What Are Block Wines?
Like the first sign says we deal with famous “California” vineyards that have leftover juice from a specific vintage and grapes and they produce a limited amount of wine just for ABC Fine Wine and Spirits. The Block numbers are some sort of significance to the Bailes Family that owns ABC. Our guests love these wines as they provide quality juice at a more affordable prices than if you bought the wines under the label of the Winery that produces these wines. Once the vintage runs out, there will be no next vintage on that Block Number. Many of my guests ONLY buy Block wines and love to refer to themselves as loyal “Blockheads” .
We need NEW Signs!
New signs are in the works as they currently say we deal with vineyards from “California” Even our loyal “Blockheads” have noticed we have had a couple of Pinot Noirs from Oregon and Block 217 Cabernet from Columbia Valley which is gone but currently one of my faves Block 1029 Cabernet From the Conner Lee Vineyard in Columbia Valley, Washington State (Made By Caleb Foster of J. Bookwalter and formerly of Buty Winery in Walla Walla and just about everywhere in Washington State) and now just new to the family Block 220 Cabernet Sauvignon from Red Mountain A.V.A. again from Washington State. So not only are my regular Blog Followers, Social Media Followers and Guests getting influenced by my alias nickname of “Captain Washington” but it seems like ABC Fine Wines in our famous Block Wine program is also adding more and more from other areas besides California and “Captain Washington” Couldn’t be Happier.
Red Mountain A.V.A
Red Mountain AVA is the smallest in the state at only 4,040 acres (1,630 ha) in area. The area has 600 acres under cultivation of primarily red varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Caberent Franc, Sangiovese. The reputation of the wines produced in this area has brought Red Mountain AVA worldwide acclaim.
The vineyards in this appellation have produced grapes for some of the most sought after wines in Washington State. The area has one of the most unusual Terroirs in the state with the southwest facing slopes documenting warmer temperatures and more sunlight hours than any other part of the Columbia Valley. The nighttime temperatures drop considerably, helping to preserve the acid levels within the grape. On vintages like 2014-2015 It was very ,very hot in these desert like conditions with temperatures over 100 degrees. The soil is very gravelly and produces wines of usually very powerful concentrated flavors and tannins but on very hot vintages it borderlines on producing overripe fruit.
2014 Block 220 Cabernet
Red Mountain A.V.A Review
I thought if anyone did the honors of welcoming the New Kid on the BLOCK Wine shelves at ABC it should be me, “Captain Washington”
As you can see I got bottle number 8,509 of 10,800 bottles produced of this Washington State, Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. 2014 as mentioned above, was a very sweltering hot year especially in Red Mountain. The color on the wine is a very deep dark violet with almost black darkness in the center. 20 months in Oak Barrel plus 14.6% Alcohol produced a wine with medium to full body and viscosity. It took about 3 hours to calm down as this displays even then, very concentrated aromatics. Imagine someone slathered the darkest thick blackberry preserves over a Cedar Plank and that is what you will be picking up. Move the glass about 2 inches from the top and breathe in from your nose and mouth at the same time and you will pick up a slight violet and floral component. Due to that floral aroma in the background plus the dark Purple Hue I am guessing there is some Petit Verdot in this wine but a decent amount over 85% Of Cabernet Sauvignon.
On the palate very much confirming the nose a richly, dense concentrated , blackberry, bing cherry ending with some sweet/tartness of red currants graphite, allspice and black pepper and sleek, refind tannins. The only problem I have with this wine which for Napa Valley drinkers would be not even noticeable, was the use of 20 Months In Vanilla Oak distracted me throughout the entire taste of this wine as it borderlines especially on the finish of being too much vanilla. I want my Bitter Dark Chocolate like The Block 1029 has and hold the Vanilla. Other than that the wine is a rich mouthfeel that I am going to score 88 out of 100 due to the over use of Oak on the wine.
I am elated that Washington State and Oregon are joining the Family of Block Wines. For the $80 or even $50 Napa Valley Cab Drinker you won’t even notice the vanilla or the slight sweetness. As a Washington State Connoisseur, You might wish the 220 had some less sweetness and less oak but still the bottom line of Block 220 At $24.99 you won’t even have to think about purchasing a wine of this quality because you won’t find any Block or Non Block Cabernet in this price range or even double that delivers this kind of quality. Who is going to hold their first BLOCK Party? The Block 1029 and Block 220 are 2 more reasons to Always Be Celebrating
Grape-fully yours, Larry