05 Magnificent Wine Company, Columbia Valley House Wine
Man, the House Wine has become such a commodity. What was an unbelievable bargain has "matured" to become just another everyday table wine. A good one, mind you, but nothing like the ones of a few years ago, which gave every northwest cabernet at three times the price a run for the money (Andrew Will, Walla Walla, the list goes on). Now, its competition is more in the class of cheap Spanish garnacha and monastrell--grapey enough to keep everyone happy, with the trademark breadcrumb-like tannin (not too dry, but with enough grip to make you think it's a serious wine), and nothing really serious going on. Which is maybe what this wine should have been in the first place--still every bit worth buying as it was with the 2002--but we were spoiled by those early Charlie Smith-driven vintages that gave an entire generation of cheap wine drinkers a true taste of the power and sophistication of New World wine fornenst California's overpriced reds. So be it. We had our fun. And now we get what we deserve--a ripe, tasty red with no apparent flaws.