Saturday morning I connected with Andrea of Le Tour de Pinot fame, and we set off to explore my new neighborhood (Ballard). We ended up at the local wine bar that Rick and I had found the previous week, and fortuitously they had a complimentary tasting going on. California tasting, that is. While I enjoyed the tasting, I didn't take any notes or pictures so you'll have to keep your eyes peeled for a post dedicated to Portalis Wine Shop in the coming weeks. Andrea and I parted ways for the evening and I was left reconsidering my options for a post. The first thing that came to mind was the next in the "They Make Wine There?" series, with a bottle of Utah chardonnay in the hopper. I wasn't feeling white that evening, so a bust on that one too. What was a boy to do?
Wait a minute! Right about then I remembered something that had jumped out at me twice per day every day for the past week on my foray into the public transportation world to work. Wine World Warehouse. It's right there on NE 45th right off of I-5 in Seattle, tantalizing me with 23,000 square feet of wine through the bus window. Yes, I would go there and find a bottle of wine to drink and review. I needed to be more specific because trying to find a bottle among the 6000 Wine World carries would have been seeking a needle in a haystack. With that in mind, I set the following ground rules for my selection: the wine would be obviously from the Pacific Northwest, one that I hadn't tried before, under $20, and something with a story behind it.
I drive the 3 miles from my condo to Wine World (how convenient), and was welcomed with dedicated parking and a shop that is open 11 AM - 9 PM on Saturdays with free tastings every day of the week at the gorgeous bar in the middle of the shop. I had missed the tasting, but was immediately drawn to the Washington section in front of me. Wine was organized by geographical region, then varietal, then vintage; a strategy that might be a bit challenging for a wine virgin but I very much enjoyed the layout. There were some wines that stuck out right off the bat. The Leonetti Merlot was tempting, but at $89 it was a bit more than my $20 limit. Kiona and Terra Blanca are always winners, as is Cougar Crest, but I couldn't fall back on the familiar. It needed to be new and unique. I circled around the store a few times, and found myself back in the Washington Merlot section. In front of me was a Heaven's Cave Inspiration. It looked unique, was $19.99 (fine, a little more with WA tax), and was single-vineyard designate from Alder Ridge in the Horse Heaven Hills. Done.
Heaven's Cave Inspiration 2007 Merlot
Heaven's Cave Cellars is a for-benefit winery that chooses to donate a portion of its profits from wine sales to cover 100% of the operating expenses of the Make the DASH Count Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit dedicated to both developing the next generation of community leaders and benefiting at-risk youth. Heaven's Cave owner Hope Moore additionally partners with vintners from Alexandria Nicole, Hedges, DeLille, and Reininger in the Dash Wine Project. The Make the Dash Count foundation, with a vision of To creating an army of youth philanthropists who will serve as community leaders throughout their lives, was the perfect reason to crack open the bottle. See, I really was drinking for charity. Here's what I thought.
After allowing the wine to open up while cooking dinner, I found a very jammy and fruity nose packed full of red fruit. Upon sipping, the mouthfeel was very smooth and it was apparent this is a well-structured wine. As the wine coated my palate, I got a punch of tannin and heat on the end. My immediate thought was that this would be a better food wine. Good thing I had dinner in front of me. As I started to eat and continued sipping the wine, it paired extremely well with the raspberry chipotle bbq pork chop on my plate.
This Merlot earned an Excellent rating from Wine Press Northwest with fruit 100% sourced from the Alder Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills. With a production of 112 cases, pick up a bottle and make pour your own glass for charity. I'm going to have to make it a practice to pick up some wine now and then that I haven't tried; this was a a winner and Wine World Warehouse will undoubtably provide me endless opportunities to do so.