Monday, August 13, 2007
The Second Best Wine Value I've Ever Tasted
This entry's going to be quick - just wanted to tell you all about a wine that might be the second best value wine I've seen in my short 65 months in the wine business. Like I said, this is going to be quick, but you'd best be quick too. I know I've said this before, but -
This one really won't last, so I'll cut to the chase. This is a $7 dollar wine easily worth $20.
If I'm going to drink American Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, it's going to be from Washington. Here's why:
There's more sunlight during growing season there than in California. This makes for wines that carry the same or better ripeness than their Cali counterparts.
The mornings and evenings are cooler in Washington. That drives up the acidity in the wines, which is desperately needed in riper wines, to balance the fruit.
There's usually less rain during growing season in Washington. Less rain means, believe it or not, better grapes for wine. If you grow grapes with ideal rain, you get wines that taste more like the abundant leaves you get in wet conditions than like fruit.
In short, with big ripeness, higher levels of acididty and more stressed vines, you get better balance in your wine.
Sure, you sacrifice a little body and richness for this balance, but let's face it - this is Cabernet Sauvignon - it's never going to be light bodied, low tannin wine. While Napa/Sonoma wines might be characterized as more opulent, Washington wines might be better seen as elegant.
And I'll admit it, I'm biased. Taste this wine:
2002 Rosa Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley ($7)
and you'll see why I hold this bias.
The purple/black color foreshadows the pleasure that's about to come your way. Aromas of black cherry, cola and black raspberry rise from the glass up front. Two swirls of your glass and the earthy aromatics will show themselves: espresso, raw cocoa and the faintest innuendo of caramel.
Then the flavors snake in, one at a time: black raspberry, black currant, blueberry and sour cherry fruit, followed by smoke, bitter chocolate spicy oak, and cigar box. Acidity keeps the fruit fresh and uplifted and while there's considerable tannin here, it's well integrated. I bet you could age this for another 5-7 years.
Oh, one other thing to note - this is the 2002 vintage. Most Washington wineries are on the 2004 vintage, including Roza itself.
All this in a $7 dollar package? Believe it.
Best get on the move now, though. You should be buying it by the case and we only have 24 left.