Thursday, November 1, 2012

Washington Cabernet Sauvignon v. Napa Valley

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series in four straight games.  I don't need any better reason to choose one of the giants of the grape world for this week's challenge.

This week's matchup features a Washington Cabernet Sauvignon taking on a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley.

2008 Powers Cabernet Sauvignon Sheridan Reserve v. 2008 Rombauer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Tale of the Tape

2008 Powers Cabernet Sauvignon Sheridan Reserve

95% Cabernet Sauvignon - Sheridan Vineyard in the Yakima Valley AVA
3% Malbec - Alice Vineyard Columbia Valley AVA
2% Petit Verdot - Alice Vineyard Columbia Valley AVA

Aged for 34 months in new French Oak Barrels.

Purchased from Full Pull for $21.99.

2008 Rombauer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

92% Cabernet Sauvginon
4% Cabernet Franc
4% Petit Verdot

Aged for 20 months in French Oak Barrels.

Purchased at Corky Cellars for $25.49.

Round 1. First opening

The Rombauer Luchador from Napa Valley has some serious swagger right out of the gate.  This brash brawler is showing a nose that features currants, leather, earthy spices and underbrush.  The palate features black cherry, cocoa and clove spices that linger to a coffee and semi-sweet chocolate finish.

The Luchador from Washington may have "Power" in its name, but it seems to be a bit apprehensive in the ring.  The nose is showing currant, forest floor and touch of menthol.  The palate is showing tart cherries and currant cedar spices that continue to a dry tart cherry bark finish.

Rombauer is bold and brash manhandling the Powers Cabernet Sauvignon luchador in round 1.

Round 2. One hour after opening

The Napa Valley Cab is picking up steam and laying down the law with a nose of black cherry, currant, cocoa and cinnamon spices.  The palate is equally bruising with black cherry, cocoa, cinnamon and coffee notes hanging around to bolster a tart coffee and semisweet chocolate mole' finish.

Powers is trying to crank things up with a nose of tart sour cherry and peat bog.  The palate is also tart with cherries, cranberry,  cedar spices and a finish that features tart clove spice and cherry.

Plenty of effort from Powers, but no results.  Rombauer takes round 2.

Round 3.  One day after opening

Like a leather clad heavy metal hero, Rombauer is breakin the law and kicking sand in the face of all challengers.  This luchador is showing plenty of stamina with a nose of dark currant, dusty spices and some underbrush.  The palate hasn't lost any oomph either with dark currant, black cherry, toffee and clove spice that carries over to the finish with notes of cocoa.

Powers is laying it all on the line in the final round.  The nose shows sour peat bog and dark fruit.  The palate is full of tart pie cherry and cedar spices that carry over to a tart spicy tannic finish.

Rombauer takes the final round and the match as Powers was searching for a partner to tag into the ring...

Wrap up and overall observations

The Napa Valley Cab may have taken this match 3-0, but these luchadors were much more closely matched than the final result would indicate.

The Rombauer was big and lush showing lots of dark spicy character.  Character that I have come to associate with Red Mountain and Wahluke Slope Cabs from Washington.  In this match California turned the tables on the Powers Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington.

The Powers showed nicely with plenty of character that would land it in the food friendly category.  Nothing wrong with that!

I liked both these wines and would give the Rombauer a 90 and the Powers an 88.  The Powers is showing potential to age.  I am going to check back on it in a year or two and see how it has bulked up.

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