Saturday, January 5, 2019

Nine Hats Columbia Valley Red Wine 2016

Nine Hats Columbia Valley Red Wine 2016

Following our visit to Long Shadows in Woodinville (Washington) during our Woodinville Wine Experience, last fall, having acquired, received and tasting several Long Shadows labels, I was surprised and delighted to see Long Shadows Nine Hats Red Wine in the local Malloys wineshop in Lisle (Illinois).

I've chronicled that visit and several of those tastings in these pages, the portfolio of signature wines, each produced by a legendary, notable winemakers. This label was here-to-fore undiscovered, and at a price point near $20, a fraction of the price of those wines. Hence, this is in a different class and category but I snatched up a bottle to try and compare in any event.

I thought this was an unspecified Red Blend, sourced from the Columbia Valley. Naturally, at a dramatically lower price point, this is an every day wine vs a once a week or once a month, or special occasion wine, depending on one's budget. According to Cellartracker holdings, this is the tenth vintage release for this wine, dating back to 2007.

On further review, the Nine Hats website showcases a portfolio of no less than eight different labels in this family of wines. 

Nine Hats Columbia Valley Red Wine 2016

My initial suspicion was that this was most likely produced from the fruit left over after careful selection for the premium labels, and as such, the blend would depend on the availability and quantity of the excess fruit. Hence, the terroir or source from the grapes and the composition of blend is subject to change from vintage to vintage.

On further investigation of the Nine Hats website, this is specified as a blend comprised of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 25% Syrah - the Cabernet Sauvignon from the Benches Vineyard at Wallula in the Horse Heaven Hills appellation 'providing a sturdy backbone and long, pure finish'.

Never-the-less I found this naturally less refined, polished or balanced than those more premium labels.

Bright garnet colored, medium bodied, pronounced red berry and currant fruits with notes of cranberry, dusty rose, with hints of mocha, cedar and camphor. A bit flabby and obtuse, but with bright fruit sprites that begs for lively pizza, pasta, cheese or meats. A decent but not substantial value.

RM 85 points.