2012 Seven Hills "Pentad" Walla Walla Valley Bordeaux Blend (Previously $75)

SKU #1207334 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 One of the riper, more hedonistically styled releases, the inky colored 2012 Pentad (67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot and the rest Malbec and Carmenere) has tons of ripe currants, plums, crushed rock and chocolaty aromas and flavors to go with a full-bodied, rich, concentrated feel on the palate. It pushes on the ripeness scale, yet has a great mid-palate and building, high-quality tannin, all suggesting it will have a graceful evolution. Give it a year or three and drink over the following decade. (JD)  (6/2015)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 Two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon with the balance Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Carménère, this brooding wine brings aromas of moist soil, herb, black tea, eucalyptus, fig and spice. It's full in feel, tart and tightly wound with bright acids and chewy tannins-a wine intended for the long haul. Enjoy after 2020.  (11/2015)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Broad and supple, this red is graceful on balance, delivering rich cherry, floral and meaty flavors that come together seamlessly on the generous finish, lingering well. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Carmenère. Drink now through 2022. 310 cases made.  (12/2015)

90 points Vinous

 Dark red-ruby. Lovely violet and rose petal lift from the additional of Malbec and Petit Verdot. Juicy, tightly wound red and black fruit flavors show firm-edged acidity and an obvious oakiness (McClellan uses "an Haut-Brion oak blend, 50% new"). Ultimately a very pretty, focused wine with a firm tannic structure to support aging. This is first vintage of Pentad since 2009 of Pentad, as McClellan makes this wine only when multiple Bordeaux varieties excel; the wine is a lot and a barrel selection and goes back into barrels after it has been blended. Similarly, notes McClellan, the Cabernet Reserve is not made in every vintage, "just the powerful ones. But the Pentad is in a different style." The Seven Hills Vineyard, which winemaker Casey McClelland originally helped to plant in 1982 with his father, still provides 70% of the fruit for Seven Hills winery's high-end wines (and 20% overall), with most of the rest coming from top sites in Walla Walla and Red Mountain. Unlike some of his neighbors, McClellan has long focused on Bordeaux varieties and although he made some Syrah through vintage 2009, today that variety is not in his portfolio. According to McClellan, Seven Hills offers outstanding light without excess heat, and its loamy silt soils with basalt far below are deep and well-drained but not fertile are particularly well-suited for Merlot, which has good acid retention. (ST)  (6/2015)

K&L Notes

Unusual for a winery in the United States, Seven Hills only releases Pentad in years that they consider exceptional--the 2012 is the first in three years! Tthe winery's vintage note: The color of the 2012 Pentad is very dark ruby. The aroma reveals a spectrum of fruit and savory components from black cherry and blackberry to leather, cocoa bean, marzipan, rose petal, and roasted coffee. On the palate the wine is remarkably supple, with well integrated tannins, dark cassis, plum, and cherry fruit accented with fig, mocha, mineral, and herbs. The wine is surprisingly accessible already, but capable of ageing well for 10-15 years from vintage."

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.