Stemilt Creek Winery 2014 Transforming Traditions Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $34

The Mathison family began growing tree fruit in the Wenatchee Valley in 1893, and they began planting vineyards for wine in 2001. Their vines reach above the Columbia River up to 1,600 feet elevation, representing one of the highest sites for viticulture in Washington. In 2014, they seemed to have no problem ripening the Cabernet Franc (78%), Cabernet Sauvignon (19%) or Petit Verdot for this bottling, which spent 29 months in oak. And yet, there’s still pleasing tobacco leaf and horehound aromas to go with the plum, blackberry and almond dust notes. A great blend of herbes de Provence, red currant and Bing cherry flavors follow, picking up notes of huckleberry and licorice on the way to a finish of vanilla and Graham cracker crust. It earned a gold medal at the 2017 Wenatchee Wine Competition, and it remains decadent and dense.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 189 cases

Alcohol: 15.5%

Winery website

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