, this was a killer Syrah year!!!
2009 Lewis Vineyard Syrah (Yakima Valley AVA) - from the beginning reminded me of my 2004 vintage. Meaty, dense with a great spine of acid. Dark, almost neon - like...take a slap of beef and grind it with a bowl of raspberries, and you have the 09 Lewis! Another contender for barrel select program.
2009 Les Collines Syrah 100% Stems (Walla Walla Valley AVA) - Experimented last year with stems and like it, so went 100% with this lot. Amazing nose of spicy white pepper, lots of cooking spices, like a potpouri, and the tannins and structure from the stem add...oh my!
2009 Les Collines Syrah Whole Berry (Walla Walla Valley AVA) - Same grapes, whole berry, no stems, totally different wine. More fruit drive, softer, lots of plums, but still gamey. Will be a great addition to the Levitation.
2009 Funk Vineyard Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) - Saving the best for last.....Calling all fans of Cayuse! This vineyard has an appropose name, the Funk vineyard, because this stuff is funk-ay! Bloody iodine, soy, meat, some fruit somewhere in there. I jumped up and down after smelling this wine today! I'm not on the Cayuse list, and now I don't have to be!
Rose' and Chard lots -
2009 Raj Majal Chardonnay (Yakima Valley AVA) - A great follow up to the 07 vintage. Ripe Granny smith apples, lots of cinnamon spice, and that mineral and acid that makes you think Chablis...really liking where this is going already. Still on original lees.
2009 Cab Frank Rose' - From Chelle den Millie, it is a beautiful coral pink/orange, and an explosive nose of rhubarb, cranberries, and tart cherries. VERY happy with this wine. And we made more this year, about 7 barrels, up from 3!
Will update you on the wines as I retaste in early spring!
Cheers for now!