By Kori ~ October 20th, 2008.
Adams Bench Winery is a small, family-owned winery located in Woodinville, Washington. The owners and co-winemakers are the husband/wife team of Tim and Erica Blue. Their winemaking consultant is Chris Camarda of Andrew Will Winery. In order to pay the bills and fund their winery operation, Tim has maintained his day job as an attorney at a downtown Seattle law firm, and Erica, an Ob-Gyn who no longer practices, works part-time as a medical clinic administrator. Bitten by the wine bug, Tim and Erica took enology courses at the famed UC Davis and began making home wine in 2004. After that first winemaking experience, they were hooked and Adams Bench Winery was licensed and bonded in 2005. Their current releases are just their second vintage but as you will see from my tasting notes below, they are already producing really good wine. Strictly Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab blend producers, Adams Bench’s current production is 1,000 cases per year. They do not have plans to increase their production but simply want to focus on sourcing the best fruit and making the best wine that they can.
We first heard of Adams Bench on our visit to Red Willow Vineyard this summer as they began sourcing some of their grapes from Red Willow in 2007. Recently, we had the opportunity to visit Adams Bench to tour the winery and taste their wines. The winery is located in a converted horse barn just down the hill from the Blue’s home. It is a gorgeous setting on a few acres overlooking horse pastures with a view of the Olympic Mountains on a clear day. Tim and Erica are both very friendly, welcoming, and extremely enthusiastic about what they are doing.
In addition to tasting their current releases, we were able to taste several barrel samples from their 2007 vintage. We tasted their 2007 Red Wine “Reckoning”, 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon “V”, and a 2007 Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon. When they first brought the Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to the winery during harvest last year, the Blues did not intend to use them to make a single vineyard wine. However, according to Erica, they could not get over the incredible aromas that they were getting from them and after trying some blending combinations, they found that they liked the Red Willow Cab by itself the best. They have not decided for sure whether to bottle it as a 100 percent Red Willow Cab but I certainly hope that they do. It is fabulous! If these barrel samples were any indication, I think that 2007 has the potential to be their best vintage yet. I look forward to tasting them again when they are released next year.
Currently, Adams Bench is only open by appointment, but they are planning to start offering regular tasting room hours beginning in January. In the meantime, if you are heading to the Woodinville area, I encourage you to send Tim and Erica an email to schedule a visit. And regardless of whether you are able to visit or not, try to get your hands on a bottle or two of Adams Bench wine and enjoy it with a big, juicy steak.
2006 Adams Bench Red Wine “Reckoning” (Columbia Valley, Washington): 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 9% Malbec. Very fragrant nose. Black fruits, tobacco, and spice come through on the palate.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $34
2006 Adams Bench Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon “V” (Columbia Valley, Washington): 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc. Beautiful, deep, dark color. Exhibits floral and smoky aromas. Flavors of blackberry, black cherry, and a hint of pepper. Smooth and well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $42
Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Wine, Spotlight On, Vineyards, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25