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Sleight Of Hand The Illusionist Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
This vintage of the Illusionist is loaded with blue and black fruits, and is complimented with aromas of cedar, smoke, and spice, all of which is backed by sweet oak notes. It is immediately approachable, with fine grained and silky tannins, but will age beautifully for at least another two decades.
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.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is now the world's most planted grape variety. 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 has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious 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.