Red, Red Wine
Panel explores Bordeaux-style bigs
In the classic growing region of Bordeaux, weather can result in unpredictable vintages. Growers hedge their bets by planting varietals allowed in their appellation and working with what Mother Nature serves up each year. In turn, late-ripening varieties are often blended with more dependable ones. In Oregon, while there is certainly vintage variation, there is a bit more assurance that slower varieties will reach maturity. As a result, Oregon’s winemakers delight in both blending and showcasing varietals on their own.
Cana’s Feast 2013 Columbia Valley Malbec
A complex, layered nose of black pepper, black olive, vanilla, sweet herb and floral notes are joined on the palate with fresh fruit flavors. Sweet blueberry and rich cherry are spiced with black pepper and carried by toasty undertones through a deliciously long finish.
$30; 248 cases
Bergevin Lane 2013 Wahluke Slope Dreamweaver Malbec
If this wine were a jazz club it would be named “Dark & Smoky,” and someone with a very deep, velvety voice would be performing. Purple and inky in the glass, the wine seduces with aromas of smoke, meat and bacon. On the palate, dark, concentrated fruits of black currant and stewed plum get a sprinkle of black pepper and a little lift from mint and pomegranate.
$28; 133 cases
Schmidt Family Vineyards 2012 Applegate Valley Malbec
Presenting the fruity, fun yet beautiful side of Malbec. Mouthwatering, juicy aromas and flavors entice with notes of Marionberry, white flowers and a kick of licorice. This soft, rich wine could wear a sign reading “Drink Me,” and, unlike Alice, you would be happy you did.
$36; 75 cases
Zerba Cellars 2012 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
For those who crave a Cab Sauv full of dark notes and woody flavors, here’s your wine. Aromas of incense, sandalwood, baking spice, cinnamon, pipe tobacco and currant tantalize before the first sip even passes the lips. Sweet spices repeat on the palate with clove, leather and dark fruits. A big wine with a full, smoky finish.
$36; 601 cases
Potter’s Vineyard 2013 Columbia Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Approachable in youth, this Cab, with its fruit-forward, jammy nose, just might make the first move. Cherries, red and blue berries, vanilla and cola round out the ripe yet balanced palate.
$45; 47 cases
Silvan Ridge Winery 2013 Rogue Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Like sitting by a campfire, this very savory Cabernet Sauvignon hints of smoke, cedar and bacon with a tart note of lingonberry. Balanced acid keeps this masculine Cab pleasant on the palate.
$28; 600 cases
Eola Hills Wine Cellars 2014 Oregon Cabernet Sauvignon
A very young Cabernet Sauvignon — no surprise this wine could present a little tight — there is enough “there, there” to enjoy right away with notes of sweet pipe tobacco, vanilla, red currant, chocolate, peppery spice and a hint of raspberry on the finish.
$15; 1,000 cases
Ledger David Cellars 2013 Rogue Valley Cabernet Franc
This Cabernet Franc has a lot to say in a most pleasant tone. Flavors and aromas include cherry, black pepper, smoked meat, black tea, plum, stewed red fruit and dried herbs. Structure is well-integrated, allowing for a long, evolving finish. A wine to sit and ponder.
$29; 234 cases
Watermill 2012 Walla Walla Valley Merlot
Toast, jam and coffee? Why not?! These flavors and others abound in this luscious wine that offers soft Merlot flavors without being too hot or sweet. Notes of vanilla, cinnamon, red cherry, honeysuckle, baked sugar, cocoa and tobacco dance on the palate and in the aroma.
$24; 375 cases
Cana’s Feast 2013 Columbia Valley Petit Verdot
Amazing deep purple hue with concentrated flavors of the darkest plum, notes of cinnamon, clove, vanilla, floral, blackberry syrup, succulent black cherry and dried herbs; all this and more delivered in a package of velvety tannins, bright acid and a lengthy finish with mineral and woody textures. Intriguing and nuanced, this wine will keep your palate alert and pleasantly occupied.
$32; 223 cases
Griffin Creek 2012 “Griffin” Rogue Valley Bordeaux Blend
Willamette Valley Vineyards’ second label shines with this big red blend. Aromas of concentrated cranberry and blueberry initiate the wine experience with sweet flavors of herbs, marzipan and vanilla adding to the more muted berry palate — note the big physique for such delicate flavors. Zingy acidity keeps it fresh and bright over a long finish. Can be enjoyed now or lay this one down and allow it to develop.
$65; 214 cases