Monday, December 06, 2010
Bordeaux meets Washington State
The other night S made us a killer meal of French dip sandwiches with a simple salad of mixed greens, Stilton cheese, olive oil and Basalmic vinegar. It was ridiculously good and it called for wine with a backbone. So we opened two Bordeaux blends from Washington state: Tsillan Cellars Bellissima Rossa 2006 and Alexandria Nicole Quarry Butte Red 2008. Both were very well made and quite enjoyable. We decanted both for over an hour. The Quarry Butte was still showing signs of youth with a nose of licorice, minerals, dark cherries and a bit of toasty oak. Plenty of tannic grip on the palate with a burst of cherry juice and tobacco on the finish. It was really nice and a steal at 11.00 (Costco). The Bellissima Rossa presented and exotic nose of almond toffee; I immediately thought of steamed butternut squash with butter and brown sugar. The palate was a lovely mixture of mint, tobacco, smoke, oak and cherry juice. Though the Belissima Rossa was the better wine (Tsillian Cellars won a number of gold metals with this wine), I was impressed by how similar the two were in broad outline (the Washington terroir was unmistakable). Neither of these wines were pushovers; though the fat of the french dip mellowed their tannins noticeably . I was again impressed by the solid QPR coming out of Washington state. At 11.00 the Quarry Butte competes favorably with wines three times the price.