Tag Archives: Washington wine

Masters and Merlot

18 Mar

Oh hey now I’m a certified somm! I went and took the Court of Master Sommeliers’ certified test this last Wednesday. I only told my friend who was helping me practice I was doing the test, as I wasn’t sure I’d pass. You have to blind taste four wines, take a theory test and do a service portion in which you serve a Master Somm–I was assigned to serve Tim Gaiser, one of my wine heroes! Seriously his blog posts on blind-tasting saw me through my practice. During service they have you do all sorts of wine things like opening and serving bubbly (nerve-wracking) while quizzing you about wine, food pairing, liquor and more (only nerve-wracking for a fact-memorizing nerd like me because I was scared of spilling things and breaking things). I really was unsure if I could pass–you have to pass each part so it does not matter if I aced theory if I didn’t pass another part. Only about 12 of around 40 people passed. Crazy. As I looked around at my fellow candidates, all of us attempting not to guzzle the I’m so relieved.

I’ve been doing nothing but tasting wines on the list of the Court’s testable varieties for a couple of weeks. Sadly the only Merlot they test is that of California or right bank Bordeaux and I’ve had these Washington wines staring at me begging me to drink them. And now I can without worrying I’m wasting precious taste-bud power. I can’t wait to drink weird wines for a while now. Not to mention cocktails. Until I apply for Advanced. D’oh. Although the testing list of wines for that level is more extensive.

I’ve been a fan of Columbia Winery for some time. They do solid work. I got an assortment of their wine from the ever-so-good-to-me Gallo publicist! It’s a chilly LA evening and nothing says cozy vibes like their 2015 Merlot.

This one is all I could hope for in terms of new world Merlot. It reeks of ultra ripe blackberry, boysenberry, strawberry, and red plum. Almost jammy. A hint of spice likely born of oak. I jumped in. It is a blackberry pie that is not too sweet. Not complex per say but it doesn’t need to be. It is a bed with purple cashmere blankets I cannot wait to rest my head on. Which is to say I am finishing the bottle. Go team me! Go team Merlot.

Total knockouts, both of us.

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Lovely

7 Feb


Oh hey chatty wine! This wine has a lot to say and I was up for listening. And reading. The winery sent me oodles of info on this lil’ sample from Columbia Valley:

Mullan Road Cellars 2013 Red Wine Blend

It’s a Bordeaux blend: 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec 

Oh okay okay let us talk about the taste. That’s what y’all are here for no?

Oh okay okay okay I am going to go WSET with the tasting notes but I’ll attempt to spice them up. If you want to skip all that I’ll just say this is a sexy blackberry jam of a wine with some delightful vanilla from its 16 months in oak (some new French, some American).

Here we go!

On ze Eye: Easy. Easy on the eyes. Ahem. Technically it is clear, medium ruby with slow thick tears.

In yer Nose: clean, medium, blackberry, vanilla, and allspice to put it simply. Youthful.

On ye olde Tongue: dry, medium plus acid and alcohol, so a thoroughly serious wine. But like fun serious. Like…I’m not sure things in the world have been unfun serious recently so… 

Body and flavor intensity: medium plus, both of them. Tannins are the medium. But all the acid and alcohol (14.3% abv) make me think this could be aged for some time. 6 years, say?

Flavours (with a u bc why not British): blackberries!!!!!! And as the French and cool people like you and I say: cassis. As in currants: mostly red. Boatloads of vanilla. And allspice! That’s the stuff! And probably some more spices like cloves and nutmeg but they are elegantly woven in so you don’t get the impression you’re eating a Christmas cookie although that sounds good right now…

Oh no now I want another bottle so I can pair it with gingerbread. Not that I have gingerbread right now. Or another bottle so all this will remain a fantasy. For now…

Drink now drink later just drink?

6 Sep


You know how sometimes even your most favorite food on earth, consumed at the wrong time, is enjoyed, but slightly frustrating because the environment is wrong? Like trying to eat a delightful split pea soup while, say, driving in summer. The taste, the color, this soup has it all! But it’s friggin’ hot and you are in a car and you wish you’d waited for optimum conditions.

Such it is for this wine because it is a bloody good wine but I opened it in my hot hot home without a nice bit of food to pair and it was great but cooler air would have made it greater. Don’t get me wrong. DRINK THIS gosh-darned wine. 

2013 Columbia Winery ‘Element’ Wahluke Slope

Actually having visited and tasted many of Columbia Winery’s wines I would advise giving any of their ditties a whirl. This blend came my way as a birthday gift from my aunt and uncle who reside in Washington within a quick drive of myriad excellent wineries.

So yah. Lots of Columbia wines to choose from but please do choose the right one for the weather? I mean I’m not sorry I opened this. Because good wine is excellent always. But in retrospect I’d have saved for a colder night. Let us unpack the details:

This wine had a full body. The tannins are a wee bit heavy handed on first pour but let it mellow in your glass a second, no matter how thirsty you are, and you’ll be rewarded by the effects of letting it breathe a bit. The blackberries, red cherries and currants will sing more sweetly. That crack of pepper will settle into the grooves of the vanilla bean that simply must have been hanging out in this bottle! Hint: it wasn’t a vanilla bean–it is just the effect of the oak this juice spent 19 months in.

The finish lasts deceptively long. It seems to fall off…but then! Oh then. It pulls out mellow notes of blueberry and happiness and oh…rainbows over mountain springs so take that and do what you might with it. If you dig rainbows you are a good person who should keep drinking these. If not? You and I do not see eye to eye yet. Please advise.