Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cross State Cabernet Rivals

If you are a fan of the Classics this weekend begins the best 7 days of your life.  First up is the Tour of Flanders, also known as the Ronde van Vlaanderen or just The Ronde.  Six days later you get Paris-Roubaix or The Hell of the North.  These are two epic one day races.  Many of the most famous racers in history have etched their names on the winner's trophy.  Likewise, many of the best racers have spent their whole careers chasing the dream of winning Paris Roubaix (see Hincapie, George close in 2001 and 2005, 2006 etc, etc, etc...).

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the classic grapes and is world renowned as one of the King Grapes.  This week's Lucha Vino matchup  honors the Classic One Day races, Cabernet Sauvignon the classic grape and Washington Wine Month.

East vs. West an Intrastate Rivalry

Gramercy Cellars 2008 Lower East Side represents Walla Walla from the furthest South East corner of Washington State.

Alta Cellars 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon based in Woodinville represents the West Side.

Tale of the Tape

Gramercy Cellars 2008 Lower East Side Cabernet Sauvignon

Aged in 80% used and 20% new Oak Barrels 

Purchased from Full Pull Wines for $29.99.

80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot from the Portteus, Flying B and Gramercy estate vineyard

Alta Cellars 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

96% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Sagemoor, Weinbau and DionysusVineyards
and 4% Petit Verdot from the Meek Vineyard

Aged for 23 months in 80% new French oak barrels.

Purchased at the Alta Cellars tasting room for $25.00

Round 1. First Opening

The Gramercy Cellars comes out swinging all elbows and knees taking no prisoners.  The nose is featuring dark currant, tar, smokey brambles and cracked pepper.  The palate is dark currant, cedar and cracked pepper that lingers on to the finish with some hints of coffee.

The Alta Cellars is showing some wicked speed and agility with a nose of currant, raspberry, earth and underbrush notes.  The palate is dark cherry and cloves with a tart Asian spice finish.

These Luchadors are featuring very different styles.  The Gramercy Lower East is packing major power while Alta Cellars is spry, quick and light on its feet.

Round 1 goes to Gramercy based on some punishing body blows.

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

Gramercy continues to intimidate with an icy stare and a nose of dark currant, soy and sweet peppers.  The palate is big and bold with dark currants, cracked pepper and sweet Asian spices on the finish that is also slightly nutty.

Alta Cellars counters with an attack featuring some spinning leg sweeps and fists of fury.  The nose is clean and crisp with dark cherries, all spice and slight metallic and mineral notes.  The palate shows dark cherries and cloves that linger on to a finish that features tart cedar, pepper and clove spices.

This round was close and tough to judge.  Again, the styles are dramatically different with both Luchadors scoring points and causing damage.  In the end the judges gave a slight edge to Gramercy Cellars.

Round 3. One day after Opening

This has been a close match and it is do or die for Alta Cellars.  If Alta is going to win it will take a knockout of the East Side Rival.

Gramercy Cellars seems to be losing some steam, not uncommon with big bruisers that tend to lack the stamina to go long and strong.  The nose is showing green pepper, currant and asphalt with some floral notes.  The palate is somewhat one dimensional with dark smoky currants ending with a slightly tart finish.

Alta Cellars is floating like a butterfly and hoping to sting like a bee.  Launching from the top rope and dropping an atomic elbow on the slow moving East Sider.  The nose is showing dark cherries and Asian spice with some menthol.  The palate is lively with dark cherries, clove and menthol ending with a tart spiced finish.

Alta Cellars rallied to easily take round 3, but did not record the knock out it needed to take overall victory.

In the end the final score was Gramercy Cellars Lower East 2 and Alta Cellars 1.  If this match had gone another round I suspect that Alta Cellars would have scored a knockout. 

Wrap up and over all observations

It was interesting to go for an in state match up with two Cabernets made on both sides of Washington state.  While the wineries hale from different sides of the Cascade mountains the grapes are all from the East side of the state.

The styles of these Luchadors was a study in contrast.  Gramercy Cellars was living large with bold characters on the nose and palate.  As a counter point, the Alta Cellars was lively and sprite yet still packing a powerful punch.

Both wines were excellent and I would give them each a solid 88

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