Wine – Day 1 & the 2004 Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

04162007.jpgSo Rachel and I set out this morning in a downpour for our trip to the wine areas of Washington and Oregon. After hours… and hours of driving, we reached Walla Walla (in another watch-rain-bounce-off-the-pavement downpour) around 8:30pm, grabbed a room and set out on a search for the first bottle of wine of our trip.

Unfortunately, this is Walla Walla… and cute as it may be, it was Walla Walla… on a Monday. Nothing was open. I mean nothing, except oddly enough, a Starbucks (of course) and another coffee place.

We actually had given up hope of finding a proper wine store and were headed to check out the fine selection at the local Chevron. Did I mention it was pouring? We needed wine. We had spent a good part of the day driving past lovely rows of well-kept vines, which promised tasty wine ahead.

Suddenly an apparition appeared – an open wine shop/tapas place called Vintage Cellars, on 2nd. God bless ’em. They were open.. and they had wine. They had lots of local wine. Suddenly we were a whole lot happier.

They have a deal that if you buy a bottle to go, they take $5 off the purchase price.. At that point, we were both pretty much, “where do we sign up?”

We ended up buying a bottle of the 2004 Abeja Cabernet. Wow… this is some seriously great stuff. It has gorgeous inky purple, verging on black colour. The nose is violet-tinged black licorice smothered in ripe blackberry juice. In the mouth, there’s a lot going on. It’s complex, well-structured and so bloody tasty. There’s a mouth-filling bunch of blackberry juice, with the licorice and a bit of pepper. It’s got amazing balance (even with the 14.2% booze) and would pair amazingly well with food… Mmmmm… maybe pan-seared duck breasts maybe?

Without a doubt, this is a fantastic start to the week.

$40 USD at Vintage Cellars in Walla Walla.

4 1/2 stars

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