Double Canyon Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
With the goal of creating authentic estate-grown wines, Double Canyon was established in the heart of Horse Heaven Hills in 2007. Double Canyon's focus is crafting Cabernet Sauvignon that expresses the individuality of their namesake vineyard and captures the distinct character of Washington State’s best appellations. Double Canyon’s new state-of-the-art winery opened its doors for the 2017 harvest. Visit their tasting rooms at the winery in West Richland, Washington and at The Estates Wine Room in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.
There are few places in the world capable of producing truly remarkable wine. Despite all they’ve learned of viticulture over the centuries, it is still largely the whim of nature and fate of geological events that unfolded long ago that dictate where this rare and special terroir is located. Double Canyon's job then is to seek out parcels of land that present an opportunity to cultivate great wines. In 2007, they did just that, when they founded Double Canyon. From that moment, the focus has been crafting exceptional Washington Cabernet Sauvignon from pedigreed vineyard sites, anchored by their namesake Double Canyon Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills. For the past 50 years, Horse Heaven Hills has produced some of the most revered fruit in Washington. Their 90-acre Double Canyon Vineyard, named for two ravines that run through the property, was selected for its desirable location and proximity to the Columbia River. Influenced by volcanic activity, ancient glacial deposits, desert soils, and a persistent wind that blows off the river, Double Canyon wines capture the distinctive character of this renowned appellation.
Double Canyon broke ground on a new winemaking facility in West Richland, Washington during the summer of 2016 and opened its doors for harvest 2017. When it came to building a home for their wines, they took a studied, philosophical approach. In pursuit of making great Cabernet Sauvignon, they brought together a small team of experts with more than 175 years of combined winemaking and production experience to draw on this depth of knowledge and collaborate on the design of a best-in-class facility. Technologically advanced and designed for top-level craftsmanship, the new Double Canyon winery allows us to control every aspect of winemaking. Armed with new tools to automate processes such as temperature-control and pumps-overs, they’ll be able to achieve an even higher level of precision, efficiency and quality. Production capacity of Double Canyon’s winery will begin at 50,000 cases with the opportunity to scale in the future. Located in close proximity to the vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills, the building is also central to amenities in the greater Tri Cities area as well as Washington State University’s new wine research facility.
"Surely this is Horse Heaven!”
Its wide prairies and rolling expanses led an early pioneer to proclaim that the region looked like “horse heaven,” and as a result, the area was appropriately named. Horse Heaven Hills is in south central Washington state, geographically bound on its northern border by the Yakima River and in the south, by the larger Columbia River.
Its proximity to the Columbia River contributes to a variety of climactic factors that dramatically affect its grapes. In particular, an increase in wind from changes in pressure along the river, which flows from the cool and wet Pacific Ocean, inland to Washington’s hot and arid plains, creates 30% more wind than there would be otherwise. These winds moderate temperatures, protect against mold and rot, reduce the risk of early and late season frosts, diminish canopy size and toughen grape skins.
The vineyards bordering the river are on steep, south-facing, well-exposed slopes, with well-drained, sandy-loam soils. But the soils of the appellation are diverse throughout, ranging from wind-blown sand and loess, Missoula Flood sediment, and rocky basalt. Horse Heaven Hills has an arid continental climate with elevations ranging from 200 to 1,800 feet.
The first vines of the appellation were planted in 1972 in an optimal spot now referred to as the Champoux Vineyard. Today it remains the source of some of Washington’s most desirable and expensive Cabernet Sauvignons. In fact, the appellation as a whole boasts many of Washington’s top scoring wines. Its primary grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Riesling.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.