HOUSE Red included in SA Current
San Antonio (TX) Current – Ron 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.