The knock on Washington State Cabernet, particularly the wines from the highly regarded Red Mountain appellation, is that the wines are too hard, lacking the plushness and generosity of the best wines of Napa. So when Ken and Robin Nydam launched Arlington Road, they immediately hired Matt Loso of Matthews Cellars. Loso is a brilliant young winemaker with a deep understanding of Washington's top vineyards--and a history of parlaying that knowledge into structured yet generous Cabernet.
Arlington Road's first release of Monolith, a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec, is beautifully structured with gorgeous raspberry, cassis-like aromas. Monolith is one of the rare Washington Bordeaux blends that is both delicious upon release and built to age.
The grape sources for Arlington Road include three of the most reputed vineyards in Eastern Washington: Klipsun and Hedges in the Red Mountain appellation, and the newly planted Stillwater Creek Vineyard. Loso selected not only the vineyards, but also the specific parcels within each vineyard--focusing on locales that offered the grapes more hangtime and phenolic ripeness.
Klipsun is a 120-acre vineyard, considered one of the finest in the country. But, within those 120 acres are blocks planted at varied elevations and expositions. The lower blocks tend to be warmer, providing a shorter growing season, offering wines with tremendous color and concentration, but typically hard tannins. For Arlington Road, Loso chose a site at the top of the vineyard, some 1800 feet above sea level. The higher elevation offers cooler evenings and mornings thus stretching out the growing season, yielding grapes with riper tannins and more elegant structure.
Stillwater Creek is one of Washington's most sought after fruit sources. Located 70 miles north of Klipsun, the 245-acre Stillwater Ranch is a rising star. The vineyard is planted on a unique subsoil, a combination of sandy loam mixed with fractured basalt. Planted entirely to southern exposure on an extremely steep grade, the Stillwater wine is quite rich, but light on its feet, providing a perfect blending complement to the super concentrated wine of Red Mountain.
The wine is full and powerful, and as such, belongs in a proper cellar for drinking from 3-8 years.
Suggested Food Pairing:
Try this bottle right now with a simple grilled steak to recognize its potential as a wine that could take a rightful place alongside Napa wines at 2 to 3 times the price.