Portteus 2007 Bistro Red
March 11, 2010 by Erin Thomas
*Bottle #88: Portteus 2007 Rattlesnake Hills Bistro Red
*Price Tag: $6.99
*Running Tab: $1,211
*Retailer: Cost-Plus World Market, Seattle (Market location)
Once upon a time in an era, long, long ago called “The 70′s,” Yakima was the place to be. People did more than summer there on the river, the local government was starting to base itself in the area and the supple soils of the land were the bees knees into maintaining farmer status yet still gaining innovation credentials through a crazy little thing called wine.
After the boom hit California, a few guys caught on and starting planting some dead-stick-like looking things into that unique soil in Eastern Washington resulting into today’s classy chic shtick on alcoholism: a Washington Wino.
And one of the first to embark on this (literally) groundbreaking venture were the folks at Portteus, who planted their first eight acres in February of 1982 in Zillah, WA. Their original Yakima Valley vineyard included varietals that were not supposed to succeed, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. These are now the three most widely planted and produced varietals in the state.
Pioneers, you say? Portteus was one of three wineries in Yakima Valley at their time of conception and one of the first to grow and source in the smaller, sub-region of Rattlesnake Hills, which gained its appellation status in 2006.
Not necessarily flying under the radar but also not one of the blockbuster, endorsed names you’re hearing about from over the mountains, Paul Portteus has been dubbed one of “America’s Great Cabernet Producers” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and has received positive nods from locals to the press to his grape-crushing peers who source 20% of the fruit he grows for their own enological creations.
Paul now bottles everything from his cardinal grapes to Malbec, Petite Sirah and a port-style dessert wine.
Now having made wine for several decades and experiencing a handful of economic pains and gains, Paul’s prices vary and he plants his Bistro Red in the palm of your hand for under $8, taxes said and done.
The Bistro Red from Portteus is a Bordeaux-influenced blend of 44% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon all from Rattlesnake Hills and consisting of some of the first vines Paul planted.
The blend is a no-brainer, quite simply an easy-drinking beverage. It paired flawlessly with yelling at Bachelor Jake for picking Vienna, then gossiping about how you hate she’s from the same sorority you all were in. A bona fide no-brainer.
The nose was sheer strawberry candy drop, with bright red cherry enhanced by earth, cinnamon and clove spices in the back. An underlying waxy tone is fairly prevalent but somewhat gives the aromatic sense of minerality.
Juicy red fruit and easy spice flushed the palate, with a reminiscence of acid and leather in the finish.
It is what it is. Cost-Plus offers this sacrifice for a mere $6.99 and it was – in all of its glorious penny-pincher value – a $6.99 bottle of wine.