Cougar Crest Winery 2005 merlot

Another early WAwineman classic, 1st posted on November 8, 2008:

Love them football Cougars and Huskies, what a record year they’re both having. Think I’ll be watching the Apple Cup with a glass of 2-buck Chuck. Nah, I have better things to do…like watch my wine age. A Japanese military officer went into a store to buy panties and pantyhose. No big deal other than the dude was buck nekkid, except for his wallet and shoes. Guess he tried to 1-up those Bellingham hicks who mooned some store customers but leaned their tooshes too hard against the window and broke it. Of equal wit was a Georgia man who cleaned his attic of cobwebs by using a blowtorch that eventually burned part of his house down. I guess the new Cali wines have been released.

Speaking of Cougar-ville…how appropriate to be reviewing a wine with ominous  WSU-roots. This winery started in 2001 at the old Airport by Deborah and David Hansen. She, a pharmacist, and he, a veterinarian. They spent 18 years in SF in their professions before committing their return home in ’96. With a self-sufficient 125-acre farm and classes from UC-Davis (and a few cuttings from nearby vineyards), they took the plunge and sold their grapes for a few years before making their own. They own both Cougar Hills and Golden’s Legacy vineyards. Deb is the oenologist and David is the vineyard manager. Much of their portfolio is from estate-grown grapes, so this is a great opportunity to sample Walla Walla “terroir” at a reasonable price.

Tonight’s sustenance was Costco’s flank steak with apple wood smoked bacon. Very meaty. Very oily. So, very delicious for $16. I passed on pairing this with a Chateau Rollat for reasons unknown to me. A very nice match as the wine cut through the greasiness and held its own against a very strong-flavored steak. I also, in recognition of our economic times, duo’d this with some instant ramen with picante chicken soup base. Not really something I’d recommend, but now I know. The taste of this merlot is a little off-the-beaten-path as I later discovered it is cut with malbec. A fine meat wine.

Alcohol: 14.1%. Merlot 90%, malbec 10%. 952 cases. 2008 Gold at the Seattle Wine Awards, and a bunch of silvers from other competitions. Lovely paw print on the pressed cork. Elegant labeling. Nose: dark cherries. Color: deep purple. Mouthfeel: substantial. Tail trail: 7 seconds. Flavors: black fruit, tannins. Rated: 89. Value: $26. Paid: $33. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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