Taste Washington, Review #6 – Cadence

It’s particularly fun to write up this post, because the winemaker is quite literally our next-door neighbor.  Christina tells the story of when we moved into our house in 2003 – Ben Smith and Gaye McNutt came over to welcome us to the neighborhood, and brought a bottle of Cadence wine.  Christina promptly thanked them and put it on the fireplace mantle while they talked.  A few minutes later, I came up from downstairs to say hello.  I saw the bottle and I thanked them as well – I told them I had heard great things about the wine and that I looked forward to trying it.  Imagine our surprise when they said they were glad to hear it, because it was their wine!  Over the years, we’ve bought and poured a lot of their wine, and I have always enjoyed the Bordeaux style blends that Ben produces.

Ben Smith of Cadence Winery, winemaker and neighbor extraordinaire.
Ben Smith of Cadence Winery, winemaker and neighbor extraordinaire – hope we get as lucky in California!

We loved seeing Ben at Taste Washington this year – he had quite the line-up going.  Here’s what he poured:

2011 Cadence – Coda  (34% Merlot, 32% Cabernet, 20% Cab. Franc, 14% Petit Verdot) – Nice sweet red/black fruit nose.  In the mouth, sweet dark red plums and blackberries.  This wine has a good mouth feel and decent acidity.  There is nice balance here and the wine has a rich sweet dark fruit medium length finish.  This wine is an excellent value for quality at $25/bottle.  (89 pts.)

2010 Cadence – Ciel du Cheval  (39% Cab. Franc, 33% Cab. Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot, 11% Merlot) – Dark red/black fruit nose.  In the mouth, dark plums, blackberries and black currants.  This wine has good acidity and a strong tannic structure that is built for the long haul, but the tannins are fine grained.  This wine has a long rich dark fruit finish where the tannins kick in again.  This is a very nice wine that just needs a little more time in bottle to really shine.  (91 pts.)

2010 Cadence – Tapteil  (64% Cab. Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 14% Cab. Franc) – Dark red/black fruit and chocolate nose, with a little bit of spice.  In the mouth, rich dark blackberries, black cherries and a little red currant.  This wine has very good acidity, some spice, chocolate and a lot of very fine grained tannins that kick in on the long dark fruit finish.  This is a beautiful wine that has great balance and can be enjoyed now, but will continue to improve with additional years in the bottle.  (93 pts.)

The Tapteil bottling has always been one of my favorites from Cadence and they age beautifully.  As a side note, the 2001 Tapteil is drinking really well right now and there is no rush to pull the cork.

2010 Cadence – Camerata  (76% Cab. Sauvignon, 8% Cab. Franc, 8% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot) – Sweet dark red/black fruit and spice on the nose.  In the mouth, rich dark plum, blackberry and black currants.  This wine has very good acidity, some baking spices and a lot of very fine tannins.  The wine has a long rich spicy dark fruit finish.  This is another excellent reserve wine from Cadence.  You can enjoy the wine now, but this wine will continue to improve for another 5 years or so and drink well 10+ years after that.  (93+ pts.)

2010 Cadence – Bel Canto  (77% Cab. Franc, 15% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot) – Sweet spicy red and black fruit on the nose.  In the mouth, rich spicy black berries, black currants and a little red cherry combine with a little damp black earth (in a good way).  This wine has very good juicy acidity, really fine grained velvety tannins and a great mouth feel.  The wine has a nice balance and a long spicy black fruit finish.  This is a wonderful Bel Canto and Ben has made a lot of good ones over the years.  The 2010 Bel Canto will age very well over the next two decades and continue to improve over the next 5-7 years.  (94+ pts.)

2001 Cadence – Ciel du Cheval – Red cherry, blackberry and baking spices on the nose.  In the mouth, sweet dark red cherries, blackberries, black plum, baking spices and a little dark earth.  This wine has very nice balance, good acidity and is smooth in the mouth.  The wine has a nice long sweet dark fruit and spice finish.  Most of the ripe tannins are resolved and this wine is drinking very well right now.  This wine is on the maturity plateau, but there is plenty of fruit to age gracefully.  The wine may improve slightly with more age, but there really isn’t a reason to wait.  If you have some of the 2001 Ciel du Cheval, open a bottle and enjoy it.  (93 pts.)

Just for another reference point on Cadence wines, both the 2001 Tapteil and 2001 Camerata are drinking very well right now, but both come across as a little younger than the 2001 Ciel du Cheval does.   The 2004 Ciel du Cheval is drinking beautifully right now and is a slightly bigger, darker version of the 2001.  Ben and Gaye are really making some great wines and they keep getting better.  Cadence is well worth checking out if you have not tasted any of their wines before – definitely one to watch out for!