Tonight's wine is an object lesson in keeping your eyes open for potential surprises lurking in unexpected places as that's exactly what happened with this wine! I've had this wine before, a production of the Northstar Winery in Walla Walla, but the only vintage I've tried before was the 2008 Stella Maris vintage back in July. So last week I was at the local wine shop in Elkhart looking for a bottle to bring over to a friend's house, and as I was exploring I happened to notice this lonely bottle sitting on a shelf, an earlier vintage that I've not seen before, and the price was a steal at only $16 so I picked it up and am sharing it with you tonight! The 2005 Stella Maris is a much different blend than the 2008 vintage, this one is mainly Merlot (77%) with some Cabernet Sauvignon (16%) and Syrah (7%).
The wine is a nice deep ruby color in the glass. The nose is is a nice combination of leather, cedar and rich black fruit, plum, black cherry and prune with a bit of anise over the top. The taste is very nice, with some dried herbs, mint and a hint of floral notes up front that transitions wonderfully to some rich ripe fruit midpalate, with an almost jammy characteristic beautifully offset with some dusty limestone. The tannins are somewhat mellow yet supportive of a lush, long dry finish that seems to last 30 seconds or more. A very pleasant wine to sip, but also quite food friendly as well.
Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a great example of a nice Columbia Valley Bordeaux style blend at a terrific value for $16, the only problem is I don't know where I can find more of it! Tonight I enjoyed it with some homemade vegetable pizza with whole wheat crust, zucchini, orange and red peppers, organic bella mushrooms, fresh tomato and a combination of mozzarella, parmesan, asiago and romano cheeses, and the ripe fruit and dry finish was the perfect combination for the rustic flavors of veggies, whole wheat crust and cheeses, so yummy! Cheers!