Established in 2005, Adams Bench is a small production winery, producing 1000 cases a year, of Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Blends, and a "bonus" Sangiovese. I had the honor of meeting winemaker-owner Tim Blue, a retired trial lawyer, but a humble and understated gentleman. His philosophy is to create focused wine sourced from select vineyards, unfiltered, with gentle supportive oaking, while avoiding other distractions. I was lost in his knowledge and passion, and admired his painstaking attention to detail in orchestrating what some truly remarkable Cabs and blends. Sourcing is primarily from: Red Willow Vineyard (Yakima Valley), Mays Discovery Vineyard (Horse Heaven Hills), Stillwater Creek Vineyard (Royal Slope).
2017 Vino 80% Merlot, 20% Cab. A muscular merlot afforded by the blend of cab, offering currant, plum, dark cherries along faint notes of stone. Finish is reminiscent of black tea, with drying tannins and notes of pepper. Score 93. 2017 Mays Discovery Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 100% Cab. Mays Discovery Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills AVA. Lighter of the two cabs I tried, with a bright nose, offering a focused and full palate of plums, clove and wet stone. Score 94. 2017 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 6 Cab, with 14% Merlot. Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Royal Slope AVA. A full bodied and focused cab, more fruit forward than the Mays discovery, with interesting notes of crushed stone and purple flowers. Excellent. Score 95. 2018 Reckoning Approximately 46% Cab, 42% Merlot, remaining Cab Franc & PV. Columbia Valley. A seamless blend, of dark fruit offering notes of chocolate, and coffee, swirling in balance, and structured with firm tannins. Score 94.
2018 "the V" Cabernet Sauvignon 80% Cab, 13% Merlot, 7% Cab Franc. Columbia Valley. Warm aromas of baking spice and light oak. Focused, and bold black fruit, crunchy currants. The mouthfeel is full and velvety, with a surge of warm spice, developing into heat of pink peppercorn. The finish is long with drying tannins and notes of vanilla. Score 93. 2018 "Ursula" Sangiovese Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley AVA. A fruit forward Sangio, showing off Washington's ability to create a more balanced and less acidic expression of the varietal. Notes are dense dark fruit, with velvety texture, and rounded tannins. Score 92.
I love the focused lineup Adams Bench offers. The wines are intentional, and honed in, utilizing high quality vineyards and careful attention to detail. I appreciated the gentle oaking to support, but not overwhelm the fruit. The 2017 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was the top contender, and I hope to try the Red Willow Cab some day. Tim demonstrates his mastery of blending with the 2018 Reckoning, a totally seamless package, which is the best price to quality ratio for their lineup, and an excellent introduction to Adams Bench.