Chateau Ste. Michelle 2006 Tempestade red wine

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

I have no choice but to cancel my British Airways ticket to visit the dentist. Tough new rules designed to curb the heavy drinking culture have banned games like the “dentist’s chair” where drinks are poured directly into the mouth by others, and the pub buffet promotion where it was “all you can drink for 10 pounds ($16).” Back to Yorkshire pudding and spotted dick for them blokes. A 31-year old Fairbanks man got a year of probation for chucking a taco at the local Taco Bell manager, after he claimed his original order contained spit. Dude, it’s Taco Bell…what were you expecting? An executive at the company that makes Bubble Wrap received a wedding invitation from an Ohio woman. No big deal, right? Well, the woman walked to the altar in a gown made from Bubble Wrap! Invite me, hon, and I woulda brought my Winchester Centerfire for the shotgun wedding! Yeee-harrr! Oh Midwesterners.

If the Seattle Mariners baseball club is looking for a bonafide player in left field, call Bob Bertheau at Chateau Ste. Michelle and he’ll deliver this wine as a starter. Who da thought a venerable Washington State winery, excuse me, like the cork says “Washington State’s Founding Winery” would pull this rabbit-on-steroids outta the hat? No one…and I mean, no one else makes a dry red wine from the Portuguese port-wine grapes of Touriga Nacional, Souzao, and Tinta Cao. No one. This is a serious wine to weed out those “I’m tired of traditional French wines-I wanna join the wine century club-I like malbec and cabernet franc” bunch of fleebles. This is a caveman’s wine. This is a biker’s wine. This is a wine that blissfully sticks a diamond-crusted middle-finger to the rest of the fu-fu wine world and is not afraid of the consequences. This is unrefined Charles Smith. A much more disheveled, logger-driven Mark McNeilly. This is Chris Upchurch in a Ford F-450 Super Duty Lariat. This is Brennon Leighton on a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy coming up quickly in your rear-view mirror. Move over or get run over.

A quick run-through of these obscure Washington grapes that are grown at a few vineyards like: Lonesome Springs, Upland, and Hedges Estate. Touriga Nacional is Portugal’s (Douro and Dao regions) grape found in the finest port wines. Thick skins, low yields and small berries. Souzao is a grape cluster behemoth. Tinta Cao, at higher elevations, is intensely floral with black cherries and spices. All Portuguese. All components of fine port wines. All have tough skins, deep black-purple color, and leave a taste of old, worn black-leather strap.

Tonight’s pairing was marinated short ribs from QFC and a medley of asparagus, bell peppers, and onions in a dark black bean gravy. Bob recommends a “thick ribeye or venison.” Bob, I ain’t got that kind of money for a mid-January meal, brother! Now, don’t be stupid and pair this with a Redmond Farms baby head lettuce with chevre vinaigrette and creamed celery root soup! Dessert was Dark Chocolate Nibbits from Fran’s Chocolates. Good call! Wish I had an Oscuro-wrapped Cohiba cigar.

Color: full lunar eclipse-black with deep-purple edges. Nose: gritty, raisiny, feisty blackberries. Mouthfeel: sumo. Tail trail: 15+ unrelenting seconds. Flavors: blackberry tar, baked raisins, grilled figs, mildly tannic, some heat on the tail. Balance: throw a chainsaw and wood chipper on opposite ends of a balanced see-saw. Power: full-throttle, full-bodied. Dimension: at least three layers deep. Finesse: Walter Jones in a bottle.

Columbia Valley AVA. Music pairing: “Run Like Hell” by Pink Floyd. Alcohol: 14.2%. No tasting notes found anywhere so I call this a ‘world premiere’ review. Tempestade is Portuguese for storm. 2nd vintage (this time with Tinta Cao). Columbia Valley AVA. Rated: 93. Value: $45. Paid: $32. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

From Twitter @Lyyc: OMG the sky is black, thunderstorm is coming =S, O céu está preto, tempestade chegando. medo. (The sky is black, storm coming. Fear.)

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