Private Tasting: Vineyard-Designated Washington Cabernet Sauvignon



By Kori ~ June 27th, 2011.

As we have said many times before, Washington State produces world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and delivers excellent bang-for-your-buck as compared to other top Cabernet regions around the world.

Recently, we had what turned out to be a showdown between two vineyard-designated Washington Cabernet Sauvignons in one of our double blind private tasting dinners. We had two wines from the 2007 vintage, the 2007 Andrew Will Annie Camarda Cabernet Sauvignon from Discovery Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills and the 2007 Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Stone Tree Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope. For a more complete description of how we set up these private tastings, please refer to How We Taste.

Owner/winemaker Chris Camarda founded Andrew Will Winery in 1989 in Seattle. In 1994, the winery moved to its current home on Vashon Island, just a short ferry ride from Seattle. Over the years, Camarda has shifted his winemaking focus from varieties to vineyards, and now all of his wines are labeled by vineyard. The fruit for this 2007 Cab comes from Discovery Vineyard, which was planted in 2005. The 30-acre vineyard, planted mostly with Cabernet Sauvignon, is co-managed by Paul Champoux and the owners Kay and Milo May.

Columbia Crest, located in Paterson, Washington, is the largest producer in the state. Regular Wine Peeps readers know that we have long been fans of Columbia Crest. Former head winemaker Ray Einberger and current head winemaker Juan Muñoz Oca and their team continue to pump out great wines at great prices. Well-known for their Grand Estates and Two Vines lines, it is their Reserve line that puts them in the league with the premier producers in the state. The 240-acre Stone Tree Vineyard is located in the Wahluke Slope near Mattawa, Washington. It is fast gaining recognition as one of the top vineyards in the state.

Both of these wines are excellent and paired perfectly with our weeknight dinner of pot roast, carrots, sweet potatoes, and green beans. Not only did both wines receive a Quality rating of 4 stars (out of 5), but they also received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

2007 Andrew Will Annie Camarda Cabernet Sauvignon (Discovery Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): Dark purplish red in color. Very aromatic with black cherry, black currant, blackberry, and smoke on the nose. More black fruit and smoke as well as pencil lead and game come through on the palate. Full-bodied with lively acidity and high tannins. Well-balanced with a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, Washington), $28.99; Available elsewhere, $36

2007 Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Stone Tree Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Deep, dark purplish red. Nice nose with black currant, coffee, and herbal aromas. Jammy black fruit, smoke, and licorice come through on the palate. Full-bodied with lively acidity and high tannins. Well-balanced with a very long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $35; Available elsewhere, $30 to $45


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25

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