2010 Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon

Fantastic bottle of red from Castle Rock Winery.  The grapes for this 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon are grown in Columbia Valley vineyards that (seemingly) share the same latitude as the Bordeaux region of France.  That’s an interesting fact in particular because the Castle Rock followed immediately on the heels of a Bordeaux that earned some praise in Notes — but what a contrast between the two.

The 2010 Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon, with Columbia Valley grapes cellared and bottled in Geyserville, California, USA.

The 2010 Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon, with Columbia Valley grapes cellared and bottled in Geyserville, California, USA.

The 2010 Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon had a richer and fruitier taste to it, with berry scents released immediately upon the pour.  The Cadillac was fine, but the Castle Rock was by far the superior wine to this palate.  Lots of black berries in this one, and much smoother finish by comparison.  The Chateau Close la Chapelle was the red blend, but it was the Castle Rock that seemed to weave in more spices, more flavors…a definite winner in their head-to-head matchup.

I do wonder, though, how much of this can be attributed to the stemware?  We do have a specially shaped Cabernet Sauvignon glass (a Syrah and Pinot Noir glass too–thanks Bec) but not a Bordeaux glass.  I’ve learned that the right glass opens the bouquet the right way, and even directs the flow of wine to the appropriate taste buds upon drinking so there’s some validity to the question.

This 2010 is aged in French oak barrels for 18 months “to soften and add complexity” and accompanied a delicious grilled tuna steak and an arugula/orzo salad.  High marks all across the board and we know exactly how to get more of each treat.  Good roadmap for you too.

2011 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Crest

A long work day in frigid Chicago culminated at the Capital Grill bar, with the Hurricanes vs. Blue Devils basketball game on the bar TV and bright-colored bottles beckoning.  I was tired and well beyond the point of banal small talk, and thus encouraged to see the familiar H3 label behind the bartender.

2011 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Crest, Washington, USA.

2011 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Crest, Washington, USA.

I knew that Horse Heaven Hills had been part of Notes in the past and selected the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon to help warm up my freezing hands and insides.  This Columbia Crest cab quickly ingratiated itself to me, its peppery and spicy undertones doing well to prop up its jammy fruit flavors.  The 2011 Horse Heaven Hills, in my humble estimation, had a deep, earthy taste and an easy finish.  Really enjoyed this.

The H3 accompanied assorted breads and a classic steakhouse meal–a 10oz filet mignon (grilled “medium rare plus”) with creamed corn.  My tired self skipped the wedge salad and just swirled this ruby red around an oversized glass, finally content for the day…glad that I’d selected this Washington-based bargain.

Chateau Ste. Michelle, 2010 Riesling

Based on some online recommendations, this Columbia Valley Riesling I picked to accompany the veal saltimbocca, french fries, and broccoli raab that I had in celebration of our anniversary.  One glass carried me through a tasty garden salad; the second was paired with my entre.  In this respect it was more valuable, a light and sweetish Riesling that played off both the saltiness of the veal and the bitterness of the broccoli.

Great evening that far outshines this Washington white wine.  Much of it’s personal, so let me simply say the 2010 Chateau Ste. Michelle is probably better in a food pairing (some good ideas noted above) unless you enjoy its innate oaky sweetness.