Renegade Wine Company 2008 Horse Heaven Hills red wine

Until I witness a lame wine blogger gun down his/her wine glass filled with Cayuse wine, I consider the definition of “polarizing” as this: a WI man, who could pass as my father, gunned down his (1) ex-wife; (2) ex-mistress; (3) ex-pet Chihuahua; or (4) his tv set, after watching Bristol Palin miraculously survive another cut on “Dancing With The Stars.” There’s something in them there cheese…ain’t that right, Corey? A Detroit man refused a $150,000 from a settlement with Del Monte Foods over a (1) fresh can of fruit cocktail; (2) a can of Ding Dongs labeled ‘peaches’; or (3) a lid exploded off a jar of fruit and hit him in the face. Don’t settle for less, brother! I got a millyun from a Stelvin cap that popped me in the nards. At least, that’s my retirement plan. Facebook plans to kill email with its novel messaging system, leading users to tell friends to “F- me” instead of “email me.” Yeah, I can see that working with the millenials. Does Facebook lead to infidelity? Apparently so with a New Jersey parish…a pastor is demanding his leaders to delete their Facebook accounts after he found the social network site was “reigniting old passions.” Which kind of reinforces my thoughts on churches (in general) that it is the original “social networking site.” After all, ever met a Catholic woman who didn’t know the “missionary position”? Point!

The thinking behind “second labels” disturbs me. Oh sure, the wine in a “second label” isn’t good enough for the “first label,” hence the winemaker still wants to make money off of it, just not at the expense of “downgrading” the reputation of the “first label.” Ok. Fine. Then, why bother placing the name of the “first label” winery on the back label? You know, wine drinkers ain’t THAT stupid. Just admit the winemaker wants to save time on TTB paperwork…ok, good enough. What is the need to create an air of mystery over a “second label” wine? I believe the oddfellows over at Garagiste tried to hype up this Renegade Wine Co. deal, but word spread quickly that it was made by (a good winery in) Sleight of Hand Cellars.

Let’s clear this deal. The winemaker at Sleight of Hand Cellars is Trey Busch. We haven’t been the most cordial to each other in comments on the Washington Wine Report, but I respect his views and I am intelligent enough to separate the wine personality from the…person personality. Winemakers can be asswipes, just like any other profession. Most of them make less than even a public school teacher, so it’s not the most envious financial endeavour in my book, but as an artist, each winemaker creates an indelible palate-ial expression equiplanar to any aspiring chef in an upscale restaurant. Some rise, some fall, the rest disappear back into the real world.

Renegade’s wines are not crafted by the winemaker; instead, the business model instructs the wines be made through purchasing bulk juice on the open market, then the winemaker does his/her best in blending the trainloads. There is no professed consistency, but at the amazing values these sometimes provide, that’s not the point, Vern. On rare occasion, knowledgable wine drinkers get clued in to such a blend, but made from a single-vineyard. And, the final product is tariffed to fulfillment by a Hamilton. A rare conception, indeed.

This is one of those wines.

Tonight’s food pairing was a duo of pizzas from Culinary Circle: spicy Italian sausage and pepperoni. Both were excellent, excellent food pairings with the meat and spices ideally pairing with the dark fruit and singe of the wine. One of the best Wednesday night pairings yet.

Tasted at 58-60 degrees on the IR temp gun. Generous aromas of dark plum, blackberry pie, and ripe raspberries waft from the sea of crystal clear ebony purple. Bantamweight on the palate, moderately enduring flavors of black fruits, early blueberries, black pepper, drying tannins, and beef jerky effortlessly clear the cheesy lipids from the tastebuds.

Alcohol: 14.1%. 39% cab sau, 39% cab franc, 13% grenache, 9% syrah. Shamefully, no website for this good wine. “Glasses? We don’t need no stinking glasses.” Careful, this is not the ubiquitous “Columbia Valley” version. Vineyard: Canoe Ridge. Black Stelvin cap. Rated: 90. Paid: $9. Value: $16. Music pairing: “Twilight Time” by The Platters. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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