For a number of years now, my mantra has been a proper and worthy domestic Cabernet Sauvignon UNDER $50 a bottle is extinct, until I just sampled the 2017 Luke. Should be $25 - NOW $22.95 --- 6+/$20.95
Wine Spectator 92 points Wine Enthusiast 91 points James Suckling 91 points Wine Advocate 90 points
"Luke" gets its name from the Wahluke Slope AVA, the Native American word for “watering place,” which lies in south-central Washington. The area is geographically isolated, bordered by the Columbia River, Saddle Mountains, and Hanford Reach National Monument and is situated within the Columbia River AVA.
The 2017 Luke Wahluke Slope Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec sourced from five vineyards within the AVA; Weinbau, Ravenscliff, Stonetree, Rosebud, Clifton Hill. Aged in a combination of French and American oak. Alcohol 14.1%. pH 3.71, TA 5.7 g/l
Some might want to make fun of the name and label, but trust me when I tell you this is a serious expression of the Cabernet varietal. And for those of you who just decide to dismiss because it is not from northern California, then shame on you! And I never want to hear you complain about over priced Napa Valley and Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon again!
A dark ruby cloak, and heady, very complex aromas lead the way; everything from bbq grill spices, to clove and graphite atop dark cherries and cassis. But I think it's the structure that impresses me the most. A polished exterior on a strong chassis, laden with ripe hanging fruits, balanced and bolstered by firm, comforting tannins that encourage drinking now, but assure a promising future. Reckon, this wine is going to get more expensive as it becomes better known. Get on the ground floor, and circle the wagons now, before you find yourself reminiscing about how low the price used to be. - ES - 10/14
"Shows presence and polish, with expressive blackberry, smoked spice and dusty cedar notes that take on structure toward fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2025. 9,557 cases made. $25." 92 points, Wine Spectator (Dec 31, 2019) — TF
"This is a new offering from the winery. With this blend of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, the aromas intrigue, with notes of graphite, cherry, raspberry, flower and spice. The palate brings a sense of sophistication and intensity. Firm tannins back it up. It's a lot of wine for the money. 14.3% alcohol - $25". - 91 points, Wine Enthusiast (Mar 01, 2020)
"A soft, fruity red with currant, berry, chocolate and hazelnut aromas and flavors. Medium to full body. Polished, velvety tannins. 96% cabernet sauvignon, 3% petit verdot and 1% malbec. Drink or hold." - 91 points, James Suckling.com (June 1, 2020)
"A well-made wine that offers aromas of dusty red plum, blackberry and cassis, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon opens with a concentrated fruit core and touches of oak spices on the nose. Full-bodied, the palate is clean and correct with a well-structured mid-palate that offers firm tannins that are still tight in youth. The wine shows excellent value for the price, lingering long and delivering succulent black fruit flavors with a dusty essence on the finish. Nearly 10,000 cases produced. I’m impressed. Drink 2020 - 2026. $25". - 90 points, Wine Advocate (May 21, 2020) AM
MORE ABOUT THE WAHLUKE SLOPE AVA - https://www.washingtonwine.org/ As one of the warmest regions in the state, the Wahluke Slope is known primarily for red grape varieties, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Wahluke Slope wines tend to be ripe, bold, complex, and full-bodied with pure varietal fruit flavors. Cabernets are notable for intense black cherry and cassis aromas and flavors. The major distinguishing feature of the Wahluke Slope is its uniformity in aspect, soil type, and climate. The entire appellation lies on a broad, south-facing slope with a constant, gentle grade of less than 8%. This, along with the proximity to the Columbia River, helps minimize the risk of frost, which can affect other areas of the state. The entire 81,000-acre appellation sits on a large alluvial fan, making the soils notably uniform over a large area. The topsoil is deep, wind-blown sand with a depth, on average, of more than 5 feet (150cm). This provides both ample drainage for vinifera vines and greater uniformity in plant vigor and ripening than seen in other areas of Washington. Elevations vary between 425 feet by the Columbia River to 1,480 feet above sea level, though most vineyards lie below 1,000 feet. Precipitation averages less than 6 inches (15cm) annually. Irrigation is therefore required to grow vinifera grapes. Winds in the area lead to smaller leaf size and smaller grape clusters compared to other regions, concentrating the resulting wines. While most vineyards on the Wahluke Slope have been planted in the last 15 years, vineyards in this area have already created wines with high accolades. Of note, Wine Spectator's 2009 "Wine of the Year", the 2005 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Reserve was sourced from vineyards in the Wahluke Slope AVA.