Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vino Collabos 3: You Can Go Home Again...and Make Cabernet

While the Vino Collabos series has been all about the hip-hop collaborations with other musicians up to this point, bear with us as (get it?) we make a foray into American classical literature.

In the Thomas Wolfe novel You Can't Go Home Again up and coming author and main protagonist George Webber depicts his hometown in way that doesn't necessarily please those he's left behind in Libya Hill. At the end of Wolfe’s novel, Webber exclaims "You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time — back home to the escapes of Time and Memory." To that Kyle Maclachlin says, "Don't be such a whiner, home is where the heart is, and where some of the world's best wine is being made, get back there and enjoy it." (Kyle never actually said that, but he might have thought it.)

Famous son of Eastern Washington Wine Country, Yakima's Kyle MacLachlan left the Evergreen State for the draw of Hollywood, the tutelage of David Lynch and a long lived career in film and television. Kyle, however, has gone home again, and when he went back home he partnered with Eric Dunham of Dunham Cellars to produce one helluva Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend.

The wine, Pursued by Bear ($65), is more than just a hobbyist’s passing go at making wine because he can. This wine is for real as is Kyle's focus on a serious and world class Washington wine. It's a substantial expression of Washington fruit, a big bold wine and yet another example of the skills and knowledge that Eric Dunham brings to the wine-making stage. MacLachlan and Dunham met when the actor was in the market for some large format Walla Walla wines for his wedding. The two hit it off and when Kyle, who’d been a serious wine drinker for quite sometime, decided to give making wine a go, his collaboration with Dunham seemed a natural and easy way to “go home again.”

The 2006 vintage of Pursued by Bear is 75% Cabernet, 17% Merlot and 8% Syrah. The fruit is sourced from Lewis Estate Vineyard and Phinny Hill Vineyard within the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. The wine sees 100% new oak (and some two years in the barrel, plenty of time.

The result of this collaboration, besides the great name and label(borrowed from Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale) is a beautiful dark plum colored wine. There is a roasted coffee nose - compliments of the oak program - and tons of layered dark black fruits including plums and berries on the palate. The most impressive feature of the wine is its excellent structure and balance. I enjoyed the hell out of this wine, think of it as Purple Velvet, instead of Blue Velvet. The impression this wine leaves is not that of a new guy's foray into wine making. It's clear that the skill and experience with Washington vineyard sites and fruit on the part of Eric Dunham is on display. As Kyle and Eric continue to develop this wine, from blending, to the oak program I imagine it will only get better. That thought alone is impressive.

(Wine was provided as a sample.)


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