I’ve been going on and on to my partner in wine crime about how Washington Cabernet is the fun, approachable alternative to Napa Cabernet. Is it the terroir? The winemaking? Or the fact that the folks up here want that alt-personality reputation. All of the above? Anyway, I was so happy when the folks at Upchurch queried me for sampling. It’s a welcome opportunity to taste wines from outside my state. And also prove to my partner that (once again) I was right…

About the Wine: LTL is a brand created by Upchurch Vineyard, “bringing Larger Than Life handcrafted wine into your everyday glass.” (Quote from the winery.) These wines are a more, shall we say, affordable alternative the the winery’s all-estate bottlings under their original label, as the LTL brand is crafted using other vineyard sites—but still within the Red Mountain AVA.

The LTL 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

500 cases produced.

14.2% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle and find mmediate, decadent black fruit aromas: cassis, blackberry, ripe plums, along with hint of chocolate, nutmeg, and subtle oak.

This Cab presents the definition of red on the pour, settling into the glass just the same, with beautiful clarity, and a rim that’s just a shade lighter.

Initial aromas waft out of the glass forcefully with lighter red fruits like cranberry and boysenberry. Deep dive in to find the anise, chocolate, and those richer aromas sensed from the bottle. There’s clearly a strong line of acidity as well that pierces through the nostrils. A young, New World Cabernet to be sure. Swirl, and everything becomes even more decadent: the red and black fruits intertwining with those chocolate, oak, and herb notes, and adding a bit of dark florals as well.

The palate mooth, soft, with just a touch of drying tannins around the perimeter of the tongue and a vivacious acidity that encircle the palate just inside that perimeter. Dominant flavors are of black cherry, blackberry, cassis, oak wood, plum, just a hint of vanilla and baking spice in the background. The finish is long, lingering, simultaneously drying and enlivening with the brightness of that acidity and those touchy tannins.

Food Pairing: I was able to enjoy this wine twice. The first time was with FLAT (Fakin’ Lettuce Avocado Tomato sammy) alongside a fennel, green onion, stone fruit salad, tossed with tarragon and raw slivered almonds, dressed with an agave-white wine vinaigrette. The second time was with a Moroccan-spiced grilled salmon (for the meat eaters) and a golden beet-couscous salad. Both pairings were yum. The wine is light and vibrant enough to pair with a vegetarian dish and/or cut through any piece of hearty mean you may want on the side of that veg.

More Info: I received the LTL 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon as a sample for review. (Cheers!) Price: $30. For more information about Upchurch’s LTL brand and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Upchurch Vineyard website.

BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery or tasting room featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page where you can contact me directly. Cheers!

**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**

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