Sunday, April 22, 2018

2014 Anvil Walla Walla Merlot

Good Sunday afternoon!  I know it's been a remarkably long time since I've posted, but I am going to make up for it over the next couple weeks.  You see, I took a bit of a vacation to go out to Walla Walla for the 2018 Reveal auction and had a wonderful few days enjoying the wine, food and wonderful friends in my favorite wine-making area, so I promise at least three posts on that trip, with plenty of photos!  But for tonight, I've just decided to relax with a nice bottle of 2014 Anvil Merlot, a 100% Merlot from the Minnick Hills Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley AVA.  I tasted this in the Forgeron tasting room last weekend, so I couldn't wait to get home where my wine club shipment was waiting for me.  So let's see how this one tastes.

The wine is a lovely deep indigo with bright garnet along the edges, just as you might expect from a nice Merlot.  The nose is a generous helping of blackberry and black cherry overlaid with hints of mint and earthy mineral notes.  The taste is a rush of ripe black fruit that envelopes your palate, washing it with rich notes of cassis, that gradually reveals layers of wonderful minerality and black pepper spice.  This finish is velvety smooth and very dry, with well integrated tannins that make this wine a joy to sip.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it has to rank near the top of my favorite examples of Merlot.  This wine would pair well with a broad array of dishes, from steaks and chops, to prime rib, to your favorite pasta dish, but tonight of course I'm enjoying this with steak.  Tonight it's a rare prime filet mignon with grilled leeks and brussels sprouts and a big baked potato.  Cheers!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

2015 L'Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Valley Merlot Cabernet Franc

Happy Wine Wednesday!  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle that I've been anticipating for a while, and since I just got my spring wine club shipment from L'Ecole I can try it!  The 2015 L'Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Vallet Merlot Cabernet Franc, a blend of Merlot (50%) and Cabernet Franc (50%) from the Seven Hills and Ferguson Vineyards.  I've heard such good things about the right bank style blend, so let's give it a try!

The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass, just as you'd expect from these two varietals.  The nose is a symphony of earthy mineral notes, dusty basalt, leather and graphite (hat tip to the Ferguson Vineyard) over subdued black fruit notes with a bit of black pepper spice at the end.  The taste is just divine, particularly if you're a Merlot fan like I am, a rush of black cherry and currant give way to some black pepper spice and course mineral notes midpalate.  The finish is young, but about as solid as you could expect, with lush tannins supporting the long, smooth and velvety dry finish that lingers on.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, as it's a fabulous expression of the varietals and the terroir of these two powerhouse vineyards.  This was highly anticipated, but it's still an incredible value for just $36 retail!  This wine would pair well with a variety of hearty dishes, from roast beef to braised short ribs to wild salmon, but it practically begs to be paired with a steak.  So tonight I am enjoying this wine with a rare grilled filet mignon, baked potato with all the fixin's and some grilled leeks and Brussels sprouts.  Cheers!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

2007 Domaine du Grand Tinel Chateauneuf du Pape

Happy Cellar Saturday!  It's the first Saturday of a new month, that magical day when I raid the cellar and open a bottle that's at least 10 years from harvest.  Tonight I've decided to open a wine of the Pope, the 2007 Domaine du Grand Tinel Chateauneuf du Pape, a classic blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre that traces its roots back to when the Pope was a French resident!  So let's see how this wine has matured!

The wine is a deep ruby color, a tribute to the Syrah in the blend.  The nose is a classic combination of green grass, floral notes and rich black fruit notes.  The taste is wonderfully fruit forward with a rush of plum, black cherry and currant that washes over the palate before transitioning to some course mineral notes midpalate.  The tannins are quite reserved, providing for a wonderful, long, smooth and dry finish, with a reprise of blackberry at the end.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's just a lovely example of a nice, approachable Chateauneuf du Pape.  This wine would pair nicely with southern Mediterranean dishes, to fresh shellfish, to classic pasta dishes, but tonight I am enjoying this wine with panko crusted chicken, creamy pesto penne and haricots verts.  Cheers!