It’s no secret that Cakebread Cellars’ family roots run deep in the Napa Valley. With four decades in the Valley, Cakebread carries an outstanding reputation for producing top notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Given their daring dedication and ongoing devotion to these two red grapes in particular, it’s no surprise that they’ve turned their eye to Washington’s Walla Walla Valley for a new wine project that delivers a remarkable angle on Bordeaux’s superstar grapes.
Enter Mullan Road Cellars Red Blend 2012, from an outstanding vintage, this rich-textured Bordeaux-based blend carefully marries Cabernet Sauvignon (51%), Merlot (37%) and Cab Franc (12%) fruit from the Columbia Valley, with a particular spotlight on the prestigious Seven Hills vineyard. Expect the reserved elegance that often accompanies Washington’s upper crust reds, but buyer beware, this wine is powered by significant structure, engaging endurance and well-honed power.
After all, you don’t name a wine after one of the Northwest’s most rugged, tenacious adventurers and not expect some serious staying power. Deliberately named after the winding wagon road built under the command of Lt. John Mullan in 1860, the 600+ mile trail provided a route to the Pacific Northwest from Fort Benton, Montana and ended at Fort Walla Walla, Washington, traversing through thick forests, unruly rivers, and the sheer daunting mass of the Rocky Mountains along the way. Given the namesake and rugged context, expect the Mullan Road Red Blend to lean heavily into the “velvet fist in an iron glove” category of silky textures meet firm structure.
The wine’s profile, shows significant depth with blackberries, plum and licorice pushing forward on the nose, the mid-palate highlights black fruit character all wrapped up in a fairly full body with well integrated tannins providing ongoing intrigue and dimension. The finish demonstrates both elegance and dynamic persistence.
Pairing Picks: Built for meat, consider pairing this Washington red blend with filet mignon, grilled pork tenderloin, roasted lamb chops, and full-throttle cheese options.