Bledsoe owns Doubleback, a winery in his childhood hometown of Walla Walla, Washington. Doubleback makes one wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, and their inaugural vintage, 2007, was recently awarded a 95 points by Wine Spectator. If you’re lucky enough to try this bottle–and it will take luck, since Doubleback only bottled 600 cases, and of those, just 360 hand-numbered bottles will make their way to all of Texas–you’ll find an amazing Cab blended with a little Merlot and Petite Verdot, all sourced from well-known vineyards in or near Walla Walla.
I tasted it last week and fell in love: rich, plump, cherry fruit with bright acid, earthy minerality, and toasty notes of vanilla and spice from aging 22 months in new French oak barrels. Very food friendly. It reminded me of a bull in a china shop: powerful yet gracefully restrained, with a long finish that seems to stare you down.
It’s weird to hear this towering former NFL star throw out phrases like “fruit- and terroir-driven” and “viticultural practices.” He says them as if he’s calling plays. Instead, Bledsoe has become cheerleader for Walla Walla winemakers.
He says he chose the area for his winery not only because he has sentimental ties to the area, but because Walla Walla is “producing wines that are on par with all the great regions of the world.” Bledsoe credits the Walla Walla winemakers’ commitment to sustainable farming and biodynamic production as two additional elements that attracted him to the area.
‘This is not a passing interest for me,” Bledsoe told me. “All the effort that I put into football, I’m now channeling into making great wine.”
Doubleback is a bit pricey. A quick Google search brought me here, where they sell the bottle for $80. Doubleback’s local distributor, Gerard Rohlich, anticipates a few bottles should make their way to upscale restaurants around town, but you may have to ask for it by name.
Why the name Doubleback? You’ll have to let Bledsoe explain it–on video: