I love travel don't you? Even if it's just for work and you barely have time to think much less enjoy a glass of wine. But sometimes in your travels you discover some wonderful new wines that you just have to share, and this was the case on Friday as I was waiting for my flight home from Portland. If you ever happen to find yourself in PDX, the Made in Oregon store has a lovely selection of Oregon wines, and since it's past Security, you can buy as much as you want and carry it on the plane with you! On Friday, they were having a tasting of Cliff Creek Wines, a producer from Southern Oregon located in Gold Hill, Ore. to be exact (about halfway between Grant's Pass and Medford along I-5). At the tasting I was fortunate to sample the red wine, the Merlot, the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Syrah, and needless to say I fell in love with the Merlot!
The wine itself is a dark ruby leading to an inky black center, classic for a nice Merlot. The nose is just chock full of ripe black fruit, blackberry, plum and cassis, that transitions effortlessly to some nice Asian spice and coffee notes. The taste is classic, big bold Merlot, with bright fruit up front that transitions to some stark minerality mid palate, limestone, leather and cedar. The finish is divine, with nicely structured tannins that provide the perfect foundation for the long, dry and velvet smooth finish. This is the kind of Merlot I'm used to drinking from the Walla Walla Valley, but who knew they were producing wines this nice down in southern Oregon?
Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as I really did fall in love with it on my first taste at PDX, and it's such a terrific value as well! This wine was normally priced at $21.95, but with the 10% discount at the tasting it was under $20! In fact when I bough 2 bottles of Merlot and a bottle of Syrah and the total was far less then I was expecting I added another bottle of the Merlot (which in hind sight was a real strain on my arms carrying that bag!). Tonight I enjoyed this wine with a rare grilled porterhouse topped with some grilled leeks along with some mashed potatoes and green beans almondine. Such a great wine for a big ol' steak!