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Milbrandt Sentinel Red Blend 2011

Bordeaux Red Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WE91
14.5% ABV
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  • WE91
  • WS90
  • WS92
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Milbrandt created Sentinel to express the personality of a single terroir. Sentinel showcases the unique climate, topography and geology of one of Washington's marquee Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, Northridge Vineyard. A blend of Bordeaux varieties, it is dark, rip and jammy with aromas of blackberry, anise and dried herb. This is a full-bodied wine with a broad, muscular palate, polished tannins and a lengthy finish.

Blend: 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
A Cabernet-based blend, with Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot, this offers pleasing aromatic complexity, with notes of coffee, dark fruit and vanilla, accented by floral overtones. The palate is full bodied, with abundant coffee and cherry flavors backed by firm tannins.
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Milbrandt

Milbrandt

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Milbrandt, Columbia Valley, Washington
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Butch and Jerry Milbrandt planted their first vineyard in 1997. In the ensuing decade, Milbrandt Vineyards earned a reputation for growing some of Washington State's finest grapes. These grapes have found their way into many of Washington's most sought-after wines and the Milbrandt name and vineyards are featured on many prestigious labels.

In 2006, under the talented direction of winemaker Gordon Hill, they began crafting signature wines using selected grapes from their reputable vineyards. Milbrandt's first wines were released in June 2007. The tradition for excellence established in their vineyards is inherent in every bottle of Milbrandt Vineyards wine.

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Columbia Valley

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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.

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Bordeaux Blends

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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, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

STC217683_2011 Item# 137652