Wine Tasting Dinner: More Washington Red Blends



By Kori ~ January 21st, 2009.

20090121_waredblends1This month’s wine tasting dinner featured red blends from Washington State. You may remember that we had Washington Red Blends at our September tasting dinner last fall. We put the winner of the September tasting, the 2006 Mark Ryan “The Dissident,” in this tasting along with five other red blends from Washington. Mark Ryan came out on top again this time.

As you will see from the quality ratings, we felt that all six wines were very good. The Mark Ryan was the clear consensus favorite but the other five were all very close. The bottom line is that, in my opinion, you cannot go wrong with any of these. They all paired quite well with Mom’s roasted beef tenderloin, chipotle-lime mashed sweet potatoes, and seasoned green beans.

20090121_waredblends2Unlike Bordeaux, France, where all of their wines are blends and those blends are regulated by the government, too often wineries in the United States produce blends from their leftovers and label them simply as Red Wine. The wines in this tasting, all of which sell for over $20, do not fall into the leftover category. All of these wineries are striving to produce premium quality Bordeaux-style blends.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2006 Mark Ryan “The Dissident” (Columbia Valley): Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot. Very aromatic with aromas of black cherry cobbler and a hint of cedar. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity. More black cherry and blackberry come through on the palate. Well-balanced and smooth with a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $28; Compass Wines (Washington), $29.99

2005 Soos Creek Ciel du Cheval Vineyard (Red Mountain): Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc. Deep red in color with red candied fruits and vanilla on both the nose and palate. Big and bold with high, drying tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin (Seattle), $39; Ancona’s Wines (Connecticut), $37.99

2004 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard (Red Mountain): Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot. Aromas are a bit tight at first but open up throughout dinner. Cherry Jolly Rancher and coffee flavors with a medium finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Woods Wholesale Wine (Michigan), $47.94; Available elsewhere, $48 to $60

NV Va Piano Bruno’s Blend III (Walla Walla Valley & Columbia Valley): Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot. Aromatic and youthful with aromas and flavors of red fruits, especially red plums. Very smooth with medium body and medium tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $23 [Bruno’s Blend IV is currently available vintage]

2005 Columbia Crest Walter Clore Reserve (Columbia Valley): Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc. Dark fruits and oak are prevalent. Medium body, high tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $34

2006 Saviah Une Vallee (Walla Walla Valley): Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc. Nose is a bit tight at first. Red and black fruits come through on the palate. Has a slight tart taste. Well-balanced with a medium finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $32; Available elsewhere, $29 to $36


Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $25

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