1994 DeLille Chaleur Estate

figured this was a good way to end the exploration into WA St wine undertaken last week. 1700+ M on my Harley and WA wines are still intriguing. this mix of the big 3 (Cab Sav, Merlot, Cab Fr) was acquired via the secondary market after being assured by the current cellarmaster @ DeLille that 1994 was a very age-worthy vintage.

fill was mid-neck with a perfect cork. color was darker that most 94 Napa Cabs i have enjoyed and EtOH was listed as 14.2%, considerably higher than most CA colleagues from 15 years ago.

nose was typical with darker fruits and some pencil/leather notes with maybe some cloves or spice? mouthfeel was excellent - both rich and silky - this was elegant wine now. taste revealed blue & black fruits with subdued tannins that were still perceptible. real balance was this wine’s hallmark. only complaint was a shortish finish but the wine was excellent accompaniment to Rib Steaks and grilled asparagus. glad i bought more then one bottle.

'Takes me back . . . I used to have this in the cellar but found it too oaky in its youth so I traded it away. Nice to hear it came together.
Best, Jim

Phillip - funny you should mention this as i am now going to a plan a 1994 blind night with some Napa cabs/meritage wines and one of these DeLille bottles. i am most curious to see how things pan out this fall.

Jim - when i mentioned a “typical” nose there was of course some oak but i felt like it was balanced out nicely now after 15 years. i did taste a few young, real oak “messes” while up in Walla Walla this past week.

If you’d like a '94 Laurel Glen for that night, just ask. I have several.
But make “that night” sometime after July 20, which is when I’ll be back in residence in Sonoma.

My impression is that there is more American oak in use in Washington than say Napa or Sonoma. And I say that only because my trips there and tastes from there have made me acutley aware of what that particular type of oak smells and tastes like.
Best, Jim

i think you are right Jim about American Oak up there. i visited Corliss and went thru their production facility last Friday spending time inquiring about their barreling program which includes a small amount of American Oak. they are about as high-end as it gets up there - place is a freakin’ palace!

this DeLille is 100% French Oak barrels though per the back label - 20 months.

Had a killer bottle from this lot on Friday evening. All you could want in any Bordeaux blend. Dark, brooding nose with bright taste and elegant mouthfeel. A layered finish without any bad notes and no frank sweetness, real length too. Reminded me of good vintage Dominus.

Red wines of the 1994 vintage from the West Coast have always been great.