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2006 Sparkman Cellars “Wilderness” Red Wine

2009 May 15
by Eric Hwang

2006 Sparkman WildnernessDuring the blind tastings I attend, in the short span of time it takes to smell and taste a flight of six wines, the wines change and open up more. By the time I return to the first wine I tasted, it has usually become better. One of the big problems of going to wineries and doing tastings is that the wine opened and poured at the tasting rooms rarely have much time for the wine to breath. Combined with that is the lack of experience of many of the people working in the tasting rooms and the result is a lost sale.

During the Passport to Woodinville weekend, I tasted lots of great wine and lots of mediocre wine by comparison. Sometimes the wine truly is not great, but often times, it just hasn’t had much time to open up and fully develop in the glass. When presented in this manner, many wines fail to leave much of an impression with me. On that weekend, nothing at Sparkman was really that exciting to me. But when I saw their wine on the menu at the downtown wine bar last night, I thought I’d give it another try.

When I have the opportunity to order wine outside of the winery and taste it over a longer period of time, I really get a much better experience than if I taste something which was just uncorked and immediately poured. Such was the case with the 2006 Sparkman Cellars “Wilderness” Red Wine. Over the course of the evening, it exhibited characteristics that nevered showed at the winery tasting.

The Wilderness is a blend of 41% Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Klipsun and Hedges Bel’ Villa Syrah, 14% Kiona Sangiovese, 8% Wahluke Slope Petit Verdot. It had a clear ruby red color and fragrant aromas of blackberry, tobacco and spice. After about an hour in the glass, it was throwing out lush flavors of dark cherry, black fruit, mocha and spice. The long finish had firm tannins and a nice backbone.

This was not the same wine I tasted at the winery, which is a shame because I think it does the wine an injustice to simply pop and pour the way they do most weekends. To verify this, we stopped by the Sparkman tasting room today and sampled the same wine again. It definitely tasted much better last night. When you pay $28 a bottle, it really is worth decanting and waiting an hour to fully appreciate it. However, if it doesn’t make enough of a first impression on you to buy it, how would you ever know. It’s been said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, luckily, I gave this wine a second chance.


Copyright © 2009, Eric Hwang and Bricks of Wine. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eric Hwang and Bricks of Wine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Larkin permalink
    January 4, 2013

    Eric, I am terribly sorry the wine seemed tight when you were tasting. We are religious these days about decanting all of our reds before tasting them. We would love to have you pop back in and taste test, see if you pick up anything different this time around!
    Happy New Year!

  2. Eric Hwang permalink*
    January 4, 2013

    Thanks for the reply, even if it did take two and a half years to receive one. Glad to hear that you are now decanting all your reds. I definitely believe it makes a great difference in the initial impressions of your wine. I may have to stop by again and try the latest vintages.

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