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Sleight Of Hand The Conjurer Red 2015
Like anything in life, The Conjurer is certainly best enjoyed with friends.
Blend: 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Born out of a chance meeting at the Sun Valley Wine Auction's trade tasting that developed into a deep friendship, and a shared passion for outstanding wine, rock and roll, and fun, Sleight of Hand Cellars is the brainchild (love child) of Trey Busch and Jerry Solomon. Following that initial meeting in 2002, Trey, Jerry, and the winery's third partner, Sandy Solomon, started doing annual wine dinners in Sun Valley while Trey worked as the winemaker at another local winery (a job he had taken after training under Eric Dunham of Dunham Cellars beginning in 2000). Those dinners continued for four years, until in 2006 Trey finally convinced Sandy and Jerry to come over to Walla Walla for a visit.
That visit proved to be life-changing for the three partners. In less than 24 hours after their arrival in Walla Walla, the Solomons had not only fallen in love with Walla Walla and its unique charm, but a deal had been struck to start the winery. In June of 2007 the winery officially opened its doors with a small storefront tasting room in Downtown Walla Walla, while renting space at another winery for production purposes. But great press, and outstanding scores from critics, soon changed those minimalist beginnings.
Sleight of Hand Cellars has two basic goals in its vision statement, to make world class wines and to have fun while doing it—a visit to the winery is all the proof anyone needs to confirm that the winery, and its partners, are succeeding on both fronts. The winery has been open for less than ten years, but in that time Sleight of Hand Cellars has been named one of "The Next Generation" of up and coming wineries in Washington State, as well as one of "The Next Cult Wineries" by Seattle Magazine. We have had numerous wines make the top 100 of Wine and Spirits Magazine, as well as Seattle Met Magazine.
A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon!
Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.
Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
In the Glass
Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.