They were viewed as pioneers in 2001 when they began blending Cabernet Sauvignon with Syrah, and there’s no mistaking the funky influence of the cobblestones from Milton-Freewater, Ore., home to Nina Buty’s River Rock Vineyard. The Rockgarden Estate Vineyard also factored into this blend of Syrah (65%), Cabernet Sauvignon (31%) and Mourvèdre, which features whiffs of dark plums, black raspberry, moist earth and brambleberry leaf. The real payoff comes on the palate, which is rich and dark with plums, black cherry jam and cola, backed by Western serviceberry chalkiness. If you miss out on this, the 2011 vintage will come available March 1 at their tasting room near the Walla Walla airport.
Production: 313 cases