Saturday, June 14, 2014

Waters Walla Walla and Audelssa Sonoma '05 Cabs

Duo of Waters Walla Walla and Audelssa Sonoma '05 Cabs highlight family dinner

With son Alec home for an extended weekend, we dined at our favorite Italian neighborhood bistro, Angeli's and took these two vintage '05 Cabernets for a comparison tasting of contrasting styles from disparate regions and terroir - Waters Walla Walla Valley and Audelssa Sonoma Valley.

Both of these wines were represented to be ageworthy sophisticated Cabs and we dutifully held on for nine years before opening. They both appear to be at the apex of their drinking window and I suspect while they may hold for several more years, I don't expect them to improve further with more age.

Audelssa Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

We discovered and purchased this wine during a Napa/Sonoma trip. Staying at the Renaissance Sonoma Spa they had the producer in for a pre-dinner tasting to showcase his wines. (The producer is now releasing wines under a new label Pangloss Cellars located in a new Tasting Room in downtown Glen Ellen in central Sonoma Valley.)

The fruit comes from the steep, western slopes of the Mayacamas Mountain range that separates Sonoma and Napa Valleys. Made from grapes from the winery's estate vineyard, and the Warm Springs Vineyard at the base of Sonoma Mountain, this is an interesting mid-priced Sonoma Valley Cab. About 1,650 cases were produced.  The winemaker is Erich Bradley who learned the craft working under  well known legendary  producers David Ramey and Dick Arrowood.

This was medium bodied, dark ruby colored, it comes off a bit 'hot' initially and shows bright vibrant sweet, dusty, complex ripe cherry notes with a slightly firm backbone and layer of slightly earthy, red and black berry, with hints of smoke, cedar and anise on a short slightly edgy tannin finish.

RM 88 points.

Waters Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Waters is an artisanal boutique winery located in Walla Walla, Washington. Since 2005, they've produced a few thousand cases of small lot bottlings each year, seeking to reflect the unique character of each varietal and the unique distinctive terrior of the source vineyard sites.

Waters sources their fruit from various sites in the region. The Cabernet Sauvignon used in their wines comes from two mature vineyards each known for their own vineyard designated labels from known producers. Cold Creek Vineyard near Yakima is owned by Chateau St. Michelle and is one of the oldest vineyards in Washington State (their block was planted in 1978). It is remote from any other vineyards and is more like its own appellation. The other is Pepper Bridge Vineyard, another well known property in the Walla Walla Valley. Water's Block 70 Cabernet was originally planted in 1998.

The winemaker and General Manager at Waters Jamie Brown might be known as a 'rockstar’ in the literal sense, and not just for his winemaking. Hailing from Walla Walla, he is a musician and after college landed in Seattle and opened and operated a successful music store. Some of his clients paid him with wine, in some cases very fine wine. Developing an interest and love for great, “old world” wines, he returned to the Walla Walla Valley to study the art of winemaking alongside winemakers such as Rusty Figgins (Glen Fiona), Eric Dunham, (Dunham Cellars of which we hold a decade vertical of their flagship Cabernet), and Jean François Pellet (Pepper Bridge and Amavi wines).

Like the Audelssa, this likely has benefited from a decade of aging and it likely at its apex of its tasting window. This was medium full bodied with a brownish tone in the dark ruby color that reflects some classic Cabernet aromatics and flavors that are apparent in this wine – tones of tar, leather, spices, and tobacco accent the sweet black berry and plum fruits before turning to some toasty oak and hint of mocha on a short moderate tannin finish.

RM 88 points.