Sunday, April 3, 2011

Washington Merlot v. California

This week the pros racing in Europe are in Belgium for the Tour of Flanders, one of the greatest one day spring classics there is.  The people from Belgium are fanatics for bike racing.  I don't think the same can be said for wine from this region.  So... we will follow the domestic pros to California this week in honor of The Tour of the Redlands.

Washington 2006 Canoe Ridge Vineyard Merlot v. California 2006 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot.

Tale of the tape

2006 Canoe Ridge Merlot

100% Estate grown merlot from the Canoe Ridge Vineyard in the Columbia Valley.  It is hard to find much more information about this wine due to the recent ownership change.
Purchased for 15.12 at Safeway for 30% off during Washington Wine Month

2006 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot

100% Merlot aged for 16 months in 88% French Oak and 12% American Oak
Purchased for 16.99 at QFC

Round 1.  First Opening:
Canoe Ridge has a nose of cherry, currants, dust and mineral with some slight cedar spice.  The palate is slightly tart pie cherry and an equally cedar tart finish with some hints of licorice.

The Kendall-Jackson is showing a nose of tight red berry with a bit of spice and earth.  The palate is mainly sweet cherry with some tobacco, spice and a dry finish.

The K-J seems really tight on first opening while the Canoe Ridge seems like it is ready to rumble.

Round 1 goes to Canoe Ridge.  Will K-J relax and step up in round 2?

Round 2.  One hour after Opening:

The Canoe Ridge has developed a nose of dark fruit, spice and cocoa.  The palate has lots of dark cherry, cola, hints of chocolate and spice with a finish that is dominated by cedar spice box with (again) some hints of chocolate lurking in the background.

K-J has a nose of primarily plum with a bit of dusty spice.  The palate is showing tart red berries and cedar with a dry cherry pit finish.

The K-J has closed down rather than opening up.  I'm disappointed with the lack of stamina on this luchador.

Round 2 is dominated by Canoe Ridge.

Round 3. One day later

The Canoe Ridge is standing tall, retaining and building some more power.  The nose is deep dark fruit, spice and slight semi-sweet chocolate.  The palate is full bodied and smooth showing black cherry, cola, chocolate and hints of cedar spice box on the finish.

K-J is about the same as round 2.  The nose is relatively weak showing some light red berry, dust and a bit of spice.  The palate is tart cherries with a very dry cherry pit finish.

Canoe Ridge finishes off the match and Round 3 with a huge body slam.

Wrap up and over all observations

This match was not close at all.  The Canoe Ridge came out ready for action and never let up.  The Kendall-Jackson was tight and never evolved into anything very interesting or big enough to put up a fight against the WA State Merlot.

Final tally: Canoe Ridge 3, Kendall-Jackson 0.

I would give the Canoe Ridge an 87 and the Kendall-Jackson an 84.  Maybe it is the laid back attitude of California or too much sun makes you soft.  Either way, the luchador from Washington was bigger, brawnier, bolder and easily overpowered the CA Merlot.  Unfair?  Not sure.  What do you think?  There has to be a California Merlot that would put up a better fight.

Catch ya later

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