Saturday, November 14, 2009

Canoe Ridge Merlot

Canoe Ridge Vineyard
Horse Heaven Hills

Columbia Valley
Walla Walla, Washington, USA
$14.99 -- Spec's, Austin, TX

Color: Deep garnet
Nose: Cinnamon, nutmeg, licorice
Body: Medium; round, like there's a hole in the middle, yet not watery
Front: Dried cherries
Middle: Cream, plum
Back: Cedar, very soft tannins
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

I read about this wine in Time Magazine online, and was intrigued. It's so cheap! And yet, so tasty! The nose is lovely, though utterly at odds with what the label tells me I should smell. The palate is multilayered, but not overpowering, like yer Merlots tend to be. But it's got presence and weight, and paired well with the New York Strip and organic lettuce and tomato salad I made this evening. The tannins are barely there, but there, giving some texture.

It also paired perfectly with the Back Yard Tire Fire that was on the stereo; their record Bar Room Semantics. They're a working-class band, from Chicago, and have a bit of a Wilco sound, but a bit more economic urgency and a bit more actual laid-backness. They have a song on this record about having to wait for your friends to pick you up and how easy it is to lose your cool, even though the stakes are so low and clearly they're not doing it on purpose to piss you off. That is the sort of reflection that this wine ought to induce.

Note: 4 January 2010. I had the 2002, and it's over the hill, by my standards; just strong plum and oak, both too sweet, coming through. A few weeks ago, I had the 2004, and it was quite good, layered and interesting for a $15 bottle.