Andrew Rich Mesalliance 2008
Other Red Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
46% Malbec, 46% Syrah, 8% Petit Verdot. A misalliance (mésalliance in French) is a marriage of social unequals. The name came about when I blended 30% Merlot into the '98 Cabernet Sauvignon and could no longer label it varietally. It was my all-too-subtle dig at the inferior Merlot vis-à-vis the noble Cab. In 2005, after a brief hiatus, the Més was resurrected, now, ironically, a Merlot-dominant blend. With the 2008 we are witness to what might be thought of as a third marriage, Malbec and Syrah fully sharing conjugal duties, with just a little Petit Verdot to unite them in holy vinosity.
A deep velvety purple red is extremely enticing. On the nose this is all bright berries and violets, with perhaps a hint of pomegranate. The rich round mid-palate is quite succulent but not at all fat, the briar-fruit flavors accented with chocolate, leading into a moderately long velour finish. Quite suave and very drinkable now, the Malbec's acidity has nicely integrated but should allow the wine to age over the near term.
International Wine Cellar - "Full ruby-red. Dark berries, chocolate and violet on the nose, with an aromatic suggestion of garrigue At once creamy and penetrating, with a firm edge of acidity leavening the sweetness of the berry flavors. Ungiving but not quite austere: this is much less open and easygoing than the 2007, which included a good bit of merlot to soften the blend. Finishes with building dusty, serious tannins and good peppery energy. I'd hold this for at least a couple years."
Andrew Rich Winery
Named one of Wine & Spirits magazine's top 100 wineries of 2009, Andrew Rich Wines has been crafting distinctive wines in Oregon's Willamette Valley since 1995. Along with Pinot Noir, Rhone Valley varietals from the Columbia Valley--including Syrah, Roussanne, Grenache, and Mourvedre--take pride of place, though the winery is equally well known for its seductive Gewurztraminer dessert wine. View all Andrew Rich Wines
About Columbia ValleyView a map of Columbia Valley wineries
Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Notable FactsMerlot is the most popular and most planted grape of the area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Syrah and Riesling are also popular and continue to grow in acreage.
About OregonOregon has long been an agricultural state, producing everything from hazelnuts to cattle. The Willamette Valley in particular is a fertile basin for all sorts of produce. Not quite pegged as a wine state, in 1965, a UC Davis graduate named David Lett decided that the Willamette's climate mirrored that of Burgundy in France. With that in mind, he decided to plant some Pinot Noir clones to see how they did. And a good gamble it was. The Willamette is now one of the only regions in the world to focus solely on Pinot Noir as its red variety. Also known for Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The southern part of Oregon has been slower in delving into the world wine market, but has been making excellent strides with their Rhone style varietals, like Syrah and Grenache. There are also coastal regions producing promising wines.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.