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Review: Double Canyon 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills


Horse Heaven Hills Joyride!

I find it interesting how well I have come to appreciate wines produced from Horse Heaven Hills fruit. There is something special going on in that AVA. A good example would be the inaugural release from Double Canyon - the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was released in October 2012 and is just beginning to showoff.

This winery is new to me. Likely because it was established in 2007. Double Canyon Vineyard is located in the heart of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA in SE Washington state, just six miles from the Columbia River. They produce limited-production estate-grown wine that expresses the varietal distinctiveness of this region. Something I can get behind.

Last month, Jason Ledbetter began overseeing all winemaking operations. Jason works closely with Vineyard Manager Will Beightol.  Jason came to Double Canyon from Pine Ridge Vineyards in Napa Valley where he worked as assistant winemaker for four years. Mr. Ledbetter is expanding the Cabernet Sauvignon program, focusing on fruit sourced from the estate vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills; adjacent to the renowned Champoux Vineyard. I look forward to sampling wines made by Mr. Ledbetter.

Tasting Notes Double Canyon 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills
Color: Deep burgundy.
Nose: Rich, earthy, chocolate, mint tea. The nose at opening was fuzzy, almost soft.
Palate: Chocolate, mint, cedar, cherry, cola. Medium body and smooth, fluid finish.

At 25 minutes: Coffee, peppermill, mint was most noticeable on the nose. Cherry, vanilla, coffee, smooth almost creamy, gently tart on light tannin finish. Began to show well.

At 40 minutes: Aroma was lively with coffee-cola and dark fruit notes, toasted coconut pulled it together. Palate was bigger, broader, cherry, coffee, vanilla, dry-tart finish. A little heat.

At 60 minutes: Creamy coffee, cherry, blackberry, vanilla. Black licorice with a proper amount of acidity and tannin on the finish. Sedimentation in my wine glass. Should have decanted or left bottle upright an hour before pouring.

At 2 hours: A joy-ride of dark fruit, rich earth, candied finish. Enter the pow!

Day two: Currant, cinnamon spice, rose petal on the nose. A delight of cherry with dark savory notes mid-palate, smooth with more character than day one, mocha and a tingle of fine tannin on the gums. Just opening up.

Thoughts: This wine was constrained on day one and showed young. Good but young. On day two this wine was more expressive. Yes, you can drink now. But I recommend you hold a little longer for a bigger reward. Decant if you drink today. This would be a fun wine to revisit in a year or five. Recommended.

AVA: Horse Heaven Hills
Blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah
Closure: Natural cork
SRP: $40
Released: October 2012
Production: 270 cases
Sample provided  by winery

About Double Canyon

The Double Canyon property was acquired by Crimson Wine Group in 2005.  Double Canyon, named for two ravines that run through the property, exclusively produces an estate-grown wine that expresses the individuality of the vineyard in this distinctive windswept, desert appellation. This unique piece of land is now in the capable hands of William Beightol, a second-generation vineyard manager who grew up directly across the road from the property.

They have 84 acres of vines planted densely, at about 1,850 plants per acre—double the norm in Washington— in order to crowd the space and achieve less fruit per plant. Having less fruit increases overall quality as all of the plant’s energy is focused on fewer clusters.

About Jason Ledbetter

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California, Davis, Ledbetter went on to pursue his passion for winemaking.  He joined the Pine Ridge Vineyards team in 2009, following internships at Trefethen Vineyards and Cakebread Cellars, which he completed during his studies.  Ledbetter gained valuable experience working shoulder to shoulder with Winemaker Michael Beaulac at Pine Ridge Vineyards, where he has had the opportunity to work with estate vineyards in five distinctive Napa Valley appellations to produce high quality wines that are expressive of their terroir.

  • The Horse Heaven Hills Wine Growers AVA is home to 25% of the state's vineyard acreage and a source of the four 100-point wines from Washington state.
  •  The 9th annual Horse Heaven Hills Trail Drive Scholarship Fundraiser and BBQ is Saturday July 19, 2014 - Detailed information or to purchase tickets

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