Another early WAwineman classic, 1st posted on May 15, 2008:
Go cruising with an abusive partner and end up “lost at sea.” What’s wrong here? On lighter news, say, did any of you get that Presidential Physical Fitness Award in school? I remember we had two awards, a red patch for the uber-athletes in my elementary school, and the blue patch for the “nice effort, nerd” folks. Gee, guess which one I got. I couldn’t do pullups without peeing in my pants. How I ever qualified for that blue patch still amazes me to this day. Why, it foreshadowed a stellar athletic career of long jumping 19’2″ (1st place in a pre-season meet, before all the jocks arrived after basketball season was over) and making several winning baskets in neighborhood games. wow. But I digress.
MAY IS FOR MERLOT LOVERS!!! Geez, I finally got the message. After sucking down a grand total of precisely one merlot bottle, like Bruce Buffer sez, “iiiIIIT’Z time!!! for the main event”. I picked this lad off the shelf at deVine Wines simply because I’m a sucker for silkscreened labels. C’mon, I know you’ve seen them with Col Solare, fidelitas, Columbia Crest Reserve, Kestrel, and Duck Pond, oh and H3. It’s post-modern, funky hot, bling-looking, and minimally elegant. And paperless. Eye candy. What does that have to do with the wine?? Actually, it makes it sell faster for a clueless bloke like me, shopping for something to drink. And yes, I do keep some bottles for their artwork up in my formal dining room, topping off the shelves and keeping my 19-year old tropical plant, Ernie, company. I’m way off course…help, Skipper!
Five Star Cellars was founded in 2000 by yet another bored retiree (a la L’Ecole No 41). David Huse caught the bug after helping out at another winery then started rolling his own cabernet and released it in 2002. His son, Matt, had just completed the carpentry program at Walla Walla C.C. and was working on some wineries when he, too, caught the bug and enrolled in the first class of the Enology and Viticulture Program at the C.C. Talk about addictive behaviors in wine…we are becoming the Medellin of the north. Matt is now the oenologist and David and their wives, Sandy and Traci, run the business side of the winery. Gotta love a family operation! This is a pure red winery with cab sau and syrah their medal winners. Each vintage gets better scores so they’re doing it right.
Tonight’s menage a trois (manage a 2wa…for you lingo xenophobes) included homemade beef stew and rice. Let’s kick the husband off to the side…rice will never do anything useful with wine. The hearty gravy matched surprisingly well with the intense fruit wafting off the merlot. Why, I was indeed seeing 5 stars and then some after filling my mouth with a generous sip. The soft chunks of saturated beef along with the softened carrots and green beans hummed a savory tune when followed with this pungent liquid. This is a meaty merlot and deserves a beefy pairing. An “ahhhh” way to the end the day after a 5:30am beginning with a heavy workout. That “plus energy” additive at Starbucks really does have an effect.
Alcohol: 14.1%. Walla Walla AVA. 90 points WS. 92 points W&S. Bronze at the Tri-Cities Wine Festival.
Nose: full dose of blackberries. Color: purple ruby. Mouthfeel: heavy blanket on a snowy April night. Tail trail: 4 seconds. Flavors of: black fruit in spades, good tail of spice, middle-of-the-road tannins, and a little sass of something like menthol off the tongue toward the end. Almost on the border of unctuous. 2006 version just released. 2006 notes: vineyards include Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills, Pheasant Run, and Birch Creek. Oak: 100% USA (60% new).
Value: $31. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.