As I look back at an eventful 2019, I very fondly recall my afternoon spent with the Small family in their beautiful tasting room, reviewing nearly every Woodward Canyon ‘Artist Series’ that has been made. Woodward Canyon was one of the first tasting rooms I ever sat foot in. Back in 2002, I was one of the few Whitman College students going to tasting rooms and thinking about aromas and flavors of wine, but I am very glad that I did. Woodward Canyon has been a pillar of quality since being founded in the 1981 by Darcy and Rick Small. They currently make some of the prized Cabernets and Chardonnays in Washington.
Their ‘Artist Series’ Cabernet Sauvignon has been truly one of the most consistent red wines made in Washington since their first vintage in 1993. This a wine that ages gracefully for decades. Outside of the special tasting I did with the Smalls I recently sampled a 2002 Woodward Canyon ‘Artist Series’ Cabernet Sauvignon that was absolutely singing and was incredibly youthful despite being seventeen years of age. The new wines by Woodward Canyon were brilliant across the board. Look to their 2018 Woodward Canyon ‘Washington’ Chardonnay (WWB, 92) which absolutely impresses with its wonderful balance and aromatic range. I loved the new 2016 Woodward Canyon ‘Artist Series’ Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 93) which has tremendous viscosity and depth from this warm vintage in Washington. Even better was the stunning 2017 Woodward Canyon ‘Old Vines’ Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 95) which his dense, chewy and downright stunning even in its youth. This beautiful wine will cellar well for decades. Learn more about this historic Washington winery at https://www.woodwardcanyon.com/ Here are the gorgeous new release wines by Woodward Canyon.
2018 Woodward Canyon ‘Washington’ Chardonnay- Always a pillar of consistency in Washington Chardonnay, the 2018 ‘Washington’ Chardonnay by Woodward Canyon is one of the best made in this state. Bright, with a gorgeous texture and a wonderful sense of minerality, this seamless Chardonnay evokes freshly baked Challah bread, banana, and ripe Pink Lady apple flavors that mingle with suggestions of lemon rind on the palate. Complex and downright delicious in its youth, this beautiful wine will cellar well for at least another decade, picking up lovely tertiary aromatics and flavors as it ages. Drink 2019-2026- 93
2017 Woodward Canyon ‘Estate’ Merlot- The 2017 ‘Estate’ Merlot is a beautiful wine made by winemaker Kevin Moss of Woodward Canyon. The nose shows bright Bing cherry with dill and a dusting of cocoa powder that all combine marvelously in the glass. The freshness imparted is gorgeous as this elegant wine shines with its deep black fruit flavors and wonderful elegance. This fantastic effort is great in its youth but will provide drinking enjoyment for at least fifteen more years. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2016 Woodward Canyon ‘Artist Series’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 ‘Artist Series’ by Woodward Canyon follows up their excellent 2015 bottling. This is remarkably the 25th edition of this wine, as I have been fortunate enough to taste nearly every ‘Artist Series’ bottling. Right away you are enticed with the toasty oak that wraps around the deep tar, mocha and black cherry syrup aromatics that take their shape in the glass. The plush texture and silky mouthfeel really shines here as ripe blackberry, milk chocolate and sagebrush flavors connect with the beautiful texture and minerality. While this is decadent and delicious wine at this stage, it will only get better with some time in the cellar. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2017 Woodward Canyon ‘Old Vines’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The ‘Old Vines’ Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from the Sagemoor Vineyard, as well as the Champoux Vineyard and Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard. The final blending is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller portions Malbec and Petit Verdot. Deeply perfumed aromatics greet you with gorgeous black tea, exotic spice, blackberry cobbler and shades of anise that all sing in unison in the glass. The palate is plush, showing off a silky mouthfeel. While obviously dense, the feeling of elegance and the focus to the wine is really enticing. Blackberry compote, Turkish coffee, creosote and suggestions of chocolate covered kirsch flavors all collide on the palate. Impressive at only two years of age, this stunning wine will have an exceedingly long life in the cellar. Drink 2020-2040- 95