Lots of ripe boysenberry, cranberry and sour cherry fruit to start, with a strong foundation of tar, espresso and bitter chocolate. This could pass for a Super Tuscan in a blind tasting. It unfolds slowly, with an interesting herbal/olive edge to it, and will reward additional cellaring.
This wine, though done in the understated style of winemaker David Lake, has an immensely appealing bouquet of spicy red fruits enhanced with cinnamon and toast. A firm, confident entry, that shows fruit that is ripe, not at all jammy, and focuses in on a clean core of pretty cherry. The back palate features a nice mix of cocoa, cinnamon and baking spices.
Red Willow is Columbia’s showplace, and the relationship between winemaker David Lake and winegrower Mike Sauer is symbiosis at its best. The Cab Franc is a tight, tannic, earthy wine, with layers of mineral digging deep into the wine. The fruit is hard and the acids firm; it seems to want more time to display its depth and elegance.
Just released in November of 2007, this is a slightly softer, slightly sweeter style of Red Willow. The herbal and green flavors remain, but the fruit has rounded out in the engaging mid-palate, with cranberry, cassis and wild cherry flavors. The wine adds some darker streaks as it runs into the finish—layers of smoke and earth— which suggest good cellar potential…
Red Willow was one of the first vineyards in the Northwest to grow Syrah. Subsequently, other parts of Washington have proven quite adept with the grape, but Red Willow retains its own unique personality. Reticent, textured, lightly herbal and hinting at smoke and tobacco, it’s a wine that will develop gently over time and surprise with its depth and wealth of…
From a Syrah veteran comes this meaty, smoky, blackberry-scented, dark-colored wine. Also has funky leathery notes. It’s fruity, and the tannins are soft, with high acidity, but it seems a little one-dimensional, especially for the price. Might gain complexity with bottle age.
The blend includes about 6 percent Cabernet Franc, and this is the current release. Bracing, and straightforward, with clean fruit, austere tannins and a bit of chalkiness on the finish. Crisply rendered, but lacking in flesh and a sense of terroir.