2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, DuBrul Vineyard

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, DuBrul Vineyard

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Our 2018 Arenness Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon from DuBrul Vineyard is a lot like the 2018 vintage in general – outstanding!  Reminiscent of a fine Bordeaux, this wine checks all the boxes.  It delivers a complex depth of colors, flavors, and aromatics.  Firm tannins balance well with bright acidity to create the proper structure for aging, and the wine offers up the customary Arenness Cellars long finish. 


#11, The Seattle Times Top 20 Northwest Wines of 2021, The Seattle Times, Pacific NW Magazine, November 7, 2021.

Wine rating of "Outstanding!" from Great Northwest Wines, September 2021.

The editors write:

"Each vintage, Portland winemaker Robert Bailey provides a snapshot of a single vineyard with his Cabernet Sauvignon program from Washington state. In 2018, he got into prized DuBrul Vineyard in the Yakima Valley’s Rattlesnake Hills. This result of this Oct. 2 harvest of clone 8 Cab by the Shiels family’s renowned all-woman crew is a two-barrel effort of remarkable stuff by Bailey, whose winery work experiences include Mark Ryan, Owen Roe and Cakebread Cellars. One of the barrels during the 24 months of aging was new from Orion, while the other was twice-used Taransaud. Complex aromas of black plum, cassis and river rock are joined by pencil shavings and a savory earthiness of porcini mushroom. Inside, the delicious structure is layered up with more cassis and Rainier cherries as the tannins akin to a blend of bittersweet chocolate and espresso grounds are rich, expertly crafted and age-worthy."

91 PointsWine Enthusiast Magazine, September 2021.  Editor Sean P. Sullivan writes:

"Coming from one of the most highly regarded vineyards in the state, this Cab has aromas of black and green tea, followed by notes of fig and tar that need some time to open up.  There's a pleasing polish to the black cherry flavors, which show sophistication.  Coffee notes linger on the long finish.  It's equal parts promise and delivery."

Cellar Selects, Panel Pick --  Oregon Wine Press, March 2021.  The editors write:

"The enticing aromas of green culinary herb and tobacco leaf meld with oak, lilac, red currant and a tinge of rich leather. Dark fruit flavors of prune and black cherry mingle on a perfectly balanced smoky, savory palate concluding with a cocoa powder finish." 

PANEL TASTING NOTES - In the glass, a dense purple core of color transitions slowly to garnet and dark ruby near the edges.  Inviting aromas of dark fruit, red currant, black cherry, and forest mingle with subtle scents of earth, cedar, leather, pencil lead, black pepper, mint, vanilla, spice, and toasted oak.  On the palate, the wine is elegant and well-rounded with beautifully integrated fruit, tannin, and acid.  Savor the long, layered finish as oak spice, supple tannins, blue fruit, and dark chocolate linger. 

Although approachable now, with proper cellaring the wine will continue to develop complexity over the next 7-10 years. 


Growing Season - Yakima Valley cycled through cool and warm months throughout the growing season.  This resulted in a delayed bud break followed by bloom that was notably fast and even.  Following warm summer months, temperatures cooled substantially in September creating ideal conditions for ripening. Warm days allowed continued sugar accumulation while cool nights preserved acidity.  The long, drawn out harvest season provided a remarkable vintage where rich flavors and intense color are the norm.  Overall, the 2018 vintage is excellent.  (Summarized from notes produced by the Washington State Wine Commission.)               

Vineyard - This Cabernet Sauvignon comes from DuBrul Vineyard in Yakima Valley.  First planted in 1992 by Hugh and Kathy Shiels, it has become one of Washington's premier vineyards under their stewardship. The vineyard sits at an elevation of approximately 1,000 feet on rocky, southwest facing slopes near the town of Outlook, WA.

Composition - 96% Cabernet Sauvignon (Clone 8), 4% Petit Verdot

Winemaking - Our DuBrul cab was harvested on October 2nd and inoculated with BDX yeast on October 4th.  During a 14 day primary fermentation the must was punched down twice daily.  The must was then pressed and wine racked to tote.  After settling, wine was racked to barrel where malolactic fermentation occurred.  The wine aged for 24 months in French oak barrels and was racked three times prior to bottling in November 2020.  The wine was not fined or filtered.

Cooperage - Orion (new), Taransaud (twice used)

Numbers - Alcohol 14.5%, pH 3.65, TA 5.6 g/L, VA 0.66 g/L