Washington Wine Club – November 2013

2010 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 for another five to seven years, although it is quite approachable now. It’s aromatic, full-bodied, intense and quite plush, with lots of spice notes, cedar, vanilla, and a hint of chocolate. Try it with short ribs or a juicy steak. Thanks to Quilceda Creek’s generosity, we were again able to get enough to put in the club, although there is not much left over due to the limited yields of the vintage. It is still $51.50, the same price as last year, and one of the best values for an elite Cabernet you’ll find anywhere.

2008 Pomum Cellars, Shya, Yakima Valley Red
We have had so much fun this year finding new and relatively unknown winemakers worthy of inclusion in this club. Javier Alfonso originally came to Seattle to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. While back at home in Spain’s Ribera del Duero region he had dreaded working in his family’s vineyards, but he fell in love with viticulture and winemaking here. (He also became a fan of American football, finding it much more dramatic and interesting than the European version.) He started out making wine in his garage in 2004, and eventually opened a commercial winery in Woodinville in 2008. Pomum has mostly been a bit under the radar of most wine consumers, although his fellow Woodinville winemakers have been effusive in their praise of his work. We got a chance to taste through his line-up when he was able to do our September tasting despite the pressures of harvest and crush, and our customers loved both his Spanish varietal wines and the Bordeaux blends, like this wine, named in honor of his wife Shylah. Most of the grapes come from top notch vineyards in the western part of the Yakima Valley, notably DuBrul, Elerding, Sheridan, Upland, and Dineen, with a generous dollop of juicy Merlot and Malbec from the Horse Heaven Hills. It’s an elegant and balanced wine, showing the bright red fruit aromas and slight herbal notes of a cooler year. About a quarter of the grapes saw new French oak barrels, and the wine retains a lush mouth feel with crisp cherry flavors. Give it a year or two to develop and then try it with braised beef short ribs, a recent pairing at a wine dinner at Andaluca. It’s $38 and in relatively good supply.