With 14 AVAs (American Vinicultural Areas), Washington is a geographically diverse state for grape growing. Depending on the region in question, grapes both delicate and hearty in nature thrive, not to mention those in between. Washington also shares several regions with Oregon. These grape-growing areas cross state lines, but regardless of what side of the line they’re on, the conditions for grapes are in sync. Cadaretta is located in the Walla Walla region of the state, an area acclaimed for grapes such a Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. However, they also source fruit from places such as Columbia Valley, which is large and diverse in nature. They use this combination of Estate and purchased fruit to produce a portfolio of wines ranging in production size from as little as a few dozen cases up to (a still modest) few thousand. Here’s a look at five recent releases that are worth laying down your hard-earned money for.
Cadaretta 2013 Columbia Valley Syrah ($35)
This is almost entirely Syrah with a tiny splash of Viognier that was co-fermented. All of the fruit is from the Columbia Valley. Smoked meat aromas lead the way followed by brooding dark fruits. A dollop of dark chocolate is followed by blackberry, raspberry and oodles of spices on the dense, deeply layered palate. Black pepper and a hint of kirsch liqueur are evident on the above-average finish.
Cadaretta 2013 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($45)
In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon (80%), some Petit Verdot (9%), Merlot (6%) and Malbec (5%) were blended in. Red and black cherry aromas are joined by wisps of spice and savory herbs on the welcoming nose. The palate is filled with red fruits tinged with black. Spices, earth and dusty dark chocolate are all evident on the finish. Firm acid and medium tannins provide fine structure.
Cadaretta 2014 Windthrow ($50)
This Rhone-inspired blend combines Syrah (76%), Mourvedre (15%) and Grenache (9%). The best barrels from each vintage are selected to put this offering together. Leather, purple fruit and a trove of spices leap from the nose. The palate is stuffed with cherry, raspberry and hints of smoked meat. The finish shows off continued spices, chicory and wisps of vanilla bean.
Cadaretta 2014 Southwind Red Blend ($75)
All of the fruit for this wine is from their Estate Vineyard in Walla Wala Valley. This blend is composed of Malbec (37%), Petit Verdot (37%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (26%). Black fruit aromas and baker’s spices fill the nose. Continued black fruits such as boysenberry, black cherry and blackberry dominate the full flavored palate. Toast, sour red fruits and hints of bay leaf are evident on the finish.
Cadaretta 2014 Southwind Cabernet Sauvignon ($75)
Produced from Estate fruit grown in Walla Walla Valley, this Cabernet Sauvignon (90%) also has some Malbec (5%) and Petit Verdot (5%) blended in. The fruit for this wine is chosen twice; first from specific blocks, and then a selection of the best barrels. Black raspberry and bits of limestone jump from the nose. Rich black fruit flavors punctuated by hints of red are strewn through the dense palate. Roasted espresso, bits of mission fig and a dense core of spices dominate the long finish.