As a wine writer and reviewer, I’m often frustrated by the lack of published information available from many winemakers about their various products and vintages. In this day and age, with the ease of online publishing and the sophistication of the public relations industry, how do so many vintners get away with an information blackout? I know that much of the industry thrives on an Old World, Luddite appeal, and admittedly, winemaking is an analog practice, even in our ever-accelerating world. But couldn’t some of these wines pick up more sales if a shopper in a store could pull up a website with some tasting notes on her smart phone in the aisle of her wine store?
Today’s wine, thankfully, has that information available and easily found on its website. Columbia Crest, a Washington winery that focuses on producing small-lot affordable wines, has been operating since 1984, and maintains extensive information on each of its vintages on its website. We’ll be reviewing a cabernet sauvignon from one of its more economically priced product lines, its Two Vines label, named for the company’s trellising method. The fact sheet linked above even has specific tasting notes related to the 2010 growing season.
So, we’re well-informed. But is the wine any good?
How does it look? This cabernet sauvignon is a half-opaque blood red. It swirls with with a light body, and has very thin legs that disappear quickly, which leaves me expecting something dry, yet not too muscular.
How does it smell? This Columbia Crest wine has a bit of a boozy smell, and maybe a hint of sweet herbal flavors, like basil. The prominent alcohol on the nose isn’t surprising given this wine’s robust 13.5 percent alcohol content by volume.
But how does it taste? The initial taste is dry, and a bit oakey. This wine proves to be astringent, but smooth, and with a bit of bright red fruit — cherry, strawberry, and other sweet red fruits — in the mix. The overall effect is a very balanced, very drinkable wine complex enough to drink on its own. For around $15, what else can you ask for?
What should I eat with it? This cabernet doesn’t quite have the body to hold up to a greasy steak, but if you’re the type who prefers a lean sirloin (or a burger), this would work just fine. It’d also pair well with roasted vegetables or poultry.