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Andrew Rich Mesalliance 2007

Other Red Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
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    Winemaker Notes

    35% merlot, 30% syrah, 28% cab franc and 7% malbec.

    Our version of a right bank Bordeaux, relying primarily on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, but with a slug of Syrah because, well, everything's better with Syrah. (It's the bacon of wine.) Though the components may seem disparate, they do indeed "marry" harmoniously, creating the perfect foil for both simple and more elaborate dishes. I especially like it with grilled steak and roast pork, but it's a terrific wine to pull out when pizza is what's for supper.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Andrew Rich

    Andrew Rich

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    Andrew Rich, Columbia Valley, Washington
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    Since 1995, Andrew Rich has been sourcing fruit from some of Oregon and Washington’s best vineyards to craft wines of character, authenticity, and balance. While it has been said that Andrew has never met a grape variety that he didn’t like, in fact the focus is squarely on Pinot noir from the Willamette Valley and Rhône varietals from the Columbia Valley. Still, that hasn’t prevented him from championing a single-vineyard Willamette Sauvignon blanc or creating a stunning ice wine from 35-year-old Gewürztraminer vines in the Columbia Gorge.

    Columbia Valley

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    A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

    Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

    Other Red Blends

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    With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

    NWWAR07MS_2007 Item# 108146