Sunday, July 27, 2014

2008 Starmont Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This is the post that wasn't supposed to be, you see I was supposed to fly to Dallas tomorrow on a 5:45 am flight, which meant I was going to bed early and no wine with dinner tonight.  But lucky for all of you, my trip was cancelled and I get the chance to open up a nice bottle of wine, in this case the 2008 Starmont Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

This wine has a lovely deep ruby color in the glass, with nice clarity.  The nose is classic Napa Cabernet, with some nice dark fruit notes of cassis, black plum and a bit of raisin over a foundation of green grass, limestone and just a hint of anise.  The taste is well balanced, with some nice fruit at the outset, blueberries, black cherry and plum, that transition nicely to some earthy and mineral notes of cedar and dusty limestone midpalate.  The tannins are well structured providing a nice backdrop for the long, smooth and very dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a wonderful example of a Napa Valley Cabernet, though from a vintage that followed one of the strongest we've seen in a while.  Although this wine's been in my cellar for a few years, as I recall it wasn't terribly expensive, probably in the $20 range.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a classic Cabernet pairing, a rare grilled filet mignon with some garlic scapes, baked potato with butter and sour cream and some grilled golden beets.  The rich structure of this wine is perfect to stand up against a big steak and potatoes sort of meal.  Cheers!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

2010 L'Ecole No. 41 Apogee

Have you ever had one of those days that just seemed to totally get away from you?  Like today, I've been busy all day long running errands, going to the gym, doing chores around the house, and suddenly it's after 8 o'clock and I haven't even started cooking dinner much less opened a bottle of wine!  Well this has to stop now!  So I'm opening a bottle of 2010 L'Ecole No. 41 Apogee, a great blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Merlot (33%), Malbec (7%) and Cabernet Franc (4%) all from the Pepper Bridge Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley.  Of the two top blends from L'Ecole, Perigee and Apogee, this one is my second favorite, but we won't hold that against it!

The wine is a lovely deep ruby color in the glass.  The nose has some lovely aromas of blackberry, cherry and plum with some rustic notes of leather, cedar, dark chocolate and spice.  The taste is quite smooth, with some subdued fruit up front and nice earthy notes of dusty limestone and iron midpalate.  The tannins are very well integrated, giving this wine some fantastic structure and a smooth, long and supple finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 9, as it's a classic Bordeaux style blend for which Walla Walla is now well known.  Tonight, once I get off my lazy butt and start cooking, I plan to enjoy this wine with some cedar planked wild Alaskan sockeye served on a bed of baby greens with some aged white balsamic, some grilled golden beets and some linguine tossed with garlic and olive oil.  The earth and spice of this wine will be such a great foil to the richness of the salmon, I can't wait to eat!  Salut!

Friday, July 25, 2014

2007 Gordon Brothers Columbia Valley Merlot

Happy Friday!  And of course to start the weekend, we need some great food and some wine, check and check!  I stopped at my local wine store on the way home from work and found two interesting Washington wines that I hadn't seen before, one of which I will enjoy with the Hereford ribeye I picked up at my second stop to the butcher before picking up my dry cleaning (it's really not easy being me!).  So the wine I'll enjoy tonight is the 2007 Gordon Brothers Columbia Valley Merlot, a wine from a producer based in the tri-cities, specifically in Pasco, Washington.

The wine is a deep, inky purple, almost black at the center of the glass, typical of a classic Merlot (and don't give me any of your sideways comments!).  The nose is very attractive, with notes of black fruit overlaid with some nice cedar, leather and a hint of cocoa powder.  The taste is classic Merlot, but with a bit of a twist, as it's somewhat lighter at the outset, with flavors of blueberry and raspberry, but then it really transforms midpalate with some dark chocolate and dusty limestone.  The tannins are very nicely integrated leading to a velvety and extremely dry finish that seems to last a minute or more.  A very nice Merlot!

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a lovely drinking Merlot with great quality at a super value price as I found this one locally for just $21!  Tonight I am enjoying this with the aforementioned steak, grilled rare and topped with bleu cheese crumbles, a baked potato with butter and sour cream and some haricots vert almondine.  This is a truly ideal wine for pairing with a big grilled steak as it certainly has the chops to stand up to the chops!  Cheers!