Covey Run Columbia Valley 2006 Merlot and 2008 Fumé Blanc

The Quail series of table wines

I've written about Covey Run's Quail line of Washington Columbia Valley wines before. I've never been disappointed by their wines. I should point out that it is no small thing for a winery to have garnered 20 Wine Spectator Best Value awards. This time, I'm particularly pleased. I've written about Covey Run's 2005 Sauvignon Blanc, their 2006 Covey Run Cabernet Sauvignon, Covey Run's 2007 Columbia Valley Dry Riesling, and Covey Run's 2006 Chardonnay. Today, I'm writing about Covey Run's 2008 Columbia Valley FuméBlanc and Covey Run's 2006 Merlot.

Covey Run Fumé Blanc Washington's Columbia Valle

y 2008.

In 2005, Covey Run released their last Sauvignon Blanc wine, switching in 2006 to using Fumé Blanc on the labels of wine made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Robert Mondavi essentially made up the name FuméBlanc in 1968. In some cases, Fumé Blanc implies a Sauvignon Blanc wine made in a slightly dryer style, or one that is aged in oak, but that very much depends on the winery and winemaker. In this particular case, some of the wine was "exposed to oak," which, while it may refer to wine barrels, suggests to me that oak chips or some of the other similar ways of oaking wine were used. This is a lighter color in the glass than the 2005 Sauvignon Blanc, and it is a bit lighter and dryer in taste. The aroma hints at pineapple, and there's a delicate reminder of pineapple and possibly a hint of something softer and sweeter (melon?) as well. It's a light, crisp, and very refreshing wine. The ABV is 13.5%, and this was another of those semi-miraculous scores at the Bargain Grocery Outlet, at $4.99 a bottle. We found a lovely local goat cheese, and I'd like to pair this with a goat cheese, pear, spinach and Northwest hazelnut salad. I think it would go equally well with crab or oysters, and it was quite wonderful with a tuna salad sandwich on fresh baguettes.

The Covey Run Merlot 2006 has aged quite nicely. I was braced, honestly, for a wine that had perhaps been around a bit too long. I should probably confess right up front that I'm not the world's biggest Merlot fan, though I do like it, and secondly, that I think this may be the oldest Washington wine I've ever had.

This is another of those wines that, while the label says Merlot, is actually 80% Merlot, and 20% Malbec; it makes quite a difference, for me. It has a bit more bottom than some of the other Washington Merlot I've had, and enhances the Merlot. It's a lovely deep ruby red in the glass, and quite attractive by candlelight. The typical raspberry aroma is very much present, but it's not too fruit forward, there's a smoky earth edge, and some definite tannin for all thered and black raspberry flavors. I honestly think that I like this Merlot not only because of the Malbec, but that it has aged well. It's 13.8% ABV, and it too was a find at the Bargain Grocery Store for $5.99. I'm hoping to pick up a few more bottles to have this summer with steak, or even burgers.