Sunday, January 16, 2011

Washington vs. Argentina showdown

On a wet dreary winter's night, nothing beats getting together with friends for some wine and conversation. On Friday night we tasted five different wines, along with a dinner of lasagna, green beans and chocolate cheesecake.
I have scored the wines on a scale from 1 star (not recommended) to 5 stars (amazing).

The first two were a couple of favorites from wineries in our great state of Washington:
 2007 Waters Syrah (Columbia Valley) - deep ruby color, beautiful nose with aromas of caramel and raspberries. The taste was fruit forward, but not so big and overpowering as some WA Syrahs can be. Jamie Brown is the winemaker at Waters, and he definitely has a talent for Syrahs. This winery just started a few years ago, and is definitely a rising star. This was my favorite of all the wines sampled. 4 stars.

2003 Wineglass Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Yakima Valley) - due to the age of this wine, we didn't think decanting was necessary. However, this was tight upon opening. After about an hour it tasted completely different. Spicy aromas on the nose, loaded with fruit flavors and nice long finish. Showing even better on the second day. 3 stars on day one - 4 stars on day two.

The other three wines were from Argentina. A friend of mine is getting married in Costa Rica next month, and was asking our opinion on these as possible wedding reception selections:
2007 la Bodega Navarro Correas Cabernet Sauvignon - Tasting immediately after opening yielded a bitter, metallic taste. Some appealing fruit flavors come through, but a clipped finish and the bitterness detracted from the overall enjoyment. Some improvement on day two. 2 stars.

2008 la Bodega Navarro Correas Malbec- A watered down, rather uninspiring Malbec from a region that is known for that grape. The bitterness present in the Cabernet above was also present in the Malbec, but to a lesser extent. Proof positive that not all Malbecs from Argentina are great quality. A pouring on day 2 showed little improvement. 1 star.

2004 la Bodega Navarro Correas Structura Ultra (Red Blend) - The other two wines didn't exactly knock my socks off, so my expectations were not high for this one. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. This red blend is a step up from the other two - similar to a reserve from this winery- and it definitely showed. A nice aroma of raspberries and blueberries on the nose. Well balanced and smooth, with a hint of smoke on the back end. A much longer finish than the other two. 4 stars.

In this showdown, I think Washington had a slight edge!