Thursday, October 11, 2007

Northstar Cabernet Sauvignon - 2003

It's Fall. My favorite time of the year in the Walla Walla Valley. If you are visiting the area or a local, now is the time to get in your car and take a drive through the foothills of the Blues and especially check out some of the wineries off of JB George and Pepper Bridge Roads. The view is spectacular with all of the colors from the mountains as well as the trees.

It is an especially beautiful drive to Northstar Winery on JB George Road as you pass the row of grapevines lining the drive. Clusters of dark fruit hanging from the vines so close you can almost reach out and grab them. The canopies have been trimmed flat like hedges and the fruit is perfectly spaced in their picking zone. Our timing on visiting Northstar could not have been more perfect as it was the beginning of crush and you could smell the sweet grapes in the air.

Okay, so yesterday I blabbed about expensive Cabernets v. affordable Cabernets, but I actually tasted Northstars first release of Cabernet Sauvignon priced at $60. While Merlot is Northstar's flagship wine (both Walla Walla and Columbia Valley Merlots), they have graduated to other Bordeaux-rooted varietals. I did not rely on another palate, price, or points to tell me it was indeed a worthy Cabernet Sauvignon. My tastebuds sang "Huzzah-huzzah!"

Not a lot of this Cabernet Sauvignon, with a splash of Merlot and Petit Verdot, was produced - only 496 cases. It was first released exclusively for their wine club members and now available to the public. In the glass, a big aroma of cherry juice came through. The dark wine met my tongue with a sophisticated smoothness. Very balanced with flavors of a big chocolate-covered cherry, blackberry jam and a hint of vanilla in the finish. Would I pay $60 for this wine? Yes. My tastebuds gave me persmission and my tastebuds do not know how to read points.

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