Great wines form the Columbia valley

Back in 1825, the Hudson’s Bay Company first planted vines at Fort Vancouver, now Vancouver, Washington. Since then there has been steady growth - except during prohibition - and today this state is the second largest wine-producing region in the U.S., directly behind California.

There are 13 defined American Viticultural Areas in Washington with the Columbia Valley being the largest. Today, I feature two wines from the Columbia Valley. This region lies about centre in the state and is that same dry inland desert that we see in the

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Okanagan.

Thorny Rose

2011 Red Blend (734285)

Washington

$15.99

Tasting this red, I found a blend of Cabernet

Sauvignon and Merlot. If there are other components, I wasn’t able to easily identify them.

In the glass this wine is purple but has some garnet or tawny highlights. As for the aromas, my first impression was of black cherry followed by some black currant and plum. There is a sense of vanilla and a light hint of cocoa.

In the mouth, it is medium-bodied at best with those same dark fruit flavours. There is some acidity in the finish and a light degree of tannins.

All in all, a simple easy drinking wine that would be safe to serve with any red meat dish, whether it’s a hamburger or pan-seared steak with mushrooms.

StoneCap Wines

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (392969)

Washington

$15.99

The Monson family has been farming in Washington’s Columbia Valley region for three generations. With the knowledge that to make great wines you first start with the vineyard.

In 1999, they founded Goose Ridge winery.

They are committed to their land and the product it provides for them. Each of their wines is grown, vinified and bottled on the estate.

Dark and dense purple is what I see in the glass for colour and what I might expect from a Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose I found both black and some red fruit with a touch of toasty oak.

In the mouth those fruits were black currant, cherry and raspberry in a medium-bodied wine.

The flavours are rich and the mouth feel is very pleasant. The tannins are silky and the acidity is just right.

There is good length to the finish and I could see serving this wine with a nice steak or a cheese course of medium to strong cheeses.

McPherson Vineyards

The Dish GSM (536540)

Australia

$15.99

We have on our shelves a few Australian wines with a GSM designation on them. This refers to the blend of the wine and an indicator that this wine is a classic French Rhne wine blend.

GSM stands for Grenache, Syrah and Mourvdre and are the three more prominent grapes used for the Southern Rhone classic Chteauneuf-Du-Pape. While these wines come from nearly half a world apart the grape varietals show some of the same characteristics but with the different terroir they are quite different.

This wine was like a Rhone wine on steroids. The colour is an intense purple with good density. On the nose the aromas are quite extreme with everything from fruit, spice, almond and everything in-between.

I was really surprised with this wine, I wasn’t expecting as much as was being offered. There were good red and black fruit aromas of both tree and berries.

Also, flavours and scents of spice and earth and touches of oak all show themselves over time. On the palate, it was full-bodied with layers of flavour and texture. The finish seemed to go on forever with tastes of all the flavours that were apparent in the aromas.

I certainly enjoyed this wine and if I were to serve it with food it would be a big hearty beef dish.

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