The North, vs. The South – a WBW Adventure

Wine Blogging Wednesday is upon us again!  This month, Remy Charest (@remycharest) of WineCase has challenged us to restage the Civil War, in his version of North vs. South – Wine Wars.  Since Remy is based in Quebec, it’s a great theme to think about what is a classically northern varietal, or something he would find locally in Quebec, and what we find here in the Lower 48.

As I have been exploring different regions of the US as well as the world, I thought I’d use Walla Walla, WA, Napa Valley, CA, and the wines of Chile to do a North vs. South with a central tag point of Napa.

My first wine is the Forgeron Cellars – 2003 Cab Sauvignon from Columbia Valley.  The Columbia Valley AVA takes up a good chunk of eastern & central Washington and a touch of northern Oregon thrown in for good measure.  This AVA lies between the 46th & 47th parallels, which is in the same vein as Bordeaux and Burgundy.  Because of this, the wines of Columbia Valley tend to be the classic grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon.

This Cabernet Sauvignon has a lovely floral nose, with a touch of licorice.  It’s very fruity, and reminds me of a ripe blackberry bramble.  When I sip it, it is plush and smooth, with plum flavors a strong component.  It is a velvety wine, with a long lingering finish that has bright berry fruit.  I am REALLY enjoying this wine, because while it is a Cab, it’s not heavy.  It’s rich without being over done.  At $30, it’s an affordable luxury, and I thank Catie (@walla2winewoman) at the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman for the great recommendation!

The 2nd wine hails from Napa Valley, one of the world’s best known wine regions for Cabernet Sauvignon.  The 2005 Levendi Sweetwater Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon was a party favor that I received after last year’s Wine Blogger’s Conference, at a party hosted by The Wine Spies to introduce us to this producer. The Sweetwater Ranch is located in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, adjacent to the Stags Leap District. Since Stags Leap has been producing some of the best known cabs for years, I would expect that this would also be a delicious example.

The first thing you notice is that this wine comes in half bottles.  This is great for us single folk, since we can crack it open without worrying about how to store the wine until we finish it.  It had rich aromas of leather and tobacco, with dark fruit.  This is what I would expect from a Napa cab.  It was darker and richer than the Washington Cab, and much chewier with a lot of black fruit , fig, plums and black cherries followed by a finish of black licorice.  I really liked this wine, and it retails for $52 in the 750ml bottle.

Finally, I worked my way to Chile, to taste some of the new world wines that are coming out of these.  The interesting about Chile, is that a lot of Old World producers, as well as some from California, are looking to this up and coming growing regions for a change and a challenge.  To that end, I received two samples from an agency representing the wines of Chile.

The first was produced by Domaines Barons de Rothchild Lafite, and I expected it to be a New World representation of an old, and Old World, producer.  The 2007 Los Vascos comes from Colchagua Valley. The Colchagua Valley lies about 80 miles southwest of Santiago.  It’s a wide valley, and has a Mediterranean climate.  It has often been compared to Napa, so I expected that the wine would taste like Napa cab.

Sadly, I was dissapointed.  The Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon was thin and bitter, with no real depth.  While it’s possible that this bottle was off, I did have it with food and it just had no substance.  At $10, I think I could do better.

So I went on to open my 2nd Chilean Cabernet, 2007 Marques Casa Concha, fromthe Maipo Valley region.  The Maipo is one of Chile’s warmest growing regions, with temperatures regularly getting above 90 in the summer.  While this might seem like Napa at first glace, their winters are much milder.  Cabernet Sauvignon is the largest planting in Maipo.

The Casa Marques Casa Concha exhibited the ripe fruitiness in a similar way to the Forgeron Cellars, with bright cherry fruit and a large firm body.  I tasted tons of cherry fruit, chocolate, blackberry, and bit of wood smoke.  This wine got better and better as the night went on, and at $15, I would highly recommend this is a value Cabernet.  Even though I don’t eat steak, I can see how this would be great with a hamburger or a portabello burger!  It had an exceptionally smooth finish, that lingered and made my taste buds happy.

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7 Responses to “The North, vs. The South – a WBW Adventure”

  1. Karen G Says:

    Wow! Great WBW post! You sure did your homework, and I love the comparison of Cab Sav! Mine is rather dull for a first WBW, but I should come back strong for my 2nd one.

  2. winebratsf Says:

    Thanks Karen! Looking forward to reading yours 😉
    I’m glad you found in interesting – I’m always afraid I am boring people when I geek out :-p

  3. BrixChicks_Liza Says:

    Nice post! I’m liking the longer format and love the info! Anyway, propeller is the new black!

  4. vcuspoon Says:

    nice write up Thea! Too bad the Los Vascos wasn’t good, I had been wanting to try that

  5. Wine Blogging Wednesday 55: North vs South - a bipolar roundup « The Wine Case Says:

    […] cabernet sauvignon came from the Wine Brat at the Luscious Lushes – four bottles, actually, from Washington, Napa, and two different parts of Chile. Great tasting […]

  6. Spotlight on: Chile « Lusciouslushes’s Blog Says:

    […] The North, vs. The South – a WBW Adventure […]

  7. Chilè is HOT! « Lusciouslushes’s Blog Says:

    […] Vascos Reserve 2006 – interestingly, this is one of the wines I tasted a while ago and found to be terrible.  It goes to show you, that anything can happen in transport, and I can […]

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