Having recently become leery of wines labeled “red blend,” I was thrilled to discover this one is classic Bordeaux blend, and not one of the overly-popular, overly-sweet “red blends” I’ve been stumbling into lately. This wine opens with aromas of earth and wild thyme, and an almost Mediterranean heat, so that the coolness of the liquid on the tongue is refreshing. Fruit appears on the palate too, but with restraint and grace. Chocolatey tannins emerge on the mid-palate and end-palate. To complete the balance, sparks of acidity ignite throughout, especially on the end-palate and in the longish finish — where the feeling of heat returns. A very good wine by Napa royalty Dennis Cakebread in collaboration with veteran Napa winemaker (and Washington native) Aryn Morell.
Note that this wine shows best in a red Bordeaux-style glass, so don’t stint on the glassware if you have it. Pairs well with everything from beef to pasta to vegetables.
High on the drinkability scale: 93 — BSE
WHO: Mullan Road Cellars
WHAT: 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34 % Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc
WHERE: Columbia Valley, Washington State, US
HOW MUCH: $45 (media sample)