87. Pondera Winery 2009 Prima Donna, Columbia Valley, $42
Shane Howard works in Woodinville, Wash., with small lots from some of the state’s top vineyards, and he deems this Merlot-led blend as his finest wine. He’s made some stunning reds since his first release in 2005, and this is certainly in the discussion. This dark purple fluid carries classic aromas of blackberry, black currant, Baker’s chocolate, cedar and Italian herbs. The entry to the palate brings a lovely mouth feel that swirls with red currant and blackberry flavors, backed by pomegranate acidity with pleasing chalkiness. In the finish are notes of black pepper and dark chocolate.
Production: 155 cases