Mullan Road Cellars Red Blend 2016
Perfumed aromas of currants, plum skin, dried herbs and spice make way for more intense notes of smoked raspberry, dried strawberry and vanilla bean. The flavors are layered and concentrated, providing a seamless palate filled with deep cherry, black fruits, sage and baking spices. Delicious, sultry and complex, this wine’s wonderful texture and silky tannins carry through to a long and lifted finish fitting for an age-worthy release.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Sleek and discreet, with harmonious blackberry, cumin and black tea flavors that take on structure toward refined tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2028.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Columbia Valley Red Wine opens to a dusty and dark-fruited nose with herbal and peppery tones and complex expressions of baked earth and dusty red flower petals. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is just-ripe and turns slightly tart across the mid-palate with defined flavors of green bell pepper that sway with blackberry essence and dusty dark cherries. It has a balanced structure and sticky tannins followed up by evolving flavors of bitter dark chocolate and plum skin on the long, winding finish. Rating: 90+
This comes from a Washington label for Cakebread. Plentiful, appealing aromas of herbs, red cherry, fresh tobacco, graphite, coffee and gun smoke are followed by pretty, light and airy fruit flavors. A lovely sense of acidity brightens it. The intensity is dialed back, but the balance is spot-on.
Mullan Road Cellars is a journey into Washington winemaking led by Dennis Cakebread of Cakebread Cellars. Drawn by the high quality of wines and the camaraderie of the Walla Walla wine community, Dennis and winemaker Aryn Morell worked with the famed Seven Hills Vineyard on the southern edge of the Walla Walla Valley appellation as well as vineyards in the soon-to-be-recognized Royal Slope appellation to craft this powerful yet elegant Bordeaux-style Red Blend.
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.