2013 K Vintners "The Creator" Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
I think the first time its all from Jack's Vineyard in Walla Walla, the 2013 The Creator (70/30 Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah) is still aging in 50% new French oak. It has lots of iodine, dried blood (these are classic Rocks aromatics), pepper, chocolate and peat moss that flow to a full-bodied, voluptuously textured, ripe Cabernet that has plenty of mid-palate depth and sweet tannin. While it's a big, rich, ripe wine, it never comes across as heavy or cumbersome. It should benefit from 2-3 years in the cellar and drink well over the following decade. As usual, this was a massive lineup by Washington's wild man, Charles Smith. Despite the larger-than-life persona, these wines are dead serious and are always some of the best I'm able to taste from the state. All of the Rhone varieties see 100% whole cluster, native fermentations and aging in mostly neutral French oak. At the top end, both the 2012 Royal City Syrah and 2012 Klein Syrah flirted with perfection, but the whole lineup is stacked with both quality and value. I think the 2012s are slightly superior to the '13s, but both of these vintages are strong here.
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up just under three-quarters of this wine with the balance Syrah. A blend of fruit from River Rock and Jack’s vineyards, it’s aromatically reserved, with notes of flowers, green herb, cherry and moist earth. The tart fruit flavors are silky and full in feel, bringing a lovely sense of presence to the mixture of fruit and savory flavors. The finish lingers.
(the Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are co-fermented): Healthy dark red. Musky red berry and plum aromas are complicated by mocha, truffle, anise, lemon thyme, tarragon and licorice. Smooth, densely packed wine with enticing aromatic lift and subtle herbal nuances. Finishes with broad, fine-grained tannins and excellent length. In the absence of Charles Smith, I sampled his extensive line-up of K Vintners wines in his airy new facility on the northern edge of Boeing Field in Seattle with Brennon Leighton, who makes wines under his own B. Leighton label and is co-winemaker with Smith on the Sixto wines. (Leighton works for Smith and is also a partner on several of their labels.) Leighton emphasized that all of Smith’s contracts for the K wines are by the acre, which is still the exception in Washington. Leighton noted that the 2013s are a bit coarser than the 2012s. Two thousand fourteen was an even warmer vintage, but Smith "made adjustments in the vineyards, leaving larger canopies and getting more shade on the fruit." This has long been a fascinating collection of wines encompassing a wide range of distinctive terroirs. (ST)