2018 Pamplin Cabernet Sauvignon

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage Notes

2018 started out with a late bud break which can be beneficial in frost prone areas, delaying the emergence of tender young green shoots closer to Mother’s Day, the unofficial start of summer in the Columbia Valley. The conversations in the vineyard come June always revolve around “how late or early are we”? The character of the vintage is determined in July and August with the quality coming down to what happens in September and October, so I don’t fret too much about when bud break occurs. Perfect temperatures made up for the late bud break and caught everything up by the beginning of June. Bloom was very even and fast, which is ideal. This translates to a majority of the clusters ripening at the same time come veraison (the time when the berries transition from growth to ripening) and a good fruit set (crop level). This is generally a good thing as long as your crop level is thinned to appropriate levels pre- veraison. Heat didn’t arrive until July, which was perfect timing to help shut down vegetative growth. July was hot but not for extended periods. There seemed to be an on/off switch, which helped the vines recover. This trend continued throughout August and September. Temperatures through September and October were perfect, with a few days in the seventies come the third week in October! We had everything in by the second week of October. These moderate temperatures allowed a slow “braze” of the fruit. I think you could have made any style of Cabernet you wanted with this vintage since the ripening window was so wide. As usual, we made the Pamplin style.

Blend Details

95% Cabernet Sauvignon
5% Petit Verdot


78% Red Mountain
14% Walla Walla Valley
8% Rattlesnake Hills


78% Scooteney Flats
14% Seven Hills
8% Elephant Mountain

Aging Profile

20 months in new (11%), single use (24%) and neutral (65%) French oak barrels

Harvest Dates

October 1 – October 13, 2018



Release Date

Fall, 2022


207 cases of 750mL bottles
60 1.5L bottles

View from the Cellar 92+

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon “Columbia Valley” bottling from Pamplin Family Winery is made from a cépages of ninety-five percent Cabernet Sauvignon and five percent Petit Verdot. The wine comes in at 14.1 percent octane in this vintage and was raised in eleven percent new oak, with another twenty-four percent being “one wine” casks and the remainder neutral barrels. The wine offers up a deep and pure bouquet of black cherries, sweet cassis, cigar wrapper, a fine base of soil, violets and a discreet framing of cedary oak. On the palate, the wine is full- bodied, focused and sappy at the core, with good soil signature, tangy acids, ripe tannins and excellent focus and balance on the long and nascently complex finish. (John Gilman)


Paul G on WinePrincipally Red Mountain Cabernet, with a small addition of Petit Verdot, this firm, polished wine explodes with cassis, dark chocolate, tobacco and a streak of vanilla. It’s close to the winery’s J|R|G Red in substance and style, but more focused on a purer evocation of Red Mountain Cabernet. The tannins are full and fleshy, ripe and polished, with just a touch of grit. This outstanding red should be decanted for at least an hour before serving. Drink now and through the mid-2030s. 207 cases; 14.2% ; $50 (Columbia Valley) (Paul Gregutt / December 31, 2022 / www.paulgwine.com)


This is almost all varietal along with a dollop of Petit Verdot (5%), with fruit coming from Scooteney Flats (78%), Seven Hills (14%) and Elephant Mountain. Aged primarily in older French oak (11% new), aromas of soil, dark raspberry and black cherry lead to wound-up black fruit flavors.  It’s all about sophistication and finesse, but it ramps up in depth and intensity as it opens.  Give it additional time in bottle or decant.  14.2% alcohol. 207 cases produced. (Sean P. Sullivan)