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Flat front label of wine

Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP91
0% ABV
  • JD94
  • WE93
  • JS93
  • WS92
  • RP94
  • WE92
  • WS91
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  • RP94
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  • WE95
  • RP91
  • W&S92
  • WS91
  • RP93
  • WE91
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  • WS91
  • RP93
  • WE91
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  • WS90
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Winemaker Notes

This 2003 Artist Series was produced from grapes grown primarily at Champoux, Woodward Canyon Estate, Canoe Ridge, Klipsun, Sagemoor, Tapteil and Pepper Bridge vineyards. These seven vineyards are some of the most highly regarded properties in Washington and produce fantastic wines in their own right. In a blend, they can produce extraordinary wine.

The 2003 vintage was the warmest vintage for Washington that we have experienced since we began making wine in 1981. We achieved extraordinary ripening with full physiological maturity achieved through rigorous cultural practices such as shoot thinning, leaf stripping and green harvesting. This cabernet sauvignon was fermented in small stainless steel tanks and was punched down or pumped over twice a day. Aging in predominantly new French Chateaux barrels has produced a complex and generous red wine.

This wine has a beautiful nose of spicy oak and cedar integrated with ripe black fruits and cherry. A firm rich mouth feel begins with cassis and black berry leading towards chocolate and mocha. The finish is generous and long. While this wine can be enjoyed now it will definitely benefit from additional cellaring and with proper storage should develop for eight years or more.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Woodward Canyon

Woodward Canyon

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Woodward Canyon, Columbia Valley, Washington
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Woodward Canyon Winery, named for the canyon Rick’s family farmed and where the Estate Vineyard is now located, was established in 1981 by Rick Small and his wife, Darcey Fugman-Small. Woodward Canyon was the second winery in the Walla Walla Valley and the Smalls were instrumental in the process of obtaining federal approval of the Walla Walla Valley appellation.

The winery has consistently produced premium, age-worthy, award-winning Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots as well as Chardonnays. From the outset, Rick determined that quality would take precedence over quantity.

Consequently, Woodward Canyon has remained small. Woodward Canyon is located in Lowden in the Walla Walla Valley appellation. The tasting room is a restored 1870's farmhouse.

Woodward Canyon is a founding member of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and VINEA, the Walla Walla Valley Winegrowers' Sustainable Trust.

Columbia Valley

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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.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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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.

Perfect Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secrets

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.

PBC8400541_2003 Item# 87234