Yellowstone Cellars & Winery – 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Okay so my wife knows me too well and knows I love the unusual in most things. For my birthday this year she bought me a couple of bottles of Yellowstone Cellar & Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, after all who would expect to find a fine wine vinted in Billings Montana. She hit a homerun! I really enjoyed this wine on every level and it was way more than I expected when I first opened the bottle.
That said, I have to admit that given the current immigration climate, it might be ripe for deportation (to the state of Washington – okay so that would be emigration). While crafted in South Central Montana on the banks of the Yellowstone River, this wine was born of grapes from the Elephant Mountain Vineyards (Yakama Valley) under the fine stewardship of Joe Hattrup, owner and horticulturist at this highly sought after Central Washington Vineyard. So the question is: Washington state wine or Montana crafted wine. This is a serious question as the grapes come from Montana soils deposited in the Yakama valley when the Ice dam broke and drained Glacial Lake Missoula through the Columbia River basin carrying enormous amounts of silty rich soil to all sorts of place downstream including the Yakama valley. On a humorous note, Federal wine labeling laws further compound the problem because they don’t allow this wine (all vintages after 2011) to be considered a Washington wine because after 2011 the wine was actually vinted in Montana. On the other hand since the grapes are not grown in Montana it can’t be labeled a Montana wine either. After 2011 this wine is labeled as an “American” wine as that’s the label the government puts all wines that don’t fit the mold. You have to love government regulations. In keeping with my 1960’s upbringing I choose to ignore the regulations declare this to be a very fine Montana wine made in a state of the art Montana Winery by a Montana (born and bred) winemaker, Clint Peck.
Clint (pictured left in the Elephant Mountain vineyard), proprietor and wine maker at Yellowstone Cellar and Vineyards sources his grape from several Washington State AVAs to give him the highest quality ingredient to produce these his amazing wines. Elephant Mountain is just one of several he utilizes. His understanding of soils, growing seasons and moisture requirements to produce the absolute best quality wine is amazing. Elephant Mountain produces just what he needs to make this Cabernet Sauvignon at the level he considers optimum to meet his winery’s very high quality standards
This Cab can stand up to the best that California and Washington State has to offer and in many cases come out on top. I’d even venture a prediction that in seven to ten years this wine will still stand up grandly while many of the California and Washington competitors of the 2011 year have passed their prime and become cooking wine. If you would like to see my tasting notes and a complete review of this wine and its complexities, you will find it on the Wine Reviews page of this Blog.