2010 Artz & Shaw – I believe that this wine is 100% Merlot from Red Mountain (or it has a very high proportion of Merlot) since that is all that I wrote in my notes. However, the bottle states that it is Red Mountain Red Wine, which leads me to believe that either there is more than just Merlot or the blend changes every year. Both on the nose and on the palate, this is a very powerful wine. I got some dark fruits (predominantly black cherry and maybe some blackberry), a slight pepper note, and some minerality (graphite). It seemed kind of closed. Perhaps one hour of decanting was not enough (maybe the bottles should be opened the night before). The tannins were quite high and the wine seemed to have a high level of alcohol, which was noticeable (I did not confirm this from the bottle). There was also a lack of acidity. Overall, this wine needs a lot of time to develop and might be in a “closed” period.
2010 Reckoning – The blend for this wine was 48% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Cabernet Franc from the Columbia Valley. This wine had much better balance than Artz & Shaw. There were some elements of dark fruit (particularly black cherry and blackcurrant). There is also some evidence of new French oak (vanilla). There was some slight greenness (maybe olives). It had medium to high tannins and a moderate flavor intensity (both on the palate and on the nose). Overall, this was a well-balanced decent wine. It was one of my favorite wines from the tasting.
2011 “V” – Again, I am not sure of the blend for this wine. I noted that it was 78% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Columbia Valley. The rest of the blend is likely a mixture of Bordeaux varietals. This is a classic Washington Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose there were notes of flowers (violets), some dark fruits (mostly blackberries and cassis), some candy (like licorice), and some coffee. The palate was very similar to the nose. The tannins seemed to be missing in this wine though. They were soft and round. I also got some minerality. The acidity level was a bit low for me although it did balance with the rather soft tannins. Overall, this wine had a decent balance. This wine was probably the most elegant of the lineup and the one that I liked the most along with the Reckoning.
2011 Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon – I had high hopes for this wine but unfortunately, it did not deliver. It was one of the reasons why I decided to visit the winery. Normally, I love Red Willow Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon. In retrospect, though, I am not saying that the wine was bad. It just did not stand out to me in the way that I was hoping it would. It was a decent wine when, especially given the price and grapes, I would have expected it to be a great wine. Both on the nose and on the palate, I got the typical Cabernet Sauvignon experience: dark fruits (especially cassis, some blackberry, and some black cherry), a tad of minerality, as well as a slight herb component. The finish was medium in length with fairly low acidity and medium tannins.