New Year’s Eve is always a time to break out some special wines. This year was truly a treat with an assortment of exceptional wines from Washington, California, and around the world.

My favorite part of any tasting is hearing what different people get on the wine and what they think of it. Everyone’s palate is so unique. For me, the 2003 Betz Pere de Famille and 2003 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve stole the show, but the others were close behind. One of the things that gave these wines a leg up was a couple more years in the bottle.

I have included below my notes on each of the wines we sampled, including those from outside Washington, with the exception of the 2000 Chateau La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape where I decided to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Happy New Year to all and thanks to everyone who came over for a wonderful start to the new year.







Betz Pere de Famille 2003

An absolutely gorgeous nose with earth, black pepper, and rich dark cherry. The taste is surprisingly subtle and restrained in more of an Old World style. A magnificent wine that is a true tribute to the Bordeaux style. 77% Cabernet; 13% Merlot; 8% Malbec; 3% Petit Verdot. 850 cases produced.



Owen Roe Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2006

When first opened, the nose is extremely young with a lot of green notes. A bit of light anise shows through after vigorous swirling. This greenness came off after decanting. The taste is lush and opulent with a beautiful mouthfeel. Give six to twelve months in the bottle. 80% Cabernet; 14% Merlot; 6% Cab Franc. Seven Hills and Saint Isidore vineyards.



Cayuse Armada Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2003

Dominated by Kalamata olives and brine on the nose and taste. Very restrained on the fruit with a truly elegant style. A reasonably short finish is all that holds this wine back. Still needs two to three years of bottle age to be at its best. 192 cases produced.


Non-Washington Wines


Pride Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Light sweet oak aromas on a fairly subtle nose. A light herbal component comes out on the taste. A fairly light-bodied wine for a Cabernet. 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot. 14.8% alcohol. 5,846 cases produced.



Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvedre 2005

A big, funky nose that is loaded with black and blue fruit in a classic Penfolds style. The taste doesn’t quite live up to the nose with a bit too much fruit and a lot of pucker. Still, an excellent wine for the money. Recommended.



Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley 2003

A jammy, exciting nose packed with prune, tobacco leaf, and dried fruit. A meaty, round taste with coffee grounds laced throughout and plush tannins. An extended finish tops out this exceptional effort. 100% Cabernet. 3,870 cases produced.