So, after the positive experience
with the 1997 Hogue
, I went looking for a wine to use as a point of comparison
. This one suggested itself: it was similarly priced (at $14
), of the same vintage
, and also from the Columbia Valley
in Washington State
Well, the comparison ended there: This was an OK wine, but that's about it. On the winemaking front, this wine was blended with 12% Merlot to soften it up, and then spent 21 months in oak—a rather long time for a wine of this price level, and I was surprised.
All this helped throw the wine a little out of balance. The aroma was very heavily of oak, which masked any other scents. It also obscured the wine's fruit character, which was a little lacking. Perhaps the weak fruit explains why the winemaker felt it necessary to add nearly two years of oaking—you gotta get flavor from somewhere. In the end, it might have been a far better wine had they just gone with the understated fruit.
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