Recent Canvasback Releases

Recent Canvasback ReleasesIf you’re looking for an exceptional glass of wine for that special occasion, look no further. All six of these recent Canvasback releases (three Cabernet Sauvignons, two Syrahs and a Malbec) are striking. But many other words also describe them, including sophisticated, polished, luscious, appealing, hedonistic and killer. Canvasback has it all. Duckhorn pioneers Dan and Margaret Duckhorn founded the winery in 2012, and named it after the Canvasback duck, native to the Pacific Flyway. Every winter, we are fortunate to see Canvasbacks in our little backyard lake. Each year, just like the duck, Canvasback wines soar.

 Recent Canvasback Releases

Recent Canvasback ReleasesCanvasback has a reputation for luxury, single-vineyard and appellation-designated Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Consequently, it’s not surprising that we are big fans of all six of these excellent wines: 2020 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Longwinds Cab Sauv, Grand Passage Cab Sauv and Red Mountain Malbec, along with 2021 Red Heaven Vineyard Syrah and Funk Vineyard Syrah. Last summer, we met talented winemaker Joe Czarny when we visited the winery‘s rustic tasting room. We saw him again a couple of months ago at Walla Walla on Tour in Seattle, where he poured the recent release of Grand Passage. So we were delighted when he sent us some others to taste.

Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 ($44)

Red Mountain Cab Sauv 2020Red Mountain is renowned for Cabernet Sauvignon, and this striking wine demonstrates why, with a blend of Cab Sauv (82%) with Merlot (12%) and Malbec (6%). As a result, alluring and appealing aromas and flavors showcase textured layers of red and black fruits, black licorice and baking spices, with hints of crushed stone, cocoa, minerality and earthy notes. Start up the grill! Or linger around a fire pit. This wine works well in both scenarios, especially this time of year.

Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Longwinds Vineyard 2020 ($74)

Longwinds Cab Sauv 2020This is the third bottling of Canvasback’s block-and-barrel selection of Longwinds Vineyard’s finest estate fruit. The winery purchased Longwinds, unplanted, in 2014 on a coveted parcel of land near the top of Red Mountain. The 2020 (97% Cab Sauv and 3% Merlot) is elegant and dramatic, yet poised and polished. Aromas of cherry pie, strawberries, plums, dark chocolate, graphite and spices mirror the palate. This age-worthy wine is spectacular. We’re not surprised that Wine Advocate awarded this exceptional wine with 97 points.

Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Passage 2020 ($88)

Grand Passage Cab Sauv 2020Grand Passage 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon embodies the essence and the best of Red Mountain. It’s considered the pinnacle of Canvasback’s winemaking program. It’s the third vintage we’ve tasted of this killer Cab Sauv, with its plush, complex and concentrated layers of dark berries and savory notes. Moreover, seductive scents of licorice, blackberries, cedar echo the lush palate with rich finesse and a thread of minerality. It’s one of our favorites.

Recent Canvasback Releases: Red Mountain Syrah, Red Heaven Vineyard 2021 ($76)

Red Mountain Red Heaven Syrah 2021The first words that came to mind when we tasted Canvasback Red Mountain Syrah 2021, Red Heaven Vineyard: smooth and velvety. This is 100% Syrah, from plantings of the Joseph Phelps Syrah Clone in 2006 on Red Heaven Vineyard’s Block 17. The vineyard name is fitting since this wine is heaven in a glass. What a gorgeous nose! Aromas of earth, wet granite, rhubarb and fennel are also on the palate, along with flavors of black fruit, black tea, olive oil and pepper. This is the second time we tasted this Syrah, and this vintage easily matched or possibly surpassed the 2020, with its concentration, power and ripeness, due to intense midsummer heat, drought conditions and the resulting low yields.

Walla Walla Valley Syrah, Funk Vineyard 2021 ($76)

Funk Vineyard Syrah 2021We decided that the 2021 release of Funk Vineyard Syrah is the best of Canvasback’s four vintages. This is 100% terroir-driven Syrah from Funk Vineyard, renowned for extraordinary Syrahs, including numerous beauties produced by vineyard owner Richard Funk of Saviah Cellars. (We toured the vineyard with Rich, who told us it is considered the warmer area of The Rocks District and grows more brooding black fruit.) 2021 Syrah Funk Vineyard fuses Rocks aromas and flavors into a harmonious yet subtle melody of dark fruit and savory notes. In our first sip, we found layers and layers of pomegranate, smoked meats, olives, licorice, earthiness and of course, funk, laced with crushed basalt and wet river rocks. We paired it with zesty spaghetti, and it was supberb. While it’s very drinkable now with decanting, we recommend putting it away for a few years, when it will truly reach its rock star potential.

Red Mountain Malbec 2020 ($56)

Recent Canvasback Releases Malbec 2020This Malbec had us at hello. In other words, the incredible nose drew us in, and the enticing flavors kept us pouring glass after glass. Amazing aromas of ripe berries, white pepper and spices lead into rich, vibrant flavors of blueberries, blackberries and dark chocolate. Canvasback sourced the fruit (96% Malbec, 3% Merlot and 1% Cab Sauv) from three Red Mountain vineyards: Obelisco, Klipsun and Longwinds. We had never tasted this delicious Malbec before, and we know for sure it won’t be the last time.

Summary: Recent Canvasback Releases

In conclusion, Canvasback Cabernet and Syrah terroir-driven wines are impressive. Of note, their lineup also includes fantastic Rosé, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

Above all, thank you Joe, for sending us to these recent releases. We will be adding more of these standout wines to our cellar in the future.

Meanwhile, find us on Instagram and  Facebook. And, of course, at Write for Wine.

Margot and Dave