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Cadence Coda 2006

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 0 comments

Cadence’s 2006 releases, of which the Coda is the first, mark significant changes for the winery. Until this point, Cadence has featured vineyard-designated blends from Klipsun, Taptiel, and Ciel du Cheval vineyards. They have complimented these with the Bel Canto blend at the high end at Coda, their red table wine, at the low end.


For the 2006 releases, Cadence has introduced into their lineup fruit from their own Cara Mia vineyard on Red Mountain. Due to the abundance of fruit, they have, sadly, been forced to drop Klipsun from the mix. Another significant change is that, with the exception of the Coda, Cadence’s wines will be free-run wines. In this technique, the wine is made from juice that flows from the grapes without any pressing. This stands in contrast to “press wines” where the juice is removed by applying external pressure via a press. Press wines are more tannic due to increased contact with the grape skins. This change seems to be a deliberate attempt to soften the wines which is interesting as I have never found Cadence’s wines to be overly tannic.


The first result of these changes is the 2006 Coda. The Coda is a press wine from Cara Mia, Taptiel, and Ciel du Cheval vineyards. This wine evolved and improved dramatically over the course of an hour (indeed the winery recommends decanting). When first opened, it was underwhelming with a fair amount of alcohol on the nose and a fairly flat taste. Over the course of time, it opened up and showed beautifully. Typically I like my table wines to be drink-me-now wines that do not require decanting. However, in this case, it was worth the effort.


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

+

Cadence Coda 2006

A classic Cadence style wine with spice, black fruit, licorice, and herb notes. The wine has a light and refined taste with the Cabernet Franc showing through. Smooth tannins on the mid-palate and finish. Overall, a good wine although a bit lighter at the core than previous releases. 35% Petit Verdot; 30% Cabernet; 24% Cab Franc; 14% Merlot.

$24


See a writeup of Cadence's 2005 releases here.

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Every now and then one finds the occasion to open up the oldest bottle of wine in the cellar. The bottle you have been holding onto the longest and eyeing occasionally. In this case, the occasion was the installation of the first part of our new wine cellar, courtesy of friend Bill Kauffman. The wine was a Leonetti Cellars 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon.

I stumbled upon this bottle many years ago at Esquin, a local wine store. This was before the remodel when they had most of their wines in wooden boxes. There was a certain rummage sale aspect to Esquin in those days. I miss that. While sorting through one box, I came upon this bottle of 1998 Cabernet.

Leonetti wines have always impressed me with their elegance. This wine, however, was all about power. The 1998 Cabernet is nothing short of a spectacular wine and is drinking exceptionally well at the moment. It is also far from the end of its life, so if you are sitting on a bottle or two, you have more time to contemplate opening it before you will have to. 75% Cabernet; 12.5% Merlot; 12.5% Petit Verdot. 576 cases produced.


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

**

Leonetti Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

A gorgeous nose loaded with anise, spice, dried flowers, dried fruit, and black tea. Incredible grip to the tannins on the mid-palate and then a long finish with tons of black cherry. This wine is still packed - packed - with tannins and will cellar for another 5-7 years easily.

$60






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No one else in Washington is making the types of wines that winemaker Douglas McCrea is. McCrea has a dazzling lineup of Syrah and Rhone varietals and blends. What other winery in Washington can you think of that makes a Mourvedre, a Counoise, and five different Syrahs?

Always well-made, McCrea’s wines are not to be missed. Of the latest releases, the 2006 Non Sequitor is a steal at $20. In addition to their new and recent releases, we also had the opportunity to taste their 1998 Viognier and 1995 Chardonnay.


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

*

McCrea Roussanne Ciel du Cheval 2006

Yeast and light toast on the nose. A touch of lemon on the taste. A long finish without being overpowering. A creamy mouth feel.

$22

+

McCrea Grenache Blanc Boushey Vineyard 2007

Lemon zest and a touch of white grapefruit on the nose and taste. Young still but a good, refreshing wine with a tangy, up front taste.

NA

*

McCrea Sirroco Blanc 2006

Creamy mouth feel with an excellent touch of lemon on the finish. Yeast and lemon on the nose.

$25

+

McCrea Vin Rose NV

Mineral and light toasted oak notes on the nose. Quite red in color. Uncomplicated taste but very pleasing. A crisp finish with tart cherries. Overall a good summer rose. Recommended.

$18

*

McCrea Viognier 1998

Golden in color. Light lemon, yeast, and toasted oak notes. An almost champagne-like aroma. A fascinating wine with a complex profile. A full-bodied wine, creamy in texture.

NA

+

McCrea Chardonnay 1995

Mineral, spice, and light smoke on the nose. Light yellow in color. Up front on the palate and then drops off to a long finish.

NA

*

McCrea Non Sequitor 2006

Tons of spice and dark spicy fruit. A gigantic, full-bodied wine. Overwhelmingly outsized for the price. Coats the tongue and has a long, long finish with raspberries, mineral, and a pleasing tartness. A steal for this price.

$20

*

McCrea Counoisse 2006

Fairly light in color, this wine delivers with touches of wheat, light red fruit, and the smell of wood after the campfire has gone out. A medium-bodied wine with bracing acidity and a tartness on the mid-palate. A very well made wine.

$28

*

McCrea Syrah WA State 2006

A rich, full-bodied wine that is loaded with spice and smoke wound with traces of anise. Hasn’t fully grown up but is showing quite well.

$25

+

McCrea Mourvedre 2006

Mineral, spice, chalk, and a slight stemminess on the nose. Red fruit marks an interesting, smooth taste that seems a bit disconnected from the nose.

$28

*

McCrea Syrah Boushey Vineyard 2004

A smoky, full-bodied wine with a big mid-palate and finish. Opens up and expresses itself with raspberry and spice.

$44

**

McCrea Syrah Cuvee Orleans 2004

Raspberry, spice, and stone aromas surrounded by very light anise. A superb wine that is rich and lingers. 97% Syrah; 3% Viognier.

$50

*

McCrea Syrah Amerique 2005

Mineral, violets, and raspberry aromas on a nose that is a bit lighter than I remembered. A dynamite mid-palate and finish. 77% Syrah; 23% Mourvedre.

$40

**

McCrea Syrah Ciel du Cheval 2004

Plum, spice, anise, and raspberry aromas with touches of black pepper. A meaty body that lightens up to a long finish. 100% Syrah.

$44

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MERCER ESTATES

Summary: Founded in 2006, Mercer Estates is a joint venture between the Mercer and Hogue families. Located in Prosser, Washington, Mercer’s winemaker is David Forsyth who previously worked at Hogue Cellars.


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

+

Mercer Estates Merlot Horse Heaven Hills 2005

A good nose with coffee, cherry, root beer and oak. Smooth tannins and a nice mouth feel. 95% Merlot; 5% Syrah.

$24

+

Mercer Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills 2005

Coffee, chocolate and spice on the nose. A full mid-palate and decent finish. 75% Cabernet; 25% Merlot.

$24

PONDERA WINERY

Summary: Pondera Winery was one of the pleasant surprises of this event. Located in Kirkland, Washington, Pondera focuses on Bordeaux blends. Their winemaker is Shane Howard.


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

*

Pondera Winery Sericus 2005

Cola, cherry, and black olive on the nose. Light and lithe with dark chocolate on the taste and a long finish. 60% Merlot; 30% Cabernet; 10% Cab Franc. 47% of Merlot from Sheridan Vineyard.

$30

+

Pondera Winery Melvado 2005

Vanilla, spice, and black olive on the nose. A good mid-palate and a long finish. 48% Merlot; 43% Cabernet; 9% Cabernet Franc

$23

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GILBERT CELLARS

Summary: Although a new winery, Gilbert Cellars has been receiving wide distribution in Seattle area wine shops and restaurants. The winery is located west of Yakima.


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

+

Gilbert Cellars Claret Wahluke Slope 2004

A rich nose loaded with black and white pepper and black cherry. Black tea on the mid-palate and finish. 68% Cabernet; 12% Merlot; 10% Malbec; 10% Petit Verdot

$19

+

Gilbert Cellars Malbec Columbia Valley 2005

Pencil shavings and black cherry on the nose. A very full mid-palate and a great finish. A good wine overall. The nose is the only thing that holds it back.

$26

*

Gilbert Cellars Estate Syrah 2005

A classic Washington syrah with aromas of green pepper and the smell of wood after the campfire has gone out. Opens up and expands on the mid-palate with a good finish.

$26

CEDERGREEN CELLARS

Summary: Cedergreen Cellar’s logo is a simple, red square (red brillo stickers were even distributed at the event). Kevin Cedergreen’s wines, however, are anything but simple. The 2004 Thuja was one of the standouts of the event. Cedergreen Cellars is located in Kirkland, Washington.


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

*

Cedergreen Cellars Thuja 2004

A California-styled wine on the nose with black tea and black cherry. Front loaded on the taste, but overall a very good wine.

$25

+

Cedergreen Cellars Thuja 2005

More subtle in style than the 2004 with spice and red cherry notes. Needs a little time to open up and show itself still. 80% Merlot; 20% Cabernet.

$25






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On Wednesday June 4th, the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle hosted a “Debuts and Discoveries” night for forty-five Washington wineries in their first three years of production. With the number of wineries in Washington growing by the day – there are currently over five hundred in the state – this was a unique opportunity to taste wines from a number of new producers at once.

For the event, wineries were distributed throughout the museum’s exhibit area. This made for interesting scenery but also made things quite tight once the event got rolling. Worse for the wines, the space became very warm over the course of the evening.

There was no apparent rhyme or reason to the layout of the wineries, so we were forced to go with a hunt and peck approach. All told, we sampled wines from the following wineries: Napeequa Vintners, Zerba Cellars, Mount Defiance, Gilbert Cellars, Skylite Cellars, Smasne Cellars, Cedergreen Cellars, Kana Winery, Heaven’s Cave Cellars, Norton Arnold Cellars, Two Mountains Winery, Stomani Cellars, Lost River Winery, Mercer Estates, and Pondera Winery.

Over the next several days, I will post notes from some of the highlights of this event.



NAPEEQUA VINTNERS

Summary: Napeequa Vintners is one of a number of wineries springing up in the Wenatchee area.


Wines:

Score

+

Name

Napeequa Vintners Trillum Rose 2007

Notes

A good nose with mineral, strawberry, and floral notes. Honey on the finish. A good medium-bodied rose, although a little sweet for my taste. Syrah; Merlot; Cab Franc.

$

$16

+

Napeequa Vintners Sangiovese 2005

A wine that is true to the varietal with earth, cranberry, and mineral on the nose and taste. Up front and tart. 100% Sangiovese.

$19

ZERBA CELLARS

Summary: While located in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, Zerba Cellars is within the Walla Walla Valley appellation. Zerba was named Wine Press Northwest’s “Oregon Winery to Watch” in 2006 and has been garnering a good deal of positive press of late.


Score

+

Name

Zerba Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2005

Notes

Not a big fan of the nose which is marked by pencil shavings and mint. Black cherry on the back end and finish. Pleasing tannins on the finish.

$

$30

+

Zerba Cellars Merlot Columbia Valley 2005

The nose is dominated by oak aromas, notably smoked wood, pencil shavings, and cedar. Light chocolate on the taste with a good mid-palate and tart finish.

$28

*

Zerba Cellars Syrah Columbia Valley 2005

A classic Washington syrah nose with smoke, marionberry, and maple syrup. Very well made with a great mid-palate and finish.

$28

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Summary: Dumas Station Wines is located east of Walla Walla at the site of an apple packing warehouse established in 1897 by James Dumas. The 2003 cabernet is their first release.


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

*

Dumas Station Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Sour cherry and fig predominate on the nose with touches of sweet oak. A lush, medium-bodied wine with a slow attack that expands and continues to a satisfying, blackberry finish.

$25

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Spring Release is one of the main event weekends in Walla Walla. You can download a PDF copy of my report of the 2008 Spring Release weekend here.

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In May of 2007, Lance Baer – founder of Baer Winery – unexpectedly passed away at age 39. Recently, I had the opportunity to sample the 2004 releases from this winery.

Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

*

Baer Arctos 2004

Light black pepper and spicy plum aromas with touches of blackberry syrup. A good, although fairly subtle nose. Up front on the palate with smooth tannins on the back end and finish. 45% Cabernet; 30% Petit Verdot; 9% Cab Franc; 8% Merlot; 8% Malbec.

$30

*

Baer Ursa 2004

Blueberry and other blue fruit with traces of spice, chocolate, and espresso. Spice becomes bolder as the wine opens up. Very well balanced on the palate with silky tannins and a good finish. 47% Merlot; 40% Cab Franc; 8% Cabernet; 5% Malbec.

$30

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