Basel Cellars 2005 merlot

Another early WAwineman classic, 1st posted on May 23, 2008:

Taste of orange nectar, Sunkist rind, and citrus peel, and…wait a minute (remove blindfold…cue: record scratch). Hey! Who put Tropicana orange juice in my Riedel??? That’s why I don’t do well at blindfold taste tests, hence my theme.
Tonight’s surprise grinds was Sorabol Restaurant’s Korean food (kal bi). I was dipping into a few fat-laden morsels when I just HAD to call out a good wine to disperse the fat globules of love. An OB just couldn’t cut it. Etiquette note on eating kal bi…the tender marinated slices of beef short ribs were meant to be eaten “hot” so, yes, enjoy the banchan (sides of kimchi–fermented and spiced vegetables, scrambled eggs, etc.) but don’t let the meat go cold! And, unfortunately, it is served with some really “raw” onion slices so avoid unless you want some serious punishment. Someday, they will serve Walla Walla sweets and that’s when I turn Koreanese. I think I’m turning Koreanese, I think I’m turning Koreanese, I really think so…okay, fine, I’ll stop.
Basel Cellars is a destination winery with a huge 13k square foot mansion looking like a Street of Dreams home. Founded 2001 as part of the Walla Walla-wave of new wineries. Predominantly a red winery, with token chard and sau blanc introduced recently. Trey Busch made this hunker but he’s gone. Justin Basel is the new oenologist..he looks like the typical young whipper-snapper in this new wave of winemakers. He looks so young, he could be my son, but he’s just finishing up in the WWCC enology and viticulture program. This winery has a very long and bright future. Two estate vineyards at Pheasant Run and Double River Ranch. Three levels to participate in their wine clubs. The fascinating ones involve “reserving the Estate for personal use”. Hmmm. This could be dangerous if I invite my old frat-boys buddies…or, maybe Mister WineChatR-dude can hold a website retreat and write it off as a business expense for reaching 236 Connections!!! Yea!!! Ok…I woke up.
Alcohol: 14.6% (it’s true). Walla Walla AVA. First estate bottling. 100% new French and American oak. Aged 19 months. Bronze medal 2008 SF Chronicle Wine Competition (what the heck do they know about WA wines???). Pheasant Run Vineyard. Walla Walla Valley AVA.
Nose: cedar and plum notes. Color: Jimi Hendrix. Mouthfeel: light heavyweight. Tail trail: 5 seconds, but surprisingly a fader. Flavors: purple fruits dancing with the stars. Very stable with some chewiness from the tannins at the end. Delicious.
Rated: 90. Value: $30. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.
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