Wine review: 2012 Markham Vineyards Cellar 1879

Markham Vineyards 1879 Red BlendEvery so often, I come up with a fabulous kitchen sink recipe that wows my family. And sometimes even me. I throw a bunch of ingredients together in a pot or sauté pan, taste, season and then taste again until it’s palatable. The “wow” thing happens much less frequently than the “meh” but, hey, ya gotta eat. And be creative.

When I read the tech sheets for this wine sample (sent from Markham), the list of grapes reminded me of my kitchen sink creations. A red wine made from six grapes, the winemakers at Markham likely meticulously (not carelessly) blended this wine, tasting and re-tasting to make sure it’s right. This time, they landed on a “wow”.

Founded in 1978 at the heritage winery site that dates back to 1874 in Napa Valley, Markham has a female winemaker these days, Kimberlee Nicholls. Perhaps that’s why this wine has such finesse and depth.

The Cellar 1879, named after the stone cellar built in 1879 which still stands at Markham, has tight tannins, making it shy and unyielding in the first few minutes. It would benefit from some pre-breathing (decanting, step-by-step) to allow the juicy fruits of blackberry, blueberry and hints of dark chocolate to surface. If you like oak, this wine delivers some smoky vanilla and a hint of spicy black pepper. A blend of 36% Merlot, 21% Petite Sirah, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 9% Zinfandel, and 8% Petit Verdot, it definitely falls into the creative category, with success.

Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Price: $27 MSRP but check their website and emails for deals
Occasion: Sample sent from winery
Availability: Some availability around the country and also direct from the winery
Food Pairings: Slow roasted meats  with some fattiness to them like Beef Short Ribs, pulled pork or even Beef Stroganoff

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