Another early WAwineman classic, 1st posted on February 10, 2008:
February is red-blend exploration month for me, before I conquer Le Parrain on March 1. I’ve scoured the markets and the niche wine stores, buying whatever’s on the shelf and pairing it blind with whatever’s on the dinner menu. I normally don’t bother with anything less than $25, as that’s my cutoff for a guarantee of something I will truly enjoy. And it HAS to be WA wine. Sorry, I’m just that narrow-minded. Once I have tasted every WA winery, then I’ll consider exploring the rest of creation. After all, when a legendary Napa winemaker like Andre Tchelistcheff states the greatest wine will be made in the Pacific Northwest, why give up the home field?
So, this was a curiosity. My actual target was the malbec from Wines of Substance, which I bought (for a future review). However, this wine was in the main display where the malbec used to be. The hype was that it was a $20 wine, on sale for $10. This market, being in an urban zone (next to Seattle Center), must have hundreds of customers everyday passing by this display so…let’s do them a favor and rate this wine before anyone else does.
So…as a world premiere, here it is! Tonight’s pairing is an unusual one, I admit, even for my own Neptunian matches. Only the most regional gourmands would understand this one. O-den. O-den is the equivalent of a Japanese working person’s stew. Soy sauce-based, not tomato-based. Basically, throw in your odds-and-ends into a diluted shoyu-based soup, let it simmer until everything is soft and soaked, and enjoy. I’ve seen street vendors in Tokyo hocking this stuff and let me just say that it is a pure treat (and cheap). Contents include, but not limited to: turnip radish (daikon), konnyaku (made from a root vegetable), fishcakes, carrots, squash (kabocha), mushrooms, lotus root, bamboo, and fish cake balls (tsukune). So, texture is soft, taste is salty, and food base is vegetables/fish. Match was decent…passable (cheap sake or Japanese beer would have bettered it).
The wine had a moderate bouquet of red fruits/flowers. Color is deep red to purple. Mouthfeel is filling but not overly expansive. Tail trail of less than 3 seconds, predominantly red fruit with a little spice. This wine tastes a little different (a little tart), likely due to the malbec. Not a traditional Bourdeaux. A great match, I imagine, would be with a slab of Argentinian beef cooked medium with gravy and mushrooms. Or, a French dip. For some reason, this makes me want to sing, “Our house, (duh-dunn), inthe middleof ourstreet, our house, (duh-dunn), that is whereweusedtosleep…”
Alcohol: 14.2%. Merlot, malbec, and cab sau. Produced and bottled by FMNW2 Wine Co., Richland, WA (another ‘atomic’ bottling). Good luck finding this company…not listed among the current WA wineries. At least they use real cork. Value: $11 (House wine should NEVER be ‘premium’ priced). This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated, but not uncouth.