2011 Matthews "Blackboard Red" Columbia Valley Red Blend

SKU #1140661 89 points Wine Spectator

 Balanced, offering blueberry and currant fruit, with smoky, toasty overtones to the long and clearly delineated finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink now through 2017.  (10/2013)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (54% cabernet sauvignon, 28% syrah, 6% each merlot and cabernet franc, 4% petit verdot and 2% malbec): Medium red. Aromas of strawberry, plum and chocolate. Silky and pliant on entry, then moderately concentrated and seamless in the middle, with plum and spicecake flavors complicated by vanilla and cola notes. A rather polite blend, finishing with soft tannins and moderate grip.  (12/2013)

K&L Notes

The stats: 17 Months in 10% new French oak, 90% once and twice used French oak; 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Syrah, 6% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec; 13.4& abv. The winemaker's tasting notes: "A nose of black currant, plums and strawberry intertwines with a light vanilla bean spice and some savory herbs. With a little air the wine moves to a more floral tone mixed with brambly fruit like raspberry and blackberries. The palate is filled with red fruit, fresh fruit texture and a little spice. The wine is polished with supple tannins and more density than you would expect from its 13.4% alcohol."

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Price: $17.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.