So tonight I had a chance to talk on the phone with Jaime, one of the fine folks that work at L'Ecole No. 41, one of my all time favorite wineries in Walla Walla, and as the conversation went, she suggested that after the gym, I pick up a steak and then open up a bottle of the new wine club selection I received last week, the 2010 Candy Mountain Vineyard Red Wine, so I figured why not? Now for background, Candy Mountain Vineyard is right next to the Red Mountain AVA, which is the source of many fine, big, bold wines in the Columbia Valley, and although Candy Mountain is not part of the AVA, the soil is very similar as well as the climate, making their wines very similar. In fact, Jaime shared that L'Ecole purchases a lot of the grapes produced at the Candy Mountain Vineyard to blend in their Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. So let's give it a try!
Although this wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (53%) and Merlot (47%), the wine has the color of a big bold Cabernet in the glass. The nose is very pleasant, with notes of leather, rich dark fruit and some dusty limestone. The taste is immediately full of fruit, rich blackberries, cherries and cassis that effortlessly transitions to musty earth, a hint of green grass and chocolate midpalate. The tannins are very pronounced, yet well structured, leading to a long, smooth, very dry finish. Although the finish is a bit tight at this young age, I suspect this wine will age quite well and become more complex with a few years of maturity.
Overall I would rate this one a solid 8.5, as it's a wine that exudes quality that belies the $39 price tag (don't get me wrong, it's not an everyday drinking wine on my budget, but in my view the value far exceeds the price!). Tonight I am enjoying it with a nice rare Angus ribeye, a baked potato and some steamed broccoli, a perfect match for this bold red wine. And with only 345 cases produced, it looks like I need to order a few more bottles before they are sold out! Cheers!