Christie Kiley on February 16, 2015 0 Comments For me, food and wine are a couple of the most amazing things of sustenance. They are just a couple of the things in life in which you can actually take part in from the soil to your table, that is, if you choose. If you do not grow or make it yourself, you can at least educate yourself very easily on where it comes from, how it was raised and how the final product all comes together. Doing so not only ensures that you will feed and nourish your body, but your soul as well. Food and wine, much like a book, is something with an authorship. You can put a name to it, a title and in a certain way, put your own signature on it. Lucky for wine, you can put a signature on the label. Viticulturists and winemakers do this all the time and sometimes it is nice to attribute a wine to someone or something. So here is the Ode to Brothers, Reserve Rhone-style blend of 2010 from Mercer Estates of the Columbia Valley in Washington. The Place The Mercer Estates consist of vineyards located in three AVA’s of the the Columbia Valley, one being Horse Haven Hills, where the grapes of this wine reside. Each site of the total eight-hundred acres is unique in its location, soils and local microclimate. However, in general the climate of the vineyards is very similar to the climate of the Rhone Valley, the hottest region in France where red varietals of Syrah and Mouvedre thrive. Each soil of each vineyard adds a certain nuance to the wines. From the Spice Cabinet Vineyard the soils of coarse granite, basalt and quartzite add levels of earthy warmth that come through even in just the fruit itself which come forth thanks to the rocky bluffs and southeast-facing slopes and warm early day sun. Here they grow a variety of grapes ideal for any wine pantry; Syrah, Grenache, Petit Sirah, Mouvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot. Here is where the fruit was grown for the Ode to Brothers Reserve. It is no surprise then why this wine is similar and just as celebrated as the similar blends from the Rhone region of France. 2010 Vintage There is a lot a wine making team can do and take part in when it comes to the quality of wine they wish to make. It all starts in the vineyard, growing practices, vine maintenance and more. However, at the end of the day a lot is up to Mother Nature. From season to season, she may throw challenges your way, but sometimes what might begin as even a challenging season can even out in the end as a blessing. As for the vintage growing season of the Columbia Valley of the AVA Horse Heaven Hills it all started out in the spring with precipitation rates higher than average. The summer began evening things out so as to properly mature the grapes in cooler than average temperatures, thus extending the hang time and leading into some hot days into late summer. The rough spring in the summer led to lower yields, but that only makes whatever fruit that might be left behind that much more delicious and concentrated for special wines. Thus, the 2010 vintage is showing quite well for Mercer Estates and even other wines of the Columbia Valley. Ode to Brothers According to some critics, so far the 2010 is a success, with the wine scoring in the 90s. The balanced blend of forty percent Grenache, thirty-nine percent of Syrah and twenty-one percent of Mourvedre makes for a robust wine in its own right. It was fermented in barrels and further aged in a mix of American and French oak for twenty-four months. The resulting wine is almost masculine. The fruit which comes through is quite fresh of red currant and tart blackberry but mellows out into its evolution on the palate with fleshy and meaty notes of cured salamis and smoked meats. Very bold. It ends with a hint of earthy minerality and dark fruits. It is a perfect snuggle on the couch wine with a good movie for this time of year or just one to stash away in your wine cooler, but do not forget this wine for a little later on in the year for your barbeque get-togethers.