The Kamiak Rock Lake Red 2012 is a blend of 53% Syrah, 44% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from vineyards in the Columbia Valley AVA of Washington. Kamiak is the entry-level label for Gordon Estates, a family owned winery founded in 1980. Gordon Estate is known for estate grown and produced wines made under their own label. This Red blend is aged in French and American oak barrels for 16 months, which is a fairly lengthy aging process for a wine that lists for $14.99 and I found for $11.99. The different grapes were barrel aged separately and then blended together before bottling. The alcohol content is 13.8%.
The color is a dark, but still see-thru crimson red. The nose is mix of ripe fruit and oak barrel seasoning, blackberry, plum, fudge brownie, oak spice, vanilla and a whiff of smoke. This wine has a welcoming softness to the fruit flavors, but still shows proper tannins and firm structure. It starts with blackberry, cherry, dark bitter chocolate and a little tobacco. The mid-palate adds blueberry, butterscotch and tart cranberry. The tannins are sensed but do not pull and the acidity is balanced by the body of this wine. The finish is full and long. This is one of those, now rare, value priced wines that will continue to improve for the next 4 or 5 years. Most wines in this price range are ready-to-go right now and won’t be that much better with time.
Judging by the selection on the shelves of my local wine shops, Washington State, Columbia Valley Red Blends are the best kept secret in town. They all have a certain “house style”, soft ripe fruit forward wines that do not skimp on solid structure. They tend to be immensely drinkable wines, that as often as not, sell for less than comparable wines from other regions. And the Kamiak Rock Lake Red 2012 is a very solid example of a quality Columbia Valley Red Blend. Pair with stews, grilled beef or pork, it will rock burritos or pizza and drinks quite nicely on its own.