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Watermill Winery 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

From apples to wine grapes...

The orchards around Milton-Freewater produce some of the best apples in the world. Over the last several decades, the Brown family has developed a reputation for producing some of the highest-quality fruit in the region. And their Blue Mountain Cider Company is renowned for its hard ciders.

In 2001, the Browns decided to try their hand at growing wine grapes. With several estate vineyards on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla AVA and The Rocks District AVA, Leonard (“Uncle Leo”) Brown was committed to using sustainable farming practices to produce grapes deeply rooted in the terroir.

At first, the plan was to grow grapes and sell them. But after a few years, the winemakers at Chateau Ste. Michelle told them the grapes were so good they should launch their own winery. And Watermill was born.

Now, Andrew Brown is the second-generation winemaker (and cidermaker) leading the way. Whether it’s the classic Bordeaux blends or single-varietal wines like Mourvèdre and Chardonnay, Watermill’s wines are a showcase for the Milton-Freewater area.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Watermill Winery, Milton-Freewater, Oregon
2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

The Walla Walla Valley AVA is known for its big, bold Bordeaux varietals and this Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect example of why. As always with the Watermill wines, I had a hard time choosing between their excellent reds – their Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec were amazing too!

The secret in this bottle is that Andrew has blended in 1-2% of each of those varietals to help round out the 95% Cabernet Sauvignon in the bottle. All the grapes come from the Watermill estate vineyards on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley. This wine is aged in French oak for 16 months.

Rest assured, this isn’t a California Cab fruit bomb. There is a wonderful thread of minerality through this wine that balances out the dark fruit notes. You’ll get hints of toasted oak, marionberry and vanilla on the nose along with flavors of plum, black raspberry and graham crackers. With a robust tannin structure, this is one of those wines that is delicious today and will keep getting better for years to come.

A Cellar 503 selection in June 2021, Winemaking Through The Generations Walla Walla Valley | Cabernet Sauvignon