|Pascual Toso Reserva cabernet sauvignon reserve 2002. Historically, this winery produced low quality, cheap wines. Now, the early results from Paul Hobbs advisory services are showing. This is a good value cab, not very complex but easy to drink. Black currants, pepper, menthol and toasty oak. Crowd pleaser. $10.50.|
Columbia Crest Grand Estates merlot 2001. This wine generated a lot of hoopla from the WS. Frankly, it didnít do it for me. Cedary nose, with a bit candied fruit in the mid palate. No detectable acidity. Short finish and zero complexity. Pass at $10.
Willamette Valley Vineyards pinot noir 2000. Beautiful cherry color. Muted nose, with only a whiff of cherries and strawberries. Acidity is notable, but the fruit is not. Short finish. Pass at $12.
Feudi di San Gregorio falanghina 2002. Nice bright yellow color. Aroma of fresh cut flowers and lemon rind. Refreshing, with bright acidity, I got grapefruit, lemon and jasmine. Medium finish. Very nice with bow tie pasta with grilled veggies and fresh pan seared salmon fillets. Buy again at $12.
La Cala Vermentino di Sardegna 2003. Pale yellow color. Nose of lemon and green apples. Crisp, clean, with lemony acidity, grapefruit and a bit of minerality. Very dry and refreshing. Very good with pan seared tuna steaks. Will get more at $11.
|Fernando, I share your lack of enthusiasm for the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot, and not just the 2001. Maybe there's a lot of bottle variation and each year the Spec gets hold of good bottles and I get stuck with a bad one, but whatever the reason I wouldn't give more than a passing grade to any of the Grand Estates that have come my way. Your description of the 2001 coincides with my experience, and again not just for that year; there's a Coca Cola-like consistency from year to year.|
|Similar reaction--a friend brought a bottle last weekend and the coca cola comparison rings true. However I still remember fifteen years ago, how Columbia Crest's merlot seemed quite the bargain at $5-7. |
Speaking of Columbia Crest though, a question for you my-WA-wine-expert about the Columbia Crest Walter Clore cabs. A couple months ago ago I bought a bottle to take to an elderly cab-loving friend in Los Angeles whose tastes now run to bigger, more obvious flavors. I was unfamiliar with the vineyard/cuvee, whichever is correct, but I figured Columbia Crest=bigger/friendlier and Walter Clore=premium. Plus, I knew my friend would recognize the Columbia Crest name--I'd realized sadly on my prior trip (with a $50 Fidelitas Optima) that my dear little friend is at the stage where an unrecognizable name is unremarkable wine no matter how good. The CC Walter Clore seemed like just the ticket, and indeed it turned out to be. He loved it; but what surprised me was how much I enjoyed the wine, too. Yes, it's sweeter and oakier than I typically like but there's depth and balance there that makes it all work attractively. When I saw more of the wine on sale for $20/ea (I believe the wine had been over $40), I bought the last six bottles. It's the perfect WA state cab to have on hand for visitors with California palates, and it tastes like a $50 wine.
But who/what is Walter Clore, and where does it fit into the Columbia Crest family?
|Jenise, Walter Clore was (he died a couple of years ago) a Washington State University scientist who had a lot to do with developing the state's wine industry, especially in identifying good locations for vineyards. The state legislature called him the "Father of Washington Wine" or some such father title. As for Columbia Crest's Walter Clore Private Reserve Red Table Wine, I've never even tasted it, so you know more about it than I do. I unerstand it's meant to be aged, though, while I think their other wines are intended to be drunk right away. The name doesn't seem to have any significance except to honor Clore as he wasn't the winemaker as that's a fellow with a winey name, Ray Weinberger.|
I once heard somebody say the Walter Clore PR Red was named after Columbia Crest's winemaker. That's a mistake which I suspect had something to do with the similarity of the name of the winery's initial winemaker, Doug Gore, who trained Weinberger.
|Thanks to you and Marc for the information. You're right about the tendency to mix things up, when I bought the first bottle for Dick I was told that Clore was the winemaker, but the woman who said so is so poor on getting facts right that I never take her at her word. |
The wine is quite good, and yes it will benefit from further aging but these bottles of the 02 vintage, anyway, are drinking quite well right now. Fabulous buy at $20ish.
|He was a horticulturist who did research at WSU and a lot of work with grape growing in WA state. I think he also worked with Columbia Crest winery in some capacity, and they named this meritage blend after him. FWIW the Walter Clore Reserve I think is very good WA wine, and has less obvious oak then the Columbia Crest reserve Cab.|
|The cab was equally poor.|
|I think it's a matter of WS liking wood--cedar. Crappy wine.|
|Here I thought we were alone in this!|
I bought a bottle of the '01 Grand Estates Merlot just a few days ago and my wife and I both found it to be over-oaky and otherwise underwhelming. I think when you walk away from a Merlot remembering the wood more than anything else, somewhere is a winemaker who needs to get his/her head straightened out.