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Evergreen wine


Greg Horton July 25th, 2012

In a spring wine-tasting at Ranch Steakhouse, 3000 W. Britton, a group of restaurateurs, wine professionals and food-service staff blind tasted some of Napa Valley’s best wines side-by-side with Washington wines. For both Cabernet and Merlot, the room overwhelmingly chose the Washington offerings.

Edmond Bottle Shop
Credit: Shannon Cornman

The wines were from Pepper Bridge and Amavi, two wineries owned by the Goff family, regular visitors to the Oklahoma City market. Their daughter, Travis Goff, who moderated the tasting, hosts the event to display the quality and value of Washington’s wine industry.

“No [American viticultural area, or AVA] in the U.S. has had more 90-plus point wines in the past two years than Walla Walla,” she said.

Walla Walla is one of Washington’s designated AVAs, along with the betterknown Columbia Valley, and the up-and-coming Red Mountain.

Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest long have been solid value wines, and their place in the Oklahoma market is stable.

This year, however, the state is seeing an influx of premium wines at higher price points, and a new focus on higherpriced wines that have been here for a couple of years, like Pepper Bridge.

The Merlot and Cabernet are both priced over $50, but they beat wines in the blind test that are regularly priced two to three times higher.

In addition to Pepper Bridge and Amavi, Oklahoma finally received product from Waters Winery, one of Washington’s finest. Included in Waters’ list is the spectacular 21 Grams Cabernet.

Oddly enough, the grapes from this stunning 100-percent Cabernet come from Columbia Valley’s Cold Creek Vineyard and Walla Walla’s Pepper Bridge Vineyard, making it an unusual, complex blend of juice from two very different areas.

Waters winemaker Jamie Brown has partnered with Greg Harrington, owner of Gramercy Cellars to create Wines of Substance.

Harrington was a master sommelier at 26 and working comfortably in the New York City wine scene. After visiting Walla Walla, he wanted to make wine there. He relocated and bought the property that became Gramercy.

Wines of Substance finally gives science nerds something to discuss at parties, as the labels riff on the periodic table of the elements. The packaging is a clever gimmick, but the wine inside is excellent, not gimmicky.

Currently, Oklahoma has Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah. The whites are usually priced under $20, and the reds under $30. Broadway Wine Merchants, 824 N. Broadway, and Edmond Wine Shop, 1520 S. Boulevard, carry the line.

 
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