Doubleback

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For former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe, owning a winery has been a longtime aspiration that would allow him to combine his passion for fine wine and the love of the Walla Walla Valley.

For former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe, his field of dreams always extended way beyond the stadium turf—all the way back to the Walla Walla Valley, his hometown. During his 14 year career, Drew had his eyes set on his post-game plan and upon his retirement in 2007, returned home to plant his original estate vineyard, McQueen, on the southern end of the Walla Walla Valley AVA. The following year, in 2008, Drew and his wife, Maura, launched Doubleback as an estate-focused winery with the goal to produce world-class cabernet sauvignon—the winery’s name a reference to his return back home. To make his dream a reality, Drew hired Josh McDaniels away from Figgins Family Wine Estates where he trained for over a decade. Josh, now President & Director of Winemaking, is also a Walla Walla native, was named a “Game Changer of Washington Wine” by Wine Enthusiast and has most recently earned Doubleback’s highest rating with 97 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Since the very first release—the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon—Doubleback has received numerous accolades including a spot on the Wine Spectator Top 100 List.

The vision for Doubleback remains a premium, estate driven, wine experience, completely focused on quality. To further assist that vision, Drew and Josh have concentrated on developing individually distinct vineyard sites within the Walla Walla Valley AVA that now include four select vineyards—McQueen, Bob Healy, Flying B, and LeFore—and each bring a unique characteristic to the final blend. In early 2017, Doubleback also broke ground on a new winery facility that saw its inaugural vintage in 2018 on the Flying B estate. To Drew, Maura, Josh, and the team, wine is not just about drinking enjoyment but also a compelling, layered experience. It is something to be shared and enjoyed; it’s about romance, friendship, nature, good conversation and fellowship. They are committed to using only the most sustainable, superlative viticulture, and winemaking practices to ensure that Doubleback is one of the best experiences you will have.

Josh McDaniels was born and raised in Walla Walla and at an early age fell in love with the wine industry. It was at Leonetti Cellar that he first toiled and witnessed the hard work and beauty that goes into creating a premium wine. Josh cultivated his interest in the industry by volunteering at local Walla Walla wineries and making wine of his own even as a young teenager. Winemaking captivated him and prompted his formal education from the Institute of Enology and Viticulture in Walla Walla while, at the same time, continuing to work under his mentor, Chris Figgins of Leonetti. To further his education, Josh interned in Argentina at Paul Hobbs’ Vina Cobos Winery, and took online and extension courses through Washington State University and U.C. Davis.

Upon his return from Argentina, Josh was hired as the Assistant Winemaker for FIGGINS where he continued with Leonetti, TOIL Oregon and Doubleback production. Josh managed wine production for Figgins Family Wine Estates before moving into the role of Doubleback’s Resident Winemaker after almost a decade. In 2015, Josh became the Winemaker & General Manger for Doubleback and eventually its sister project, Bledsoe Family Winery. He has been named a “Game Changer of Washington Wine” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and is eagerly working alongside Drew and Maura Bledsoe to take Doubleback to new heights. 

Doubleback Wine line-up
2015
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Production
Cases Produced: 924 - 750 ml bottles
Blend Profile
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
McQueen
Barrel / Aging Program
Aged in 95% new French oak, 5% neutral French oak for 22 months.
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years

The essence of winemaking for us is the connection of our wines to the Walla Walla Valley and our individual vineyard sites. As our estate vineyards have developed and matured, we noticed these young parcels of land beginning to steal the show in the cellar through our rigorous blind tastings.

Inevitably, we could not deny the quality that we were seeing and the love and affinity we had established for these properties. Therefore, we set out on a path to highlight this through our inaugural Estate Reserve. The goal of this wine was simply and honestly to make the most classic, finest production red wine solely from our estate properties that best showcases the terroir of these distinctive sites.

Medium ruby, this single vineyard wine is highlighted by red fruit, vanilla, and a very pretty red rose petal accent. McQueen vineyard stole the show in 2015 and tasting it is nostalgic of being on that hillside. Large, dense tannins, great acidity and a fantastic underlying sweetness shine through. Decant this wine if enjoying early to unwind the power and unveil the true finesse. I have not been more excited about a project than this wine in a long time!

Josh McDaniels — WINEMAKER

2016
Production
Cases Produced: 220
Blend Profile
78% Cabernet Sauvignon
11% Petit Verdot
11% Malbec
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
McQueen
LeFore
Bob Healy
Barrel / Aging Program
22 months in new and second fill French oak barrels.
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years
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Only the second vintage of this wine as we set out in 2015 with the singular and simple goal of crafting the best possible red wine, exclusively from our estate vineyards. We truly and honestly only want to express and showcase the uniqueness of these individual sites. Dark ruby in color, this wine shows darker fruit aromatically—blackberry cobbler, menthol, vanilla, cigar box, and boysenberry. Firm tannins and nice acidity—a complete expression of the McQueen vineyard. This comes around with great lush tannin from our LeFore vineyard in the Rocks District that makes up almost half of the blend. The wine slowly evolves on the palate and builds with incredible length, rich texture, and lasting finish. Drink now through 2046.

Josh McDaniels — PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF WINEMAKING

2007
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Production
Cases Produced: 600
Blend Profile
75.5% Cabernet Sauvignon
13.2% Merlot
11.3% Petit Verdot
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
Seven Hills
Pepper Bridge
Figgins Estate
LeFore
Barrel / Aging Program
Aged in 60% new French oak and 40% neutral French oak barrels for 22 months.
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years
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Our 2007 Cabernet shows a deep, elegant ruby color in the glass. The nose exhibits attractive black cherry, plum and smoky meat elements. Damp earth, cedar and lilacs all come through with a subtle hint of cracked black pepper. Flavors of blueberry syrup and strawberries are present. The mouth-feel is extremely soft on the palette and the wine is very balanced with great acidity and subtle tannins. The finish is long and silky leaving you wanting another sip. We are very excited about this wine and can’t wait to share it with our friends.

Drew Bledsoe — PROPRIETOR

The 2007 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon has beautiful color saturation to the rim. The nose opens with whiffs of cinnamon, clove, and other baking spices. There are elements of cherry blossoms, floral components, ripe red and black fruit puree, with subtle notes of earthy sweet forest floor and hints of toasty oak. The palate is quite mouth-coating, almost silk like. The very fine-grained soft tannins and broad, lush mouth-feel are supported by excellent acidity. The finish is very long and persistent. I’m incredibly proud of Doubleback’s inaugural vintage; I want to thank Drew and Maura for supporting me in sourcing the finest vineyards and entrusting me to craft a wine reflective of their vision.

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

We could not have asked for a better vintage to mark the inaugural harvest of Doubleback. The weather was perfect throughout the season. August was much cooler than typical which resulted in an even ripening across varietals and vineyards, finishing with a very condensed harvest period. We were fortunate to garner the finest raw material for this exceptional vintage and to watch it marry so beautifully has been rewarding. Each vineyard contributed something unique to the overall blend: The Seven Hills Cabernet creates intense floral and red fruit components; the Pepper Bridge Cabernet brings structural backbone and black fruits, the addition of the Figgins Estate Merlot fleshes out the middle and a small amount of Lloyds Petit Verdot lifted the finish and further added mouth-feel complexity. This wine is everything that can be expected from a fine Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

2008
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Production
Cases Produced: 900
Blend Profile
86% Cabernet Sauvignon
7% Merlot
7% Petit Verdot
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
Seven Hills
Pepper Bridge
Figgins Estate
LeFore
Barrel / Aging Program
Aged in 60% new French oak and 40% neutral French oak barrels for 22 months.
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years
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The 2008 Doubleback is a deep, elegant ruby color in the glass. The beautiful nose displays cherries, wet stones, dried meats and a hint of cinnamon. This vintage is remarkably well balanced on the palate. The approach is soft with very nice acidity. Cherries, strawberries, pomegranates, are all present, mixed with hints of mocha chocolate and cloves. The finish and mouth feel are lush and velvety making you long for your next sip. We are incredibly proud of the wine and how it is drinking but patience will pay off in a big way. I recommend opening your bottle of Doubleback in advance or performing the process of double decanting.

Drew Bledsoe — PROPRIETOR

2008 is one of my favorite vintages and the ’08 Doubleback exhibits every reason why. In the glass the wine has an inky dark color to the rim. The nose is gorgeous, leading with floral aromas, cassis and raspberry puree over chocolate, fading to coffee and a hint of pine resin in the background. On the palate, the wine delivers a fantastic purity of fruit across a plush mouth feel which is cut by incredible natural acidity. This year we added Cabernet Sauvignon from the LeFore vineyard grown in “gravels” which builds complexity and adds a savory minerality to the finish of the wine. Slightly more concentrated than the ’07 Doubleback, I believe this wine will age beautifully for 20+ years but is drinking fantastic right now.

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

Vintage 2008 turned out to be a nail-biter, but will be remembered for a long time as having produced wines of exceptional quality. The season unfolded very slowly, with bud break happening ten to fourteen days later than normal. This “lateness” persisted throughout the season, with all of our major indicator milestones of approaching harvest – vine growth, bloom, verasion, etc. – happening that same two weeks late. Late harvests, where the grapes just reach maturity, are always some of our finest. The threat can be from early frost, or early fall rain. We escaped both, resulting in wines, with floral aromatics and high tones – and the color is some of the most impressive I’ve seen. The backbone of the wine reminds me much of the 2005 vintage here in Walla Walla, with hefty but fine-grained tannins. This is a truly exciting vintage for Doubleback harvest #2!

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

 

2009
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Production
Cases Produced: 1,600
Blend Profile
76% Cabernet Sauvignon
14% Merlot
10% Petit Verdot
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
Loess
Seven Hills
LeFore
Pepper Bridge
Barrel / Aging Program
Aged in 50% new French oak and 50% neutral French oak barrels for 20 months.
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years
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As with our previous vintages, the 2009 shows a beautiful deep ruby color in the glass. The nose evolves dramatically after a couple of hours. Initially there are notes of dried fruits, strawberries and a hint of saddle leather. After about 90 minutes the aromas evolve and begin to show some high toned floral notes and red fruits. The juice is round and soft on the attack with nicely integrated tannins even in its youth. The ripe red fruit is balanced nicely by crisp acidity. With the deft touch of a true master, Chris Figgins captured the essence of this fantastic vintage in the 2009 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon. Please open at least a couple of hours before enjoying to allow this wine to show its true character.

Drew Bledsoe — PROPRIETOR

Deep, beautiful ruby color. The nose opens to a bouquet of intense floral aromatics, red and black fruits, cassis, cinnamon, and chocolate, all of which reflect the generous warmth of the 2009 growing season. On the palate, the wine is soft, rich, driven with ripe fruit and incredibly silky tannins. There is a lovely thread of acidity that runs through this wine that elevates all the other generous components, which will bring a lot of pleasure the next 10+ years!

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

The 2009 vintage began by skipping spring! We waited impatiently as winter refused to give up its grip in March and by the end of April, I decided we were at least two weeks “behind” normal. Early May however behaved like June, and the vines that had been anxious in the starting gate exploded with new growth. Bloom weather was perfect in June, and the rest of the growing season proceeded with the predictability of sunshine by day and cool nights we count on in the Walla Walla Valley. We began harvesting in mid-September, and on October 10th, the season ended the same way it began – abruptly! A record low temperature frosted all the leaves off the vines, about 3 to 4 weeks early for our first frost. The fruit was unaffected, so we rushed to pick the last remaining lots. This vintage is another spectacular one, with voluptuous tannin and dense color in beautifully fruit driven wines.

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

2010
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Production
Cases Produced: 2,000
Blend Profile
87% Cabernet Sauvignon
13% Merlot
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
McQueen
Loess
Seven Hills
LeFore
Pepper Bridge
Barrel / Aging Program
Aged in 67% new French oak and 33% neutral French oak barrels for 20 months.
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years
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The 2010 vintage may prove to be a benchmark for years to come. The long, late growing season produced deeper, darker fruit than in past vintages. In the glass, the classic ruby color we love is joined by a hint of purple. The nose exhibits the high-toned floral notes we have made a hallmark while also showing plum, maraschino cherry, vanilla and Asian spice notes. On the palate the wine exhibits the balance we continue to strive for; nicely integrated tannins, crisp acidity and beautiful Walla Walla Valley fruit. The bright red fruit is married nicely this year with some darker fruit flavors. The finish lasts and lasts. This is a wine that will reward with some bottle age but, if you must dive in, please decant for a couple of hours to allow it to really shine.

Drew Bledsoe — PROPRIETOR

Out of the bottle, the 2010 vintage is dark as port. The nose is full of pure, blue and black fruit, hints of dust, pine needles and sweet forest floor. I tasted the bottle opened for these notes over 7 days and the fruit never left. Cassis, baking spices, notes of cedar and caramel dominated until the end. To witness a wine evolve this seamlessly while open for over a week on my counter speaks volumes to how it will evolve in your cellar. Lay this wine down for decades if you wish or enjoy it now! The acid and tannins are in perfect balance, highlighting the elegance which Drew has tasked me with extracting from the fruit.

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

2010 might be summed up as long, late, and light! The season began with an early bud break due to a teaser of an early spring. That false spring quickly hid itself giving us one of the coolest periods from bud break to bloom we can remember. Weather was cool and damp during bloom, which caused poor set of berries resulting in very light yields and gave us clusters that were very loose and open. The summer was quite normal with no heat spikes, so we never quite “caught up”. Therefore, harvest was three weeks behind normal, but thankfully we were graced with a perfect fall containing only a few scattered showers, which helped to ripen our low yields. Berries from 2010 were very small and intense in color and flavor. The wines are simply stupendous. Incredible fruit, concentration, acid… it’s all there. I only wish there were more!

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

2011
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Production
Cases Produced: 3,000
Blend Profile
90% Cabernet Sauvignon
5% Merlot
4% Petit Verdot
1% Malbec
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
McQueen
Bob Healy
Seven Hills
LeFore
Waliser
Barrel / Aging Program
Aged in 71% new French oak and 29% neutral French oak barrels for 20 months.
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years
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I’m learning to have a love/hate relationship with these cooler vintages. 2011 was stressful! In late September we weren’t sure if we were even going to have a vintage, but thankfully a few weeks of ideal temperatures in October saved the day. Our vineyards on the southern end of the Walla Walla Valley achieved optimum ripeness. As with most things in life, it takes some adversity to create something special. Our 2011 vintage is a prime example. I tasted over the course of a week and the ’11 continued to open up each day hitting its stride about day four. The wine shows the impeccable balance we look to achieve. Tannins are present but soft, bright red fruit is balanced by crisp acidity, and the long finish leaves you wanting another glass. This is a vintage we will be proud of for years to come (and not just because it’s 11).

Drew Bledsoe — PROPRIETOR

The coolest vintage since ’93 and a true vintage to separate the men from the boys in the vineyard. I know, #11…1993…please resist the temptation to extrapolate on the irony until I tell you this. Drew’s decision to focus his fruit sources on the Southern Walla Walla Valley, due to its warmer climate and more feminine fruit profile, paid off enormously. In a year when “generous” and “voluptuous” will apply to very few wines produced in the greater Columbia Valley, the ’11 Doubleback will be a rare exception. The color is saturated and gorgeous. The nose explodes with crushed and sautéed bramble fruit, crème brulee, and a dusting of allspice. The palate is long and sexy, with silk smooth tannin and a lovely background note of toasty French oak. The vibrant acid backbone cuts through its richness ending with a generously long finish. I believe it will be among the finest produced in 2011.

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

While my hair somehow didn’t turn grey, it should have considering the 2011 harvest had more nicknames than a rapper – amongst them: “The Summer That Wasn’t”, “Junuary”, and, thankfully, “The Miracle Vintage”. This vintage started late and we trailed normal ripeness indicators by 3-4 weeks all year long. The last two weeks of August and all of September brought warmer than normal temperatures that helped catch us up some. Still, we didn’t receive our first grape until October 4th, with the tease of some Bob Healy Merlot to warm up the crew. Then, due to an early October cool streak, we didn’t receive another block until October 15th, when we picked our first cabernet. The rest of the cabernet came in a flurry over the next 16 days. Thankfully, the end of October could not have been more perfect and dry, and with the threat of frost approaching, we completed harvest on the 1st of November with the McQueen Cabernet.

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

2012
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Production
Cases Produced: 3,000
Blend Profile
91% Cabernet Sauvignon
6% Malbec
2% Petit Verdot
1% Merlot
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
McQueen
Bob Healy
Seven Hills
LeFore
Waliser
Barrel / Aging Program
Aged in 83% new French oak and 17% second filled French oak for 20 months
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years
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I love it when a plan comes together! The 2012 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon is approximately 60% estate-grown. We had high hopes for McQueen Vineyard when we planted way back in 2007. It is now showing the structure and balance we hoped for and makes up almost 40% of the final blend. Our beloved Bob Healy Vineyard is living up to its illustrious name as well. The fruit from “The Bob” rounds out the mid-palate of the blend and balances magically with the tannic structure and acidity from McQueen. The balance and integrated tannins in the 2012 make it quite enjoyable in its youth. It will however reward those who are patient enough to cellar the wine.

Drew Bledsoe — PROPRIETOR

2012 was simply a classic Washington vintage. The weather was perfect from bud break to harvest and was a welcome change from the abnormal seasons of ’09, ’10, and ’11. The 2012 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon is my favorite effort to date. I feel the wine is even more complete than my previous favorite, the 2008. The wine has intensely dark color. The nose displays an interesting combination of black and blue fruit sauté, crème cassis, and mixed floral notes paired with crushed fir needles, market spice tea, and cedar shavings. From the first sip the wine is smooth, broad in its palate impression, rich and sweet. There is an almost unexplainable deliciousness factor that I find irresistible. The tannins are impeccably integrated, long, and soft with just enough heft to give the wine a solid backbone and fantastic aging potential. This wine is approachable enough to enjoy immediately, but will reward 5-20 years of aging for the patient.

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

The 2012 growing season in Walla Walla was more in line with a “classic” Walla Walla season, beginning with normal bud break and bloom times, punctuated by normal shots of spring rain. The summer was just glorious, staying fairly consistent with daytime temperatures in the upper 80’s and low 90’s paired with dependably cool nights. We recorded thirteen straight weeks without a single drop of rain! Harvest began on September 21st with McQueen Merlot, and ended on Oct 19th with the last of the Petit Verdot.  This vintage reminded me of 2008 as the wines are dark, fruit saturated, and aromatic.

Chris Figgins ~ CONSULTING WINEMAKER

2013
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Production
Cases Produced: 3,000
Blend Profile
90% Cabernet Sauvignon
7% Petit Verdot
3% Malbec
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
McQueen
Bob Healy
LeFore
Seven Hills
Pepper Bridge
Waliser
Barrel / Aging Program
Aged in 75% new French oak and 25% second fill French oak barrels for 22 months
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years
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The 2013 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon is everything we strive to achieve with our world-class fruit from the Walla Walla Valley. The aromatics jump out of the glass after being open for a few hours. The mouthfeel is big and round with nicely integrated tannins. The 2013 is soft on the approach, but has excellent complexity. We always make balance our #1 goal and the 2013 achieves this with both precision and power. The wine has a delicious finish that lasts for over a minute. I know this wine will reward with some years in the cellar, but it’s going to be hard to stay away from a wine that drinks this well in its youth!

Drew Bledsoe — PROPRIETOR

The 2013 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon displays aromatics of dried fig, saddle leather, shaved truffle and red fruit.  McQueen Vineyard adds a flirtatious, almost pomegranate-like aroma, to this dense and powerful wine. Generous notes of perfume and berry reduction sauce are entrancing.  An enormously lavish mouthfeel of tannin richness and density without being overbearing – perfectly balanced.  A larger than typical Doubleback, but still approachable now. Will age with ease due to the combined acidity from the base of McQueen Cabernet and lush tannin of Bob Healy and LeFore Vineyards. I am tremendously proud to have made this wine alongside of my longtime mentor and then Consulting Winemaker Chris Figgins.

Josh McDaniels — WINEMAKER

2013 was a fabulous vintage in Walla Walla. The season started with early bud break, and a warm wet spring. Fortunately, we had no rain at bloom time and set a beautiful crop. We thought harvest was going to be ultra-condensed due to the consistently warm summer, but the last two weeks of September and the first week of October brought a cool front with an unusual amount of moisture. We began by bringing in Bob Healy Cabernet Sauvignon on September 16th and proceeded picking other ripe lots throughout the month as they slowly matured. The cooler weather extended hang-time, softened tannins, and gave us time to give each lot the absolute attention it deserves. We finished harvesting on October 16th with McQueen Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s fascinating to me that these two sites, only 1.6 miles apart, have such unique microclimates that they ripened a month apart! The vintage overall reminds me of 2008 and will absolutely be a winner and crowd-pleaser.

2014
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Production
Cases Produced: 2,492
Blend Profile
89% Cabernet Sauvignon
8% Petit Verdot
2% Malbec
1% Merlot
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
McQueen
Bob Healy
Lefore
Barrel / Aging Program
Aged in 73% new French oak and 27% neutral French oak barrels for 22 months.
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years
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The vision at Doubleback has remained constant from the beginning — to make world-class wines that are the truest possible expression of the Walla Walla Valley, my hometown. Our estate vineyards — McQueen, Bob Healy, and now Flying B — produce fruit that is complex and rich, yet balanced and elegant. These traits are clearly shown in our 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, and we couldn’t be more excited. Our outstanding team, led by Winemaker Josh McDaniels, brings our wines to life by guiding every step from the vineyard to the bottle with precision and passion. We sincerely hope that Doubleback wines bring you and your loved ones great joy for years to come.

Drew Bledsoe — PROPRIETOR

I absolutely love the 2014 Doubleback. A beautifully dark and saturated color that leads in to aromatics of raspberry, blackberry cobbler and cocoa powder. Digging deeper reveals sagebrush, menthol and rosemary that evolves and opens with grace over time — a completely entrancing wine. A large mouthfeel of dark fruit, dark chocolate and enticing length with perfect acidity for balance. Incredibly rich and lush, this wine is complex, ridiculously layered, and will age for years to come. Being almost entirely from McQueen Vineyard, the 2014 is a great testament to the strength of this site. Fractured basalt driven soils, wind that thickens the skins and develops tannin, and a higher elevation that retains the acidity and allows for more hang time — I couldn’t be more proud of this wine.

Josh McDaniels — WINEMAKER

2014 was a gloriously generous vintage in numerous ways. The spring opened with bud break two weeks earlier than normal. Bloom weather was superb and resulted in perfect fruit set across the valley. The summer was a warm one with 12 days topping 100°F. We began the vintage with our first pick of Loess Syrah on September 13th and finished with our final pick of Pepper Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon on October 16th. The earliest picks were marked with big tannin due to the warm year which required careful vinification to bring out the best characteristics. As the mid to latter blocks were harvested, tannins became broad and soft due to their longer hang time. All of the wines without exception have incredibly deep color, and beautiful fruit aromatics and flavors.

2015
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Production
Cases Produced: 2,577
Blend Profile
98% Cabernet Sauvignon
2% Malbec
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
McQueen
Bob Healy
Lefore
Pepper Bridge
Barrel / Aging Program
Aged in 85% new French oak and 15% neutral French oak barrels for 22 months.
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years
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OUR VISION – The vision at Doubleback has remained constant from the beginning – to make world-class wines that are the truest possible expression of our estate vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley, my hometown. These estates – McQueen, Bob Healy, Lefore, and soon Flying B – are all becoming recognized as some of the best vineyards in the world and each have their own distinct characteristics which allow winemaker Josh McDaniels and his team to make wines that are complex and rich yet still maintain the balance and elegance we love.

This past vintage was important at Doubleback. Josh McDaniels’ inaugural effort as our winemaker was awarded our highest rating ever and this new vintage is proving to be another step-up in quality. Power, depth, complexity, balance, and elegance are all in perfect harmony in the 2015 Doubleback. I know you will enjoy sharing this outstanding wine with family and friends for years to come. We thank you all for your belief in us as we continually strive to make some of the very best wines in the world.

Drew Bledsoe — PROPRIETOR

2015 was an incredible growing year – especially for Cabernet Sauvignon, the focus of Doubleback. Balancing out the heat of the vintage, our later ripening vineyards – McQueen, Lefore, and Pepper Bridge – really shined bright and they represent the highest percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon we have ever had in a Doubleback blend. Medium to deep ruby in color, this wine is expressive immediately with blackberry cobbler, cassis, and wild herbs. On the palate the wine has broad, mouth coating tannins, cocoa powder, minerality, and a fresh, balancing streak of acidity. Though expressive and enjoyable now, the warmth and strength of the vintage will age fabulously for years to come. Drink at cellar temperature.

Josh McDaniels — WINEMAKER

2015 continued on the gradual warming trend of 2012, 2013, and 2014 by topping the charts as the warmest vintage on record. We have been extremely fortunate to have such great, consistent vintages in the Walla Walla Valley. 2015 started right off the bat with an early growing degree day total of almost three times the 2014 March amount which led to an early bud break around the very beginning of April. Heading into bloom time we experienced a record setting 14 day stretch of over 100 degree weather, intensifying our cluster size and weight. The remainder of the growing season continued on a hot and dry trend of about two to three weeks ahead of normal. We began picking for Healy Rosé on August 24th which was the first time we have ever picked in August. Harvest was near perfect weather and ended with McQueen Petit Verdot on October 6th. Early lots showed great strength as we were pleasantly surprised with flavors without needing to be “overripe” as can be the case in warm years. Management of tannin extraction was a key to success as early lots of Cabernet were rather large, but the later blocks with extra hang time developed into very structurally pleasing wines. Overall, I am extremely excited for the quality in these wines.

2016
Production
Cases Produced: 2,744
Blend Profile
89% Cabernet Sauvignon
4% Petit Verdot
4% Malbec
3% Merlot
Walla Walla Valley Vineyard Sources
McQueen
Bob Healy
LeFore
Pepper Bridge
Figgins
Barrel / Aging Program
22 months in new and second fill French oak barrels and puncheons.
Appellation
Walla Walla Valley
Cellaring Recommendation
5 years from vintage year or up to 15-20 years
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OUR VISION — The 2016 growing season was excellent in the Walla Walla Valley. All of the wine that Josh McDaniels (along with assistant winemaker Joe Woolsey) made for us is truly outstanding. Blending trials were more difficult with the 2016 vintage because we were splitting hairs when it came to determining which wine made the cut for the Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon and the Estate Reserve. The resulting wines have power, depth and deep color while still maintaining the beautiful balance we have made our trademark style. These wines are approachable in their youth but will definitely reward with some cellar time if you can be patient.

The move into our new state-of-the-art production facility was as smooth as we could have hoped and I am very excited to see what the future holds. Josh and the team will take full advantage of the new winery and continue to strive for the very best expression of our estate vineyards. We hope you can all make the pilgrimage to Walla Walla and truly experience Doubleback.

On behalf of the Bledsoe family and our amazing Doubleback team we sincerely thank you all for your belief in us. We will continue to strive to make some of the world’s great Cabernet for you to enjoy with your family and friends.

Drew Bledsoe PROPRIETOR

Medium ruby in color, this wine is beautifully aromatic. Juicy red fruit—fresh cherries, strawberries, currant, and a subtle hint of tobacco, black licorice, and pencil shavings. On the palate, this wine may be the most true-to-form Doubleback we have made yet—pure unadulterated elegance, but richness and balance to back it up with an uber long finish. Sandalwood, red rose petal, fine grained tannins—approachable now but will age gracefully for the next two and a half decades. 2016 is proving to be an incredible year in Walla Walla. This will only get better with time, drink now through 2041.

Josh McDaniels — WINEMAKER

Diving in to our first round of blending trials, I was immediately reminded in what I had suspicions of early on in the life cycle of these wines. Whether it was tasting fermenters, press fractions, individual barrels, or reflecting on the growing season itself, I knew 2016 was a special year. We started off on record pace with bud break happening in early April and as the warm weather persisted we saw bloom coming at the end of May. This heat put us ahead of the record setting 2015 vintage and I began to feel a bit nervous about what would lie ahead. Time would have it though that the summer brought cooler, more classic weather and a fantastic beginning of harvest that started on September 13th with McQueen Merlot. Harvest maintained its great weather and we finished with Petit Verdot from McQueen on October 22nd.

Each year is a new adventure, and a continuation along the journey of farming, growing, and watching over wine in the Walla Walla Valley and this still proved true in 2016. I am constantly humbled by Mother Nature and God, and completely grateful for the trust and partnership with which I have experienced with Drew, Maura, our team, and of course, our incredible supporters here at Doubleback.

Thank you and salud!

 
Doubleback has four estate vineyards within the Walla Walla Valley with each one representing a unique soil, elevation, or micro-climate in the valley. These distinct differences help us naturally blend our wines to a higher level of quality and create a true experience of Walla Walla terroir.

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McQueen Vineyard above the vast
Walla Walla Valley

AVA
Walla Walla Valley
Acres
21 planted, 50 acres total
Elevation
1200-1440 feet
Soil
Wind-blown Glacial Loess over fractured basalt
Rainfall
8-12 inches per year
Trellising
VSP, head trained
Planted
Spring 2007
Varietals
Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah

Bio-diversity lane in full bloom at
Bob Healy Vineyard

AVA
Walla Walla Valley
Acres
9.7 planted, 28 acres total
Elevation
1170-1370 feet
Soil
Walla Walla Silt Loams
Rainfall
8-12 inches per year
Trellising
VSP
Planted
2007
Varietals
Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec

Groundbreaking at the Doubleback estate, January, 2017

AVA
Walla Walla Valley
Acres
9 planted, 48 acres total
Elevation
980-1015 feet
Soil
Walla Walla Silt Loam over Cobblestone
Rainfall
18 inches per year
Trellising
VSP, Goblet
Planted
Spring 2017
Varietals
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Viognier

“The most distinctive terrior in America.”
- Harvey Steinman of Wine Spectator recently describing the Rocks District

AVA
Walla Walla Valley
~ sub ava ~
Rocks District of Milton Freewater
Acres
20 planted, 28 acres total
Elevation
970 feet
Soil
Free water very cobbly loam
Rainfall
10 - 12 inches per year
Trellising
VSP
Planted
Late 1990’s
Varietals
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Viognier

Notable Mentions

  • Wine Spectator

    In the Red Zone: Drew Bledsoe Builds New Walla Walla Winery

    The former NFL star and Doubleback vintner told us his plans for the snazzy new 14,000-square-foot facility.

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    patriots.com

    Bledsoe raises money for wildfire victims

    Wildfires have been ravaging northern California for days, destroying everything in their wake. The destruction that has killed dozens, ruined homes and displaced hundreds has left many wondering how they can help. Among those looking for something -- anything -- to do to raise money was former Patriot Drew Bledsoe.

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    NFL.com

    NFL Life After Football: Drew Bledsoe

    Drew Bledsoe discusses life after football in this segment for the NFL Network.

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  • The Ringer

    Vintage Bledsoe

    Fifteen years ago, Drew Bledsoe’s injury altered the NFL. But don’t call him a modern-day Wally Pipp: Since retiring from football, the former quarterback has built a blissful wine-, snow-, and family-filled life. After living his dreams, he’s living the dream.

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    Great Northwest Wine

    A New Building for Doubleback

    Walla Walla’s Doubleback Making Its Own Identity

    After ten years of growth, Doubleback breaks ground on our new winery and vineyard this year with the hopes of moving in before harvest 2017. Read the full article on Great Northwest Wines.

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    Wine Enthusiast

    10 Best Wine Travel Destinations 2014

    The historic, tree-lined farming community of Walla Walla, until recently best known for its sweet onions, has quickly become the epicenter of Washington wine tourism. It’s an easy 50-minute flight from Seattle, or a relaxing four-hour drive through eastern Washington.

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  • Seattle Met

    100 Best Washington Wines 2011

    With more than 700 wineries in our state, the juice just keeps getting better. Here are the best of the best.

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    Condé Nast Traveler

    7 Celebrity Wines Worth Trying

    The one-time top-seeded NFL draft pick now owns a coffee roaster, coaches high school football, and runs Doubleback Winery, another Walla Walla, Washington winemaking success story. Doubleback’s 2007 debut cabernet sauvignon earned a 95 from Wine Spectator, and Wine Enthusiast and Seattle Times reviewer Paul Gregutt ranked it no. 17 among his top 100 Washington State wines.

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    Wine Enthusiast

    Washington’s Game-Changing Winemakers

    Age is no issue for these four bold Washington winemakers, who are altering the landscape of northwestern wine.

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  • Wine Spectator

    A Quarterback Finds His Target

    On a warm September afternoon, Drew Bledsoe stood in an acre of closely cropped grass. The ex-NFL star quarterback adjusted his sunglasses and surveyed the field, only he wasn't looking over a menacing defense but rows and rows of young grapevines.

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    Washington Wine Report

    An Encore Performance from Drew Bledsoe’s Doubleback

    Doubleback was unquestionably one of 2010’s most exciting new wineries. On the cusp of its second release, the winery shows every sign of establishing itself as one of Washington’s best.

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    ESPN

    Bledsoe goes deep into wine business

    Many professional athletes return to their hometowns once their playing days end to run a business or to pursue other opportunities. Few actually use the land on which their hometown rests as a conduit for their post-career life. Count Drew Bledsoe as one who does just that.

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  • Patriots

    Catching up with Drew Bledsoe

    Most football fans know Drew Bledsoe for what he achieved during his long career in the NFL. Since retiring seven years ago, though, he's spent much of his time in a different kind of field: a vineyard.

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    Wine Enthusiast

    Could Washington Redefine Cult Wine?

    Traditionally, cult wines are those that are rare, generate high scores and buzz—and are absurdly expensive. Why Washington's high-quality wines at fair prices are changing the concept.

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    Sunset Magazine

    Next in the West

    What made him do it? “My wife and I have a shared passion for wine after many trips to wine country. The business was a cool way to reconnect with my hometown of Walla Walla [Washington] .”

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  • Wine Novice

    Star keeps rising at Bledsoe’s Doubleback Winery

    Drew Bledsoe is taller (6-feet-5-inches) in person than the NFL version that filled TV screens for 14 pro seasons.That was my first of many impressions upon meeting Bledsoe in his Doubleback office in downtown Walla Walla, Wash. - See more at: http://blogs.lowellsun.com/winenovice/?p=2138#sthash.fkedPWXm.dpuf

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