Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Master and the Apprentice

We're back after a long hiatus due to health problems. With a newly implanted pacemaker, we are as good as new. Went to Cadence and new Washington winery, Fall Line, for their annual open houses. Once again, Ben Smith produced a bevy of beauties. Tim Sorenson, winemaker at Fall Line, apprenticed with Ben and he really learned his stuff. His first release is a lovely 2003 Red with good fruit and hints of vanilla up front and enough tannin in the back to suggest at least six months of aging, if not a couple more years. Less than a hundred cases were produced, so you had better get yours soon. At least get on their mailing list now, so that five years from now when Fall Line is the next Quilceda Creek or Leonetti you will be able to get your allocation. Check out their website at: www.

Back to Cadence - four 2003s were produced: three vineyard specific wines from Tapteil Vineyard, Klipsun Vineyard, and Ciel du Cheval and one beautiful blend, Bel Canto. The Tapteil has the power, is very structured and perhaps will age the best, but right now it seems the least interesting. The Ciel du Cheval is very appealing and well balanced with good fruit. The Klipsun is similar but perhaps not quite as complex. The Bel Canto is molto bella, indeed, a right bank (Bordeaux) blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petite Verlot that Ben says was modeled after Chateau Cheval Blanc, but tastes a little more like a Pomerol to us. Diane loved it! If you are not on the Cadence mailing list you should be.

There are so many good wines being made in Washington, especially in Seattle. With the exception of Quilceda Creek, Leonetti, and Cayuse which have acquired, perhaps, too much cachet from the Robert Parker imprimateur, they are very good values, especially at the $30 price point, which is not to say that wines such as Pepper Bridge, Northstar, or Cadence Bel Canto are overpriced. Nevertheless, do we detect a bit of price creep in some of our favorites. For most of us $30 for a bottle of wine is a splurge, and for a few it is a good price for an "everyday" wine. Let's stay there!

Oh, about the master and the apprentice. In an era of mean-spirited, high-speed, me-first-ism, it is so refreshing that a spirit of friendship and cameradie persist in the Northwest world of wine. Tim got his on-the -job training ( he already had a Ph.D. in Economics and classes in winemaking) from Ben and, someday, a lucky apprentice will learn winemaking from Tim. Artesianal wine and food sustain us and and can help us sustain the earth.


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