What is not to love about Robert Karl Cellars? Located in Spokane with a friendly winery staff, good wine, and a physician for a winemaker who, according to their site, “..believes…(wholeheartedly), that wine is an essential part of every meal.” Now, I have yet to meet the winemaker, Joe Gunselman, however, he seems like a pretty great guy. In exploring their website for more information on Robert Karl Cellars, I learned Mr. Gunselman is, indeed, a physician, and apparently a self-taught winemaker. I applaud his supposed reason for choosing Washington state for his winery: (among other reasons) that Washington is one of the best places in the world to grow wine grapes.
I quite literally stumbled upon Robert Karl one day with my dear friend while out on a girl’s outing. We had left our beloved MarketPlace Wine Bar and were headed back to the car when we found not only a great little boutique, but Robert Karl Cellars as well. Lucky day for us! So as I sit here tonight writing up homework (or perhaps putting off homework… depends on the perspective), my Dear Husband and I grabbed a bottle of vino, and the Robert Karl Cellars 2009 Claret was it!
Named for its deep purplish-red color, the 2009 Claret is a nice Cabernet Sauvignon red blend. Composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot, and 10% Malbec, this is a nice way to break into the heavier-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose, I detect black cherry, smoke and earth. As the bouquet opens up, underlying notes of vanilla and blueberry begin to emerge. I find the palate to be no less complex, with cherry, plum, fig and leather tingling the taste buds. Cocoa powder and hints of herb round out a well-balanced, smooth finish. This wine drinks very well now, and I would not hesitate to store it for another year or two to see how it may further develop.
Robert Karl Cellars 2009 Claret: ★★★★★ Exceptional Wine
I appreciate the complexity of this wine. It is very prominent Cabernet Sauvignon, however softened by the Cabernet Franc. I can easily detect the Merlot influence, as well as the Malbec on the nose. While I had this wine with a nice pasta dish (comfort food this time of year), I find myself deeply wanting to try this wine with a nice, juicy steak. I have found few red wines so worthy of its $20 price tag; this is certainly a deal at this price point.
Winemaker’s notes: Seductive scents of cherries, current, and smoke on the nose. It is soft and smooth in the mouth, with opulent flavors of chewy black cherry, spice, plum and cocoa flavors on the finish. It was aged in 70% French oak and 30% American oak for 23 months, 50% of the oak was new.
I have heard their Sauvignon Blanc is certainly worth checking out. I think I foresee another trip to Robert Karl in the near future. Headed to Spokane sometime? Be sure to add Robert Karl Cellars onto your list of “Must” stops. I have found this wine in a few retailers, often at or near the $20 price. Or you may contact Robert Karl at www.RobertKarl.com to inquire about ordering a bottle of the 2009 Claret.
As we wine up – er, wind up – January, I hope you take a moment to reflect how the new year has treated you so far. Have you stuck to those resolutions? I assure you, I have. Only because mine was “To finish school” (I’m still in). We still have a whole 2013 ahead of us. Don’t let it slip away from you! So, to embracing 2013: CHEERS!
Have you tried this wine before? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!