Friday, February 25, 2011

Tale of the Tape

2007 Ch. Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine Maker's Notes:

  • The 2007 growing season was similar to the 2005 vintage – warm at the beginning and average temperatures throughout the rest of the season with excellent ripening conditions.
  • In May, two weeks before bloom, we saw a week of 100 degree temperatures. This heat spike lead to smaller canopy which allowed more light penetration and contributed to overall good flavor development in the fruit. The hot temperatures also resulted in smaller berries with concentrated flavors.
  • Weather conditions during the summer and throughout harvest were ideal with mild to average temperatures.
  • Sourced from Columbia Valley vineyards in eastern Washington including our Cold Creek, Canoe Ridge Estate and Indian Wells vineyards.
  • 76% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 15% Syrah
  • 6% Merlot
  • 3% Malbec

%Alcohol 13.5%

Aged 16 months in American and French oak, 32% new

2007 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Wetzel Family Estate
Wine Maker's Notes:
  • Appellation Alexander Valley
  • Varietal Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Barrel Regiman Aged for 14 months in French and American oak including 25% new barrels
  • % Alocohol 14%

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Past Bouts - Washington v. California

I figured that it would be entertaining to rebroadcast a previous match while I work on getting all the Luchadors lined up for the new season.

Match #1 Washington v. California: 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
Ch. Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Cab 2007 purchased at Safeway for $11.47 (30% discount)
Alexander Valley Vineyards Wetzel Family Estates Cab 2007 purchased at Costco for $13.79

Both wineries do not have the 2007 available so the links are to the 2008 vintage on both web sites.

Round 1: First Opening
Alexander Valley On first opening the nose consists of sour pie cherries with strong mineral notes. The palate is currant, toast and spice with a lingering cedar spice finish.

Ch. Ste. Michelle On first opening the nose consists of dust, pie cherry and mineral with some hints of cream.  The palate is tart cedar and blackberroes with a dry finish.

Round 1 Goes to Alexander Valley

Round 2:
Alexander Valley With air the nose develops dark currant notes as does the palate with a finish that has more toasty character to the spices.

Ch. Ste. Michelle With air the palate opens up with some more notes of spice on the palate and finish as the nose develops some floral notes and more currant. The palate continues to move toward currant and black cherry with some slight notes of cocoa.

Round 2 is even.  Both combatants proved to be equally bold after exposure to air.  Both are standing tall.

Round 3:
Alexander Valley On day 2 is holding up well and continues to display nice character of cedar spice box on the nose and palate.

Ch. Ste. Michelle On day 2 is still good, but has started to revert to some of the earlier character showing some more astringent berry notes and less of the current and cocoa.

It is close, but I give a slight edge and Round 3 to Alexander Valley.

Final tally:  Alexander Valley 3, Ch. Ste. Michelle 1

I would recommend both of these wines.  They were evenly matched and both were quite good.  I scored the Ch. Ste. Michelle an 86 and Alexander Valley an 87 on the Cellar Tracker scale, which makes them both Very Good.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Rules

Every competition has to have rules.  Without rules it would be one of two things: Not a competition or Chaos.  Even with rules a match can often spiral in to chaos.  We will try to avoid chaos here, but there are no guarantees.

Now, on to The Rules of Lucha Vino.

  1. All competitions will consist of at least one Washington state wine and an equal number of out of state challengers selected to represent a specific region around the world.
  2. There can be more than one wine per side.  Both sides will have an equal number of combatants.
  3. Competitors will be matched on Cost, Vintage and Varietal.  When blends are matched up they will be selected based on the dominant varietal in the blend.
  4. Purchase price and location will be included in the match statistics.
  5. Each match will consist of three rounds.  Each round is worth 1 point.
  6. Round 1 will be based on the character of the wine immediately upon opening.  This round will judge the competitors "quickness" or "speed."  How fast will the wine be at a point of maximum enjoyment?
  7. Round 2 will be based on the character of the wine after an hour (or so) of air.  This round will judge the competitors "stamina."  How well does the wine hold up to exposure to air.
  8. Round 3 will be based on the character of the wine on day number 2 (or the end of the evening).  This round will judge the competitors long term stability.  How well does the wine hold up over a longer period of time.
  9. Style points will be awarded based on overall quality of the wine (based on my semi-educated palate) and possibly fancy labels and other marketing schemes.
  10. The winner of each match will be determined by points earned in the first three rounds combined with style points.  The wine that earns the most points wins the match.
  11. All results are final.  
  12. Results may be contested, but are unlikely to be overturned.
  13. There is no rule #13.

Are you interested in contributing to the Lucha Vino rule book?  Include your ideas in the comments section for consideration.  All submissions will be reviewed at the next meeting of the Lucha Vino Executive Board.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Washington Wines

I'm beginning to put together the calendar for the "wine fights" and screening potential wine luchadors.

While I work on that, here are a couple of links to some of my favorite sources for the lowdown on wines from Washington State.

Wine Peeps and Washington Wine Report are two great blogs that are sure to increase your knowledge of the great wines from WA.

And read about one of my favorite Washington wineries from Walla Walla Five Star Cellars

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Introducing Lucha Vino

Based on Lucha Libre - the phenomenally popular form of Spanish & Mexican professional wrestling - Washington wines will do battle with wines from around the globe.

Each week there will be a new match that pits a select Washington wine against an out of state challenger.

Many challengers will be selected based on proximity to UCI cycling races which should provide a wide ranging global perspective to the match ups.  Other challengers will be selected based on arbitrary and seemingly random criteria - very similar to how the UCI applies the rules of professional cycling.

Combatants will be matched up based on vintage and varietal.  For blends the matchup will be determined based on the dominant varietal and best match on remaining grapes in the blend.

The battles are sure to be epic.

Let the games begin!