While we here at world headquarters are happy for all those who participated in some fanboy’s air-tasting of some cheapass pinot gris recently, yeah all two of you who could snatch a bottle so you can proudly gayyy-tweet what a badass you iz, the rest of us dug into a dust-stained fifth of a classic– Gun Metal. And, not just any Gun Metal, but the metal-est of all Gun Metals… from the vaunted 2005 vintage.
Some background… there has been unsubstantiated criticism that protégés of the Mark Ryan Winery style of winemaking is not made to stand up to the test of time. The wines are “too hot” and “too ripe” to age gracefully; thus, how can they be considered “classic” wines that dare be mentioned in the same stinky sommelier breath with the “chateau” French wines that are now made for the suddenly palate-discriminating Chinese? Yo, yo, yo… hold on there, you $10-wine-sipping badass yahoo!
First of all, do not dare compare those grossly overpriced comatose-fruited wines from the other side of the pond to our bright Washington wines. French wines have their place at the table but they frequently take boo-koo cellar time to develop their stinkiness enough to match the overripe aromas of their drinkers. Or, perhaps French men are just attracted to that barnyard stank because their women waft that way. Hold on. I gots the hots for a Frenchie at work and she smells like a fresh rose that needs her petals plucked. Just sayin’. So why then do the status-conscious constantly boast of drinking overpriced mushroom extract? It’s rather simple, Holmes. These dudes have small penises and, like driving an oversized truck, have to compensate by blowing a wad on Chateau Choad-eau instead of blowing a man-sized wad where it should be blown… on a woman.
Secondly, ya know… everyone’s a fuckin’ insatiable hipster critic. 97-100 ‘rated’ wines get the “overripe, too hot” designation. Never mind that’s just a style. Sub-90 wines get the “not worth a damn” slot, despite most of them being great values and perfect casual sippers with more than a few of them being ‘presentation dinner’-eligible. The “90-95 rated” wines get all the hype and glory and adoration of the wine geek-masses, even though some of the more famous labels actually got there by paying off the rags that publish this nonsense. It’s the unspoken rule, and one of many, in this fabulously unregulated world of wine slotting where wineries/retailers blissfully lie about a wine’s attributes in order to gain a sale. And, by observing today’s many gassed-up blubber emails, it’s a tech that gillnets the superficially knowledgeable to some amazing profits. What do we call it when some hooter touts a bogus product as some ‘next coming’ and duping otherwise sensible consumers into paying stupid-crazy dollars for an average wine (and with a 5% chance of it being corked)??? A cult.
Thirdly, let’s put this “Washington wines don’t age” thing to rest. Be reasonable here. It’s 2013. Nano is in. Decades is out. So, let’s agree that aging a wine for seven years should qualify a wine for “legendary” or “classic” status. Why would anyone bother holding a wine for so long? Is it that bad that you don’t want to drink it? Proper aging should take a couple of years then it should be ready. Really oaked-up wines like from DeLille and Quilceda Creek should take about five years before reaching its theoretical maximum, whatever that is. That’s why it’s called “theoretical.” Argue however you want, the lines have blurred. So, seven years is considered reasonable for aging a Washington wine.
And that brings us to this wine. 2005 was (and still is considered by many in Woodinville) thee vintage. It had everything. Nearly every wine from 2005, from $3 scrapers to $75 bombs… nearly every wine represented the top standard for its winery producer. Don’t be in denial, millenials. For those who got online after the 2005 vintage, they claim the 2007 vintage as the crowning vintage. Nice consolation, but you missed out. Too bad, so sad.
When this wine was first released, it was literally an explosion of fruit. Like a scud missile of black fruits landed on your palate. And, back then, because few wines could deliver such a powerful force of flavors, this style was locally embraced as the epitome of what Washington wines should aspire to. So, what happened over the years?
To the wine…
Tasted at 64-68 degrees on the IR temp gun. Rich ruby-magenta on the swirl with aromas of subdued red fruit, cedar-mulched flower garden, red licorice and red plum give an exciting leadoff to a full-bodied and lengthy experience on the palate, expressing black currant, Farrell’s-quality sweet tannins, and lusty cigar box. Smooth and effortless. Cork broke. Food pairing was flank steak.
Alcohol: 14.7% (label). Conner Lee Vineyard in the Columbia Valley AVA. 48% cabrnet sauvignon, 43% merlot, 9% cabernet franc. 75% new French oak. Barrels: Saury and Quintessence. 325 cases. Released July, 2008. Power: 3/5. Balance: 3/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 3/5. Rated: 92. Value: $40. Paid: $35. Music pairing: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth. “Baer rules- Guardian is just so so. j/k JReiner”