Tuesday, May 26, 2015

WA Walla Walla Cabernet vs. California

The first week of the Giro d' Italia and the Tour of California took place simultaneously during the second week of May.  The races were physically separated by thousands of miles.  Yet, both featured similar high intensity racing.

Many racers commented that the first week of racing in this year's Giro was the hardest ever.  No more showing up and racing into top form during the first week.  This year the top riders were doing battle from the very first day.

Meanwhile, over in California the racers were locked in a series of stages featuring long breakaways and intense bunch sprint finishes.  Mark Cavendish dominated the sprints taking 4 victories out of the 8 stages.

This week's Lucha Vino matchup features a battle royale of Cabernet heavyweights from Washington and California.

2011 Laurelhurst Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon v. 2011 Kokomo Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Tale of the Tape

Laurelhurst Cellars 2011 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

82% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Merlot both sourced from the Walla Walla AVA

Provided as a sample by the winery.

Kokomo 2011 Ruth's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alexander Valley

Aged for 16 months in French Oak Barrels, 35% new.

Purchased for $36 at the winery.

Round 1.  First Opening
Kokomo flies into the ring off the top rope flashing flamboyant style with a nose of  dark dusty currants, black berries, savory peppery notes and subtle mushroom funk.  The palate repeats the dark spicy character with black cherry, cocoa powder, white pepper and clove spices that are followed by a slightly savory and peppery finish.

The Laurelhurst Walla Walla cab is getting off to a bit more of a measured start.  The nose is showing dusty cherries, raspberries and mineral driven funkiness.  The palate is dry with plenty of tart cherries and tannin fueled earthiness that conclude with a dry cedar finish.

Kokomo was ready to go!  The California Cab takes round 1

Round 2.  One Hour After Opening

Kokomo is going strong with the nose featuring dark cherries and currants along with savory herbal notes.  The palate is showing strength and stamina with dark cherries, cocoa, dry white pepper and a finish that remains slightly savory.

Laurelhurst is upping the ante with a nose that continues to show mineral driven dried cherries and earthy candle wax.  The palate is bulking up and getting darker with currants, dry tight tannin spices and notes of leather with a dry slightly spicy finish.

Laurelhurst is fighting back, but Kokomo has the defensive tactics to match.  Another round for the Alexander Valley Challenger.

Round 3.  One Day After Opening

The Kokomo Cabernet isn't showing any sign of slowing down.  This luchador is showing some supreme confidence and still going strong in round 3.  The nose features dark black cherries, currants and dusty dry Asian spice.  The palate matches that attack with black cherry, cocoa powder and clove fueled mole spices  that are followed by a finish of fine tannin spices.

This is the last chance for the Laurelhurst Walla Walla Cabernet.  It is going to take some fancy attacking and feats of strength to knock out the Alexander Valley upstart.
The Laurelhurst luchador unleashes a bold attack, taking the California challenger by complete surprise.  The Walla Walla Warrior has really filled out and developed some serious strength.  The nose is showing dusty dark berries, candle wax and earthy mineral notes.  Meanwhile the palate is unleashing the power with a flying elbow drop and flavors of big bold dark cherry, cinnamon, white pepper and dry mole' cocoa powder spices that are also repeated on dry Asian spice inspired finish.

Down goes Kokomo!

There didn't seem to be much hope for the Laurelhurst Walla Walla Warrior.  Rising to the occasion, the Washington State Luchador took the match with a final round TKO.

Wrap up and overall observations

The Kokomo Ruth's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was ready to drink as soon as the cork on the bottle was popped.  This wine was well balanced with a robust fruit profile balanced with savory spicy notes.

The Walla Walla Cab from Laurelhurst took some more time to warm up.  This Cabernet Sauvignon is showing the character that indicates it has a long life ahead.   If you open a bottle now, give it some air for maximum enjoyment.

I would recommend seeking out both of these Cabernet Sauvignons as excellent representatives of their respective wine regions.

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