15 Nov 2009
Tonight, I want to continue our experience from last nights visit to Left Bank Wine Bar in downtown Spokane (thanks again to Aaron, Katrina and Jennifer).
Of the four wines we tasted, the Amavi definitely had the most personality and structure. Left Bank wine buyer, Jennifer, mentioned that it is their best seller and the only red that has been on their menu for the entire seven months they’ve been open.
For the visual experience refer to Episode 2 of DrinkNectar.com
The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla, WA was big and bold, but not quite as big as most Washington Cabs. Amavi has a great reputation and I remember trying an earlier vintage of this wine when we visited Walla Walla in 2008. This wine is 81% Cab, 12% Merlot, and small %’s of Cab Franc and Syrah. I believe the Merlot and Syrah have helped to tame this beast. My overall impression of the wine was big, but the finish (after you’ve swallowed and the taste lingers), left me feeling like I was chewing on my tongue. This wine, in my opinion, would be best with food. I could imagine a big whiskey burger, or steak that is heavily marinated in a spicy tomato BBQ sauce. If I was at home, I would have put this away until I was ready to eat. The wine still feels really young, the 16 months in oak should tame down if left in a cellar for 2-3 years.
- Swirl – Very dark in color, opaque, and slightly cloudy
- Sniff - Big dark berry fruits, medium cedar, and dark chocolate. Imagine a raspberry smore using cedar chips instead of graham crackers
- Sip – Here is where the oak barrels can be found, heavy spice and herbs, letting it linger produces more subtle chocolate flavor. The finish is moderately acidic, high in tannins.
- Rating to Price Value – $$$, in a few years, easily a $$$$+ out of 5
The fourth wine of the night was called Night & Day. I swear the menu said Washington, but all I have been able to find online is this Oregon label to the right.
This wine is not your garden variety kitchen sink blend where wineries sell their excess juice wholesale to avoid dumping it or diluting their brand. To be honest, I had never had a blend with so many varietals – Cab Franc, Malbec, Syrah, Cab Sauv, Sangiovise, Grenache and Tempranillo.
At first taste, my wife was very impressed. After she had a few more sips, I had pretty high expectations from her ‘oohs’ and ‘aaaahs’. To be honest, I was a little less than blown away. The wine was alright. It would be a good drinking wine or served with a mild pasta dish, basic burger, or pizza, but there was nothing distinct about it. I would serve this to a friend who was on the fence about red wine. It would be a good starter wine thats not too big to offend.
2006(?) A-Z Night & Day; Oregon(?) – $17
- Swirl – cloudy, basic red wine, zero legs (meaning little acidity)
- Sniff – honestly just your basic juice smell, grape licorice rope, very soft spice
- Sip- Very basic, very little tannin, no structure
- Rating to Price Value – $$; I expect a wine like this to be under $10 but at $17 a bottle; $7 a glass, I’ll pass for a better experience.
DOTD? – Alexandria Nicole 2008 Viognier (reminded me of summer when we have snow on the ground) – Didn’t pair super well with what was served at our dinner party (jambalaya) – but that was my fault, I should’ve brought a big spicy red (like the Cabernet reviewed above) to compete with the sausage. What are you drinking?
Enjoy life with friends and DRINK.HAPPY