Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Substance Un-Abuse

Whether you were an A student in chemistry or flunked the class, one is still drawn to the distinctive black and white wine labels of periodic tables resembling chemical elements. However, as you get closer you notice that the "chemicals" involved are those of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay.

In 2007, Jamie Brown and Jason Huntley of Waters Winery and Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars, both wineries located in Walla Walla, teamed up to launch their idea of an affordable wine, Substance, that would catch the eye of wine newbies and aficionados alike. In 2009, Wine Business Monthly named Substance one of the year's Top 10 Hot Small Brands. Besides the attractive and clever packaging, the wine is also meant to educate, just like in chemistry classes. However, this time with much more enjoyable homework.

Last spring I tasted through the wines with Substance winemaker Jamie Brown. The first thing that struck me was these wines, were not only affordable ($20), but each wine showed off its varietal character in its truest form. The wines were not soft or half-heartedly resembling the variety, but each wine was - - well - - of substance. Another aspect of these wines were the opportunity for a wine lover to taste some of the more interesting and hard-to-find varietals such as Tempranillo, Malbec and Counoise.

Whether these wines are used to understand each individual grape variety or casual sipping, I would even recommend them for a dinner party. The wines of Substance are not only an icebreaker and worthy of great conversation, but also very food friendly.

Also read: Pure and Solid Character: Substance Wines At the time of that posting, some of the Substance wines were not available as many of the more "exotic" wine varietals sell out quick. Tempranillo, Malbec and Counoise are now available.

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