Wine Review: 2009 Owen Roe Abbot’s Table

7 06 2011

Great label, insane blend, great wine.

From delicate Old World white to bold New World red in the span of a day!  This wine gives new meaning to the term “red blend”: it’s comprised of (wait for it) 25% Zinfandel, 20% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 7% Blaufrankisch, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec and 1% Merlot.  I feel like that should add up to 250%…I can buy into the use of the first 5 grapes, but I think the last 4 are just for showing off.  Unsurprisingly, this info is left off the label, as it must prove abjectly terrifying to most consumers (including me).  The precise blend for the Abbot’s Table changes every year, and with this many grapes involved, the focus of the producer must be to create a wine that’s of a similar style and flavour profile every year rather than one that’s reflective of one or two particular varietals.  And I have to say, even if it takes nine different grapes from disparate world wine regions to make it happen, the end result is quite worthwhile.

I got this bottle for my birthday from my sister (thanks Emma!!), who must have spotted the blatantly unbalanced number of Washington State wine reviews on this site and clued into where my attention has been drawn recently.  This is my first ever Owen Roe wine (he’s likely more famous for his classically-labelled Sinister Hand red blend), but it won’t be my last.  The Abbot’s Table was a deep thick purple colour in the glass and was clearly built for drinking in the near term rather than cellaring, with forward, bright fruit flavours and a gentle yet mouth-filling texture.  The nose was intensely aromatic and, well, delicious:  gobs of lush dark fruit like blackberry and cassis and a slightly candied note like cherry Nibs licorice, complemented nicely by milk chocolate, vanilla and leather undertones.  While I was briefly worried that these kinds of aromas could give way to an Aussie Shiraz-style sloppy hedonism on the palate, my fears were quelled when the wine’s powerful but understated structure — medium-high acidity and full yet supple tannins — kept everything in check on the palate and prevented the AT from going overboard.  As a result, the wine tasted juicy and rich but not cloying; its black cherry, blackberry and coffee notes were also balanced nicely by an earthier brambly, woody flavour that toned things down just enough.  The fruit notes tailed into a nice spicy, peppery touch on the finish which brought each sip home in style.  This certainly isn’t a bashful wine, and at 14.9% alcohol it’s drifting awfully close to that line that would make members of the Sub-15% Club like me a little nervous, but it has enough “stuff” to it that it’s able to carry that level of alcohol without the booze dominating the palate and making the wine taste excessively hot.

Cork Rating: 0/10 (Seriously? Did you just decide not to try?)

I had this bottle with BBQ pulled pork and it went perfectly with the part-sweet, part-tangy flavours of the barbecue sauce.  It may not be overly complex, but it tastes freaking awesome, and on some days all I want is a solid bottle that is packed with flavour…this fits that bill and then some.  I believe it came from Bin 104 in Edmonton, so if you’re nearby, go find it!  I’m going to keep my eye out in Calgary, and if somebody has it, I’m going to stock up.

89+ points

$25 to $30 CDN

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2 responses

12 06 2011
Gord

I dunno…don’t you think the cork has sort of a “less is more” vibe going on? A ‘classic’ look, as it were?

12 06 2011
petervetsch

If you’re going for less is more, you certainly can’t start with less than that! I’m sure you’re right that it was a conscious decision to go with the blank cork, and I don’t mind the idea of minimalist cork design, but the label seems to be going in another direction (medieval, Robin Hood-esque), and I still think the cork should be able to stand alone as an identifying mark for the wine within. If the cork’s blank, it doesn’t do that. I have a hard time assigning any positive grade to a cork that looks identical to one I would use to make wine in my basement.

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