Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gold Medal Washington Cabs

The Summer Olympics started this weekend in London and that got me inspired to think about medal winners. 

Here is a test.  Pick your favorite Olympics event.  Do you remember who came in 4th in the 2008 Olympics?  Do you remember who won the Silver medal?  How about the Gold?  If you are like me, you probably only remember the Gold medalist.  Most people are so focused on Gold they call everybody except the Gold medal winner a "loser."  Seriously?  If you won the Silver or Bronze you were still the 2nd or 3rd best person in the world on that day.  It might not have been gold, but Silver and Bronze doesn't seem like "losing" to me.

After all that philosophy, I am going with a Gold Medal matchup between two Washington State Cabernet Sauvignons this week.

2009 Cedar River Ava's Crush Cabernet Sauvignon v. 2009 JB Neufeld Artz Cabernet Sauvignon

Tale of the Tape

2009 Cedar River Ava's Crush Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Seattle Wine Awards Double Gold $20 and under Cabernet Sauvignon.

80% Cabernet Sauvignon from Rattlesnake Hills (Portteus Vineyards)
20% Merlot from Columbia Valley (Burgess Vineyards)

Aged for 14 months in once and twice used oak barrels.

Purchased at the winery for $22.

2009 JB Neufeld Artz Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Seattle Wine Awards Double Gold $20 - $35 Cabernet Sauvignon

100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Artz Vineyard from the Red Mountain AVA

Aged for 19 months in 80% new French Oak Barrels

Purchased at Bin 41 tasting with the wine maker Justin for $32.

Round 1. First opening

JB is the first to step in the ring showing a bit of nervous anticipation.  The nose is dark mineral infused cherry with earthy all spice and sandalwood notes.  The palate is showing black cherry and tart spices with a tart cedar finish.  This Luchador is wound up tight anticipating an extreme dual.

The Cedar River Luchador slides under the ring ropes firing off with a nose that shows wet earth, spicy currants and floral meadow notes.  The palate features currants with a tart cherry bark finish. 

Both of these Luchadors seem a bit tentative and nervous in the opening round.  This is making it hard on the judges.  After much debate the first round goes to JB Neufeld.

Round 2. One hour after opening

The JB Neufeld is opening up and getting sassy taking the fight to Cedar River.  The nose is evolving to show some peat bog funk, black cherry, coffee and all spice.  The palate is building too with currant, black cherry, toffee and spices that linger to a spicy tart finish.

Cedar River is not intimidated bobbing and weaving, looking for an opening to strike - shooting the gap Cedar River gets the drop on JB with a serious leg lock. 

The Cedar River nose is taking on some floral tart herbal notes along with some spices, licorice and dark fruit.  The palate is flaunting dark fruit with some tart pie cherry lingering in the back ground that finishes with notes of tart/sweet cherry bark. 

The action certainly heated up in round 2.  Both Luchadors loosened up and got a bit more aggressive.  Cedar River takes the points for forcing the action.  This match is all tied up at one round a piece.

Round 3. One day after opening

The Lucha Vino Gold Medal will go to the winner of this round.  It's all or nothing for both these Luchadors.  Who is going to go for the gusto and the gold?

JB is busting out and getting evil.  The nose is full of currants, all spice, brambles, savory soy and cocoa.  The palate is equally bold with currant, black cherry and notes of coffee that linger to a tart coffee bean and semi sweet chocolate finish.

Here comes Cedar River flying off the top rope!  The nose shows earth, tobasco spice and dark fruit.  The palate is dark and brooding with dark fruit, sandal wood and pepper with a tart peppery dry finish.

Each Luchador in this match got stronger as the rounds went on.  In the final round the JB Neufeld was bigger and more wicked than the Cedar River.  The final round goes to the JB Luchador finishing off a closely contested match for a 2-1 victory and the Gold Medal.

Wrap up and overall observations.

Both of these wines were very good.  It was interesting to see how Double Gold winners from different price points matched up with one another.  I would recommend both and they each seem to have some aging potential.  I have a couple more bottles and will let them rest a while longer before bringing them out for another competition.

I would give both of these Washington Cabernets a solid 89.  Each is worthy of their Double Gold medal.

1 comment:

  1. I always find the 2009 Cedar River Cellars Ava's Crush having lots of black tea notes. Both in the aroma and flavor.

    A very good battle and I agree with all of your sensory attributes. Spot on!