51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot from Columbia Valley, Washington.
SRP of $55 and purchased for $35 (Saturday Splurge).
From the bottle:
"Cara Barer, Artist
Artist and photographer Cara Barer transforms volumes of outdated information such as a common reference book into intricately coiled objects of beauty and photographs the outcome. 'The way we choose to research and find information is in an evolution. I hope to raise questions about these changes, the ephemeral and fragile nature in which we now obtain knowledge and the future of books.'
Bob Bertheau, Winemaker
The 16th Artist Series comes from a cooler 2008 vintage that required patience and good site selection. The grapes were almost exclusively from our estate vineyards in warm sites with very low crop loads to assure concentration and full ripeness. Optimal hangtime in this cooler year imparted a 'racy' yet agreeable quality due to slightly higher acidity.
Today's wine is rather unique for what is on the outside of the bottle, something we don't normally focus on a whole lot on here at The Reverse Wine Snob, but since this is a selling point of the Artist Series of wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle, it's worth taking a look at. Here's the idea behind the project:
"Wineries and artists have long intertwined their craft, drawing inspiration from one another. In the spirit of this tradition, the Artist Series Meritage wines honor a selection of world-class artisans. The result is a Bordeaux-style blend crafted for power and longevity, and intended to change with every vintage’s unique character. Each vintage is presented in a unique collector set."
The 2008 vintage includes three different labels from artist Cara Barer. I'm normally not a huge art fan, but I have to admit her photography is pretty cool. I'd definitely hang it on my wall. Of course our main concern is not whether the outside of the bottle is a work of art, but whether what's inside is as well -- let's find out.
The 2008 Chateau Ste Michelle Artist Series Meritage begins with a wonderful, strong aroma of plum and other dark berries, cocoa, violet and lovely spice notes. Tasting the wine reveals layers of rich and juicy fruit, spices, and minerals that combine with a silky smooth mouthfeel and fine chalky tannins to produce a really fabulous wine. This wine spent 20 months in 85% new French oak but I never would have guessed it as the oak flavors are really well integrated already. On the excellent finish the fruit turns a bit tart and those chalky tannins linger in the mouth for a good long time. Truly a work of art in more ways than one!
Wine in the "Make Mine A Meritage" series:
- Lyeth Meritage 2010 - Make Mine A Meritage Wine #1
- Hahn Winery Central Coast Meritage 2010 - This ain't no second class Bordeaux.
- Dry Creek Vineyard Sonoma County Meritage 2008 - Smooth Drinking Ahead!
- Fox Run Vineyards Meritage 2010 - Proof the Finger Lakes offers a lot more than Riesling.
- Arrowhead Red Meritage 2008 - It's easy to fall for this Meritage from Niagara.
- Dry Creek Vineyard The Mariner Meritage 2008 - Splice the mainbrace!
- Estancia Reserve Meritage 2009 - Sweet oak and rich fruit wrapped up in a smooth package.
- Kirkland Signature Rutherford Napa Valley Meritage 2011 - A Sure Thing!
- Chateau Ste Michelle Artist Series Meritage 2008 - A Work of Art
- Arrowhead Spring Vineyards Meritage Reserve 2008 - A blackberry patch in a bottle.
- Franciscan Estate Magnificat Napa Valley Meritage 2009 - Magnificent Magnificat.
See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.