In a growing season in Washington that saw hot temperatures and no rain all summer followed by a quick rainstorm and cooler temps the rest of the way, winemakers described harvest as perfect and crazy long. Christopher Baron of Cayuse said by the time it was ready for people to pick fruit, “the vines were cruising and not under any stress”. Mike Januik, winemaker at Novelty Hill in Columbia Valley called it a “particularly good year for Cabernet Sauvignon.” But if there was one problem with the harvest for Washington winemakers, it was that the harvest was so even and perfect that yields were huge!
An overabundance of super high-quality Cabernet? How the hell did Chad know to be in Walla Walla in 2018?!? Those were the two thoughts racing through my mind after I tasted through the half dozen samples Chad had sent my way. Most winemakers are constantly chasing trends. Chad is always ahead of them!
I set aside my dumbfounded thoughts and gave Chad a call to see how much these Cabs would cost me. Washington is still like the Wild Wild West where wineries haven’t figured out where they should price things in the market and the good stuff is anywhere between $20 and $250/bottle. But I should’ve known that in the Wild West, Chad is Billy the Kid, which is why when he told me the price, I was back to being utterly perplexed. “Huh?” I asked.” Is this guy a magician?
Chad’s 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet is an anomaly. Cut off one of the hottest AVAs in the world right now, the cuvee is sourced from the basalt-cobblestone gravelly soils of Walla Walla. With a dark-purple color all the way to its rim, the wine is aromatically complex, with classic Crème de cassis mingled with violets and savory spice. On the palate, it’s classic, medium to full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with notes of currant, blackberries, graphite and sweet tobacco. The finish is long and silky, with no hard edges, and fine tannins.