Tom Stangeland began his love affair with wine as a University of Washington student trying to make ends meet by cooking in restaurants such as Julia’s. Then, he began his career designing high-end furniture. He went back to school two decades later at the Northwest Wine Academy, and he’s earned high marks with his first two vintages. This looms as the finest from his Release Two, a blend of Merlot (57%), Cabernet Sauvignon (26%) and Cabernet Franc from Arianses on the Wahluke Slope and Alder Ridge in the Horse Heaven Hills. There’s a trail of smoke wafting behind the nose of sweet blueberry, blackberry, red currants and cherry, and those fruits turn a bit darker on the palate. Its thin layer of tannin and persistent acidity should pair nicely with Stangeland’s suggestion of pork tenderloin wrapped in rosemary and bacon.
Production: 132 cases