Bad economic times are a great time to dig in to the cellar and see what is in there. Here we tried two high-end wines from the 2003 vintage.

Cougar Crest was established in 2001 by Deborah and David Hansen. She makes the wines; he oversees the vineyards. The 2003 Cabernet Reserve fruit comes from Stellar and Cougar Hills Estate Vineyards.

Cuvee Orleans is McCrea Cellars’ top of the line Syrah. The wine is named in tribute to winemaker Doug McCrea’s birthplace, New Orleans. The fruit for the 2003 vintage comes from Dick Boushey’s Grande Côte vineyard in Yakima Valley and Ciel du Cheval on Red Mountain.

Both of these wines had a lot of life to them six years in. The Cuvee Orleans seemed far from being at its peak. The Cougar Crest Reserve Cabernet seemed like it might be at or slightly past its peak.







Cougar Crest Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Walla Walla Valley 2003

A gorgeous nose loaded with black cherry with a dusting of earth, black pepper and black licorice. Coats the palate. Taste is showing just a bit of age with some thinning in the midpalate but overall this wine is holding up quite well with many years ahead of it. 96% Cabernet Sauvignon; 4% Petit Verdot. 14.2% alcohol. 950 cases produced.



McCrea Cuvee Orleans 2003

A big, dense, dark wine with smoke, white pepper, rich spices, brown licorice, and a light herbal component. Thick and opulent. At times seems a touch hot. This wine is many years from its peak. 85% Syrah; 12% Mourvèdre; 3% Viognier. 14.8% alcohol. 405 cases produced.