Wine Review: 2011 Wautoma Wines Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon


Another premium Washington wine by Jessica Munnell.

It was a pleasure to enjoy a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon made by Jessica Munnell from her Wautoma Wines label. This review follows another wine review about a Rose' also made by Ms. Munnell from the Mercer Estates label. She's a busy and talented winemaker.

If you are not familiar with Wautoma Wines, it is a partnership between vineyard manager Tom Merkle and winemaker Jessica Munnell. Tom provides the premium Washington grapes and Jessica makes the wine. Tom  and Jessica met at Tom's Wautoma Springs vineyard in January 2000. Working together, they became friends. The friendship developed into a business partnership which became Wautoma Wines in 2008.

Wautoma Wines are made of the best Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Wautoma Springs Vineyard and of Malbec from Wahluke Slope’s Stone Tree Vineyard. This bottling is 100% Wautoma Springs Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tasting Notes 2011 Wautoma Cabernet Sauvignon

Color: Dark Burgundy.
Nose: Big, cherry, oak, incense, pomegranate juice, vanilla.
Palate: Bing cherry, chocolate, hint of bell pepper, medium body, polished, medium tannin, balanced, moderate finish.  Approachable and friendly at open.
After 15 minutes: Chocolate gingerbread, candied cherry, dusty nose. Dusty dark chocolate, coffee bean, oak, cherry, pleasing finish lingered.
25 minutes: Perfumed nose, candied spice. Good texture, chocolate-cherry, spice, growing finish. Wine integrating, not heavy, balanced, easy drinking and showing well. Think grilled steak.

After an hour: Ebullient, aromatic, deep nose, dark fruit, tomato leaf, sandalwood. Cherry, blackberry, dark chocolate, cinnamon, note of cumin. Not a brawny wine, aromatic, cozy, and fun to be with, tannin more present, still coming together. Lingering finish. Moroccan lamb, flat bread, rose water rice and labneh on my mind.

After 2 hours: Fresh cherry, dry on the tongue and lower gum, blackberry, chocolate, medium finish, tingle on the gums. Very food friendly. Enjoyed with pasta in a white sauce with sliced mushroom, diced red bell pepper, white cheddar, black pepper and Marsala. Delicious. Also had chicken wings cooked in apple cider, French thyme, black pepper and garlic salt. Then Pressed on hot skillet until skin caramelized.  Flavors were complimentary. Very enjoyable meal.

After 3 hours: Blueberry, silky, dark notes, tar, cherry cordial and orange chocolate into the finish, pleasant spike mid-palate. Shifted from the nose onto the palate. Longer finish. Eminently drinkable at this point. I had to exercise restraint.

Day Two: Blackberry, smoky violets, dark chocolate on the nose. Creamy cherry, blackberry, fluid, silky, chocolate and dark notes on the finish. Yum.

Thoughts: Yes, food friendly at two hours and very drinkable at three hours. From my tasting notes you can tell I really enjoyed this wine on the first day. But it was better and better the longer it was open. Therefore, I would suggest holding for a year or five before drinking, or decant for the most pleasure today. I believe I am becoming a fan of this winemaker. Strongly Recommended.

Vineyard: Wautoma Springs 
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Closure: Natural cork.
Heavy bottle with deep punt, nice shape.
ABV: 14.1%
SRP: $48
Winemaker: Jessica Munnell

Wautoma Wines LLC
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About Tom Merkle
Owner/Vineyard Manager
Tom Merkle is a second-generation grape grower. In 1999, he planted the first grapes at his own Wautoma Springs vineyard. That has since developed into a fifty-acre, exclusively Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard supplying fruit to some of the best-known, most-respected wineries in Washington. In addition to Wautoma Springs, Tom manages several other top-rank vineyards on the Wahluke Slope.

Wautoma Wines Winemaker Jessica Munnell.

About Jessica Munnell
In 2003, Jessica left viticulture for winemaking, beginning with an internship in Australia. She later returned to the states for an enology position with Snoqualmie Winery. In 2005, she began work at Canoe Ridge and worked her way up to an Assistant Winemaker position with Chateau Ste. Michelle. After a few years away from full-time wine industry involvement to begin raising a family, Jessica approached Tom Merkle about working together to create a wine that featured his grapes. A partnership was formed in 2008 that became Wautoma Wines – made of the best Cabernet Sauvignon from Wautoma Springs and Malbec from Wahluke Slope’s Stone Tree Vineyard. In addition to her work with Wautoma Springs, Jessica is the head Winemaker for Mercer Estates.

Related Post: Review Mercer Estates 2013 Sadie Louise Rose' Horse Heaven Hills


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