Another early WAwineman classic, 1st posted on February 2, 2008:
February is ‘red blend’ month for me. Expect at least six reviews this month on WA wines. My opinion is that a red blend defines the winemaker’s artistic abilites. Anyone can source great grapes, but it takes the skill of the winemaker to place her/his fingerprint to craft a fine blend that says, “Here I am, don’t tread on me.”
With that oblivious start, I introduce to you…Waterbrook 2005 Melange (Columbia Valley). This winery is located on the western edge (Touchet) of the superb Walla Walla AVA and has been around since 1984 (Walla Walla’s 4th winery). So, it’s another one of the pioneers of the modern WA wine rising. Janet and Eric Rindal run the winery and John Freeman is the winemaker. The winery itself is now owned by Precept Brands, which among its portfolio also includes Sockeye Winery (another good value chardonnay producer that I’ve enjoyed). Waterbrook is a complement off of the local tribe’s translation of Walla Walla, meaning running water. Well, this is some good water we have here. After starting off with a fortified Campbell’s chicken noodle soup (spices added for some zing), I quaffed a first taste of Melange and first thing I noticed was the spice in the tail. Something like black pepper. Because the label stated a significant amount of sangiovese, I chose it for a pairing with DiGiorno’s Garlic Bread Pizza Supreme. Good call! Melange is not overpowering but clearly in the moderate category. Definite red and black fruit on the aroma, a worthy tail that releases a variety of flavors, and easy down the hatch. I’ve seen Waterbrook’s wines at other markets so to finally try one satisfies my curiosity and confirms that standard WA table wines are ‘da bomb’, baby!
Alcohol: 13.8%. 40% merlot, 32% cab sau, 18% sangiovese, 7% cab franc, 3% syrah. Vineyards: Blackrock, Candy Mountain, Chandlers Reach, Elephant Mountain, Jones, Oasis, and Stonetree. Aging: 10 months in 34% new oak. Fining: egg whites. Bottled: 8/14/06. Cases: 16522. Rated 89: Wine Spectator. Value: $14.99. (Everyday wines = up to $15, premiums $15-35, uber-premiums $35-70, cult status>$70) Wawineman…uncorked, uneducated, but not uncouth.