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Cedar River Cellars 2012 Confluence, Columbia Valley, $28
Micah Nasarow, an Oregon State University grad and former Starbucks sensory scientist, slowly is ramping up production at his ultra-boutique winery in the Seattle suburb of Renton. His blend built upon the shoulders of Syrah (50%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (34%) carries quite a pedigree that includes fruit from Portteus, Two Blondes and Burgess vineyards. And he steers clear of new oak, opting for 16 months in twice-filled Taransaud barrels, which leads to aromas of dusty cherry, red currant and cranberry among light toast notes. There’s a rustic elegance to this lighter-styled red, spotlighting flavors of raspberry, cranberry and currant with mouth-watering acidity and mild tannins. Production of this yet-to-be released bottling equates to a single barrel, so it’s a shame there’s not more to be had.
Production: 24 cases