The Donedei wines are inspired.
They have the mark of pampering. The 2002 Merlot has plenty of weight,
but the tannins have softened with the extra bottle time. It is mouth-coating
stuff with black fruit flavors and hints of dark chocolate.
Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied, with black cherry, plum and cassis
fruit and subtle hints of toasted oak and espresso beans. Both these
wines are drinking fabulously well, but can still take cellaring since
they are structured and crafted so skillfully.
"I make a Cab and a Merlot, and I don't plan on making anything else," Lakewold
said. "I want to make the best Cab and the best Merlot in the state,
and hopefully that will happen."
One of her earliest influences in winemaking was Doug McCrea of McCrea
Cellars, who crafts some of the finest Syrah in the Northwest not far from
Olympia in Rainier, Wash. Another whom Lakewold learned from is Bob Andrake
of Andrake Cellars in Olympia. His Cabernet Sauvignon ranks as one of the
most muscular and opulent in the state.
"I think how I run my winery is similar to McCrea's, but my winemaking
style is more like that of Andrake," Lakewold said. "He and I
work with free-run juice, and there are very few of us who do that."
Her first commercial release, a mere 110 cases
of Merlot, came in 1999. She introduced her Cabernet in 2000. Her Cab
and Merlot from the 2000 vintage received Wine Press Northwest's highest
rating, "Outstanding." In
their peer group of Northwest Merlots in Winter 2002, the 2000 received
an "Excellent" rating out of 123, tied for 38th.
In early 2006, the 2002 vintage was released, about 700 cases total.
"My goal is to stay under 1,000 cases," Lakewold said. "I'm
the only one who works at the winery. If I got any bigger, I'd have to
have somebody helping me, and I don't want that. I look at these barrels
as my children, and I know what's happening in each one."