Our first piece of advice in 2012, don’t ignore the great wines from Washington State. Over the past year we’ve highlighted world class selections from DeLille Cellars, Foundry Vineyards and Teritula to name a few. Nowhere else can you find modern style Bordeaux blends, peppery Syrahs and complex Malbecs for what seems like bargain prices.
Truth be told, while searching for the last few overpriced 2007 Napa Cabs, the editors at WLM stumbled upon a pleasant surprise. An elegant, well-balanced Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Dunham Cellars.
Founded by Eric Dunham, a Walla Walla native who learned his craft as assistant winemaker for the famed L’Ecole No. 41 winery. In his spare time, Eric’s natural talent led him to begin handcrafting small lots of premium Cabernet under his own name, Dunham Cellars. Quickly realizing he could make a living on his own merits, Eric began focusing all his time and energy in 1997 on Dunahm Cellars.
Dunham XIII Cabernet 2007 ($30) Named for the thirteenth instillation of his namesake Cabernet, Dunham hits this one out of the park. Adopting a “minimalist” approach, Dunham selects small lots from four vineyards: Lewis Estate, Frenchtown Estate, Double River Estate and Phinny Hill for the 2007 blend. 80% French and 20% American Oak imparts a reserved spice quality to the wine which softens the tannins and doesn’t overpower the fruit. Beautiful notes of cherry, coffee and leather complement the medium-bodied palate and lengthy finish. 3.5 Stars.