Brian Carter Cellars 2005 L'Etalon - 91-92pts

Brian Carter Cellars 2005 L'Etalon (Columbia Valley) Washington State - USA

Availability: USA only. Direct from winery. Washinton State Costcos
Cost: $20-25 USD
Alcohol: 14.6%
Production: 900 cases
Date Tasted: June 20th, 2010

Tasting Notes: Winemaker Brian Carter is a master blender and the portfolio of wines at his Brian Carter Cellars winery showcases this skill front and center. For marketing purposes the blends are referred to by the famous regions from which they draw their inspiration, (a "white Bordeaux", a "Super Tuscan") but really, they are simply recipes that work and the resulting wines are pure Washington State constructed by a winemaker who clearly knows the terroir where the grapes are grown.

This "red Bordeaux" is a blend of 55% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 7% Malbec all sourced from Columbia Valley vineyards in Yakima Valley and on Wahluke Slope. Carter hasn't simply followed a recipe for a Right-Bank Bordeaux, he's pieced together a fantastic blend that balances the characteristics from each fruit.

Intense caramel, vanilla, oak spice, cassis and pencil shaving aromas on the nose are followed by big, concentrated flavours of dark fruit and minerals on the dry palate. The wine has aged beautifully with great tannin structure and shows signs that further aging will benefit the wine further. It is both vibrant and silky smooth. A balanced finish persists with a touch of oak spice. Devine. Drink now through 2015.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2010

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