The 2011 Snoqualmie ECO Cabernet Sauvignon is made with certified organic grapes from the Columbia Valley in Washington State. One big surprise was the similarity to the Whistle Stop Red Blend reviewed in May, http://www.examiner.com/article/snoqualmie-whistle-stop-red-blend-2010. Likely due the ECO Cab being a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot grapes, while the Whistle Stop was a 70 to 30 mix of Cab Sauvignon and Merlot. As you might expect after strongly encouraging you to pick up a bottle of Whistle Stop I feel the same way about the Cabernet sampled this week, though for different reasons.
Garnet colored in the glass the nose of currant and wood doesn’t explode from the glass, but lays across the surface of the wine, pleasant though not a reason to linger at that point, instead it calls for you to take your first sip. The addition of Merlot creates a nice opening to the wine and the flavors flow in a seamless fashion from beginning to end. The palate displays a fairly dark flavor profile, the dominant currant of the nose, supported by a touch of sour cherry then instead of the expected earthiness there was cedar on the back side. Not a deep bodied Cab it has a sense of softness in the mouth from a touch of malolactic fermentation which makes for a very drinkable wine.
That softness doesn’t hide the tannic nature in this wine, a trait which may be off putting for some casual standalone drinking, but is a huge benefit to serving with a meal. This is a wine that seems made for beef and is very capable of holding its own at the table where it may not be the “star” but makes for an excellent sidekick to the entrée. While some wines call for a cut of beef with more or less marbling the ECO Cab Sauv would be a fit for a variety of beef cuts, from lean stew beef, to a richly marbled rib eye. We served a NY Strip off the grill with a well buttered baked potato and shrimp and thought the wine complemented both the whole and the parts of the meal. You might experiment a bit, pork steaks may work with their fatty nature and ribs would be a good option as would anything with a BBQ sauce, however, the dark flavor and structure of the wine will work against foods of a light or delicate nature. Bottom line, this a wine that is built for our summer grilling season no matter what part of the country you live in.
You should be able to find the Snoqualmie 2011 ECO Cabernet Sauvignon all over the area, I have seen it in the grocery aisle, as well as local wine stores at prices hovering in the $10 to $12 range. At that price this is a good value for the money, especially if you are looking for a wine to accompany a meal while entertaining friends, family or even casual acquaintances. Not as fruity or layers as the Snoqualmie Whistle Stop Red Blend, nonetheless the ECO Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that won’t let you down.