August is Washington Wine Month, and to honor the wonderful wines made in Washington, as well as to celebrate National Red Wine Day (which is purported to be today August 28) and because we were dining with special friends, we opened a lovely red wine blend which we paired with charcuterie and then gourmet burgers with gorgonzola. The is a super enjoyable wine and a real crowd pleaser!
2014 – Seven Hills – Walla Walla Valley Red Wine – 14.7% alcohol – $35
There’s something about Washington wine that I just adore, a textural quality, a richness, and a plushness of the fruit with great acidity… and when I took my first sip of this Seven Hills red wine blend from Walla Walla Washington, I realized that it had been way too long since I’d had one!
While Seven Hills focuses on Bordeaux varietals and produces more vineyard designate Cabs and Merlot than anyone else in the region, this is the inaugural vintage of this red wine blend which reflects a warm Indian summer and abundant harvest. A lovely combination of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Malbec and Petit Verdot, this Bordeaux blend has a voluptuousness to it that makes it super enjoyable. While made with one third new and mostly French oak, it’s the fruit and spice that dominates, not oak.
A fourth generation farmer, winemaker Casey McClellan helped his father plant the old blocks of Seven Hills Vineyard in the early 1980s. Nearly thirty years ago, Seven Hills Winery was established as the fifth winery in Walla Walla Valley in south eastern Washington.
On the nose, hints of vanilla, baking spice, and plentiful red and blue fruit invites you in; and while it has a relatively high alcohol level, it is not at all apparent in the aroma. The oak is subtle and enticing. On the palate, fresh black plum with brambleberry and bit of cherry. Again with a 14.7 alcohol, we were pleased with the balance on the palate.
It has a supple texture that coats the palate, beautiful tannins, and the minerals come through along with sage and other herbs. Overall, a really delicious wine.
When we paired it with food, we were struck by how well it goes from appetizers or happy hour to a meal: it’s not too heavy or too light. The cab is tempered by the malbec and the petite verdot which tames it down from being such a big cab beast. It really likes the sourdough bread, which brings out a cola quality and it was surprisingly fantastic with the goat milk brie.
For dinner, my husband grilled farm fresh corn, plus skewers of just picked squash and small roma tomatoes with small squares of polenta as well as Angus beef hot dogs and hamburgers which had nice slabs of gorgonzola and gorgeous just picked tomato and a healthy handful of arugula on a really nice fresh roll. When I tasted the wine and the food together, it brought out the best in each: a rich mocha in the wine, and so much meaty umami goodness in the burger.
Often you think you need to have an expensive steak with a nice cab blend: but there is not much that can beat a really good burger with good friends. This wine is comfortable, casual, relaxing, and satisfying — just like an evening with trusted, close friends.
(No pictures because we were hungry and visiting and I realized my burger was a half eaten mess and I hadn’t taken photos!)
As much as I love Napa cab, while you can get a good quality cab for $35 in Napa, for the same $35 you can get this really phenomenol red blend. It just might not be so easy to find!
However, stay tuned for September’s California Wine Month, when I will be turning you on to some fab Napa cab values!
This wine was a sample for my review consideration.