Brian Carter Cellars 2005 L’Etalon red wine

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on August 24, 2010:

Ya know, I can only do so much to protect the integrity of Washington State (not D.C., that’s hopeless). An Elma neighbor collecting the mail while the owner was away discovered a couple having sex on the floor before fleeing. They got away naked-clean, but forgot to tote their video camera that was still running! Deputies arrested the 39 year-old cougar but are still looking for the 31 year-old man. Typical Marysville bums… two armed men ended up robbing the wrong house before fleeing with stolen electronics that was later recovered by police on a tip from neighbors. Sounds like these guys work for a pizza delivery company. The wineman reincarnated as a teen gurl… a 17 year-old Auburn girl totaled a 1997 BMW after hitting a guardrail on northbound I-5 near Federal Way then broke down on the off-ramp at S. 320th St. A State Patrol trooper said the girl had fallen asleep at the wheel after drinking at a friend’s house in Tacoma. She blew a 0.084, which was four times the 0.02 limit for minors. Thank goodness for the Liquor Control Board and the three-tier system for preventing underage drinking…oh wait, this will be known as an “anomaly.” Yeah, right.

Finally, the wineman HAS COME BACK TO…Brian Carter Cellars! Brian Carter Cellars has been around since 1997 when Brian did his first crush (for his 80-case Solesce wine) at Apex Cellars. Brian has been around the block, so to speak, before settling in his once isolated winery/tasting room just south of the Hollywood Schoolhouse. Brian’s apparently got ADHD when it comes to wine (like many others in the industry)…crafting sterling wines or consulting at: Paul Thomas, Mount Eden, Chateau Montelena, McCrea Cellars, Hedges Family Cellars, Randall Harris, Silver Lake, and Apex. His talent is in the blending of grapes to create fine, award-winning wines. His dedicated winery in Woodinville became incorporated in late-2004. Today, the adjacent area includes tasting rooms for: Dusted Valley Vintners, DeLille Cellars’ Carriage House, Gifford Hirlinger, Hollywood Hill Vineyards, Challenger Ridge, all the tasting rooms at Redwood Place and the Hollywood Schoolhouse zone, and Otis Kenyon and Covey Run.

Brian only works with six vineyards for all his blends, five from the Yakima Valley and one from Wahluke Slope. He made most of these connections with the vineyards from his work back in the 1980’s when nobody paid a nickel’s worth of attention to Washington wines. How can one not admire the man who has such intimate knowledge of the grapes he works with?

Brian Carter Cellar’s wines are sporadically found in the finer wine shops around the Puget Sound, which denotes the strength of his 6000+ case annual production. This one was plucked from Costco (the 2006 “Le Coursier” is the current release) earlier in the season. L’etalon means the “stallion” versus “Le Coursier” –the steed, or a horse of war, which connotes that Brian is “hot tempered” toward a goal of his. Perhaps, it is his quest to make the finest Bourdeaux-style red wine in the world. Is this a hint that he crossed paths with a Pepé Le Pew?

Tonight’s food pairing was, oh so yummy take-out from Panda Express. Actually, the food isn’t so bad compared to the dry hamburger patties from McDonald’s. I thought about pairing my quarter-pounder lunch meal with Waters Winery 2007 Forgotten Hills syrah, but a small sense of dignity prevented me from following through. I don’t think Dr. Walter Clore would have approved. Just a fantasy…

Tasted at 61-68 degrees on the IR gun. In the glass, a pert liquid blackberry gelatin with some crimson edges with entrancing aromas of rustic black plum stuffing the nares. Lean, fit and trim in the mouth, the black cherry flavors dominate with a backup of black licorice, blackberry, sweet tannins and some tailing heat leave a 6 second tail of wonder.

Alcohol: 14.6%. Columbia Valley AVA. Several hundred cases. Released October, 2008. 55% merlot (17% from Stone Tree, 38% from Solstice), 28% cab sau (Stone Tree), 10% cab franc (Solstice), and 7% malbec (Snipes Canyon). 24.9 Brix average. TA at bottling 0.59. pH 3.73. RS 0.2%. Music pairing: “Fantasy” by Aldo Nova. Rated: 91. Value: $25. Paid: $20. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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