Varietal of the Month: Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon

Washington State wine country is rising in popularity and gaining a reputation for outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon. These fruit forward wines have flavors of black cherry, blackberry, chocolate, leather, graphite, mint and dried herbs. They are full-bodied with a velvety texture and pair well with a variety of meats, roasted vegetables and rich chocolate desserts.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape and Washington’s varied geological regions make it well suited for this varietal. Experts tout these wines as having “the perfect combination of ripeness of fruit that California Cabernet possesses with the finesse and structure of Old World Cabernet”, like a Bordeaux. The three most popular viticultural areas include Walla Walla, Red Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills.

Wine of the Month: Canvasback Red Mountain Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon

This beautifully aromatic wine begins with luxurious layers of ripe strawberry, damson plum, and grenadine, as well as spicy notes of cinnamon and clove. The palate is inviting and rich, offering energetic tannins that frame the brambly fruit, and oak-inspired accents of cocoa and graham cracker. Bright and supple, this juicy expression of Red Mountain Cabernet glides to a long, complex finish, with hints of earth and generous red berry flavors.

In 2012, building on 35-year history of making globally acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignons, Duckhorn came to Washington State’s Red Mountain to make its debut Canvasback Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Though Red Mountain is one of the smallest appellations in Washington State, it is one of the most widely renowned. Named for the Canvasback duck, which is native to the Pacific Flyway, this wine was crafted from grapes cultivated by some of Red Mountain’s finest growers. 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 2% Mourvedre, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Syrah

Food Pairings:  Braised short ribs, veal chops, lamb shanks, game meat, roasted chicken, burgers, roasted winter vegetables and burgers.

Recipe: Asian Braised Short Ribs

3 lbs beef short ribs
2 tsp Chinese five spice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and crushed
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rice wine or dry white wine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 green onions, sliced, for serving
1 Tbs cilantro leaves, chopped, for serving
2 tsp orange zest, for serving
White rice, cooked

Preheat oven to 325˚ F. Rub the meat with the five spice, salt and pepper. Set aside. Add the oil to a Dutch oven or deep sauté pan. Over medium heat, add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick and star anise. Stir until fragrant for about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the ribs to the pan and sear on all sides until browned. Work in batches, if necessary.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together broth, orange juice, water, wine, brown sugar, soy sauce and hoisin. Add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and star anise back to the pan. Stir in the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

Cover and transfer to the oven. Turn the ribs occasionally and cook for 2 to 3 hours or until meat pulls away from the bone and is fork tender.

Transfer the ribs to a platter to keep warm. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve and skim off as much fat from the top as possible. Pour the liquid back into the pan and bring to a boil. Let the liquid reduce by half and thicken.

Place the ribs on a serving platter and spoon the glaze over the top. Garnish with green onions, cilantro and orange zest. Serve with white rice.

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