Tertulia Cellars 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
The Tertulia Cellars 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (13.9%) specifies Columbia Valley on the label, but the winemaker notes online state most of the fruit came from the Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills Vineyards, both in the Walla Walla Valley. No matter, as just one taste is all one needs to realize its made of Walla Walla fruit.
In the glass, this 85% cabernet sauvignon, 12% cab franc, and 3% merlot blend is a medium purple color with cherry, cedar, spice, and floral notes on the nose. The Tertulia is a well balanced and integrated cabernet, offering delicious, earthy black fruit flavors, good acidity and smooth tannins leading to a wonderful finish.
We paired this food-friendly wine with grilled tri-tip beef that had been seasoned with a dry rub. Alongside the meat, Kari made twice baked potatoes and a zucchini gratin. The Tertulia really complemented our meal well and its moderate alcohol didn't make us loopy after a second glass like most usual Washington cabs do with their 14% plus octane.
I picked this bottle up for $34 during a visit to Tertulia Cellars last summer, an experience that went beyond the bottle in terms of connecting me to the people and places behind this producer. Our neighbors gave us another bottle after they visited the winery at my suggestion, which we opened a few months back.
As much as I enjoyed this wine on both occasions, it comes at a fairly steep price relative to other Washington cabs being almost $35. Granted, it's fruit is sourced from two very good vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley. Even still, there are other producers sourcing fruit from these same places offering more inexpensive cabs.
I need to pay the folks at Tertulia Cellars another visit to see if their growth has provided enough economies of scale to lower prices on their cab and other wines. If this is the case and the quality remains consistent, then I would definitely stock up on more Tertulia wines.