One of the most prestigious Washington wineries, Woodward Canyon is one of the state’s historic wineries, first founded in 1981. Leading the charge has been owner and founder, Rick Small, who is one of the state’s great winemakers. I can recall epic older vintage wines that I have tried from them including great Chardonnays from the early 1990s as well as awesome ‘Aritist Series’ Cabernet Sauvignons from the early 2000s. Rick is humble despite all his successes and is a downright awesome guy to chat wine with. Myt first visit to Woodward Canyon came in 2002 while I was completing my undergraduate studies at Whitman College. With its laidback atmosphere and cozy, country cottage feel, it is one of the great tasting rooms in Washington.
I am always impressed with Woodward Canyon Chardonnay. Their new bottling, the 2017 Woodward Canyon ‘Washington State’ Chardonnay (WWB, 93) shows a wonderful viscosity and tension. At this price this is one to purchase by the case, as the wine will continue to evolve nicely over the next decade. Contrary to some other wine reviewers, I think that the 2015 Woodward Canyon ‘Artist Series’ Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 92) is a downright gorgeous bottling with its silky mouthfeel, light tannic backbone and copious dark fruits. The best wine that I tried was the 2015 Woodward Canyon ‘Old Vines’ Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 94) which is a decadent treat that is meant for the cellar. Learn more about these outstanding wines at woodwardcanyon.com Here are the great new wines by Woodward Canyon.
2017 Woodward Canyon ‘Washington State’ Chardonnay- Woodward Canyon has gained a national reputation for producing high quality Chardonnay. This great new release, the 2017 Woodward Canyon ‘Washington State’ Chardonnay, is sourced from a host of great vineyards across the state. The wine was aged in a small percentage of new French oak prior to bottling. Ironically the wine was bottled on my birthday in May, 2018. The nose takes on a ton of appeal with roasted pineapple, toasty oak, Pink Lady apple and brioche aromatics. The palate shows a wonderful tension, astringency and richness. Gravenstein apple, brioche, and Meyer lemon creme brûlée flavors all strut their stuff in the glass. This is a gorgeous wine that has some good cellaring potential. Drink 2018-2028- 93
2015 Woodward Canyon ‘Columbia Valley’ Merlot- Founded in 1981, Woodward Canyon has produced a Merlot wine for more than 20 years. Showing really good dark and red fruits on the nose, the toasty oak nicely wraps around this wine. Black cherry, blackberry pie and mocha flavors all nicely combine on the palate, showing good richness and minerality. Drink 2018-2028- 91
2015 Woodward Canyon ‘Artist Series’ Cabernet Sauvignon- Woodward Canyon has produced an ‘Artist Series’ Cabernet Sauvignon since 1992. I can recall some of my favorite ‘Artist Series’ bottling over the years, including the stunning 2001, the under the radar 2004 and the opulent 2005 wines. Forward, with toasty oak on the nose, this 2015 ‘Artist Series’ shows cassis, mocha and anise aromatics. The palate shows good viscosity and tension with creme de cassis, anise, coffee ground and blueberry compote flavors that impress. Showing good mid-palate weight and tension., this will cellar well over the next decade. This may not be the most long-lived Artist Series, but it is downright delicious right now. Drink 2018-2028- 92
2015 Woodward Canyon ‘Old Vines’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2015 ‘Old Vines’ Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from a host of great vineyards in the Columbia and Walla Valleys including their estate vineyard as well as the Sagemoor and Champoux Vineyards. Inky once in the glass, the wine shows creme de cassis, anise, sweet pipe tobacco and tar aromatics that fill the nose. The palate is plush, rich and downright seductive. Mocha, anise, sagebrush and blueberry compote flavors entice. While this is drinking marvelously right now, this will cellar well for the next two plus decades. If enjoying in its youth, be sure to give this beauty at least a two hour decant. Drink 2018-2035- 94