Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Dunham Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Dunham Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

We discovered Dunham Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon through Winebid, the online wine auction site. Over the years we've acquired close to a decade of vintages of this label through that vehicle. We've also acquired another Dunham label, Trutina, a Bordeaux Blend from Vin Chicago, a local merchant.  

We stopped by the tasting room during our Washington Wine Experience back in 2018 but it was a drive-by without a reservation and the place was packed. We didn't realize they had the Walla Walla facility and we failed to connect there while we were in town during our Walla Walla Wine Experience in 2018. 

Dunham was founded by Winemaker Eric Dunham. Eric started his career with a 6-month internship at Hogue Cellars in Washington, moving on as Assistant Winemaker at L'Ecole No. 41 in the Walla Walla Valley. With Winemaker Marty Clubb's blessing, Eric began making small lots of Dunham wine at L'Ecole with his first bottling the 1995 Dunham Cabernet Sauvignon I.

After a few successful vintages with Dunham's receiving great acclaim, with some help from his parents, he set out on his own in warehouse space in an old WWII airplane hangar in Walla Walla. A couple of years later, David and Cheryll Blair were introduced to the Dunhams and joined the business to pursue their collective dream of making and pairing great wine with hospitality.

Part of the branding approach from that first vintage was to affix to each vintage the Roman Numeral of the numerical order of each release. Hence, this 2003 Dunham Cabernet Sauvignon, the ninth vintage release, adorns IX on the label.

Dunham Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

For tasting with grilled burgers I pulled from the cellar this 2003 Dunham Cabernet Sauvignon, the IXth successive release of this label. 

This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Washington State Columbia Valley vineyards; Lewis Vineyard, Frenchtown Vineyard and Double River Estate Vineyard. It was aged in 60% French and 40% American Oak, 70% new oak and 30% used; 1955 cases were produced of this vintage release. 

At eighteen years of age, this was holding its own, showing no diminution of aging. 

Dark garnet colored, medium bodied, a structured core of black berry and black cherry fruits with notes of spice, anise and black tea with hints of oak.

RM 89 points