In The Glass: Guardian Cellars Chalk Line 2011
While visiting one of Eugene’s newest urban wineries in our totally awesome Fermentation District (will write more about the gorgeous new Capitello Wines tasting room later), I had the opportunity to taste a wine from Guardian Cellars out of Washington’s Columbia Valley.
Guardian Cellars is owned and operated by a couple who both have full-time day jobs other than running the winery. Jerry Reiner is a police officer (hence the police-centric names of the wines like Chalk Line, Entrapment, The Alibi and Gun Metal – to name a few), and his wife Jennifer Sullivan, who is a reporter for the Seattle Times. With a taunting promise to winemaker friends before opening the winery that he would age his red wines for at least 12 months before releasing them, Jerry has kept good on that promise for the last 10 vintages, aging his premium red wines for at least – get this – 20 months on new French oak – holding true to his word, and then some.
Patience obviously pays off in the Guardian Cellar wines. The 2011 Chalk Line is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot; along with, “splashes and dashes of Malbec, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot.” Dark cherry, blackberry, mocha and hints of caramel flow onto the palate in a luxurious mouth coating texture. Waves of energetic dark fruit highlighted by a meaty finish with big (but not overly powerful)tannins, ends in a long finish that definitely beckons another sip, and another…and so on. I simply did not want to put down the glass, and I loved that although this was a big bold wine, it maintained a certain elegance with its balance and subtle acidity.
I need to try more Guardian wines – if I see any on the shelves in Eugene, it’s going into the basket. And the next time I’m in Washington, a visit to Guardian Cellars is high on the list of must-go-to wineries.