2009 Quilceda Creek, Columbia Valley Red Wine
If it’s the holiday season, it’s time for the Quilceda Creek Red Wine to make its annual appearance in this club. As the “younger brother” of their iconic Cabernet, this red blend is blessed with the same kind of excellent sources of fruit as the Cab and is a great introduction to the Quilceda Creek style. This year’s edition is again dominated by Cabernet (81%), so it could be cellared up to 15 years, although it is amazingly approachable now. Winemaker Paul Golitzin describes the flavors as a blend of “savory black cherry fruit, marzipan, roasted herbs, minerals and smoke.” Try it with short ribs or a juicy steak. Thanks to Quilceda Creek’s generosity, we were able to get enough to put in the club, and there’s even an extra case available. It is still $51.50, the same price as last year, and one of the best values for an ageable wine you’ll find anywhere.
2008 Bunnell Family Cellars, Lia
Ron Bunnell started at Chateau Ste. Michelle back in 1992, and rose to become the director of their red wine program. Tiring of the travel, in 2004 he founded his own winery, specializing in Rhone varietals. He makes quite a few wines under both the Bunnell and RiverAerie labels, but the stars are his “vins de l’esprit,” New World versions of the fresh country wines of the south of France. The Lia is an elegant blend dominated by Mourvedre and Grenache, a nice complement to Ron’s Vif, a powerhouse blend dominated by Syrah and Mourvedre and a club selection last year. The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills, particularly the lovely Grenache from Coyote Canyon. It’s quite aromatic, redolent of spices and violets, and has moderate tannins, a nice meatiness in the mid-palate, and lingering berries and spices on the finish. It’s very popular at Prosser’s Wine O’Clock restaurant, owned and operated by Ron and his wife, where it pairs really well with the thin crust artisanal pizzas coming out of their wood-fired brick oven. It’s $34, ready to drink and in good supply.