2004 Colvin Cheval de Fantome

I freely admit it, I’m biased and guess what? I don’t care to admit that – I’m biased towards great wine and so should you be. Biases are what help us keep in tune with what we like in things, even though society makes that word a bad word, you should embrace your bias towards the good things in life.

Earlier this year, the Washington wine industry lost a great winemaker when Mark Colvin and family “retired” from the winemaking biz – his background as a pharmacist combined with a serious passion for great wines helped galvanize him as one of my all time favorite winemakers. His palate and mine obviously have a great deal in common and his family’s decision to leave the business was a major let-down to many folks I know who’ve enjoyed their wines over the years – they’ll be greatly missed.

2004 marked a bad year for Walla Walla grapes due to a deep frost which wiped out most of what was grown there; however, in this case of the wine in this article, it proved to be a good thing. Mark, like so many other winemakers in the region were forced to look to the tried but true, Columbia Valley for grapes that year.

His 2004 Cheval de Fantome (meaning Ghost Horse in french) is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cab Franc and what a delicious combination it turned out to be.

Nose: tobacco, dark chocolate, black plums, road tar, charred asparagus tips, blackberry.

Taste: In usual Mark Colvin fashion, this is another huge red wine that doesn’t mess around. It instantly floods your palate with black fruits, pepper with big notes of chocolate and leather picking up across the mid-palate. Nice blackberry finish lingers for weeks. Layers of cherry cola and blueberry as well.

Summary: If you happen to stumble on this wine, or any of Mark’s wines (quite a few are still available at retail), then make sure to snag a bottle. My only regret with this wine is that I only had one bottle. Keeping in line with his other Red wines (Merlot, Carmenere, Walla Walla Red and Allegresse’), his 2004 “Ghost Horse” is a remarkable bottle which drinks very good right now and should improve over the next 5-10yrs in proper storage.

PRICE: $25

W.E.P. Scale Rating: 150%