Gilbert Cellars, Left Bank 2017, Horse Heaven Hills, Yakima Valley, WA
This Bordeaux-inspired red blend comes to life with a fleshy palate of dark fruit and subtle earthy notes.
COUNTRY: United State of America (USA)
APPELLATION (AVA): Horse Heaven Hills
REGION: Columbia Valley
SUBREGION: Yakima Valley
VINEYARDS: River Ridge, Chukar & Doc Stewart Vineyards
GRAPES: 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 8% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot, and 1% Carménère
SOIL: Starbuck loam, sand, silt, gravel
PRACTICE: Sustainable, vegan, gluten free
VINIFICATION: Destemmed and crushed, macro aeration, racked to barrel, primary and malolactic fermentation in barrel, aged 21 months in 30% new French oak 70% neutral
COLOR: Medium ruby
BODY: Medium (5-6)
PRIMARY AROMAS: Dark berries, subtle spice, chocolate, caramel
FLAVOR: Red fruit, caramel, black plum, rosemary, plush texture, linear, sleek and fresh finish
FORMAT: 750 ml
SERVICE AND SUGGESTION:
ABOUT THE PRODUCER:
Gilbert Cellars is a family-run winery in Yakima, Washington, focusing on handcrafted, small batches of authentic Washington wines, with a strong sense of community and hospitality. With a deep, five generations-old connection to the Yakima Valley farming land (and its own 8,200-foot Gilbert Peak!), the Gilbert family and their partners dedicate their energies and skills to create wines that celebrate the terroir and the communities in it. Gloria and Charlie Gilbert, Le Cordon Bleu alumni and world-class hospitality masters, partnered with Justin Neufeld, a Washington winemaking veteran with a deep knowledge of the terroir diversities in Columbia Valley, to bottle the best expressions of Yakima Valley vintage after vintage.
Justin Neufeld, Winemaker
Justin showcases the flavors of the vineyards through each step of the growing and production process. Our resident wine geek, Justin has a degree in molecular biology, but outdoor pursuits (backpacking, climbing)—and a serendipitous introduction to noted Washington winemaker Doug Gore—drove him out of the lab and into the vineyards. He finessed his skills at Chateau St. Michelle, Silver Lake, and Glen Fiona before joining Gilbert Cellars in 2007.
ABOUT THE VINEYARDS:
RIVER RIDGE VINEYARD (Horse Heaven Hills AVA)
Among the newest of our vineyards, with its first lots vinified in 2012, River Ridge is perched on a slight south facing slope overlooking the Columbia River. The windswept vines are planted at an angle of approximately 25 degrees West of due South, creating perfect sun exposure on the entire fruit zone. The Bordeaux varietals are densely planted to maximize use of this Horse Heaven Hills acreage.
Planted to: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
CHUKAR VINEYARD (Horse Heaven Hills AVA)
A stone’s throw from the Columbia River, Nine Canyons Vineyard is tucked amid 250 acres of cherry and apple orchards, just south of the thriving city of Kennewick. Curtiss Gilbert planted its deeply terraced hillsides with grapes in 2009. Pinot Noir lines the vineyard’s north-facing slope, while Malbec, Chardonnay, and Carménère fill out its much warmer south-facing slope.
The soil here is Starbuck loam, a stony, shallow layer of silt that covers a solid layer of basalt. Exceptionally well drained and nonfertile, the loam helps minimize vigor in the vines, allowing for a balanced canopy in the production of low-yield wine grapes. Our first Horse Heaven Hills vineyard, this gem should grow in quality and intrigue.
Planted to: Chardonnay, Carménère, Malbec, and Pinot Noir.
DOC STEWART VINEYARD (Wahluke Slope AVA)
Doc Stewart Vineyard is the one that started it all for our family. The Vineyard was farmed continuously by George “Doc” Stewart and family from 1972 until we Gilberts bought it in 2002. Located in the farming town of Mattawa, its parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay date to the early 1980s. Other vines were replanted in the early ’90s.
A surgeon turned farmer, Doc Stewart was among the first to see the agricultural potential of the Wahluke Slope, then a wasteland of tumbleweeds and dust. Doc saw deposits of sand and silt, gravel deposited from the Missoula Floods, and higher-than-average days of sunlight, which promised a vineyard producing deep fruit and intriguing mineral flavors. Happily, botanist Walter J. Clore—posthumously recognized as none other than the “Father of Washington Wine”—assured Doc he was on the right track.
In 1972, while it was flush with reclaimed water from the Columbia Basin Project, Doc planted a couple dozen acres of vines in the middle of what became the Wahluke Slope—today one of the most important viticultural areas in Washington.