Thursday, January 21, 2021

Matthews & Mullan Road

This week we got in a couple cases from our favorite domestic wine venue, Columbia Valley, Washington.  Both are sourced from the same new AVA (American Viticultural Area), Royal Slope, which is just north of Wahluka Slope in north central Columbia Valley.  Mullan Road Cellars sources from the Solacksen and Stillwater Creek vineyards there.  Matthews Winery sources most of their juice from a few locations there but then goes to Rattlesnake Mountain and Yakima Valley, both to the southwest of Wahluka, for additional juice.

Mullan Road Cellars is the brainchild of Dennis Cakebread of the forty-seven year old Cakebread Cellars of Napa.  You have to respect this guy.  He started Mullan Road because he felt Cakebread Cellars had fulfilled its destiny.  They had maxed out the quality per-their-acreage there and chose not to risk losing that quality by continuing to grow.  Like I said, you have to respect his ethics.

Mullan Road makes one wine every year.  It is a Cabernet Sauvignon-based Bordeaux Blend that is both bold and elegant, which in my opinion exceeds what Cakebread does in Napa.  But that shouldn't surprise anyone since we know the Cakebread Napa wine style and we have yet to learn how great Columbia Valley can be.  The typical Mullan Road blend includes Merlot and Cabernet Franc supporting the base Cabernet Sauvignon.

Matthews Winery was established in Woodinville, Washington in 1992.  It is family-owned and run with certain principles in mind.  They boast an inspiration from Bordeaux while being grounded in Washington heritage, which includes New World energy and innovation.  They market a dozen different wines using Bordeaux varieties that are hand-harvested and sorted in the winery; a nod, no doubt, to Bordeaux.  

The Sauvignon Blanc that we have in the store is actually a Sauvignon/Semillon blend that sees six months of aging before it's ready.  93% of it is put in stainless steel; 7% gets French oak.  The wine ends up with a flavor profile to include minerality, lemon, honey, gooseberry and herbs.  The finish doubles down on the minerality.  Once again, textbook Bordeaux.

So why are these here?  Both wine distributors sold me on them.  We were told the Mullan Road is better than Cakebread Napa.  The Matthews is supposed to be the closest thing to Bordeaux from this continent.  

This Saturday afternoon, the 23rd, we will be tasting a French Vouvray, Spanish Monastrell, Paso Robles Red Blend and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.  Please call 770-287-WINE(9463) or email if you would like to taste.

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