B-21 Top Recommendation
Driving southeast on I-90 halfway between Seattle and Spokane in Washington State, the mainly desert vista opens up to a spectacular view of vertical cliffs overlooking the glimmering sparkle of the Columbia River below. Just southeast of the river crossing lies the up and coming vineyard region called the Wahluke Slope, where the grapes for the exceptional 2018 Luke Cabernet Sauvignon, selected as one of the Top 100 Wines of 2020 by the Wine Enthusiast, are grown. While Luke's owner Thomas Vogele has been at the forefront of bringing the AVA to the attention of wine critics, he is not alone in his affection for Wahluke, with esteemed Washington producers including Milbrandt, Januik and K Vintners bottling wines from there as well.
At 8 miles wide and 30 miles long, the Wahluke Slope AVA in Columbia Valley is slightly larger than Napa Valley, with most vineyards situated at high elevations between 800 and 1,100 feet and boasting the hottest climate among the state's 14 wine regions. Wahluke (a Native American word for "watering place") is distinguished by south facing slopes which soak up the daytime sun, paired with cooling, night-time breezes flowing off central Washington's Saddle Mountains. The resulting wine is a true classic expression of full-bodied, smokey and savory-spiced cabernet, with balanced acidity and refined structure. And compared with wines from more high-profile appellations in Columbia Valley like Red Mountain and Walla Walla, the 2018 Luke Cab delivers big at a fraction of the cost.
Considered one of Washington's top red wine vintages of the last 20 years, Luke's consulting winemaker Peter Devison unabashedly asserts he "fell in love" with the flavor profile of this 2018, while Wine Spectator's Tim Fish noted the Luke's Cab's "bang for the buck." The 2018 Luke Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and layered with exceptional freshness, offering a combination of outstanding quality and value.