Mt. Rainier-Sized Washington State Value
I’ll be perfectly honest with all of you, because I think it’s important and I feel, at times, like you’re all just so open with me, that a little quid pro quo is due. I don’t shop for wine at supermarkets. Ever.
Does this make me a snob? I hope not. The majority of my wine purchasing is done at wineries and at wine shops. Part of this is the luxury of my geographic location: surrounded by many of Northern California’s best viticultural regions.
The other part is, admittedly, a kind of conceit. There are a bunch of wine shops near me, and I just don’t like buying wine at supermarkets. I’ll do the BevMo thing, but they don’t sell fresh produce where I buy my wine.
So at my mother-in-law’s for Mother’s Day, I saw this bottle, opened, on the counter. Decided to give it a shot. She’d bought it for cooking only, but the fact of the matter is, I know damn well that some “priced-for-cooking” wine can actually be quite drinkable. While no one is about to be blown away by Columbia Crest’s Two Vines line, it is significantly better than some cheap wine I’ve had recently.
The wine is fairly light-colored in the glass, with a garnet core that lightens just slightly to purple at the edges. On the nose is a little more noticeable heat than I’d like to see from a 13.5% ABV wine, but it’s also fairly common in my experience for “value” wine to show off more of its alcohol than better-balanced, better-structured (i.e. “more expensive”) wines. Hints of black cherry and lightly-toasted vanilla show up on the nose as well.
So, the taste: the wine is light-bodied, surprisingly light for a cabernet, and very fruit-forward. You gotta be down with some fruit to enjoy this wine. Cherries and jam, and the lightest still-noticeable oak I’ve seen in a cabernet in a while.
If this is indicative of how Washington State does value cabs, compared to how California does it, then head to your supermarket’s wine aisle and look for the Washington designation. Wine Searcher lists the wine between $5.50-$9 but I saw the receipt: my in-laws spent $4.99 at their local Safeway. Well worth that price, in my opinion.