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  • Washington Cabs: The “Next-Non-New Thing”

    HOUSE Red included in SA Current

    San Antonio (TX) CurrentRon Bechtol

    With the new year in, it’s time for this critic to reexamine some old prejudices. Yes, that means deigning to revisit merlot; it’s been down long enough. It implies even seeking out leaner chardonnays, despite a predilection for odd grapes such as ribolla gialla. And it means looking to the cabernet I’ve ignored for years due to Bordeaux’s soaring prices and California’s soaring alcohol levels. Though I won’t disdain Bulgaria offhand, I’m going to start with Argentina (as an antidote to malbec) and Washington. Herewith, are a few selections from the Evergreen State – which will also be the source of some of ’13’s makeup merlots. Says Snooth’s Christy Canterbury MW, “These are tremendously good Cabernets; they are more elegant and often more balanced that those of Napa due to a brighter acidity. They are also more realistically priced.” Indeed – though she likely wasn’t talking about the $10 (Central Market) 2010 House Wine Red from The Magnificent Wine Company in Walla Walla. House is a cab-dominated blend that also includes merlot, syrah (another Washington stalwart), and cabernet franc. And it’s amazingly good at its price level, showing dark fruit with a touch of smoke and earth on the nose, followed by a tight display of black cherry on the palate. There’s not much of a finish, but at 10 bucks I’ll take a good start any day.

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