DeLille Cellars 2006 Grand Ciel cabernet sauvignon

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on July 6, 2010:

Zimbabweans have taken to washing and drying the legal tender U.S. small currency bills since its lifespan there far exceeds the 20 months an average $1 bill circulates in the U.S. as a way to cleanse the stinky, unhygienic bills. I don’t see the problem. My money is secured in the hiney region of my thong and makes a great alternative to toilet tissue and… A Russian poll announced that 8% of the country believes their national soccer team will win the World Cup. (Note: Russia was eliminated by Slovenia in qualifying). As a follow-up, 68% of Russians in the same poll believed Yakov Smirnov will be the next host of “The Tonight Show” once the KGB offs Jay Leno. And, next time you walk by Abercrombie and Fitch in the mall, think of this: the company was forced to close its teen-apparel Hollister store in Manhattan due to an infestation of bedbugs. No, I’m not talking about their target customers. You know, those parasites that come alive at night and eat free at your expense while you are unaware and… hmmm, maybe they are referencing their customer base after all.

DeLille Cellars. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, everyone has an opinion of this winery. From their gorgeous wines and luxurious Chateau on the hill, to their apparent “snobby” and “hoidy toidy” appearance run by people that should appear on the cover of a Greek yachting magazine, the vibe around town can be clearly summed up this way by yours truly, it’s my kind of place.

Undeniably, every project DeLille Cellars is involved with receives first-class attention. Volunteer at harvest or bottling? When the call goes out for help, all volunteer spots become reserved within an hour of the announcement. If you are one of the lucky few chosen, expect a rather lavish catered lunch between shifts, followed by a thank-you bottle (or two) of their famous wines. Release parties? No one does it better and with sophistication than DeLille. The parties were so popular that the winery was forced to charge admission in order to maintain the ambience (and serenity) that is associated with such events at the Chateau. Side note: the winery spends a sick amount of money for these events, so it’s a wonder why they didn’t charge an admission fee in the first place. Support staff? No other boutique winery has a more capable, pleasant and fun staff to work with. Need more information on an upcoming event? Email inquisitions are quickly responded to by staff, notably Melissa Osborn, who is a concierge extraordinaire. Website ease of maneuverability? The winery’s website is a reference model of how to organize and quickly access information and purchase wines/tickets. Can you say that about your favorite winery? Now, you know.

While grooming through information about this bottling, one of the accolades this particular vintage received was a certificate from the Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition in Kansas City, Missouri. The competition is run by Doug Frost, MS MW, one of only three people currently in the world to hold both distinctions. The 9th edition was held last November and was open to all U.S.-made wines, although I suspect more than a few great wineries declined participation (eg. Betz, Quilceda Creek, Andrew Will, Januik, etc.). Regardless, this is the only national competition I can think of that actually has a fair amount of highly regarded “judges” AND they don’t have to award the top honor every year. The 2006 vintage received basically a “silver medal” for making the “quarterfinals” while, a couple years back, the 2004 vintage brought home the coveted top honor of the Jefferson Cup. It’s worth a read. Imagine that, yours truly recommending a wine award. No, I just said it’s worth a read. Nice try.

100% Red Mountain AVA Grand Ciel Vineyard cabernet sauvignon. 3rd vintage. Alcohol: 14.9%. Release date: September 19, 2009. Vineyard planted in 2001 and managed by that hoss, Ryan Johnson. Disclosure: I assisted in the bottling of this precious Woodinville asset.

I left this bottle open for 5 days before evaluating. The winery’s website places a strong “hold” on all three vintages and I estimate they will not recommend a “drink” for at least another five more years, hence the extra time in bottle to give it some time to open. A few swirls in glass revealed aromas of soft blue and black fruits with a tart cedar finish. The color expressed a more subdued black-violet. In the mouth, there’s a strong lean toward crushed, unfiltered black fruits with an ever so slight sense of heat, followed by flavors of dusty black cherry, dark currant, dried blueberries, oak, and 70% cacao dark chocolate with a moderate grip of succulent tannins.

Music pairing: “Addicted To Love” by Robert Palmer. Rated: 92. Retail: $135. Value: $45. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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