Washington Wine Club – July 2012

2007 Hightower, Red Mountain Red Wine
We’ve had a long relationship with Tim and Kelly Hightower, and Bear regularly put this wine in the early versions of the Washington Wine Club. We had a chance to host them at our Saturday tasting back in May, and their whole lineup was quite stunning. It was impressive to see how they had managed to tame Red Mountain’s famous tannins and produce wines with beautiful berry flavors and soft textures. The blend in this flagship wine is 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, and 5% Malbec. About half of the grapes come from Shaw Vineyard and, for the other half, the Hightowers have substituted fruit from their own Out of Line Estate Vineyard. They called it “Out of Line” because the vineyard rows are canted eleven degrees off of north-south in order to more evenly balance the sun exposure on both sides of the rows. Even though this wine has already spent four years in bottle, we’d still recommend putting it away for another two to three years to let the chewy tannins integrate with ripe cherry and cassis fruit. It’s a great match for a big, succulent rib eye steak hot off the grill. It’s pretty limited, as they made only 247 cases, but there is a bit left at $49.75.

2010 Syncline, Mourvedre
Another Washington Mourvedre? Since the beginning of 2011, we have been happy to put Mourvedres from Darby, Mark Ryan, Maison Bleue, and Robert Ramsay in this club. That’s not really a surprise, since Mourvedre can deliver the kind of big and juicy flavors that consumers love, while still retaining a food-friendly savoriness and earthiness. And it’s also no surprise that we would include the Mourvedre from our favorite winemakers, James and Poppie Mantone of Syncline. Mourvedre is a hot climate wine, originally grown in southern Spain but now much more famous as the major component of the outstanding wines of Provence. There’s not much to add to James and Poppie’s wonderful description of the wine on the label, except to say that the addition of substantially more Alder Ridge fruit in this vintage adds a nice juiciness to the wine. With a subtle spiciness and the herbal notes, it would definitely shine with any kind of rich food, particularly the soups and stews of southern France. It’s $29.75, ready to drink, and in good supply, so drink up!