Zerba Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
So this is interesting right? I mean, how often do you find a wine aged about a decade, or longer by the winery?
Zerba’s an interesting winery. Those who have been a wine club member for a while know that while my wine country visits during the regular year often tend to focus on California both because there are more logical targets, after all 90% of American wine is still made in California, but also because Napa and Sonoma are day trips and a bit more focused for me (and quite honestly, less night’s away is easier on the family, already dealing with some of the issues that come with a startup). The last two summers I’ve spent a week in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and then a week in Walla Walla Washington, Zerba’s been in both places.
That’s more unusual than you might expect. After all, it’s about a 6 hour drive from the Willamette Valley (think an hour south of Portland) to get to Walla Walla which if you aren’t familiar, is in eastern Washington state. It’s like a winery having tasting rooms in both San Francisco and Los Angeles simultaneously, all the while believing that they really do belong in both spots culturally.
Additionally, as it turns out, a wrong turn when going into the eastern reaches of Walla Walla, has you end up in Milton Freewater, Oregon. That’s where Zerba is based.
I think the Walla Walla location fits their style and before you start thinking that these are Oregon guys, playing with Washington fruit-the Columbia Valley AVA deserves a mention.
The Columbia Valley is named after the Columbia river, which creates the border of Oregon state and Washington state pretty close to the Idaho border on the eastern side of both states, however wine growing regions are not often divided quite as easily, as are states. A river makes an outstanding state border, but a wine region might be better divided by the valley that the river has created over millennia.
Zerba’s really a Washington winery in terms of style, but quite honestly, the Oregon sides of the border are built up more so than the Washington sides of the border in the region, pretty much exactly the opposite of what you find in the western portion of both states, where Oregon has sleepy beach town’s that no one has ever heard of….while Washington has Seattle.
So more important perhaps? What’s in your glass?
There aren’t critics scores for this 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, but the 2004 vintage in the Columbia Valley was considered quite good overall by Wine Spectator (they score it as a 89 for the vintage as a whole). It’s partially available because the 2005 is considered a once in a decade vintage, so there’s more interest by buyers and collectors there. We’ve also pushed the envelope a bit here. The 03’s that I tasted, are starting to lose some appeal. The 05’s are more expensive than I would have liked for our Explorations Wine Club. This retails, when new for about $28 and seems fair after a decade of cellaring.
I know I’ve mentioned the fact before, but 98% of wine is consumed within 48 hours of purchase and given how quickly phone calls tend to come when people receive their monthly wine club orders, I don’t doubt that fact any longer.
That being said, age and wine go together well. I won’t go into the chemistry, that aspect might interest me, but I know that chemistry isn’t nearly anyone’s favorite class-better generally avoided I’ve been told….but let’s say there are a number of compounds inherent in well made wine that work well together over time. The wine loses some of it’s hard edges and becomes more of a single entity instead of separate composite parts-smell, mouthfeel and finish.
I’ll continue to look for examples of wines like this-because I think it helps to show why people who age wine, do so because of the results that they receive.
Here’s the rub though: wine ages best at about 50 degrees and 70% humidity. There have been studies showing that wine refrigerators don’t do as good of a job, as does a natural cellar-or at least one large enough to walk into.
I have my warehouse which contains a few juicy parcels set aside for the future, like my oldest son’s birth wine, but that isn’t reality for most of our customers, like it wouldn’t be for my wife and I otherwise. So, to fill in the gaps so to speak, an aged Cabernet….which I hope you’ll enjoy!