These three 2017 reds from Barrage Cellars are long-time favorites: Cease and Desist Cabernet Franc, Double Barrel Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, and Blacklisted Merlot Yakima Valley. Barrage Cellars’ website calls the winery “Washington’s best-kept secret.” But we’ve always enjoyed Kevin Correll’s stellar wines. Moreover, over the years, we noticed that they simply get better and better with each vintage. This trio of reds continues the tradition. Read on for details.
Trio of Reds
We recently saw Kevin Correll and Bonni Ruchty, co-owners of Barrage Cellars, at Taste Washington. It had been way too long, and was wonderful to catch up, and then later, sample these wines. We’ve been fans of Kevin’s wines (and the two of them) since we first met in 2008, shortly after Barrage Cellars launched.
Kevin focuses on 100% varietal wines to showcase Washington’s incredible quality of fruit. He tends to blend vineyards, rather than varieties. As far back as 2008, Kevin told us he prefers to blend wine with the same grape from different vineyards, rather than blending different grapes together in one wine.
He also takes the minimalist approach to winemaking, beginning in the vineyards, where he sources grapes from five of the finest in the state. He works closely with the growers and spends countless hours with them.
Here are our thoughts on this trio of reds.
2017 Cease and Desist ($42)
Barrage Cellars 2017 Cease and Desist is one of the best Cabernet Francs in Washington state. Believe me, we know – we’ve been drinking this Cab Franc since its first vintage. Cease and Desist 2017 is 100% Cab Franc from two famed WA vineyards – Boushey (54%) and Red Willow (45%). In Kevin’s words, “Boushey Vineyard has an elevation of 1,400 feet with soil consisting of silt loam, and windblown loess sitting on top of fractured basalt. This is a cooler site that produces grapes that are small, thick-skinned, and loaded with flavor and balance. Red Willow Vineyard is one of the warmer sites in the Yakima Valley, which provides fruit with excellent structure, character, and acidity.” Cease and Desist Cab Franc is full of dark fruit and green pepper, with earthy and herbaceous notes and hints of minerality and spices. It has a rich mouthfeel and substance – fire up the barbecue!
2017 Double Barrel Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($47)
Barrage Cellars Double Barrel Red Mountain 2017 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Quintessence Vineyard (68%) and Shaw Vineyard (32%). Quintessence Vineyard comprises the largest contiguous vineyard on Red Mountain, with 229 acres if Cabernet Sauvignon planted on the 410-acre parcel of land. Kevin notes that Shaw Vineyard was designed and planted with the sole purpose of producing intense and complex Cab Sauv. Another long-time favorite, Double Barrel features Red Mountain power and structure, with aromas and flavors of blackberries, dark plums, cherries and hints of mocha and spice. This is a full-bodied, balanced wine that is age-worthy but also very drinkable now. The 2016 is also available.
Double Barrel Blacklisted Yakima Valley Merlot ($37)
Barrage Cellars Double Barrel Blacklisted 2017 is 100% marvelous Merlot from two renowned WA vineyards: Red Willow (56%) and Boushey (44%). At Red Willow, the first Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted in 1973, showcasing this meaningful location in Washington wine history. We have been fortunate to spend time with the incredible Sauer family and tour Red Willow a few times. Certainly, the Sauers are Washington wine royalty. Nobility is also reflected in this big Merlot, with aromas and flavors of raspberries, black cherries and plums, along with hints of chocolate, licorice spices and cedar. Again, the 2016 vintage is also available.
Summary: Trio of Reds
Margot and Dave