2011 Matthews "Blackboard Red" Columbia Valley Red Blend
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.
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.
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."