Arbor Crest Wine Cellars 2007 Four Vineyards merlot

Another WAWineman classic, 1st posted on March 8, 2010:

Philadelphians have some strange historical humor… the real head of a horse, “Old Baldy”, from the Civil War will be on display again after a dispute of ownership between two museums was settled. I can just imagine in twenty years or so, Sean Sullivan and Josh Wade fighting over the cured head of Paul Gregutt. Oh Kentucky, land of “Unbridled Spirit”, is now also known as the land of “Unleashed breastmilk.” A 31 year-old Owensboro woman, in jail for public intoxication, assaulted a jail officer by squirting breast milk into her face. This is considered a third-degree felony assault in that part of the commonwealth. Curiously, Kentucky Tilth came to the lactating woman’s defense, stating that the milk came from a bluegrass-fed entity and that authorities should observe and respect the astrological signs signaling no felonies be charged while the moon is in the third house. I heard you say, “Huh?”!

Meanderings from the local e-scape:
–Holy crapola…Paul Gregutt, Mister “I don’t tweet, Facebook, or honk if I love Zinfandel” is now on Twitter. Some lame advice: Paul, no matter how you try, you will never, ever be an “icon” to the new generation of wine drinkers. This generation “lost” makes their own rules and cannot afford the wines you (and us gen-Xers) drink with admiration. They generally have the attention span of a nit but love any entitlements they feel they deserve at your expense. Dither from morons like Paris Hilton, Ashton Kutcher and the Jonas Brothers command more attention than you will ever attract. Save your meanderings for us “old fogies.” And, don’t forget that chardonnay is still a grape to be reckoned with around here.
–did u know? It’s Washington Wine Month. Like I need a constant, daily reminder that it’s “Washington Wine Month” already! March has been Washington Wine Month since I was attached to an umbilical cord, so knock off the Twitter regurgitations! And, yeah a March date (I will not freely advertise the exact day) will convene with a 1978-Jonestown, Guyana-like merlot infusion. I am reminded. Every. Effin. Day. I’m not deaf, Tweeps!
–buy your merlot for that effin Washington merlot day from Costco. Here’s the latest price sheet (price, alcohol):
Kirkland Signature 2008 Columbia Valley $9.59, 14%
Barnard Griffin 2007 WA State $10.99, 13.8%
Arbor Crest 2007 Four Vineyards, Columbia Valley $11.99, 13.8%
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2007 Indian Wells Vineyard, Columbia Valley $12.99, 14.5%
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2006 Canoe Ridge, Horse Heaven Hills $14.99, 14.7%
Waterbrook 2006 Reserve, Columbia Valley $16.99, 13.7%
Reininger 2005 Walla Walla Valley $19.99, 14.4%
Leonetti Cellar 2007 Walla Walla Valley $67.99…oops, sold out suckas!
…like I need a bell to tell me when to drink Washington State merlot. It’s so damn good, I drink it whenever I feel like it. And, btw, Januik Winery makes the best merlot around. I don’t know why folks like PaulG and, basically, everyone else ignores that fact.

Arbor Crest Wine Cellars in Spokane is all about the Cliff House symbol. The two-story mansion was built in 1924 by Royal Newton Riblet and was purchased by the winery in 1985 as a National Historic Landmark. There was also a tram and a now un-swimmable 60,000 gallon pool. Riblet was an inventor and his brother, Byron was a chairlift manufacturer. Unfortunately, the Cliff House suffered a charring fire just before Christmas last year, but is under reconstruction with the help of every purchase of Arbor Crest’s wines. That is when I bought this wine from Costco.

The winemaker is UC-Davis fermentation graduate Kristina Mielke-van Loben Sels and her husband, James, is an experienced viticulturalist. They are the second-generation that oversees the winery. The winery produces twelve red- and two white wines. Their “Dionysus” red wine is, perhaps, the jewel of their lineup.

Tonight’s food pairing was a challenge. Pork chops with baked veggies. Yeah, I was thinking riesling myself. But no, the WAwineman is all about finding new discoveries so I pulled out this bottle and challenged it with the piggy-on-the-plate, thinking the red fruits would play nicely with the white-sauced gravy and black-pepper-sprinkled ‘taters and carrots. I lucked out again! It was like a side of black currants to balance the light flavors of the meat and accoutrements. Recommended.

Color: inky black. Nose: black fruits. Mouthfeel: bantamweight, barely there. Tail trail: 3 seconds. Flavors: blackberry, burn, oven-baked raspberries, dunno about the chocolate notes. Balance: toward the burnt end of blackberries but a mild end at that. Power: wistful. Depth: scratched the surface. Finesse: hey, it’s twelve bucks, give it a break. I also wonder about “full bodied.”

Columbia Valley AVA. Four vineyards: 43% Dionysus 16B, 29% Conner Lee, 18% Bacchus 4, 10% Klipsun. 100% merlot. Harvest dates: 9/11-10/8, 2007. Twelve months in French oak. 2500 cases. Pressed cork. Released September, 2009. You win, Sean…music pairing: “YMCA” by The Village People. Rated: 87. Value: $12. Paid: $12.  This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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