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

PaulG On Wine Logo

Principally 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)