The August Virtual Tasting is tonight! The wine is the 2007 Barnard Griffin Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine retails for $17 and can frequently be found in super-markets in the Washington area. As usual, I will be opening the bottle about 7pm and posting my notes along the way. Please join us in trying this wine and posting your notes.

7:05 Update: Let the virtual tasting begin! To start with, let’s give some background information about the winery.

Barnard Griffin winemaker Rob Griffin first came to Washington in 1977 after graduating from UC Davis. Upon arrival he started work as Preston’s first winemaker. In 1983, he and his wife Deborah Barnard started Barnard Griffin. For the first vintage, Griffin created 400 cases total of Chardonnay, Fumé Blanc and Riesling. Twenty-six years later, the winery has an annual production of approximately 75,000 cases.

Barnard Griffin has two tiers of wine, their Tulip Series which represents their value wines, and their Reserve Series. The winery makes a staggering number of reserve wines. Reserve Reds include bottling of Rose, a Port-style wine, Grenache, Cabernet, Ciel du Merlot, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel, Barbera, Syrah, and Misto Rosso. Many of these are sold through the winery/tasting room located in Richland.

On to the wine…

7:20 Update:
Wine has a natural cork, no sediment. Temperature is 63 degrees.

A pretty, brilliantly colored wine. On the nose, a lot of sweet oak aromas along with touches of vanilla, and anise. Fruit is there but a least at present is underneath the oak. A little alcohol shows through occasionally. Time to take a sip.

7:40 Update: On the taste, palate coating with a fair amount of oak flavors. Lots and lots of anise. A bit biting on the backend. As the wine opens, the oak steps back and the fruit steps forward, mainly cherry. The anise becomes more predominant along with a mocha component.

8:00 Update: The wine has evolved a bit but my overall impressions are the same. A reasonably enjoyable wine with lots of oak influence on the nose and taste. Not my personal style but is pretty well done. However, the bite on the backend is a problem. I’d give this a plus (+) in my system. For you 100 point addicts out there, I’d say it’s an 87. Overpriced at $17 compared to similar wines out there. I purchased the wine at Pete’s Bellevue for $12. I would say the value for this wine is in the $10-12 range.

Next up, let’s see how the winery describes this wine and what the experts say.

8:20 Update: Some stats on the wine. Columbia Valley AVA. 14.3% alcohol. 6,548 cases produced.

Winery says: Rich, dense and concentrated with amazing purity of flavor. Plum, cherry and mineral with hints of bittersweet chocolate. Well-integrated oak-spice accents take the back seat to the amazing fruit. The mouth waters at the mere suggestion of this sleek, polished cab with a tender cut of beef. 79.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 5.5% Petit Verdot, 3.3% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Franc.

Wine Spectator says: 88 points. Ripe and fleshy, this lovely, open-textured red brims with currant and blackberry fruit, lingering on the well-tuned finish. Drink now through 2013. 6,548 cases made. –HS

8:50 Final Update: Overall, my impressions of the wine have been pretty static. An enjoyable nose with a lot of oak influence. Over time mocha becomes more and more predominant on nose and taste. A bit biting on the middle of the palate. Thanks to everyone who took part in the tasting!

I found this VERY amusing ad tonight I thought I would share with you. I agree on visiting Walla Walla. I’ll take issue with the rest of it! Good night!