2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage Notes

A couple of good snow storms during the winter and a cool, wet spring meant there was plenty of water available for the vines once the weather warmed up in June. This led to vigorous canopies that growers had a hard time keeping up with. Dense canopies shade fruit early on and available water keeps them growing. It’s important to get sunshine on the fruit early to aid in the thickening of the berries skin – this is where flavor and tannins reside. Hot weather arrived in late June and continued through July, helping the canopies to shut down and allowed the vintage to catch up from the late start. Smoke from fires in British Columbia reduced sunlight intensity, keeping things cooler for the last three weeks of August. Days that were predicted to reach 100 degrees or more ended up 10 to 15 degrees cooler. Things thankfully cooled off further the last two weeks of September, stalling fruit development, which kept sugars and acids at reasonable levels. October was wetter than usual with very cold nights close to freezing. The cool temperatures pushed most of our Cabernet picks out to the second and third weeks of October. The wines of the 2017 vintage show great density and depth. They are a vintage until themselves that I find hard to draw any parallels to other vintages. The fruit is very dark and brooding backed by “sticky/dusty” tannins.

Blend Details

100% Cabernet Sauvignon


55% Red Mountain
45% Walla Walla Valley


55% Scooteney Flats
45% Seven Hills

Aging Profile

20 months in new (21%), single use (15%) and neutral (64%) French oak barrels

Harvest Dates

October 12 – October 24, 2017



Release Date

Fall, 2021


292 cases of 750mL bottles
60 1.5L bottles

View from the Cellar 94 points

The 2017 Pamplin Family Winery cabernet sauvignon is one hundred percent pure varietal and weighs in at the same octane level as the JRG this year, at 14.2 percent. The bouquet is pure and classy, offering up a nascently complex blend of sweet cassis, black cherries, tobacco leaf, dark soil tones, dried eucalyptus, a discreet framing of new oak and incipient notes of cigar smoke in the upper register. On the palate the wine is precise, full-bodied and beautifully refined in profile, with a very good core, fine soil signature and grip, ripe, buried tannins and lovely focus and balance on the long, youthfully complex finish. This is a proper young cabernet and will need plenty of bottle age to start to drink with generosity, but it will superb when it is ready to drink. Stylistically, it reminds me quite strongly of young Château Montelena cabernets from the decade of the 1980s. 2031-2065. (John Gilman)


Based in the Willamette Valley, this producer has always focused on a sophisticated expression of Cabernet Sauvignon, with the oak impression substantially pulled back. The aromas bring notes of cedar, herb and cherry.  Light, juicy flavors follow, fleshing out with some time open.  There’s a whole lot of structure behind it all.  (Sean Sullivan)