After a long day of work, a two hour choir concert and the promise to pick up a vehicle afterward at the airport, nothing’s better than enjoying a meal you didn’t have to prepare, especially if it includes a much needed glass of wine! We were fortunate enough to find a restaurant for which we could both agree at a relatively late dining hour on a rather frazzling Thursday evening and were thrilled to find the wine list front and center on McGrath’s Fish House menu. We spent little time making our individual selections, thus giving us a few extra moments to check out the food options. Our waiter was most accommodating, delivering our wine in short order. (we must have looked as though we really needed it!) Despite being a chain, there is something wonderful about white linen napkins, tidy wait staff, interesting décor and the ever popular mood lighting. Honestly, even blackberry colored water would seem appealing if served in an oversized wine glass with that kind of atmosphere. I selected the 2009 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon, while Brad chose a 2007 Cab by Geyser Peak.
Poised with my pen and the little notebook I had pulled from my purse, we started our swirling and sniffing ritual. For those that know us, this is just about as uppity as we get. But, it is a necessary task if one is to capture the entire wine experience even while wearing faded jeans and flip-flops. While my Cab had a very fruity and mild peppery aroma, Brad’s exhibited the extremely distinct scent of charred or smoked wood with a very earthy quality that neither of us could seem to get enough of. It was warm and pleasant, reminiscent of sitting around a campfire on a cool fall night, which left me thinking I might have made a poor decision with my selection. Not that mine was bad by any means, after all who could not like a wine named after little wild mustangs that ran free amongst the hills of Eastern Washington? Measuring just a little over 4 ½ feet tall (fourteen hands) at the shoulder, these tenacious steeds would race to the mighty Columbia to drink and graze upon the vast vegetation and hide in the hills to cool off in the evenings. The vintner describes the soil as “loamy-sand and gravel” requiring a “strong and determined vine.” Their Cabernet Sauvingnon is big and bold, much like the legend of the 14 Hands region. If you like your wine to have notes of tart cherries and dark spicy chocolate, take a ride on the wild side with this vino!
Perhaps you like your wine to smolder on your taste buds rather than run rampant in your mouth. If this is the case, the 2007 Geyser Peak Cabernet might just be the wine you’ve been looking for! Founded in 1880, Geyser Peak Winery sits high on a hillside just across from Geyser Peak Mountain in Sonoma County overlooking Geyserville and the Alexander Valley. It is one of the oldest wineries in California coveting honors such as Winery of the Year and Winemaker of the year. They pay special attention to the Cabernet vineyards picking the fruit in blocks and then fermenting them separately. This allows the wine to be made from grapes plucked at their prime, ensuring suburb quality and well balanced flavor. Through tedious labor and timing, this vintner delivers an intense fruit forward wine with notes of blackberry, black cherry with hints of spice, vanilla and mocha. Its lush tannins allow this wine to linger without being overpowering.
We savored our wine over freshly caught sturgeon, steak, stuffed prawns and effortless conversation. All in all, it was a relaxing end to yet another crazy weekday and we owe it all to McGrath’s wonderful service, good food and a nice selection of new wines for us to try! But do yourself a favor and pass on the seafood spring roll appetizer. Trust us on this one! Cheers!
Aromatique: 14 Hands – Tart cherries, mild spice and chocolate! Geyser Peak – Dark berry scent with loads of woodsy smoke.
SipQuips: 14 Hands – Very tart on the tongue, lingering chocolate notes and mild peppery flavor. Geyser Peak – Earthy warmth, mocha with hints of vanilla and a hearty dose of blackberry and black cherry. YUM!
Kitchen Couplings: Both went very well with our freshly caught seafood dinners. Either would be great with steak, a piping hot bowl of homemade beef stew or a simple plate of cheese and fruit.