Intrinsic Red Blend 2017
Pair with beef sliders, citrus marinated pork sandwiches, beef and pork meatballs in a chipotle sauce
INTRINSIC was created to help bridge the gap between the agricultural setting where wine grapes are grown and the urban setting where wine is enjoyed. Winemaker Juan Muñoz-Oca, who has had years of experience working with Cabernet Sauvignon as the head winemaker for Columbia Crest in Paterson, Washington, found a passion project in INTRINSIC. Through it, he has been able to explore the raw, yet elegant characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon in Washington and establish new, cutting edge techniques for the wine.
The inspiration behind the INTRINSIC label came from urban culture and the similarities between street art and winemaking. Both are reflective of the environment around it and are a collaboration between artist and landscape. Muñoz-Oca used this insight and married it with the incredible quality of tannins in Washington State to push the traditional boundaries of Cabernet Sauvignon in the same way street art pushes boundaries of urban aesthetics. By extracting more from the grape skins, our winemaker believed he could impart more layers and depth to the wine. After years of experimentation and trial and error involving extreme extended maceration, INTRINSIC was born.
A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing 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 even extends into northern Oregon!
Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. 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 entire 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. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.