Random Musings

Pick My Next Bottle – Washington Wine Month

The August Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on great bottles from some of the best producers in Washington. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened this weekend and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

August is Washington Wine Month. The annual celebration of Washington wine is highlighted by the Auction of Washington Wines held at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery.

I’ve chosen wines from arguably the most iconic wineries in Washington. All of the bottles have resided in my cellar since they were released. You might argue they are out of their ideal drinking window but I have little doubt they will each be exquisite.

The Contenders:

    • 1998 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – I could not help breaking into a smile when I tasted the medium to dark ruby-colored 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. Its extraordinarily spicy, cherry syrup-scented nose leads to a flavor profile that explodes on the palate with substantial quantities of cherry syrup, raspberry coulis, and Asian spices. Gary Figgins’ Cabernets can be as boisterous as Olivier Humbrecht’s Gewurztraminers. The purity and power of the sweet, spicy fruit flavors found in this wine are truly extraordinary. Additionally, it possesses an extremely long, candied, sweet tannin-filled finish. 96 points from the Wine Advocate.
    • 1998 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Blackberry jam, juniper berries, and spices can be found in the rich aromatics of the stunning, dark-colored 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon. A wine of awesome breadth, width, concentration, and power, this full-bodied beauty is crammed with lush layers of blackberries, plums, and cassis. This offering’s prodigious fruit envelopes its copious silky tannin. Additionally, it displays an extraordinarily long finish. Drink it between 2005 and 2016. 96 points from The Wine Advocate.
    • 2002 Cayuse Bionic Frog Syrah – Powerful, packed with ripe blackberry, cherry and plum fruit flavors, polishing itself up on the finish to show some grace and elegance. With hints of green olive, coffee and roasted meat, this has depth to burn. Best from 2006 through 2012. 93 points from the Wine Spectator.

Which Washington wine should I open?

  • 2002 Cayuse Bionic Frog (53%, 27 Votes)
  • 1998 Leonetti Reserve (29%, 15 Votes)
  • 1998 Quilceda Creek (18%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 51

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the September installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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11 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – Washington Wine Month

  1. You sure weren’t kidding when you said that this month’s installment of “Pick My Next Bottle” would be epic, Tom! Spectacular lineup! I did some research on these babies and all three are drinking beautifully right now. The one to choose would probably depend on what food you’re serving for the Labor Day holiday. Since I don’t know what’s on the menu, my pick is the 2002 Cayuse Bionic Frog. I’ve never tried the Frog before but I have tried Cayuse En Chamberlin. While Cayuse Syrahs age really well, they may not last as long as the monster Cabernet Sauvignon from either Quilceda Creek or Leonetti. Cayuse Syrahs from 2002 are probably at the point where they won’t develop any more nuances from aging and might be getting close to the point of decline whereas Quilceda Creek and Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon from 1998 might still evolve with more time in bottle. So, go with the Frog. Enjoy!

  2. I agree with the commenters who are interested in how the biodynamic syrahs of Cayuse age. The other two probably have plenty of years left. Open up that Frog!

  3. Based on Cellartracker comments, I chose the Leonetti because I think it should be consumed sooner than the others. Since it’s closer to–or in–the downwad spiral, drink it now.

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