With his production facility located just north of Boise, Idaho, winemaker Earl Sullivan is committed to using Idaho grapes when possible, but the growing season is too short to consistently get the ripeness he wants from Cabernet Sauvignon so he sources from Washington State’s acclaimed Red Mountain AVA with it’s unique loess soils. Blended with 7% Petite Verdot, this Cabernet sees 20 months on new and used French oak. The result is a polished wine that packs a surprise.
Aromas of chocolate-covered, black cherry mingle with cinnamon-inflected vanilla, a real charmer during introductions. In the mouth the wine is rich, silky, and polished bursting with juicy, fresh-tasting fruit. But, as the midpalate shades into flavors of hi-toast oak, the intensity ratchets up building energy and density, filling the mouth with darkness. Sabotage, a reckless moment of rebellion, disrupts the good cheer. Alas the polished fruit returns, leisurely lingering on the medium length finish although it is transformed, toughened by hi-toned acidity, char, and firm but fine-grained tannins.
The wine plays with you, a hint of malevolence beneath the polished veneer as if rebelling against its own nature. With time in the bottle it may return to the family. It needs time.
But in the meantime, Rebel Yell is its battle cry: