Cadaretta is a label of Middleton Family Wines. The family started in the lumber business in Washington state in 1898, gradually expanding to table and wine grapes and finally wine. While the winery produces a sauvignon blanc, the focus is on intense and concentrated red wines, either cabernet sauvignon-based or syrah. These are not subtle, nuanced or elegant wines, but neither are they overbearing, unreasonably stiff with oak and tannin, too high in alcohol or cloyingly ripe. At this point, when five of these six flagship wines are three years old and one is four years old, the emphasis may be on structure, but fine details of fruit and spice and other aspects are perfectly evident in varying degrees, affording the consumer a great deal of pleasure as well as anticipation. In other words, the necessary balance is present. Such limited-production wines are intended for the cellar, probably benefiting from two or three years aging or more and drinking well through 2028 to, in at least one case, 2030.

These wines were samples for review.
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One of two syrah-based wines in this group, the Cadaretta Windthrow 2014, Columbia Valley, is a blend of 76 percent syrah, 15 percent mourvedre and 9 percent grenache, aged 22 months half in new Hungarian oak, 40 percent in new French and 10 percent in used French barrels. A dark ruby-mulberry hue, the wine offers notes of ripe blackberries, blueberries and red cherries infused with dusty graphite and leather, as well as classic hints of wet dog, a slightly green herbal quality and touches of dried thyme and rosemary, with a bit of the latter’s woodsy-resinous quality. It’s quite dry, dense and chewy on the palate, inky and tarry; a few minutes in the glass add intriguing details of violets and lavender, bittersweet chocolate, licorice and tobacco. 14.4 percent alcohol. Production was 259 cases. Now through 2022 to ’25. Excellent. About $50.
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Only two-tenths of a percent viognier keeps the Cadaretta Syrah 2014, Columbia Valley, from being 100 percent varietal. The wine aged 21 months in 60 percent new French oak, 36 percent already used French oak, and 4 percent new Hungarian oak barrels. The color is inky purple with a glowing violet rim; if a large-framed, robust, earthy and somewhat rustic syrah is what you’re after, look no further — this one delivers plenty of loam, moss, wet dog and underbrush elements, with ripe and fleshy, even rather meaty, blackberries and blueberries with a touch of boysenberry; the wine offers real substance without being overwhelming, kept lively by riotous acidity and dusty, shaggy tannins that cannot conceal a briery-brambly character. 14.4 percent alcohol. Production was 642 cases. Drink now through 2022 to ’25. Very Good+. About $35.
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If by some spell “purple” possessed a smell and taste, then I think that such a notion is distilled in the black-purple hued Cadaretta Southwind Red Blend 2014, Walla Walla Valley. The blend is 37 percent each malbed and petit verdot, with 26 percent cabernet sauvignon, aged 23 months in French oak, 60 percent new barrels. The wine is intense and concentrated (as all of these examples are) but offers a panoply of spiced and macerated effects with black and blue fruit scents and flavors, like a compote of black cherries and currants and blue plums permeated by iodine and iron, briers, brambles and lavender; it’s powered by lip-smacking acidity and bolstered by lithe, supple and slightly dusty-loamy tannins, a dry, rock-hewn but very ripe and delicious red wine that feels generous and abundant on the palate — like royalty, I suppose. 14.6 percent alcohol. Production was a meager 82 cases. Drink now through 2024 to ’28. Excellent. About $75.
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The blend in the Cadaretta Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Columbia Valley, is 80 percent cabernet sauvignon, 9 percent petit verdot, 6 merlot and 5 malbec; the grapes derive almost equally from the Walla Walla Valley and Red Mountain AVAs. The oak treatment is 22 months, primarily French oak barrels. Opaque black-ruby with a faint purple rim; this is all ink and graphite, iodine and iron, cedar, lead pencil and rosemary, with a touch of mint and balsam, these elements at the service of cassis, black raspberry and plum scents and flavors. Deep, velvety tannins and granitic minerality reign over a slightly roughened, sanded texture animated by bright acidity that plows a furrow; the finish is dense, chewy, laden with exotic spices, glittering minerals and, at the conclusion, a fillip of pomegranate and smoke. 14.8 percent alcohol. Production was 2,050 cases, by far the largest of these six limited edition wines. Drink through 2024 to ’26. Excellent. About $45.
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The Cadaretta Southwind Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Walla Walla Valley, is a blend of 90 percent cabernet sauvignon with 5 percent each malbec and petit verdot, aged 23 months in French oak, 60 percent new barrels. The color is opaque black-ruby-purple; the nose is a seamless tissue of lead pencil, iodine and graphite, lavender and violets, and very intense and concentrated notes of black currants, blueberries and plums; the whole dynamic package seethes in a welter of briers and brambles, underbrush and loam, with hints of dried porcini and woodsy herbs and flowers. Piercing minerality and dusty tannins lead to a finish packed with spice, fruitcake, dried berries and more graphite. A chiseled and muscular cabernet in every sense. 14.8 percent alcohol. Production was 46 cases. Drink from 2019 or ’20 through 2030 to ’35. Excellent. About $75.
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Also cabernet-based is the Cadaretta Springboard 2014, Columbia Valley, whose blend of 81 percent cabernet sauvignon, 10 percent malbec and 9 percent petit verdot aged in 60 percent new French oak barrels with the rest second- and third-fill. Again, the totally opaque black-purple hue shading, if that’s the word, to a magenta rim; again, the intensity and concentration of spiced and macerated black and blue fruit compote with hints of loam, graphite and cedar, sandalwood and tapenade, crushed violets and bittersweet chocolate; a few moments in the glass bring in notes of sage and dried rosemary. While a ripe and fleshy wine, it’s dense and weighty on the palate, freighted by stern, dusty granitic tannins and polished oak that you feel increasingly from mid-palate back through the austere finish. 13.9 percent alcohol. Production was 249 cases. Try from 2019 or ’20 through 2029 to ’32. Excellent. About $50.
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