Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pend d'Oreille Winemaker's Playground

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It's got to be one of the finest Washington cabernets made in Idaho out there.  Or is it an Idaho cabernet using Washington fruit?  Well, unless you are the feds it doesn't really matter how you describe it, other than "outstanding".

I'm talking, of course, about the latest production from a longtime friend of WestToast, Pend d'Oreille Winery out of Sandpoint, Idaho.  The 2008 Meyer's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is part of the Winemaker's Playground series, an opportunity for winemaker Steve Meyer to do exactly that -- play in a sandbox that continues to define wine in the state of Idaho.  With fruit from the Lawrence Vineyard on the Royal Slope of the Columbia Valley, this cabernet is characteristic of some of the best aspects of the terroir.

This is a bottle that has been sitting on my rack for quite a while waiting for the right moment to sample and review, and that moment came last week as I was bumming around Wilsonville, Oregon, enroute to a vacation in Central Oregon.  I'll be honest, I often don't trust my palate enough by itself to do a full-on review of a wine solo, so I try to wait until I'm with another writer to bounce sensations off of as we experience the wine together.  Rick is always game as in this case, and we cracked the cab open after a wonderful Moroccon dinner in a strip mall in *downtown* W-ville.

We poured, swirled, and sniffed.  On the nose, we both got immediate notes of cherry and plum with a bit of a boozy spice.  In a good way, you know?  We sipped...and Rick spoke:
Bam. There's a spice right at the start, leaving a fascinating sensation on my palate.  I taste the grape, rare for a wine.  There is an essence of lingering berry fruit and vanilla, with some hints of cola.  
I found this to be a big and juicy wine, that starts out bold but ends on your palate more balanced that you might initially anticipate.  It was delicious.

Assessment? Steve has a pretty awesome playground at Pend d'Oreille. I want to play.

1 comment:

  1. I know we must sound like a broken record at this point, but Pend d'Oreille is perhaps the most underrated winery out there. It is one of the few wineries I can say that I've enjoyed absolutely every wine they make.