Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cross State Washington Cabernet Clash

December is cyclocross season for the pro bike racers and some of the best racers are battling it out in Belgium.  The race conditions get brutal at this time of year with all sorts of mud, sand and snow all topped off with thousands of screaming fans lining the courses.

Our weather may not be quite so radical, but this week's battle just might be worthy of the hype.  The final installment in the Lucha Vino Seattle Urban Wineries v. Lake Chelan AVA intra-state rivalry series features a clash of Cabernet Sauvignons - what some people call The King of Grapes.  This one is a doozy, featuring a young gun stepping up to challenge a wily veteran.

2010 OS Winery BSH vs. 2005 Chelan Estates Cabernet Sauvignon

Tale of the Tape

2010 OS Winery BSH

77% Cabernet Sauvignon,15% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot

Provided as a sample by the winery.  Available at retail for $30

2005 Chelan Estates Cabernet Sauvignon

79% Cabernet Sauvignon
7% Cabernet Franc
7% Malbec
7% Merlot
All from Stillwater Creek Vineyard

Purchased at the winery for $20

Round 1. First opening

The young buck from OS Wines struts into the ring flexing some serious muscle.  You might say that this luchador is built like a Brick S*** House.  The nose is sassy with notes of tart cedar herbal spices, strawberry, cranberry and candle wax.  The palate is tart and earthy with plenty of bing cherries that lead to a very dry spice finish.

The veteran luchador from Chelan Estates appears to be simply amused by the rambunctious youngster.  This monster cab has been doing some serious training at Stillwater Creek.  The nose shows dusty dark currants and a bit of funky earthy notes.  The palate is bold with dark currant, black cherry, cocoa powder, cloves and light pepper spices.  The finish includes some nice tannin inspired coffee bean spices.

The young challenger from OS showed plenty of spirit, but the Chelan Estates brought the pain and power to take the first round.

Round 2.  One hour after opening

The OS Winery BSH will not be denied.  Rushing back into the ring looking for redemption, this luchador is showing more tart cherries, candle wax and anise spice on the nose.  The palate is also featuring dry tart cherries along with some notes of coffee bean that trail off to a tart, slightly spicy finish.

Chelan Estates is continuing to focus on a power packed strategy of brawn over brains.  The nose is featuring dark currants, earthy dusty cocoa and hints of leather.  The palate is just as bold with dark currant, roasted coffee, light pepper and cocoa powder that builds to a rich finish that features more dry cocoa and clove spices.

The OS Winery BSH is bringing all its best moves, but still cannot overtake the Chelan Estates Cabernet.  Score another round for Chelan Estates as this seasoned veteran from 2005 takes a commanding 2-0 lead in the match!

Round 3.  One day after opening

In a last ditch effort the BSH from OS is working the angles and looking for a weakness to exploit.  The nose is showing off some bing cherry, red licorice, light coconut and clove spices.  The palate is still wound up tight and dry with cranberry, cherries and hints of leather with a dry tannin spiced finish. 

Chelan Estates is showing some serious stamina.  With an explosive move the veteran luchador is in position to subdue the youngster with a full nelson submission hold.  The nose is dark and robust with currants, dusty cocoa, candle wax and clove spices.  The palate is also holding up well with black cherry, menthol and clove spices along with hints of cocoa.  The finish continues to be rich and spicy with cedar cigar box spices and notes of dry cocoa powder.

Wrap up and overall observations.

The disparity in vintages between these luchadors made for an interesting matchup.  The Chelan Estates Cabernet Sauvignon proved out the adage "Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance."  The Chelan Estates Cabernet Sauvignon from Stillwater Creek Vineyard won this match and is aging quite well.  But, do not discount the future greatness of the OS Winery BSH.  This youngster is on its way up and shows plenty of promise for a long career!

The 2010 vintage was a cool one in Washington.  The character of the BSH is definitely showing some vintage style.  I would let this one rest in the cellar for a while before opening another bottle.  It shows plenty of character and I am optimistic for great experiences in the future.

The Chelan Estates is drinking well right now.  This wine is for you if you like your cabs big, rich and bold.

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