January ushers in many things: college football bowl games, NFL playoff games deciding who will play in the Super Bowl, expanded waistlines, overdrawn bank accounts, and for some detoxes. One of the best things that comes with the beginning of the new year is Downton Abbey! It pains me to have to wait so long between each season but it is always well worth the wait. As I am working my way through so many outstanding wine media samples I have decided to pair the four lovely wines I received from Columbia Winery to determine which one paired best with Downton Abbey.
Throughout the year I watch a fair amount of dark television shows (The Walking Dead, The Bridge, The Americans, Hell on Wheels, The Following, House of Cards) so Downtown Abbey provides a refreshing change to my normal viewing habits. I did not begin watching Downton when it premiered; rather, I was a few years behind the tide but I have completely caught up. Furthermore, I rarely watch any television show as they air; thank goodness for TiVo! One of the great pleasures in life is curling up on the sofa in January with a warm blanket, roaring fire and delicious glass of wine to watch an uninterrupted hour of Downton Abbey!
Columbia Winery 2013 Columbia Valley Chardonnay: This wine poured a soft golden yellow into the glass and opened with a fresh aroma of orchard fruit, tropical fruit and citrus. On the palate the pleasing aromas follow through with crisp flavors of apples, pears, pineapple, and grapefruit with lemon/lime zest and a touch of toasted cedar on the finish. It was clean and well balanced with round acidity and a lingering dryness that left the mouth begging for another sip. This wine was crafted of 92% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Gris and 3% other white grapes. The majority of the grapes were selected from the Yakima Valley within the Columbia Valley; fermented in cool temp stainless steel tanks with oak contact and left on the lees for eight months until bottling. This crisp and round Chardonnay would pair well with fish, poultry and vegetarian dishes; a perfect complement with meatless Mondays! 13.6% alcohol. SRP $15. Order direct from Columbia Winery.
Columbia Winery Columbia Valley Composition Red Blend: This wine poured an elegant deep ruby with violet highlights into the glass and opened with vibrant aromas of ripe berry jam, spice, white pepper, mocha, spiced pecans and a touch of vanilla. On the palate this wine dazzled with ripe red cherries, cranberries, pomegranate and blackberries with white pepper, spice and leather. This was a dry red wine with round acidity and tight tannins; medium in body with a lingering finish. This was a true winemakers blend, crafted of 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 12% Syrah, 9% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot and 4% other red grapes. Select grapes from multiple vintages are blended to achieve optimum flavor; French and American oak is part of the regimen to achieve the full flavors. This wine would pair well with hearty beef dishes, pizza and barbeque. 13.3% alcohol. SRP $17. Order direct from Columbia Winery.
Columbia Winery 2013 Columbia Valley Merlot: This wine poured an inviting violet into the glass and opened with equally inviting aromas of berry jam, mocha, vanilla and a touch of toasted hazelnuts. On the palate this wine delivered flavors of ripe blackberries, black plums, black cherries, pomegranates, cranberries, black pepper, toasted oak and a hint of toasted leather. This was a heartier Merlot with round acidity, ripe tannins that was full in the mouth with a lingering finish of black pepper. This wine was crafted of 87% Merlot, 11% Syrah and 2% Malbec, fermented in stainless steel tanks at high temps for 11 days then aged in oak. This wine was an excellent food wine that would pair beautifully with beef tenderloin, brisket, beef ribs and beef burgers. 13.9% alcohol. SRP $17. Order direct from Columbia Winery.
Columbia Winery 2012 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine poured a deep garnet into the glass and opened with vivid aromas of berry jam, leather, chocolate and vanilla. On the palate this wine delivered black cherries, blackberries, black plums, cranberries and currants with toasted oak and black pepper. It was a full body very dry wine with ripe acidity and high tannins; age would aid in mellowing the tannins. It was lingering on the palate and a great wine to pair with food. This wine was crafted of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Syrah10% Malbec, and 3% Merlot. High temp fermentation occurred for seven days and aged in French and American oak. This wine would also pair well with hearty meals such as lasagna, Bolognese, filet, and meatloaf. 13.5% alcohol; SRP $17. Order direct from Columbia Winery.
From the Columbia Winery web site:
Washington State’s First Premium Winery
For more than 50 years, Columbia Winery has taken a progressive approach to winemaking. Our winery was founded in 1962 by a visionary group of 10 friends, six of whom were University of Washington professors, who realized the potential of growing wine in Washington State, as it has the same latitude as Europe’s best winegrowing regions.
In 1979, Master of Wine David Lake was named head winemaker and furthered the progressive spirit that began with their founders. Under Lake, Columbia Winery produced the first series of vineyard-designate wines and the first Pinot Gris, Syrah and Cabernet Franc wines in Washington.
Today, this innovation continues through a talented and creative winemaking team, led by Winemaker Sean Hails. Using grapes selected from south-facing slopes in top quality regions, the Columbia winemaking team crafts a portfolio of distinct, food-friendly wines with fruit-driven flavors and a firm acidity.
With 43,000 planted acres, Washington State has ideal geography and conditions for growing complex, flavorful wine grapes. Primarily grown on their own root stocks, which support healthier plants, the diverse range of varieties planted in Washington State are found in the eastern part of the state. Here, the grapes enjoy long, hot, sunny days and cool, clear nights. At Columbia Winery, our winemaker Sean Hails carefully selects grapes from the top quality AVAs within the Columbia Valley to craft our wines, including the Yakima Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Wahluke Slope and Red Mountain.
And the winner of the best Columbia Winery wine pairing with Downton Abbey is…..
Columbia Winery 2013 Columbia Valley Merlot! However, each of these wine would make a great accompaniment to your dinner table and Downton Abbey viewing. I encourage you to visit Columbia Winery’s web site to learn more about the winery, the Columbia Valley AVA and sub AVAs, view and order their entire portfolio of wines.
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with these four Columbia Winery wines is the Emmy award winning score from Downton Abbey. What else could I possibly select for this article?!
What wine do you like to pair with Downton Abbey?
Get your own bottles of Columbia Winery wines and let me know what song you would pair with them. Cheers!