Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Washington Cabernet v. Australia

The UCI Pro Tour kicked off the 2012 season with the Tour Down Under.  This race is building momentum and interest among the pro tour teams with many racers looking to test their early season form.  The early stages of the race were dominated by the sprinters and puncheurs.  Andre Greipel showed that he is going to be a force to reckon with when the Spring Classics fire up in a couple of months.

The Queen stage of the race took place in the McClaren Vale.  The new Australian based Green Edge team setup their man Simon Gerrans for the victory on the uphill finish, but he was out kicked at the end by Alajandro Valverde making his return from a 2 year ban for being linked to the Operation Puerto blood doping scandal.  The good news for Australia was that Gerrans took over the overall race lead and held his lead in the final stage for the Tour Down Under victory.

This week's matchup honors Australia with a Cabernet Sauvignon from the McClaren Vale taking on a Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon from the Columbia Valley.

2007 McKinley Springs Cabernet Sauvignon v 2007 Mitolo The Jester Cabernet Sauvignon

Tale of the Tape



2007 McKinley Springs Cabernet Sauvignon

A combination of the old (1980-planted) block and some newer parts of the vineyard located in Horse Heaven Hills AVA.

91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot.

Aged for 22 months in 50% new oak barrels (80% French & 20% American).

Purchased from Full Pull Wines for $13.49.



2007 Mitolo Jester Cabernet Sauvignon


100% Cabernet Sauvignon with 20% of the grapes dried in Amarone style.  The grapes were grown in the Willunga District in the Southern end of the McClaren Vale.

Aged for 9 months in 2 - 4 year old French oak barrels.

Purchased at Esquin for $15.99.








Round 1.  First Opening


What's this? The McKinley Springs luchador is descending into the ring from the rafters in a steel cage.  Steel bars may be the only thing that can contain the power of this Washington Cab.  The nose is showing dusty currants, some barnyard funk and light pepper.  The palate is full of rich black cherry, coffee, clove and cinnamon spices with a black cherry cola finish.

The Jester is already slipping into defense mode throwing out bad jokes like Don Rickles at a Celebrity Roast.  The nose is musty forest floor with herbal notes and dark fruit.  The palate is also showing dark black berries with a hint of vanilla and a dark sweet & tart finish.

The Jester is dark, brooding and a bit slippery.  The McKinley Springs Cab is big bold and looking to stomp the challenger into submission.  This mean streak is showing right from the start with McKinley muscling its way to a round one victory. 

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

The McKinley Spring is pumping itself up like you would not believe.  The nose is black cherry, currant, cocoa and cedar spices including cinnamon and menthol notes.  The palate is also showing black cherry, menthol, eucalyptus, cocoa & semi sweet chocolate with a slightly tart espresso bean and clove finish.

The Jester is still relying on wit showing a nose that is earthy black fruit and a palate of black fruit with a tart spiced mouth drying finish.

The McKinley Springs has no mercy.  Sensing fear this Washington Luchador is all over The Jester from Down Under with a massive attack of chocolate spicyness.  I'm not sure, but McKinley could be hitting the caffeine too hard and may have to submit to a WADA drug test.

Pending the PED test the McKinley Springs takes round two as well.

Round 3. One day later

The McKinley Spring is showing no sign of slowing down with a nose of dark fruit, vanilla, toffee and some barnyard funk topped of with a bit of spiciness.  The palate is dark rich fruit, cocoa, clove &  cinnamon spices with a tart menthol semisweet chocolate finish.

The Jester is crying like a baby showing a nose of dusty dark sweet fruit with some musty seaweed forest floor.  The palate is dark fruit with a musty tart sweet finish.

The Jester was just never able to get started.  It was rich and sweet with a bit of must, almost like a grandmother.

Wrap up and over all observations

The McKinley Springs Washington Cabernet Sauvignon is like a covert agent.  Lurking in the background waiting to launch a sneak attack.  And you better watch out when it attacks cuz this Luchador is one bad mother.

The Jester was an interesting example of Cabernet Sauvignon from the land down under.  Interesting in the sense that the sweet dark musty character seemed to be more in line with a sweet dark Aussie Shiraz than a Cabernet Sauvignon.

This match was never close from the moment the McKinley Springs dropped into the ring and popped out of the steel cage that was holding it back.  I gave the McKinley Springs an 89 and the Jester an 85.

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