2019 Valo "Conner Lee Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $38)

SKU #1682179 Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark *Favorite Wineries of 2022* With winemaker Matías Kúsulas at the helm of Valo Cellars the wines are gaining traction and notoriety in the Washington wine landscape. Possessing multiple master's degrees in enology, Kúsulas has been on the rise in Washington for years. While a newcomer to the Robert Parker Wine Advocate database this year, Valo Cellars will be on next year's roster to taste through current and soon-to-be-released wines. These wines are thoughtful, smartly made and have a uniqueness and sincerity of expression with a sense of place that is rewarding to the drinker. I'm keeping my eye on Valo Cellars. (AM) Inner quote mark (12/2022)

K&L Notes

Valo's wines are sourced from mature vine blocks at the famed Conner Lee Vineyard in Columbia Valley's newly minted Royal Slope AVA. As one of the founding vineyards in the region, initially devised by iconic vigneron Walter Clore, the vines here date back to 1980. They grow in fine sandy loam soils deposited as glacial moraines and by the Missoula Floods. Sitting high on the slope, Conner Lee is a cool and windy site producing concentrated wines with exceptional longevity. Valo winemaker / partner Matías Kúsulas also happens to be the viticulturalist for Lawrence Vineyards who own Connor Lee Vineyard...so it is safe to say he can he can cherry pick his very favorite blocks for his own passion project. The pricing we are offering on these wines is really bitter sweet. Matías and his business partner Michael Ruhland, launched Valo in March of 2019...litterally days before COVID lockdowns took effect. With their brand new tasting room shutdown and their mailing list not yet complied, these were very hard times for a fledgling winery. In an effort to move some inventory that accumulated we negotiated INCREDIBLE pricing that truly belies the incredible quality that these wines deliver.

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Product Reviews:

By: Alex Leonardini | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/19/2023 | Send Email
The 2020 Valo Conner Lee Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is an absolutely screaming deal coming out of Washington State. Cassis, black plum, blackberry, and black currant flavors are immediately inviting while pretty floral tones flitter gracefully through both nose and palate. Then there's the wonderful complexity stemming from a core of tobacco, chocolate, cedar, vanilla, and graphite. Seriously, don't buy just one of these because you'll run out before you've finished considering how so much depth and complexity was contained within this sub-$20 bottle of wine.

By: Carlo Delgado | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/19/2023 | Send Email
My appreciation of Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington has been growing lately, and it's because of wines like these. Pretty nose of boysenberry, black plums, blackberry, sweet tobacco, dark chocolate, and a touch of dried sassafras. Soft and lush on the palate, and a great balance between the dried herb, spice, and oak flavors. This is a complex Cabernet with finesse, and a value at this price.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/19/2023 | Send Email
This is a wonderfully pedigreed and pure expression of old vine Cabernet. Coming from 40-year old vines at the top of the Royal Slope AVA, this wine is powerful and immensely flavorful, but its intensity is coiled and focused. This is not a big over-the-top bombastic wine, rather it's one of elegant, precision and restrained power. It's about balance, and poise over obvious weight and breadth...and I love it! The nose is almost floral in a the way that Nebbiolo can have rose petal tones. There's lilac mixed with crushed cassis, elderberry, hints of unsmoked cigar, freshly split cedar. On the palate it has fruit and power, but remains almost ethereal in its textural nuance. The purity is phenomenal, elegant, filigreed details dance on the palate with precision and grace. Great length on the finish with perfect integration of all the elements of the wine singing in harmony. Even though it's not an aggressively tannic or extracted wine, I get the feeling this will age beautifully and it's complexity will only grow over time. The Valo wines are just ludicrously good at these deeply discounted prices. I bought some to enjoy now, whenever I need a bottle that over delivers in a big way...but I hope to lay a few down and see how they show 10 years from now...if I can keep my hands off them! Please don't miss these wines!
Top Value! Drink from 2023 to 2045

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/19/2023 | Send Email
I have to admit that Cabernet is not my go to drink of choice, I eschew most attempts. Not that I don't like the varietal it's that I don't like to have the winemaker's fingers in my glass. This Cabernet surprised me to a level I had to double take, ok double taste. The nose was pure, unadulterated and classic Cabernet Sauvignon, cassis, leather and hints of tobacco. On the palate the wine showed energy, buoyancy, balance and while it still has a luxurious feel to it one character doesn't outweigh the other. The palate flavors show more cassis fruit, but still stays varietally true, lots of complexity and seems that it will grow as well. I really liked this wine and then I looked at the price....you're kidding right? Wow this is a steal!

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