The main objective of this tasting is to assess and compare three wines from the Columbia River Valley (Washington State). Two of them are labeled Cabernet Sauvignon wines and one is a Bordeaux left bank type of blend . An important aspect of the tasting is to find out the effect of blending.
Type of Tasting: Blind
Wines presenters: Clara Estrada, Jorge García-García
These are the wines:
- 2014 Anam Cara Cellars, Riesling Nicholas State, Chehalem Mountains, Oregon
- 2015 Mullan Road Cellars, Red Wine Blend, Columbia Valley
- 2015 Canvasback, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, Yakima Valley
- 2009 Januik, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
This is the menu:
- Lobster bisque
- Risotto with mushrooms
- Gnocchi au grtain
- Short rib braised with mushrooms and green beans
Participants: Mario Aguilar, Clara Estrada, Ruth Connolly, Jaiem Estupiñan, Jorge Garcia-Garcia, Alberto Gómez, Jaime Jaramillo, Orlando Mason, John Redwood, Lucia Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sanchez, Jairo Sanchez, Ricardo Santiago, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zincke
Information on the Wines
(The information below has been compiled from various internet sources) .
2014 Anam Cara Cellars, Riesling Nicholas State, Chehalem Mountains, Oregon
The Wine: Dry as labeled, redolent with the inviting crispness of mountain air, this brings a lovely mix of green apple, pear, melon and cucumber flavors. Bright citrus highlights the zippy acids, leading to a lip-smacking, tart but oh-so-satisfying finish.
The Winery: Nick and Sheila Nicholas have made each Anam Cara Cellars wine from the grapes they first planted on this site in 2001. Over time, they have adapted their organic farming practices to reflect the rhythm of the vines and fine-tuned their wine making to reflect this unique part of the Willamette Valley.
Before the property was planted, it was an overgrown walnut, filbert (hazelnut) and plum orchard. Several of the old fruit trees from the original farmstead remain, and produce apples, cherries, quince and pears. The vineyard is planted on a southeast-facing slope of the Willamette Valley’s Chehalem Mountains AVA in the hills above Newberg, Oregon, at an elevation that varies from 350ft-650ft and the vineyard rows are planted in a north-south direction, benefiting from cool, drying winds through the 99W corridor which keep mildew and frost pressure at bay. The soils are primarily Loess (wind-blown ice age sediment) with bedrock and outcrops of volcanic Jory soils and deposits from the Missoula floods. Of the original 27 vineyard acres, five 5-acre blocks are Pinot Noirs as well as an additional acre each of Riesling and Gewurztraminer. In 2008, the family planted a further six acres according to the biodynamic calendar which saw their first harvest in 2011. The new vineyard is planted in 2-acre blocks to Riesling, Chardonnay and Wadenswil Pinot Noir. In 2014, the Nicholas’ downsized their ownership to six acres, still purchasing fruit from the original plantings to make their wine.
Anam Cara wines are both L.I.V.E. (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon Safe.
Read more at: https://www.anamcaracellars.com/
2015 Mullan Road Cellars, Red Wine Blend, Columbia Valley
The Wine: Winemaker Notes: Vibrant notes of blackberry, black currant, plum skin and dark baking spices. Concentrated and polished, with a touch ofdried herbs, tea leaves and a dried berry potpourri. The fruits are ripe though poised with fresh squeezed berries, licorice,toast and raspberry intermingling with an intriguing hint of smoke and resin. The palate is polished and beautifully textured, with finely integrated tannins. An elegant and age worthy blend. Pairs well with any red meat on the grill, pork tenderloin, heavy cheeses and grilled vegetables. Blend: 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, and 12% Cabernet Franc
A first-release from this winery founded by Napa Valley’s Dennis Cakebread, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Seven Hills Vineyard shows notes of tomato leaf, chocolate, cherry and vanilla. The oak (44% new French and American) initially takes the lead. Fruit flavors are focused and soft, with the oak giving the tannins a slightly astringent feel.
(RP) Coming more from the Seven Hills vineyard, the 2012 Columbia Valley Red Wine has an old-school, classic Cabernet feel in its lead pencil, tobacco, dusty pebble and assorted dark fruits. Full-bodied, elegant and layered, with both texture and structure, this beauty will hit maturity around age 4-5, and drink nicely through 2027.
The Winery: (From Wine.com) A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon! Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.
Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.
Mullan Cellar fruit comes from three vineyards, namely a) Seven Hills Vineyars. With an elevation of 850 to 1,050 feet, the site has excellent soil and air drainage and is one of the most technologically advanced in the industry. The vertically trained canopy, controlled cluster spacing and sunlight exposure generates uniform fruit ripeness. Soil moisture is monitored daily by computer with sophisticated drip irrigation scheduled to augment vine development yet limit excessive canopy growth. Yields are strictly controlled to assure ultra-premium quality, b) Lawrence Vineyard. Our Corfu Crossing site is located on the Frenchman Hills overlooking the Saddle Mountains with elevation ranging from 1,365 to 1,675 feet, and the entire vineyard on the southern slope. Corfu Crossing features a silt loam soil at a depth of 18 to 42 inches on top of fractured basalt. Our soil has very good drainage, which provides us with optimum control over the water intake of the vines. Rows are established north to south, with the vine spacing at 8 feet by 4 feet. We source our water from a well, and our irrigation system features drip at four feet intervals; and c) Stillwater Creek Vineyard. Stillwater Creek Vineyard is a 235 acre site on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills. Planted in 2000 on a steep, south-facing slope with one of the most diverse clone selections in Washington State, Stillwater Creek quickly has earned a reputation as one of the Columbia Valley’s top vineyards. The site’s fractured rock and extreme southern exposure are ideal for reds, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Temperatures during the growing season favor warm days and cool nights. Grapes ripen beautifully under these conditions, enhanced by both hours of light per day during the summer and the total number of sunlight days from bud-break through harvest.
Read more at: https://mullanroadcellars.com/
2015 Canvasback, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, Yakima Valley
The Wine: Winemaker Notes:A gorgeous expression of Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine begins with effusive aromas of blackberry, marionberry and black cherry. As it evolves, layers of mocha, cinnamon and clove reveal themselves, as well as hints of sarsaparilla and black licorice, all of which frame the fruit, while adding depth and nuance. The palate is supple and juicy, with a voluminous texture, hedonistic black fruit and a complex French oak-inspired spice box note that carries through to a long and sophisticated finish. Blend: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 3% Malbec.
(WS) In its second vintage on Red Mountain, Duckhorn produced a massive cabernet. The initial impression is that it’s so opaque, it won’t be able to get out of its own way. But after just ten minutes it starts to reveal its trajectory, a concentrated, powerful, black-fruited wine adorned with scents of lavender and rosemary – relentless, and yet completely in balance, and years from peak expression. It’s a cabernet to cellar and watch evolve for a decade.
(RP) Made by Brian Rudin and a beautiful wine anyway you look at it, the 2013 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (there’s 9% Merlot and 3% Malbec) is a full-bodied, ripe, layered effort that has terrific notes of loamy earth, truffle, wild herbs and assorted black fruits. Aged 16 months in 40% new oak, from seven different parcels on Red Mountain, it has the fruit and texture to drink nicely today, but will cruise for a decade or more.
The Winery: (From Wine.com) A coveted source of top quality red grapes among premier Washington producers, the Red Mountain AVA is actually the smallest appellation in the state. As its name might suggest, it is actually neither a mountain nor is it composed of red earth. Instead the appellation is an anticline of the Yakima fold belt, a series of geologic folds that define a number of viticultural regions in the surrounding area. It is on the eastern edge of Yakima Valley with slopes facing southwest towards the Yakima River, ideal for the ripening of grapes. The area’s springtime proliferation of cheatgrass, which has a reddish color, actually gives the area the name, “Red” Mountain.
Red Mountain produces some of the most mineral-driven, tannic and age-worthy red wines of Washington and there are a few reasons for this. It is just about the hottest appellation with normal growing season temperatures commonly reaching above 90F. The soil is particularly poor in nutrients and has a high pH, which results in significantly smaller berry sizes compared to varietal norms. The low juice to skin ratio in smaller berries combined with the strong, dry summer winds, leads to higher tannin levels in Red Mountain grapes.The most common red grape varieties here are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, among others. Limited white varieties are grown, namely Sauvignon blanc. The reds of the area tend to express dark black and blue fruit, deep concentration, complex textures, high levels of tannins and as previously noted, have good aging capabilities.
To create wines that are as complex as they are captivating, Canvasback is following the model established decades ago by Duckhorn Vineyards, and will ultimately combine grapes from top growers with fruit from Canvasback’s own estate vineyard. The Canvasback team has already established great relationships with the growers who farm some of the appellation’s most esteemed vineyards, including Klipsun, La Coye, Shaw and Quintessence. In 2013, Canvasback put down roots on Red Mountain when it acquired a 20-acre unplanted vineyard site. Located near the top of the mountain, above the frost zone at an elevation of approximately 1,100 to 1,300 feet, the site was widely recognized as the most coveted uncultivated site of the mountain. Guided by Washington winegrowing legend and Canvasback vineyard manager Dick Boushey, and founding winemaker Brian Rudin, Canvasback began planting its Red Mountain vineyard predominantly to Cabernet Sauvignon in 2014.
In both the vineyard and winery, Brian embraces the challenge of making a richly compelling wine that shows the complexity and structure of great Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. “Red Mountain is one of the best places on earth to grow Cabernet,” says Brian. “The desert environment, with its long days, cold nights and mineral-rich soils produce epic Cabernet Sauvignons.”
Read more at: https://www.canvasbackwine.com/
2009 Januik, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
The Wine: The spring of 2009 was cooler and wetter than usual delaying bud break by a few weeks, but cool weather worries quickly subsided with the arrival of warm, dry weather in June. Temperatures continued to climb in July and stayed warm through August. Ideal weather conditions in September and into early October ripened grapes beautifully at a record pace resulting in a short, compressed harvest that wrapped up just before an unusual early fall freeze hit the Columbia Valley on October 10th.
After destemming and crushing, grapes were fermented on their skins for an average of eight days. After being pressed off, the wine was aged for 20 months in primarily new French Oak barrels to improve its already lengthy finish. Racking the wine every four months created pliant tannins and a bold, stylish structure.
This dense, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon is packed with cassis, blackberry, pomegranate and warm vanilla notes in the nose. The tannins are refined but still have texture. It lingers across the palate, imparting a long, polished finish that was developed in part from aging in new French oak barrels.
At first this wine seems quite astringent, closed and tight. It shows dark streaks of cassis and dried leaf, and it only reluctantly opens up to expand the black fruit flavor with a wash of Bourbon barrel.
89% Cab Sauv, 7% Merlot, 2% Cab Franc, 2% Malbec
The Winery: One of the advantages of having made wine in the Columbia Valley since the mid-1980s is the opportunity it’s given me to work with some of the most dedicated growers in the industry. Our Columbia Valley wines are made from a short list of vineyards I consider to be among the best in the state. The diversity of these vineyards-representing many of the most mature, carefully managed sites in Washington-provides for a full range of fruit expression that allows me to craft complex, multi-layered wines true to Columbia Valley terroir as well as the varietal character of the grapes. Our 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon includes grapes from Champoux, Klipsun, Red Mountain and Weinbau vineyards.
Read more at: https://www.noveltyhilljanuik.com/
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Best Rated Wine: 2009 Januik, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
Best Buy: 2009 Januik, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley