The Columbia Valley is a section of southern Washington and a small part of Oregon. Located within its boundaries is the AVA, an American Viticultural Area, which is dedicated to the growing of grapes, mostly for wine, but also for non-alcoholic grape juice, raisins and also for table grapes. The largest winery in the area is the Chateau Ste. Michelle which I have written about in the past. This is a very diverse area. The climate ranges from cold winters to pretty short but hot and dry summers. The warm days and cool nights combine to give wines from this area a nice balance of acidity and sweetness. Traditionally the grapes will stay on the vines a little longer than their California cousins which produces a rich flavor with more mature tannins and also allows them to be harvested in cooler weather, tending to produce a more aromatic wine.

The city of Prosser, nestled in the middle of the wine country has been dubbed “The birthplace of the Washington Wine Industry.” In part because of its proximity to the Yakima River and major highway access the wine-making industry seemed like a natural fit for the area and the Yakima River AVA is about the largest in the state with 18,000 acres of vineyards, giving it the largest concentration of wineries and vineyards in the state, resulting in about 40% of the wine produced in Washington being made from grapes grown here. Diversity is king here and the most widely planted varietals are Cabernet, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Syrah.

Mack and Schuhle Group, a family owned company since its inception in 1939, is involved in the production, importing and distribution of a wide range of wines. Headquartered in Owen, Germany and a main office here in Miami, they distribute wines all over the globe and have grown to become the number one distributor in Germany.

The United Ink Red blend combines Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot together into a smooth red wine with body and flavor one may expect more from either Tuscany or Bordeaux. Deep purple in color with an aroma of blackberries, raspberries and spices, this wine is what I would call aggressive. Looking at the label you will see a cougar who seems ready to strike, with teeth showing and striking a menacing pose. This is a sleek cat, fearless and almost mythical in the Pacific Northwest the cougar is an adept hunter that prides itself on stealth. Similarly, this wine can also sneak up on you because of its intense yet silky feel on the palate. Dry, but with an oh so slight sweetness, each of the blended grapes stands out and delivers its own unique quality. This is a very good drinking wine that can stand well on its own, with salty appetizers like a Genoa or Sicilian Salami, Prosciutto or roasted red peppers, or served with a meal. We paired it with a grilled T-bone and a pork steak for me. Living in the Carolinas has introduced us to some local barbecue sauces which in this part of the state are vinegar based with a tangy, spicy flavor. The wine performed very well here with the taste of the grape coming through perfectly. I would think it would also go well with braised beef ribs or some game meats like wild boar.

Rows of wine grapes

Our Pacific Coast and most notably Washington and Oregon do produce some excellent wines and this is only one of them. As I mentioned above, Chateau Ste. Michelle is the largest producer in the region but there are so many others and they are all well worth a try. I found it here quite by accident at a tasting but I haven’t seen it since so it may be a little tough to find. But maybe if you ask for it at your local wine shoppe it can be ordered for you. It is well worth the trouble. As for my personal rating, I would give the Red Blend a solid and very respectable 8.0 out of an unattainable 10 grapes.

Alcohol – 14%
Price – about $18


Published by JC home

Retired and loving life in North Carolina. Writing was always an interest, so I decided to give this a try. Former teacher, Wall Street Brokerage Associate and Postmaster for USPS.


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