Taste Washington, Review #4 – Figgins Estate, Double Canyon

We have known Chris Figgins for a number of years, and it’s been fun to watch him expand beyond Leonetti.  From his venture with Drew Bledsoe on Doubleback, to his new label, Figgins, Chris consistently demonstrates the ability to hit a high bar with wines that are complex and thought provoking.  In general, the wines that Chris makes are elegant and structured to age very well, but can also be enjoyed at a young age, because the tannins are ripe and buried under the wonderful fruit.  At Taste Washington, we got to try wine from his Figgins Estate and a new Pinot Noir project called Toil, something we know he’s been working on for quite a while.

2010 Figgins Estate Red – Very dark spicy fruit on the nose with a hint of tobacco.  In the mouth, blackberry, black currant and a mix of small dark berries that are very concentrated and spicy, again with a touch of tobacco.  This wine has a great mouth feel, excellent acidity and a savory component that makes you want to keep coming back to it.  The wine is very well-balanced and there is quite a bit of tannin that creeps in on the long spicy dark fruit filled finish, but the tannins are ripe and very fine.  This is an absolutely beautiful wine that can be enjoyed now, but it will age effortlessly over the next two decades.  This wine has a lot more to show if it is only given the time and is definitely one to seek out.  I am very happy to have this resting in my cellar.  Bravo!  (95+ pts)

2012 Toil – Oregon Pinot Noir – Sweet dark fruit with some spices.  In the mouth, sweet red and black cherry fruit with some baking spices.  This wine has good acidity and a smooth mouth feel with fine tannins.  This is a very nice wine, that is concentrated for a Pinot Noir, but not overly ripe.  The wine has a nice long dark cherry fruit finish with baking spices at the end.  This wine is a new venture for Chris Figgins and I look forward to see how this will develop.  (92 pts.)


We walked a bit with Chris after we tasted with him, and asked him to point us in the direction of an up-and-coming winery we might not have heard of before, but should know about.  He pointed us to Double Canyon, and we have to agree, these guys are doing a good job.  Turns out that the new winemaker, Jason Ledbetter, hails from Napa, yet another California winemaker to make the leap and try their hand with Washington grapes.

2011 Double Canyon Red – 75% Cabernet and 25% Syrah – Dark fruit and chocolate nose.  In the mouth, sweet dark blackberries, some black currant and red cherries combine with dark chocolate and a hint of earthiness.  This wine has good acidity and a decent dose of tannin to let you know the structure is there.  Medium -long finish of dark fruit and chocolate.  This is a nice red blend, where the juiciness of the syrah counters the drier structure of the cabernet.  (92 pts.)

More discoveries to come…

Cellar Gem: 2007 Doubleback – Cabernet Sauvignon

This weekend we’ll be reviewing wines from Taste Washington, the annual show where winemakers from all over the state pour their vintages for enthusiasts, media and the trade.  To get in the spirit, we decided to crack open a bottle of Washington wine that we haven’t had for a while, and settled on the 2007 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is the debut vintage of Doubleback from Drew & Maura Bledsoe, with Chris Figgins as the winemaker.  It has been a couple of years since we have had the 2007 Doubleback, so I wanted to see where it was as far as the evolutionary track.  Drew “drew” a lot of flack in the beginning for being an athlete making wine, and I’ve been impressed all along with his passion and insistence on quality.  I’m pleased to report that the 2007 lives up to his high expectations so far.

2007 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon.
2007 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon.

2007 Doubleback – Cabernet Sauvignon – Still very dark red/black in color.  On the nose, dark sweet blackberries and a little bit of tobacco with just the slightest hint of green pepper at the beginning, which blew off.  In the mouth, very dark, ripe fruits (blackberries, bing cherries and black currants), combine with some black tar (in a good way), and a little tobacco.  This wine has really excellent acidity and only 14.4% alcohol listed on the bottle, which is not particularly high these days nor is it noticeable at all.  There are some extremely fine, ripe tannins that kick in on the beautifully long very dark fruit and tar/tobacco finish.  I love the deep, dark-black fruit and tar combination that finishes with a little tobacco.  Very few wines from the US have this combination, usually you find it more in Bordeaux.  This is an absolutely beautiful wine that has a long future ahead of it.  If you have several bottles of this in the cellar, it is worth opening one now, but it will only get more complex with time.  I think this wine will continue to improve for another 5-10 years and then it will stay on the maturity plateau for another ten years after that.  There is no rush to drink the 2007 Doubleback, but it is very tasty right now.  (96 pts.)

I look forward to seeing where the 2007 Doubleback goes from here.  I’m also looking forward to making new wine discoveries this weekend – and sharing them with our readers!

Cellar Gems are reviews of wines aged in our cellar.

2013 Auction of Washington Wines Gala

We were delighted to be the guests of Kris Middleton and Tony Lupino of Caderetta Wines on Saturday night for the Gala Auction.  Before heading to the auction festivities, we got together with friends for a quick drink and photo opp.  Here’s the crew in action:

Pam Harrington, Chris Figgins, Maura and Drew Bledsoe, Greg Harrington, Kris Middleton, Tony Lupino, Christina and Bob Watt.
Pam Harrington, Chris Figgins, Maura and Drew Bledsoe, Greg Harrington, Kris Middleton, Tony Lupino, Christina and Bob Watt.

The auction vibe was great this year – there was a pervasive sense of community and camaraderie in the room.  An impressive $2,000,000 was raised, a testament to the very well-run auction.  We very much enjoyed the company of the guests at our table, along with their great wines.  Unfortunately, we were having too much fun with our hosts to remember to take notes on the vintages, but we loved getting to taste the crisp SBS white, as well as the Caderetta Cabernet. Springboard and Windthrow.  Next time we’ll have to do less talking and more note-taking!