I’m last on board for Washington Wine Month, but better late than never. And, to use another cliché, some things are worth the wait. As you can probably tell, I’m most familiar with California wines, predominantly due to proximity and availability — not to mention the added bonus that I can often meet with the winemakers directly. When it comes to Washington, I know my Chateau St. Michele from my Charles Smith and have tasted from the more boutique Amavi Cellars. But when I heard that DeLille Cellars is Washington’s Bordeaux-style pioneers, I was more than willing to reach outside my border. I present to you DeLille Cellars 2014 D2 Bordeaux-style red blend.
About the Wine: The DeLille Cellars mission is to create great Bordeaux with Washington State grapes. Not really possible since Washington is not in Bordeaux. But, what they have done is seek out vineyards and source grapes from the areas of Washington where Bordeaux varietals flourish. I’m no expert on French or Washington wine, but what I can tell you is that the bodied balance of this red blend gives the drinker a sense of time and place. It’s an old school wine experience from a New World winemaker.
The DeLille Cellars 2014 D2 is made from 58% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot (a Left Bank inspired blend). The grapes were sourced from 15 different Columbia Valley Vineyards in Washington, including Red Willow, Harrison Hill, Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, Boushey, DuBrul, Upchurch and Grand Ciel.
Following harvest, the grapes were cold soaked for 24-36 hours. They were then fermented for 12-14 days on skin, and aged 18 months in 100% French oak (55% new).
Flavor Profile: Out of the bottle the DeLille Cellars 2014 D2 emits aromas of balsamic, basil, and damp dirt warming in the sun. On the pour, the wine is the shade of purple at midnight. In the glass, some rouge seeps through so the center color is of a deep maroon, fading to a rusty rouge toward the perimeter.
The aromas are reminiscent of purple fruits — black grapes, under-ripe plums, squashed blueberry — along with a powdery cacao and hints of beauty counter perfume. Swirl and sniff again. That beauty counter perfume breaks up and you can smell the individual flowers: violets, lilies, hints of lavender — everything that’s purple and bushy. Close your eyes and it’s as if you’re pedaling past a flower shop on the rocky pavement of an old French town — indeed, there’s some pebbly, dusty earthy aromatics lingering in the background of the wine.
First sip — this wine is solid, thick, slowly dissipating and drying out toward the finish. You can taste those purple fruits, skins and all. The mid-palate brings forth baking spices like nutmeg with the added freshness of ground coriander. The finish is all about that earth, that dusty, powdery, pebbly earth. Put it all together, and the aftertaste leaves you with a lingering savory, pastry-like flavor.
Food Pairing: I paired the DeLille Cellars 2014 D2 with prosciutto wrapped veal cutlets, roasted beetroot, minty pea mash, and herbed goat cheese.
Once the wine opened up a bit, the tannins softened and the acid became more assertive, giving the wine the exact right balance in body to stand alongside the veal. The saltiness found in the prosciutto pulled out those fruit flavors even further, giving the wine an almost jammy quality with certain bites. Meanwhile the roasted beetroot along with the creamy goats cheese perfectly complemented the overall supple mouthfeel especially, once again, when the wine opened up.
The perfect pairing for this French-inspired wine.
More Info: I received the DeLille Cellars 2014 D2 as a sample for review. (Cheers, Keri!) Retail: $45. For more information about DeLille Cellars and to purchase wine directly, please visit the DeLille Cellars website.
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