Another early WAwineman classic, 1st posted on February 6, 2008:
I know I was having Stouffer’s Vegetable Lasagna, party size, so it was a choice between Barnard Griffin’s cab-merlot or this. I chose this based on the historically scientific rock-paper-scissors (with only one person??). I know, I know, just go with me on this most uneducated hunch. I’ve wanted to sample the Barnard Griffin more but Maryhill has this…ambience, if you will. I’ve checked their website before and let me tell ya, when I’m in the area, this is one winery on my must-see list. What a view! I can only imagine what an experience it would be to listen to a concert at their amphitheater. Oh, mighty Columbia! This winery (est. 1999) is situated in the two-state Columbia Gorge AVA (est. 2004) and definitely the biggest one at 55,000 cases last year (Syncline is the other notable neighbor). All I can say is if I lived there, I would never move. The views are that astounding! (Now, if only they had an Elemis spa and a Viper roller coaster and some squeaky rodent like…Rickey Rat) Hey, this is about the wine, sucka…okay, okay. Winemaker Craig Larson is kept busy with the plethora of varietals he puts out, from barbera to zinfandel. His Rose of Sangiovese is getting great reviews and the 2006 gewurz was recently awarded a best buy by Wine Enthusiast (rated 89). So, after I dip into the formerly frozen meatless lasagna, I take a breather and, whoa!, this baby has a pungent bouquet! Roses, anyone? A sip further confirms that this isn’t your average twelve buck chuck. Black cherry and other black and red fruits hit immediately on the palate and leave a tail trail of about 3 seconds. A little tilted toward the fruit side, but impressive nonetheless. A deep red-to-black color. And, call me illusionary (not to be confused with visionary), but I swear I thought I tasted oolong tea in the trail, among the regular cast of characters. It does leave the mouth a little puckery. Mr. Larson’s notes state fruits of boysenberry, black cherry, and cranberry. And, definitely a bold (but quick) finish. A good match with naked lasagna.
Alcohol: 14.2%. Cab sau, merlot, syrah, and cab franc. Rated: 85 (WE). Value: $16. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated, but not uncouth.