The ARTZ Of Not Holding Wine Too Long!

Tim And Nancy Of Fall Line

Tim Sorenson & Nancy Rivenburg of Fall Line Winery

Fall Line Winery is owned and operated by winemaker Tim Sorenson and his wife, Nancy Rivenburgh.

Nancy is a professor of communication at the University of Washington. Tim retired from his ‘day job’ as an economics professor at Seattle University in 2011. “Academics is a great gig,” says Sorenson, “but I fell irretrievably in love with winemaking.

I have reviewed these wines that were available in Florida and no longer are so I won’t bore you again about how Tim got his winemaker training etc etc. One of my favorite Bordeaux Blends was the 2010 Fall Line Artz Vineyard Red Mountain. I bought a case of 12 on clearance sale for $8.00 per bottle. This blog entry is about not storing wine for too long or it might be past it’s peak. This last bottle was right in the Nick Of Time.

The Name Fall Line FYI… which still holds it’s production facility in the warehouse area South Of Downtown Seattle known as SODO , is a skiing term.

In its more common usage, at least among alpine skiers, ‘fall line’ refers to the natural line of descent from any given point on a slope. For Tim and Nancy, both avid skiers since early childhood, ‘fall line’ evokes the image of a perfectly balanced skier, gracefully descending a slope of deep, fluffy powder—leaving behind a track of beautifully carved turns.

It’s what they aspire to on the slopes…and what they instill in their wines: Balance, Grace, and Depth.

2010 Fall Line Artz Vineyard Red Mountain

Fall Line Front

Fall Line Rear

All their wines are aged for eighteen to twenty-four months in tight-grain French oak barrique of the highest quality. The proportion of new oak ranges from negligible to about 40%, and used barrels are generally second- and third-use. Wines are typically racked two to three times over the course of their elevage. Finished wines are neither fined nor filtered. Unfined and Unfiltered means their wines are VEGAN

The 2010 comes from my favorite vineyard in my favorite AVA for Cab Franc and Cab Sauv, the Artz Vineyard owned by Jorga Artz in RED MOUNTAIN. 39% Cab Franc and Merlot and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was bottled May 3rd 2012 and only 357 cases produced. I drank most in 2016-2018. I felt the wine could go a couple of more years but not much more than that. This was my last bottle and this is January 2020. Let’s see how it held up

My Review

Fall Line Glass

Fall Line Glass Bot

I was concerned knowing that most reviews of this wine and my own speculated a maximum aging of peak drinking till 2018 and this was 2020.

The color was still a dark almost black center with a much lighter shade of pink on the edge indicating the wine was 9-10 years old. The nose after an hour of aeration showed the Cab Franc big time. Dark red and blackfruits, hints of herbs, a slightly medicinal mint and just a tad less aromatic than the other 11 bottles I drank over the years. On the palate the flavor profile of mulberry, black tea, red currant, spearmint, leading to a juicy finish with less chewy tannins as the fruit was the star at this point in time. A hint of black pepper on the moderate long finish. Previous bottles of this wine was a 92-93 points and now on this last bottle still a solid 90 point wine out of 100. I don’t think it would have made it one more year so just in the nick of time.

My Summary

Timing is everything with older vintage wine and we can only all speculate how long with proper storage is the peak time to drink the bottle. For some parts of the world like Bordeaux Left Bank a 2010 would still be too young to drink now in 2020. This bottling, the tannin structure was totally soft. The fruit had just lost a tad of it’s vibrancy but still showing the “Balance, Grace and Depth” that Fall Line Wines are known for. For the clearance price I paid, this was the best under $10 bottle of wine in the world. I do believe that if I aged this one more year the wine would have been past it’s prime drinking window. So keep an eye on your wine cellar or small fridge. Use reviewers speculation of whether you can hold on to the wine longer or if you should start drinking up now with wines you have been saving. Do like me. Just drink everything young with aeration and buy more wine. #YOLO

Grape-fully yours, Larry

Artz Vineyard, Red Mountain AVA

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