WSU Blended Leaning students had the unique opportunity to create this custom blend alongside Ste. Michelle Head Winemaker Bob Berthau and Red Winemaker and WSU Alum, Leah Adint. Using a variety of expertly crafted reserve wines from Ste. Michelle, the winemaking team demonstrated how site selection can influence the development of flavor, texture and aroma in wine. After tasting through the individual components, the group outlined characteristics found in each wine, developed their vision, and created a series of blends to achieve the desired result. Together they achieved a blend containing five individual components, each fermented separately and aged for 12 months in new and used French oak barrels.
The largest component (65%) in the blend is Syrah. The class selected Syrah from two sites, the majority came from Upland Farms, Snipes Mountain AVA. A small portion of Syrah came from Indian Wells vineyard, Wahluke Slope AVA. This combination of Syrah brought in spice notes and finely textured tannins from Snipes Mountain and bright, ripe fruit flavors from the Wahluke Slope.
The Cabernet Sauvignon component of the wine (20%) came from two separate vineyard sites in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. Although both wines hail from the same AVA, they each have unique characteristics due to subtle differences in growing conditions due to daily temperature and wind variations. Half of the Cabernet used in this blend came from Canoe Ridge Vineyard, bringing fine texture and ripe fruit flavors without being "jammy." The other half from Dead Canyon Vineyard brought a bigger structure and robust flavors to the blend.
The blend is rounded out by Malbec from Canoe Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills AVA, which contributed rich earthy aromas.
Aroma/Flavor: Black Cherry, Plum, Wet Earth, Mushrooms, Spice (Cloves, Cardamom), Rich Tannin Structure
Partner Vineyard & Winery: Ste. Michelle Wine Estates| Columbia Valley AVA
The Blend: 65% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec
Composition: 14.4% Alcohol, TA 6.1g/L, pH 3.63, RS 0.08g/L
Quantity Produced: 150 Cases