We discovered Prohibition Cellars unexpectedly, at the end of a day tasting elsewhere. Despite being tired, and overwhelmed by rain, we were blown away immediately. Although they opened just recently in 2020, I have been hearing their name being dropped here and there, and it's clear why.
Prohibition Cellars winemaker Sandor Faludi was born and raised in Hungary, where he was assimilated and immersed in wine culture at a young age, as it is common. He has worked in multiple wineries in Hungary and also in Napa Valley.
His Hungarian roots play a large role in influencing the style and flavor of the wine he produces. We were told he uses Hungarian barrels in part of the aging process, which provide a distinctly different profile to the wine compared to American and French Oak.
Of particular interest, they put out a 2020 Cabernoir, an unusual 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir, which we absolutely loved at our first tasting. We subsequently returned to their Jan 2023 release party, which is the focus of this review.
Tasting Notes are from Prohibition Cellars.
Washington Merlot is so distinctive from any other Merlot. It is big, warm, bold, and fruity combined with powerful but soft, round tannins. Aged for 18 months in new Hungarian and used French oak barrels. It's time to bring back the reputation of the variety, and I am sure Washington Merlot will do it!
Les Collines. 93 points.
2020 Hatchet Cabernet Sauvignon
Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Royal Slope, Columbia Valley. This clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon is a special low yield clone, producing less than a ton on half acre. The berries are few, small, and loose on the cluster, always ensuring that this wine is complex and concentrated. Deep ruby in color with aromas of chocolate- covered red and dark berries, elegant on the palate with a hint of clay earthiness. This wine is monolithic and cellar worthy.
Solid, clone 6 from Stillwater Creek, Royal Slope. 94 points.
2020 Cabernet Franc
Les Collines Vineyard, Walla Walla. Cabernet Franc is one of my favorite varietals. I make it after my own taste, highlighting its fruitier notes over the peppery ones. Unique, but still undeniably Cab Franc. This wine is very aromatic and chocolatey on the nose, followed by notes of dark cherry and herbs. Aged in both French and Hungarian oak. This wine is smooth and romantic, one that you will want to savor and enjoy.
Les Collines Vineyard, Walla Walla. It was notably subdued in the vegetal / green pepper notes that can be off-putting to some. 95 points.
2020 The Untouchables Red Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon 47%, Merlot 24%, Cabernet Franc 15%, Malbec 10%, Syrah 4%. Columbia Valley. This Bordeaux-style blend is carefully balanced, leading with notes of blackberries and cassis, and leaving you with a full mouthfeel and a lusciously rich depth of flavor. It has a long finish and nicely integrated tannins. This blend can be enjoyed by itself, but also alongside a delicious meal.
Nice Washington "bordeaux-style" blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec, and Syrah. This was equally tasty. 94 points.
The release party was excellently paired with delicious bites!
We have only recently discovered Prohibition Cellars, and so far we have been impressed. The careful attention to the vines and harvesting is clear in their wines, and the subtle oak from Hungarian barrels allows the grapes to shine through clearly and honestly. I can't wait to see their next release!