Thursday, November 21, 2013

Prive Vineyard's Mélange (2008)

The label reads, as you stroll past the winery, the lavender gardens draw you toward the old world brick oven.  The chimney fills our patio with the aroma of cherry wood embers.  Rustic pizzas and breads appear begging for a great bottle of wine and friends to share it with.  Those words bring back memories for myself, because I have visited the winery, strolled around the patio and seen that old world brick oven.

The winery is Privé Vineyard, a small family-owned vineyard in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  Both Clare and I visited the vineyard as part of our honeymoon, which included a two day, chauffeured trip to over a dozen vineyards in the valley.  While we can say that our experience at each of those vineyards was amazing, the one that probably left the biggest impression upon us was Privé.

I have previously wrote about Privé when I reviewed a couple of their wines in the past, like the Le Nord (2006) and Le Sud (2008).  Both of those wines were estate-wines, produced only with grapes grown on the property.  However, the demand for Le Nord and Le Sud, as well as the limited amount of grapes grown on the estate (it is only a couple acres in size), the winemakers have branched out to produce wines with grapes grown elsewhere.  One of these wines is the Mélange, which is the winemaker's nod to a Bordeaux-style blend.

The Mélange is produced Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec grapes.  All of the grapes are cultivated in Washington State.  The winemakers blend the grapes together and then age the wine in 15% new French oak barrels.  The result is a substantial red wine that can cellar for up to 12 years.  Neither Clare nor myself were patient enough to let the bottle of Mélange (2008) age until 2020.  We lasted only about five years.  

The Mélange pours a nice magenta or crimson red color.  The aromatic elements of the wine suggest dark red fruit, something that carries over into the taste of the wine.  I definitely sensed the pleasing aroma and taste of both blackberries, dark cherries and plums.  There was also a nice hint of spice and pepper, which often came through in the finish.  The wine itself is somewhat dry, with manageable tannins that are not overwhelming.  

The winemakers describe this wine as having been blended for the pizzas that come out of their old world brick oven.  This wine is far more versatile, and could be paired with a range of proteins (beef, lamb, chicken and pork) that are roasted, braised or grilled.  It could also be paired heartier vegetable dishes.  

Overall, the Mélange is another excellent wine made by a very small, boutique vineyard.  As we drank this wine, Clare and I were reminded of why we like Privé so much.  The wine sold for about $28.00 a bottle; however, Privé is no longer producing the Mélange.  The winemakers are looking to transition from a Bordeaux style blend to a Rhone style blend.  Both Clare and I will definitely looking for that wine when it comes out.


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