Winemaker David Huse of Washington’s Five Star Cellars has lived in Walla Walla Valley most of his life. He believes you shouldn’t press too hard and should keep things smooth and easy. It’s a philosophy that makes him a great ambassador for his brand and helps him produce wines that are very drinkable right out of the bottle.
“I like to call our wines user friendly,” said David at a recent tasting at Corks. He explained that some wines are heavy on the tannins. “Most of that comes from the seeds, so we don’t press too hard.”
David and son Matt handle winemaking duties at Five Star and they focus solely on reds. The winey is a family-run venture with wives Traci and Sandy handling the office side of the business. It is a small production operation with the emphasis, as the name implies, on the highest qualities.
The tasting lineup included: 2007 Sangiovese , Quinque Astrum, 2007 Syrah, 2007 Petit Verdot/Cabernet Franc, 2006 Merlot and 2005 and 2006 Stellar.
The Sangiovese had a great nose with chocolate and blackberry flavor notes. David called it Sangiovese on steroids. It is a robust blend of grapes from three vineyards.
The Quinque Astrum (five stars in Latin) is a Super Tuscan blend. There is a lot going on in the glass. It has a lighter body with a taste of light clove on the front.
The Syrah is oaked and has an earthy flavor. Very pleasant, but not the tops for the evening.
We had tried – and been knocked out by – the Five Cellars Merlot on an earlier visit. Although not on the regular tasting menu, we were treated to a nice sample. This Merlot is smooth, with a lush texture. It is nicely balanced with currant and black cherries and a touch of pepper. This is a beauty.
The 2006 and 2005 Stellar were both sampled. I tried the 2005. This is a regal Bordeaux blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec. This beautiful wine retails in Ohio for $55. The balance is impeccable, the complexity high and the finish long and memorable. Only 475 cases were produced.
If you are not acquainted with Five Star Cellars, you can find their products at Corks as well as the Beer and Wine Cave (and perhaps