05 Foundry Vineyards, Walla Walla Red Wine
I finally get to say it: This is the best red wine you're not drinking. I haven't felt this good about a table wine since Lot 1 of the 2002 Magnificent Wine Company House Wine (well before it became the jug juice you know today, which is still quite good). That 02 wasn't Charlie Smith's best bottling of the House Wine, but it was a beacon that signaled something new was coming onto the radar. I think when I get a chance to look back on the Foundry wines a few years from now, I'll remember this 2005 the same way. It's hands-down the best Washington cab blend I've had this year, and unless something great happens with my Owen Roe wines, I don't see that changing. For all its smoky, brambly blackberry fruit, all its bacon-chocolate essence, and its almost peaty, whisky-like finish, there's a prettiness to this wine that you'll only see in Walla. I don't even think about the cabernet and merlot varieties that make up this wine. To me, it's much more about a style, a sensibility clear to good Walla producers--and great ones like Foundry. A mission to mix heady fruit with a clean finish that reminds you more of what you're eating (preferably peppery prime rib) than what you're drinking. Which makes this wine a segue into your next bite, which is a segue into your next sip. And so on. And so on. For as long as humanly possible.