Adams Bench Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Vertical Tasting



By Kori ~ November 12th, 2012.

Adams Bench Winery is a small, family-owned winery located in Woodinville, Washington. Founded in 2005 by owners and co-winemakers Tim and Erica Blue, Adams Bench produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab blends exclusively. After being bitten by the wine bug, Tim and Erica took enology courses at the famed UC Davis and began making home wine in 2004. Adams Bench’s current production is 1,000 cases per year.

We first met Tim and Erica in 2008 when we visited their winery after hearing about them on a visit to Red Willow Vineyard, a vineyard they began sourcing grapes from in 2007. At that first tasting, in addition to tasting their current releases at that time, we were also able to taste several barrel samples from the 2007 vintage. Among them was a barrel sample of the 2007 Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon. When they first brought the Red Willow Cab grapes to the winery during harvest that 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. After that tasting, I wrote, “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!” Well, thankfully, they did, and they have continued to produce a Red Willow Cab each vintage since then.

Red Willow Vineyard, which sits in the northwest corner of the Yakima Valley AVA, is located on the fourth-generation family farm established by grower Mike Sauer’s grandfather-in-law in the 1920’s. The iconic Monsignor Chapel sits atop Red Willow’s highest hill, built with native stones from the farm.

Recently, we had the opportunity to enjoy a vertical tasting of all three vintages of the Adams Bench Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. (For those of you who are not familiar with a vertical tasting, it is one in which you taste different vintages of the same wine from the same winery.) We had tasted each of these wines upon release but were glad to have the opportunity to taste each vintage side by side. While our tastings are usually blind, we decided not to taste these blind. We simply wanted to enjoy the wines and taste them in a logical order, from oldest to youngest. All three wines are excellent. The 2007 vintage is drinking beautifully right now, and the 2009 vintage, while still young, may be their best wine yet.

Adams Bench is only open by appointment, but if you are heading to the Woodinville area, I encourage you to schedule a visit to the winery. It boasts a gorgeous setting on a few acres overlooking horse pastures with a view of the Olympic Mountains on a clear day.

2007 Adams Bench Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark, dense purple. Very aromatic with blackcurrant, pencil lead, and licorice on both the nose and palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and high, dry tannins. Well-balanced with a creamy mouthfeel and a very long, smooth finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Winery Release: $48

2008 Adams Bench Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot. Dark, dense purple. Aromatic with blackberry, black cherry, smoke, and sawdust on the nose. More blackberry, smoke, and a touch of cinnamon come through on the palate. Full-bodied with lively acidity, and medium to high, chewy tannins. Well-balanced with a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Winery Release: $60

2009 Adams Bench Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark, dense purple. Gorgeous nose with blackcurrant and molasses aromas. Blackcurrant, cedar, cinnamon, and chocolate come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and high, dry tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a luscious mouthfeel and a very long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Winery Release: $60


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

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