Hello friends. Long-term list members know that I love the “red blend” category. Why? Because it’s such a broad category that the juice inside could be just about anything. Because it’s a category that rewards those of us willing to do homework to figure out what’s inside the bottle.
Some red blends are truly terrible. Press fractions that should have been pressed right down a drain. Spoofy jam-monsters with notable residual sugar. Wine obliterated by oak powder and other undesirables. We don’t offer those.
And some red blends turn out to be Cab-dominant Bordeaux blends from a third-generation Yakima Valley farming family, entirely estate grown, entirely from one excellent vintage despite an NV (non-vintage) label, that punches well above its $18 release price and offers sensational value at the “March Madness” tag we can offer today.
NV Two Mountain Winery Hidden Horse Red Blend No. 14
[Note: this wine has special pricing for the month of March, so this will be a one-and-done offer, with poor prospects for reorders.]
So I’ll admit that I knew very little about the wine in question when I tasted it. But I was immediately smitten. The nose was an old-world/new-world Bordeaux tweener, with blackcurrant and fig fruit, but with insistent earthiness, and with tobacco leaf and cedar notes evocative of the Medoc. The palate: more of the same. An attack full of beautiful, lush, dark fruit, and then turning earthier and grittier on the mid-palate, as dusty tannins began to grip on and then proceeded to roll through a long, satisfying finish.
It was one of those wines where I tasted the wine, learned the price (again, only good for the month of March), and then scrambled to understand how it was so damned good. To begin with, it’s a Cab-dominant, nearly legit BDX blend (we can forgive a dollop of Syrah): 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Syrah, 2% Malbec. And it’s entirely estate-grown, coming from all six of the winery’s estate vineyards. It is all 2014-vintage juice, and it was aged for 18 months in barrel, 35% new.
And while I didn’t know much going in about this wine specifically, I knew plenty about the winery, as I’ve written about Two Mountain multiple times for my Seattle Magazine gig. It’s a fantastic winery to visit in Zillah, “wine country in the country” as the Rawns put it. Patrick and Matthew Rawn are the third generation farmers mentioned above. Their grandfather purchased the family land in 1954 and broke it out of sagebrush to plant a Golden Delicious apple orchard. Decades later, the family converted many of those orchards to grapevines, and they now farm a series of estate vineyards on that land which looks out over Mts. Rainier and Adams (the “two mountains” that form the winery name). Many of their sites are up in the Rattlesnake Hills, well above the Yakima River with elevations as high as 1300’. The type of cool climate vineyards that are becoming trendier and trendier as the wine fashion pendulum swings towards elegance and energy.
I suspect that in high-yield/high-quality 2014, the Rawns were able to cascade a bunch of Cabernet normally destined for higher-tier bottlings into Hidden Horse, which is their entry-level blend. And we’re the fortunate recipients. I’ve tasted a lot of value blends this year, and I’m struggling to think of a higher-QPR red blend I’ve sampled so far in 2017.
This would be a fabulous house red and should certainly be a candidate for anyone planning upcoming parties or weddings. First come first served up to 60 bottles, and the wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.