Saturday, March 17, 2018

2014 Cellier des Princes Reserve Chateaunneuf du Pape

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  This is always a challenging holiday for wine, what with all the green beer floating around, but I figured since this is a Catholic holiday I might as well go right to the top and try the wine of the pope on this St. Patty's Day!  Tonight I've opened a rather young bottle, the 2014 Cellier des Princes Reserve Chateaunneuf du Pape, a blend of Grenache (90%), Syrah (5%) and Mourvedre (5%) in this father of GSM blends.  So let's see how this one tastes!

The wine is a lighter ruby color in the glass with great clarity, just as you'd expect from a wine so heavy on Grenache.  The nose presents aromas of fresh strawberries, rhubarb, floral notes of violets and a bit of green grass.  The taste is mindblowingly different that what you'd expect from the nose, this is a rush of ripe red berries, currant, strawberries, raspberries and tart cherry that just envelop your palate before transitioning ever so gently to some mineral and green tea notes midpalate.  The tannins are soft, providing for a very smooth, dry finish with just a small reprise of tart cherry.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's drinking surprisingly well right now, but will no doubt improve with another few years in the cellar.  This wine would be ideal with many of those dishes that are so hard to pair with red wine, like chicken, turkey, milder fish and of course, corned beef and cabbage!  Given the holiday, this is my one day of the year to stink up the house with a crock pot full of corned beef, carrots, red potatoes and cabbage.  The fruit in this wine offers just the right amount of sweetness to counter the salty, fatty richness of the corned beef.  Cheers!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

2015 Forgeron Cellars Primitivo

Happy Wine Wednesday!  Not only is it Wine Wednesday, it's also March 14th, or "Pi Day" which means you can easily guess what's for dessert tonight. But before we get there, I've decided to open a bottle of my recent wine club shipment from Forgeron Cellars, the 2015 Primitivo, from the Stone Tree Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope AVA.  I am a big fan of Marie Eve's efforts in Primitivo especially, so let's see how this year's vintage stacks up!

The wine is a deep inky color in the glass and the nose presents some striking aromas of blackberry, plum and currant with earthy notes of leather and violets intermingled throughout.  The taste is a wonderfully expressive combination of black fruit up front that gently transitions to some hearty dark chocolate and spice notes midpalate.  The tannins are remarkably smooth and well structured, providing for a velvety, long and very dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as I think it's a fine expression of the varietal and the terroir of the Wahluke Slope.  This wine strikes me as incredibly versatile as I could easily enjoy it with anything from tacos to pizza to steaks and classic Italian dishes.  But tonight I am once again taking the road less traveled and enjoying this with some maple glazed steelhead, roasted garlic and pecan rice and steamed asparagus.  And of course, a slice of blueberry pie for dessert!  Cheers!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

2015 Doubleback Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Selection Sunday!  I'm excited as my Bucknell Bison are heading to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and we're moments away from learning who they will play.  So to celebrate and to continue my enjoyment of Washington Wine Month, I've decided to open a bottle of a new wine club selection that I received on Friday, the 2015 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon, a work from winemaker Josh McDaniels at Drew Bledsoe's signature label.  This wine has one of the highest amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon (98%) of any previous vintage, with the balance Malbec all from the McQueen, Bob Healy, Lefore and Pepper Bridge vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley.  I was in Walla Walla at harvest time (you can see my first day's post here) and I recall during that trip two big events, first that harvest was incredibly early, as the warm growing season resulted in harvest starting the third week of August and the fires all around that would result in days there the smoke was almost unbearable!  So now I'm finally beginning to taste some of the results of that vintage!

This wine is a classic Cabernet, with a deep, inky color at the center and bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is just a wonderfully earthy experience with layers of leather, oak and a bit of smoke over dried herbs and dusty limestone.  The taste is youthful, but remarkably complex, with ripe blackberry and cassis up front that transitions smoothly to some earthy mineral and spice notes midpalate.  The tannins are youthful but remarkably well structured, providing for a velvety mouthfeel and a long, voluptuous finish with a reprise of tart cherry on the end.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's drinking wonderfully now in it's youth, but has ample potential to improve with a few years in the cellar (lucky I bought a few extra!).  This wine practically begs to be paired with a big, honkin' steak, ideally a richly marbled prime tomahawk ribeye, but tonight I have to go with my second choice, a nice thick Angus New York strip grilled rare with grilled asparagus and a big baked potato with sour cream and chives.  Cheers!