Nicholas Cole 2003 Camille

Nicholas Cole Cellars in Walla Walla has done a great job of building up loyal following of its wines over the past few years and has garnered nationwide acclaim with its Camille – a bordeaux-style blend using Columbia Valley grapes.

I always find it a bit on the ironic side whenever a Walla Walla-based winery sources fruit from the Columbia Valley; however, it makes sense. Compared to how long Columbia Valley has been growing grapes, the Walla Walla appellation is young – that’s not to say there are not good grapes in that region, however, there is a far more abundant supply of quality grapes coming out of Columbia Valley.

This wine sells for a whopping $45 direct from the winery, I picked it up at Costco for $23 – what a deal, right? Let’s see.

Production: 1566 cases
Blend: 48% Cab Sauv, 38% Merlot,
  15% Cabernet Frank
Release Date: May 2006

Appearance: Deep reds, violets and purples which are matched in their outrageousness by the huge legs of this wine.

Smell: Old leather, ripe cherries, bell pepper, menthol-laced blackberries

Taste: Good Lord with the oak!! Over-the-top-oakiness combined with a massive flood of fruit – like an oak-laced blackberry fruit tart dusted with tobacco and leather strips. I also get a hint of green olive and some coffee. The finish lingers on quite a long time.

Overall Impression:
This wine has some great complexity underneath all the oak – so much oak in fact, that it’s not really working for me; especially at its retail price. I don’t feel violated for $23 as I would had I paid the full asking price. This isn’t a wine I’d recommend to many people because it really needs to lay down for another 4-8 years in order to see what its potential is. Right now, there’s too much oak which overrides the wonderful layering of flavors.

It does make one ponder why the winery would choose to close out this wine via Costco at such a sharp discount – perhaps it wasn’t selling good enough at full retail and now I understand why.

Foods I’d pair with this wine:
Marinated meats
Cedar plank salmon
Crab-stuffed Salmon fillet with black truffles