Washington 2006: Keep
Warmer-region Cabernets are deeply flavoured, well-structured, with good acidity and tannins; wines from cooler regions, which struggled to achieve full ripeness, are leaner and can have an herbaceous edge.
A splendid vintage in which a mild, showery spring -giving rise to balanced canopies, tight bunches and small grapes – was followed by a near ideal summer: dry, with hot days and cool nights. Grapes matured steadily and evenly, though growers in the State’s warmer regions worried that sugar accumulation could outpace flavour development with the resulting high alcohol wines.
In the event, any fears were proved unfounded. Temperatures suddenly dropped with the arrival of cooler, damper weather in September, and growers in warmer regions were able to start harvesting soon after. Growers in cooler regions had to play a waiting game in the hope that physiological ripeness would catch up.
The 2006 vintage in Washington offers the potential for rich, well-structured, deeply flavoured Cabernets, with excellent acidity. The best should age beautifully, and are likely to originate from the warmer Columbia Valley AVAs, in particular Walla Walla Valley and Red Mountain (the latter experiences a desert-like climate of very hot days and cold nights). Both are key Cabernet Sauvignon appellations.
More elevated, cooler AVAs like Rattlesnake Hills and Snipes Mountain may have struggled to reach full ripeness with the onset of the long, cool autumn.
Not sufficiently tasted as yet, but best bets include Walla Walla Valley producers Va Piano Vineyards, Chateau Rollat, L’Ecole, Leonetti Cellar; also DeLille Cellars in Red Mountain and from Columbia Valley Woodward Canyon, Abeja, Quilceda Creek and Betz.
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