There is a lot of experimentation going on in the wine world today, especially in Washington State, and I love it. Not only are we seeing interesting blends and grape varieties that are new to the American continent, but winemakers are also experimenting with aging techniques. There’s still plenty of traditional aging in new French oak barrels, to be sure, but you can also find interesting red wines that have virtually no oak aging whatsoever, or a mix of old (neutral) oak, and even concrete.
Winemakers are also testing the limits of how long the juice of a grape can stay in contact with the skins. (Wine 101: The process of soaking grape juice with the skins is called maceration.) Generally speaking, white wines have no contact with the grape skins at all, Rosés have a few days at most, red wines have roughly a month of soak time with the skins, after which time it is aged in oak barrels for months, or years, before being bottled.
This week’s featured wine has virtually no oak aging, and juice contact with the grape skins goes for 9 months in a stainless steel tank. I had never heard of this technique before researching the Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon – I only knew I really liked the wine! The Intrinsic Cab is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 6% Cabernet Franc, featuring grapes harvested mostly from the famed Horse Heaven Hills area of Washington State. This full-bodied wine features black cherry and plum flavors, and notes of mocha and cola, with a velvety mouthfeel, nice structure, and a dry finish. This is a 92 point wine (James Suckling) that you can find for around $20 at Kroger!
On my five-cork scale based on taste and value, I give the 2016 Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon 4 corks. This is a solid, tasty wine, at a reasonable price, with an absolutely beautiful label. Intrinsic also makes a dynamite red blend, if you want something other than Cabernet.
If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Matt the Miller’s Tavern! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!