Coyote Canyon 2008 albarino

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on March 1, 2010:

They waited patiently in their cramped cabins for six days, hoping for a break in the weather. Some had already walked off the mountain in their street clothes. The trainmen tried to clear a path but the precipitation was relentless. It was snowing a foot an hour. Slides to the east and west made it impossible to move so they stayed immobile at Wellington, just west of Stevens Pass. Laborers, paid 15 cents an hour, tried in vain to clear the drifts but ended up walking off the job. Just past midnight on March 1, thunder and lightning paralyzed the area and the following sounds were of  screams. The train cars had been knocked off their tracks. In all, 96 people died that fateful night, and one hundred years later, the event is still the most deadly avalanche in U.S. history. March 1, 1910. Let us Washingtonians never forget.

I have spieled about albarino in my previous review from Abacela Winery so let’s talk about Coyote Canyon. Oh wait, their website basically…sucks, so I will go with Bob Woehler’s commentary from a few months ago. Mike Andrews is the owner/winemaker and also manages the 1135-acre vineyard that dishes grapes to other wineries. I have crossed paths with this winery with their delicious 2007 viognier review over a year ago. However, one look at this clear bottle with what amounts to two cheap stickers slapped on would tell me not much effort was put into the marketing of this wine. Do not fall for this illusion! Sometimes, a small winery will forego the fancy packaging costs and invest its efforts into their wines. This appears to be the case here. If I wasn’t so into this grape, albarino, then this bottle would be easy to overlook. I knew, previously at the time, that Coyote Canyon was the only winery that bottled albarino so it was on my “watch list” whenever I perused a wine section at a market. The winery was sold out and the production was small so I almost gave up looking for this wine, until I was on the hunt for that Uruguayan tannat. Funny how while targeting a specific wine, I ended up with another desired bottle instead. Such has been my destiny lately, and I am sure I am not alone with these results. This is part of the joy of shopping for wine that makes up my wine experience. You think the folks at the big wine mags do this for their reviews of wines that are mailed to them? Yeah, I don’t think so, either. But, that’s their loss and our gain. That’s why I think they are out of touch with today’s wine consumers and their reviews are not worth even scratching my rectum for.

I would like to detail more about what’s on their label, but it is so difficult to read that I won’t bother to explain the details until they shore up their website (and labels). Tonight’s pairing was…sushi from Central Market, along with their Korean kal-bi meat. I have raved about the bracing acidity from Abacela’s version and how I think it is thee premier shellfish wine. Here’s the key with sushi…the dominating ingredients are not the toppings itself, but the sushi rice and, for the hardcore sushi-etiquette folks, the ga-ri (ginger accompaniment). There’s good sushi rice and…not-good sushi rice. The key there is the mirin, also called Japanese vinegar. Most American sushi joints use the same rice so that is not a factor, unless they mis-cook it. After a sushi-aficionado finishes a piece, what follows is a palate-cleanser or ga-ri. This pink pimple that is often slabbed with a mound of lime-green-colored horseradish (meant to imitate ground pungent wasabi root), but is pushed to the side as an afterthought. Most diners never touch these as the taste is so…for lack of a cleaner adjective, so foreign. Hey pal, you’re missing the full experience of sushi-eating if you ignore these condiments, unless you had your sushi at the most hardcore of sushi eateries like Sasabune, where the sushi-masters tell you how to eat their creations. As for the food pairing, it is now confirmed that albarino is a great match with sushi and seafood. Surprisingly, albarino also cuts through lightly-marinated kal-bi, making for a good pairing.

Color: bright and very light straw. Nose: peach, lemon peel. If you smell tropical fruits—get your nose checked. Mouthfeel: airy at first then some tart off the sides. Tail trail: 5 seconds. Flavors: peachmon. Acidity not as strong as Abacela’s either. An easy quaffer but this is off-target. This is for those who like sauvignon blanc but with softer lemon and grapefruit flavors. Good strong backbone with the acidity.

Alcohol: 13.9%. Horse Heaven Hills AVA. Coyote Canyon Vineyard. Music pairing: “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and The Pips. Rated: 88. Value: $15. Paid: $18. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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