W. B. Bridgman Cellars 2012 Columbia Valley merlot

Let’s get back to the status quo here.

Any beer-slogging winemaker will tell you to look at the overall conditions in a growing year and not just one number, like heat units. It’s like staring at one page in a yard-thick novel and decoding the entire story. No. That’s what they will tell ya.

Not here.

2012 was, with one Puget Sound AVA exception, a stellar year full of warmth and lacking major disasters other than the freak hailstorm in some spots. The white grapes reached full potential and the reds placed Washington back on the map of world-class wines.

Think about it. The vines have been in the ground for years. They didn’t vacation in Ecuador or celebrate the New Year in NYC. The soil is the same. There were no landslides or Missoula Flood sequels. Rainfall was normal. Farmers expected some and they got some. Wind? Yeah, they got some of that also. Like every year before that. Irrigation? Check. Just like the previous years. Pruning? Yep, probably with the same shears also. Did the vineyard mutt piss on the ‘old vines’ rows? Hell yes.

So, basically, NOTHING ELSE drastically changed from the previous year EXCEPT the heat units! And, heat units come from the sun. And, the sun is what ripens grapes. Unless it was 2010 or 2011.

Gang, the facts don’t lie. Red Mountain AVA had almost 300 more heat units in 2012 than in 2011. Parts of Prosser and Snipes Mountain didn’t have enough heat to fully mature cabernet in 2011. Forget any expectations of signature flavor profiles for the big wines.

But hey, that does not mean the cabernets will be green tomatoes. Too many winemakers now are equipped with the skill to maximize what they are given and subdue the unpleasant notes. Early tastings of the highly-allocated and low-production cabs and other reds have revealed a placid, smooth and soft attack. Do not expect even a few wineries to describe their super-premium, ultra-reserve red wines as “explosive” or “thunderous” as this is the price to be paid for dealing with grapes from the 2010/2011 global cooling period.

What the hell is being said here?

Save your borrowed money for the 2012s. Drink up your stash of 2002s to 2009s. The benefits: (1) you’ll payoff your bills and actually have real cash ready for the 2012 haul; (2) you’ll enjoy fully matured wines that will far exceed your expectations when you first bought them way back when; and (3) you’ll have room in your locker/cellar for the next two-year run of 96-100 point wines that will keep you stocked through the year 2025.

Am I missing anything from the 2010/2011 years?

Well, if you like mint and green veggies in your wine’s profile… (j/k)

You’re a bitch.

I’m baaaack!

Tasted at 61-68 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: dark garnet rose. Nose: plump black cherry, dark strawberries, red plum, black pepper. Mouthfeel: moderate. Tail trail: 7 seconds. Flavors: true to aromas. Paired with sauce-less buckwheat spaghetti. Quite complementary.

Alcohol: 13.7%. Another Precept label from Walla Walla. Columbia Valley AVA. Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 88. Value: $17. Paid: $14. Music pairing: “The Bitch Is Back” by Elton John. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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