2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
The coolest vintage since ’93 and a true vintage to separate the men from the boys in the vineyard. I know, #11…1993…please resist the temptation to extrapolate on the irony until I tell you this. Drew’s decision to focus his fruit sources on the Southern Walla Walla Valley, due to its warmer climate and more feminine fruit profile, paid off enormously. In a year when “generous” and “voluptuous” will apply to very few wines produced in the greater Columbia Valley, the ’11 Doubleback will be a rare exception. The color is saturated and gorgeous. The nose explodes with crushed and sautéed bramble fruit, crème brulee, and a dusting of allspice. The palate is long and sexy, with silk smooth tannin and a lovely background note of toasty French oak. The vibrant acid backbone cuts through its richness ending with a generously long finish. I believe it will be among the finest produced in 2011.
While my hair somehow didn’t turn grey, it should have considering the 2011 harvest had more nicknames than a rapper – amongst them: “The Summer That Wasn’t”, “Junuary”, and, thankfully, “The Miracle Vintage”. This vintage started late and we trailed normal ripeness indicators by 3-4 weeks all year long. The last two weeks of August and all of September brought warmer than normal temperatures that helped catch us up some. Still, we didn’t receive our first grape until October 4th, with the tease of some Bob Healy Merlot to warm up the crew. Then, due to an early October cool streak, we didn’t receive another block until October 15th, when we picked our first cabernet. The rest of the cabernet came in a flurry over the next 16 days. Thankfully, the end of October could not have been more perfect and dry, and with the threat of frost approaching, we completed harvest on the 1st of November with the McQueen Cabernet.
I’m learning to have a love/hate relationship with these cooler vintages. 2011 was stressful! In late September we weren’t sure if we were even going to have a vintage, but thankfully a few weeks of ideal temperatures in October saved the day. Our vineyards on the southern end of the Walla Walla Valley achieved optimum ripeness. As with most things in life, it takes some adversity to create something special. Our 2011 vintage is a prime example. I tasted over the course of a week and the ’11 continued to open up each day hitting its stride about day four. The wine shows the impeccable balance we look to achieve. Tannins are present but soft, bright red fruit is balanced by crisp acidity, and the long finish leaves you wanting another glass. This is a vintage we will be proud of for years to come (and not just because it’s 11).
– Note from Drew
90% Cabernet Sauvignon
4% Petit Verdot
Walla Walla Valley
Cases Produced: 3,000
Aged in 71% new French oak and 29% neutral French oak barrels for 20 months.
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years