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Washington State and Others


A small group of us got together for a last minute, casual tasting this weekend by the warmth of a roaring fire. Present were Lou, Shane, Denise, Jenn and myself. The wines were brown-bagged for fun. The two cabs were served last and everyone was aware they would be distinctly different. The K Vintners, Abeja, and O’Shea Scarborough were double-decanted one hour prior to the tasting. Everything else was double-decanted right before the tasting.

At the end everyone commented on the pleasure of tasting a diverse set of wines. The K Vintners bottle stumped two of the tasters who couldn’t figure out where it was from and were leaning towards Australia. The Tardieu-Laurent continued to significantly develop throughout the night and suffered in ranking as a result. The Hogue was quite lovely and firing on all cylinders. I thought the Thelema offered a South African profile.

2007 Tardieu-Laurent, Rasteau Vieilles Vignes
This is 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah aged in new and one year old oak casks. At first a light nose of earthy, wild aromas. It was very tight in the mouth, with not a lot coming out. But after an hour it morphed showing sweeter red, gritty fruit, with raspberry candy flavors in a powerful frame. Definitely young. Another taster commented that it was soft and subtle.

2006 Shane, The Unknown, Syrah, Sonoma County
125 cases of this were made by Shane Finley. When he is not working at Kostra Browne he makes these wines. Showing a light-plus nose of brighter, red fruit, and smoke from toast. This was the biggest, roundest, and most extracted of all showing bluer fruit in the finish. This was a standout and could use some more time to integrate. Another taster found there to be more fruit and slight more viscous body than the T-L.

2007 K Vintners, Pheasant Vineyard, Syrah, Walla Walla
191 cases were made from a vineyard only planted in 2000 on the Wahluke Slope! This wine sported a very light nose of dark fruit. It had good mouth feel, dark red fruit, and a camphor-like aftertaste. The tannins creep up in the finish, where some acidity comes out as dark fruit flavors fill the mouth. Still young but a pleasure to drink. Another taster noted the licorice and tar overtones along with higher acidity and found it a very nice wine to drink.

2007 Abeja, Syrah, Walla Walla
200-300 cases were made from fruit grown at 1310 feetat the cooler Mill Creek Vineyard. A light-plus nose of toasty oak. The tightly wound dark fruit rounded out and opened up with more air to take on a bluer tint. It had an expanding aftertaste. This one didn’t give up much but seemed, perhaps, to have potential. Others found this one tannic! On the second night it fell apart into a disjointed mess that we dumped.

2005 O’Shea Scarborough, The Immortal, Syrah, Columbia Valley
Less than 75 cases made of this inaugural vintage from Lewis Vineyard. A nose and palate of tart, red raspberry fruit, “sour patch” flavors and a very tart finish. This was rather polarizing and clearly the least favor wine of the night. One commented it was dark, tinny, and chalky. This held together better than the Abeja on the second night but was not enjoyable to drink and was dumped.

1999 Hogue, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
Made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon with varying amounts of Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc aged two years in oak barrels. The Cab comes from Wahluke Slope. A good medium nose screaming dusty Bordeaux. In the mouth there were round flavors, of dusty, gritty fruit perfumed with cinnamon spice. It thinned out a bit in the finish This is drinking really well right now.

2001 Thelema, Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch
100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in French oak, half new. A mature nose of eucalyptus. This showed softer, looser-knit fruit withblack currant and dark berries spreading out into a soft, flowy finish.

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