Sunday, March 30, 2014

2010 Seven Hills Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Well, Washington Wine Month is coming to an end, and despite that fact that I am starting to battle a cold, I felt it important to end this special month with a bang, so I've cracked open a bottle that I just received in my wine club shipment last week, the 2010 Seven Hills Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  Now unlike some wineries, Seven Hills doesn't produce a reserve wine every year, in fact the last one was the 2008 Red Mountain Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and I don't even recall the last one prior to that one (I just looked, and this is only the tenth reserve Cabernet from Seven Hills, this one sourced from the old vines at the Seven Hills Vineyard and the Fire Ridge Vineyard).  So it's definitely a special sort of wine.

The wine is a deep, inky purple in the glass with bright ruby along the edges.  The nose tells me immediately I'm in for a treat, with aromas of rich leather, blueberries, plum and spice notes.  The taste is intense, with a burst of ripe black fruit, plum, blackberries and black currant that gracefully transitions to some dark chocolate and licorice notes midpalate.  The finish is just outstanding, as the structure of the tannins are so well ingrained with the fruit that you end up with a powerful finish that lasts seemingly forever, or at least until you take another sip, which you can't help but oblige!

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 9, it truly is an outstanding effort, but it's priced accordingly at $75, not including any wine club discounts.  This is a wine I would have absolutely no problems bringing to my bosses house for dinner, and he drinks some spectacular wines!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with the simplest of immigrant dishes Polish galumpkis, or stuffed cabbage rolls, which I stuffed with some ground beef, ground sausage and rice.  This wine would also be perfect for a rare grilled porterhouse with all the fixin's (yes, I said "fixin's"!) or a variety of earthy, spicy dishes.  Cheers!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2011 Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah

Alas, Washington Wine Month is quickly winding down and it seems like I've hardly had time for a single glass much less many blog posts!  Well my travel schedule at work is winding down (at least until next month), so perhaps I'll have some time to do some nice posts this week, as heaven know's I have plenty of Washington wine to open!  Tonight's bottle is the 2011 Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah, a lovely offering from the Columbia Valley that I found at my local wine merchant yesterday.

The wine is a lovely, inky indigo in the glass with rich brooding darkness that makes me recall the wonderful angst ridden culture of the Northwest back in the glory days of Grunge, but I digress.  The nose is beautifully fruity, with hints of warm berries, leather and smoke.  The taste is just divine, with an explosion of very bright fruit, blackberries, cherries and currant that subsides almost as quickly as it came, transitioning to some spicy notes of black pepper and toasted oak.  The finish is lovely, as the young tannins hold a firm grip on the long, smooth, dry finish that makes you want to sip this wine all afternoon.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's one of my favorite Syrah's I've tried from the Northwest, and I picked it up here in Indiana for only $29, so not wildly expensive.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with my delayed traditional St. Patrick's day dinner of corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes and carrots, as the lovely fruit of this wine makes a perfect contrast to a salt and fat laden dinner!  Cheers!

Friday, March 14, 2014

2011 Helix Stone Tree SoRho

It's been a crazy busy week, so nothing could be better than opening a bottle of nice Washington wine to continue the celebration of Washington Wine Month!  And tonight's feature is the 2011 Helix Stone Tree SoRho, a southern Rhone style blend of Mourvedre (52%), Grencache (31%) and Cinsault (17%) produced for Reininger's second label.  I can't wait to try it out!

The wine is a lighter style and color in the glass, typical of many Rhone blends.  The nose is just warm, with lots of sweet fruit aromas of strawberry, cassis and cranberry, a perfect match for our first true spring-like day (did I mention we broke past 50 degrees today?).  The taste is warm and inviting, with rich black fruit up front, strawberry, pomegranate and blackberry that gracefully transitions to some earthy notes of mushroom and peat midpalate.  The finish is warm, smooth and dry, as the tannins are nicely structured to balance the rather sharp acidity on the finish.  This is a perfect spring wine after our long, bitter winter!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a great drinking wine, ideal for a meal of small plates, olives, soft cheese and cured meats.  Tonight I am enjoying this with some lovely portobello torteloni and rich Italian sausage marinara topped with shaved parmesan.  The warmth of the wine reminds me of the beaches of the Cote d'Azure and a perfect accompaniment to classic Italian fare.  Salut!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

2010 Canoe Ridge Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - Horse Heaven Hills

As Washington Wine Month progresses, I've had some fun finding some new Washington wines to try, and tonight it's the 2010 Canoe Ridge Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the Horse Heaven Hills.  I've tried one or two wines from Canoe Ridge in the past, but they were all blends, so here's to trying a single varietal!

The wine is a dark, brooding ruby color in the glass, with a bit of opacity.  The nose is very promising, with aromas of leather, black pepper and tar over a foundation of black fruit aromas of plum, blackberry and cherry.  The taste is wonderfully fruity up front with great black cherry, raspberry and plum overlaying some mint, Asian spice and dusty limestone midpalate.  The tannins are nicely structured, and just starting to loosen up a bit, making for a long, lush finish that is simply bone dry.  A classic Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon!

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it displays the presence and structure of a much more expensive wine, but I found this one at my local wine merchant for just $20!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a classic northwest dinner of alder planked wild Alaskan sockeye along with some steamed asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes.  The fruit in this wine along with the dry finish are a perfect foil to the rich flavors of the salmon, so delicious!

Friday, March 7, 2014

2009 Tertulia Cellars Sobra

Well here we are a week into Washington Wine Month and I have been woefully slacking!  This is only my second WA wine review in a week!  Well tonight I've decided to open a bottle from a producer I was unfamiliar with, Tertulia Cellars, a winery with locations in Walla Walla and Dundee, Ore. and run by a pair of guys that are both named Ryan.  But that aside, I have opened a bottle of 2009 Sobra, a nice Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (76%), Merlot (12%), Cabernet Franc (10%) and Petit Verdot (2%), with fruit sourced from Pepper Bridge, Blue Mountain, Lonesome Spring Ranch and Phinny Hill Vineyards.

The wine has a nice inky dark color at the center that bleeds to a bright ruby along the edges, very classic for a heave Cabernet Sauvignon blend.  The nose is very interesting, with aromas of leather, ripe plum and spruce, which open up into some lovely hints of vanilla and black cherry.  The taste is very smooth, with timid flavors of cherry cola, cocoa powder and black pepper married over a bedrock of dusty limestone.  The soft tannins are well integrated, creating a long, smooth and velvety finish that seems to last 30 seconds or more, making for a very nice sipping wine.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's just a classic Columbia Valley blend that begs to be shared with friends (good thing Tertulia is Spanish for "a social gathering of friends").  It was also a terrific value, as the regular price is $20, but I picked this one up from Wines Till Sold Out for only $12!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a nice dinner of whole wheat penne with spicy marinara and fresh Italian sausage and a nice arugula salad with aged balsamic.  The subtle fruit and smooth flavors offer the perfect balance for the spice of the sauce.  Cheers!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

2001 L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Merlot

Hooray!  It's March, which means that Spring is right around the corner, right?  Well it doesn't feel like it today at least, but at least we have two other things to celebrate on this first day of March, one it's Cellar Saturday, which means I get to go deep into my cellar and open a wine that's been waiting years for its chance to shine.  The second thing to celebrate is that it's March, which is Washington Wine Month!  That means all the wines I will profile this month will be from the great state of Washington, my favorite wine region!  And tonight's treat is the 2001 L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Merlot, a wine that's been in my cellar since one of my very early trips to Walla Walla back in 2003 or 2004.

I opened this bottle about an hour ago to let it get used to this wintry air, so hopefully it's opened up a bit.  The color is a nice ruby with a hint of opacity at the center, but not the usual tinge of brown that you sometimes see on a wine more than a decade old.  The nose is fantastic, with a blast of tart cherry, rich oak, green grass, Asian spice and a hint of mint that is very reminiscent of a great mature Bordeaux.  The taste is somewhat fruit forward, with nice blackberries and plum up front that transitions gradually to mint and green grass midpalate.  The finish is quite nice, with some classic Bordeaux "funk" of barnyard and oak, with some still vibrant tannins supporting a long, smooth and exceptionally dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 9, it's just such a pleasure to drink that if it wasn't 12 degrees outside I would be sipping this wine all evening on my deck!  But instead I'm indoors, enjoying this wine with a nice chopped Asian salad with wasabi ginger dressing and some stuffed red and yellow peppers that I made using my mom's recipe with a mild twist of incorporating some Italian sausage into the ground beef and rice stuffing.  Such a nice pairing with the fruit and rustic flavors of the wine against the spice of wasabi and richness of the tomato sauce over the stuffed peppers.  Delicious!