Bob’s Pick: 2013 Memaloose Mistral Ranch Estate Red, $21

About 15 years ago Walla Walla was all wheat and onions. Nowadays you can’t open a red wine or talk about a Syrah without Walla Walla being part of the conversation. Nowadays too, there are way more wineries in Walla Walla then there will ever be vineyards to grow enough grapes for. Most Walla Walla wineries will have ‘Columbia Valley” on the label, not ‘Walla Walla.’ The new Walla Walla, the new wine region to “get in on the ground floor” of is ‘The Gorge.”

Like Walla Walla, The Gorge is on both sides of the Washington/Oregon border and like Walla Walla, there are now way more wineries there then there will ever be vineyards to grow fruit for, so most of the fruit is sourced from the Columbia Valley.

This one, however, Memaloose Mistral Red is the real deal. Not only is all the fruit for this wine grown on their estate, it is all grown organically, and naturally vinted. (Aside: Though there isn’t yet any official regulations that need to be adhered to in order call a wine ‘natural’ it is generally considered to be a vinting process without the interference of additives or a winemaker’s ego.)

As a cutting edge wine, just slightly ahead of the curve, Memaloose red blend (Syrah and Grenache) is lower in alcohol (13.5%) so the acidity is bright and high toned with fruit that is also high toned and, what I can only and gleefully call, pretty. Pretty fruit with no noticeable oak distraction. Cutting edge! Ground floor of plastics! Pairs with light fare AND heavier stuffs too.