A First Course in Wine: From Grape to Glass. Copyright 2013; Race Point Publishers, NY. 224 pages. Forward by Mario Batali.

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Wines for a Jack$on (under $20) – Pitch Cabernet Sauvignon – 2008

For this week I’m bringing simplicity to the (picnic)table in honor of Memorial Day weekend; a Washington State – Columbia Valley – Bordeaux blend; Cabernet Sauvignon 70%, 30% Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  I enjoy the wine as an incredibly affordable Washington table wine.  The producer is a famous rock climber, though that really means nothing to me.  What does stand out to me is the quality of the wine.

Washington’s wine scene has been growing by leaps and bounds every year, though not quite reaching the price of Oregonian wines – despite receiving the most sun on the west coast (meaning longer hang time and ripening) and creating rich, well structured, bold reds, with equally characterized whites.  This wine does not disappoint.  It’s not something you’ll be cellaring for years to round out; it is something you could bring to a cookout with steaks and big homemade juicy burgers with some extra sharp Vermont cheddar (opposites attract – coasts…).

Full of typical Cabernet Sauvignon character, cassis, red and blue berries, a touch of earth, this wine is easily approachable.  The Cabernet Franc and Merlot add a strong backbone with soft tannin, plum fruit, cacao and vanilla bean.  Strong enough to stand up the aforementioned steak and burger, but easy enough to be a first bottle – especially if the second bottle is something from California or Oregon with some stronger tannin.

This wine is more than affordable and drinks likes something much more expensive.  Great for dinner parties, personal consumption, or a pairing with an “All-American” meal – red meat, starch, and green vegetable.  At $11.96 from Astor (really people Astor is too unbeatable) bring this to your next get together or enjoy during your Memorial Day cookout.

-@TDrinkwater, Beverage Director at Ellabess

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