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Arbor Crest Wine Cellars 2012 Five Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley $20
Spokane winemaker Kristina Mielke-van Löben Sels used the 2012 vintage to create some stunning red wines, including this blend of Bacchus, Dionysus, Kilpsun, Stillwater Creek and Wahluke Slope vineyards — the latter of which her family sold to the Milbrandts several years ago. A charming barrel regimen creates expressive aromas of walking into a caramel corn shop, along with black currant, blackberry, dark chocolate, blackstrap molasses and black pepper. Intense dark fruit on the entry is surrounded by nice acidity, and the sweet tannins emerge on the midpalate, leading to a beautifully balanced finish. And for the second straight year, she earned a gold medal with her Five Vineyards Cab program at the Seattle Wine and Food Experience Wine Awards. Production was trimmed by 25 percent, so act accordingly.
Production: 2,000 cases