Woodward Canyon Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley, Washington
This 2003 Columbia Valley Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from grapes that were planted in the very early 1970's. The grapes were harvested by hand from Champoux Vineyard (98%) and Sagemoor Vineyard (2%) both on benches overlooking the Columbia River in southeastern Washington. The 2003 vintage was the warmest on record for Washington State.
The wine was pumped over and punched down two to three times per day in small stainless steel tanks. Average fermentation was between seven and twelve days with one or two tanks given extend maceration time. After pressing and racking, the various lots were moved to new French chateau barrels for aging and maturation. Later, in August of 2005, this wine was racked from barrel, assembled and bottled just before harvest started in early September 2005.
This 2003 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich and powerful red wine. It expresses the purity of fully mature Washington Cabernet Sauvignon from a warm vintage incredibly well. Flavors of dried black cherry and cassis marry with spicy new oak and vanilla toast coats the mouth. The texture is soft and silky yet there are firm mature tannins in the finish. The color is dark reddish purple; the complex aromas leap from the glass. This red wine will benefit greatly from additional cellaring and, with proper storage, should last for twelve years or more.
The Wine Advocate - "Produced from vines planted in 1972, 1979, and 1981 in the world-class Champoux vineyard, the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vines explodes from the glass with scents of spiced black fruits. Concentrated, powerful, and medium to full-bodied, it displays outstanding depth in its blackberry, cassis liqueur, black currant, and menthol flavors. Projected maturity: 2007-2017. Unlike recent vintages of Woodward Canyon’s reds, neither this top-notch effort nor any of the other wines I tasted during my visit exhibited any hard edges. It seems this old winery (by Washington standards) is reclaiming its rightful place among the state's top producers. "
Woodward Canyon Winery
Woodward Canyon Winery was founded by Rick Small in 1981. He is currently soul-searching on the subject of terroir. Debating the suitability of certain varietals to certain vineyard plots has become a quandary. On the one hand, the grapes growing there do fine and are the basis for extremely successful wines (Chardonnay, mostly); on the other, would Merlot or Cabernet Franc provide even more exciting character? The evolution of the Northwest wine industry continues. View all Woodward Canyon Wines
About Columbia ValleyView a map of Columbia Valley wineries
Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Notable FactsMerlot is the most popular and most planted grape of the area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Syrah and Riesling are also popular and continue to grow in acreage.
About WashingtonRelated Links:Now the number two producer in the United States, Washington State has also grown in quality.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.