Isaac James Baker writes poetry, short stories, novels and non-fiction. He drinks a lot of great wine.
Sometimes he does both activities simultaneously.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Three Moderately Priced Bottles from Columbia Valley
As I detailed in a September 2015 report, Columbia Valley is a huge area with multiple sub-appellations. And winemakers throughout this region are sourcing large amounts of quality grapes to use for moderately priced but interesting wines. Long Shadows, a side project of Washington powerhouse producer Chateau Ste. Michelle, produces a wide array of classic Columbia Valley wines. The high-end bottles are quite good, and pricey, but they also produce a more accessible range of wines called Nine Hats.
SRP: $12 Light gold color. Boisterous aromas of white peaches, kiwi, lime juice, mixed in with some sweet yellow flowers and honey. Crisp acid and a bright personality on the palate. Juicy green apples and green melons with lime drizzled on top. The fruit is topped with what tastes like a dead ringer for crushed Sweet-Tart candies, these sweet chalky notes but they’re so tart and tangy. Orange peel and clover honey notes linger onto the finish. Crunchy, tart, so food friendly but easy to sip on its own. (87 points) 2013 Long Shadows Wineries Nine Hats - Washington, Columbia Valley SRP: $20 Light purple color. Smells like all sorts of jam (blueberry, blackberry, raspberry) some sweet vanilla, milk chocolate and roasted coffee. Full-bodied and rich presence on the palate, medium tannins and medium acid. Lots of dark fruit jams, mixed with vanilla cookies, coffee, cedar, some black tea and black licorice. The alcohol shows through a bit (14.9%), but it’s a fun, big, chewy red blend. 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Syrah, 22% Merlot and 5% Sangiovese. (86 points) 2013 Inconceivable Wines Cabernet Sauvignon - Washington, Columbia Valley SRP: $25 Light purple color. Nose of black currants, tart blackberries, mocha, cedar and violets. Medium-plus bodied with some moderate acid and lightly structured tannins. Framed by tart black fruit, accented with vanilla, mocha, some mint and tobacco notes. Smooth, silky, ready to go but not lightweight. 88% Cabernet with dashes of Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault, aged 22 months in half-new French and American oak. (87 points)