Here's a wine that's been popping up all over town, generally sold near the register for around $10. It comes in a white variety, but tonight I opened a bottle of the 2003 Grizz Red, a Washington State blend. The bottle doesn't say anything about the contents, but looking at the website reveals the following unusual breakdown: 41.5% Cabernet Franc, 39.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.6% Syrah, 6% Pinot Noir, 2.2% Merlot. Quite an unusual blend. You never see Pinot Noir mixed with anything (unless we're talking Champagne), and it's rare to see that much Cabernet Franc in anything at this price level. I honestly expected a fairly powerful, tannic red (and naming it after a large and dangerous predator suggests a strong wine). Yet I was surprised at how smooth it was.
A lot of the vegetal characteristics of the Cabernet Franc come through on the nose, as well as providing a deep color. Prominent dark berry flavors abound, with some peppery tones, medium tannins that dissipate quickly, and a medium aftertaste. Very easy going down. I'm still amazed that something with only 8.2% "soft grapes" is this smooth at such a young age.
I served it along with some Wisconsin goat cheese I recently acquired--a nice little sampler pack of four 4 oz. buchettes from Montchevre. I was really impressed with the cheese as well. Very creamy and savory. In fact, the guests have left and I'm writing this while drinking the last of the wine and snacking on some more goat cheese and crackers. Had I been thinking, I could have incorporated agricultural products from Wyoming and West Virginia to cover all of the "W" states.
Oh, and why is Grizz wine being sold all over town? Well, this is Memphis, home to the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team, formerly of Vancouver. I'm not much of a sports fan, but they are quite popular around here (Memphis is a basketball town), and though the wine is completely unrelated, I'm sure that the name connection hasn't hurt sales. And speaking of basketball, the team from my alma mater has reached the Elite Eight and tomorrow night goes up against UCLA for a spot in the Final Four. So for what it's worth, GO TIGERS!