36. Walla Walla Vintners 2012 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $30
Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri were among of the first in the Pacific Northwest to bottle Cabernet Franc on its own, and this marks the 18th vintage they’ve produced under their iconic red barn along Mill Creek in the Walla Walla Valley. Credit goes to their winemaker, William vonMetzger, for gradually dialing back the oak program in recent years, and his stunning work with this — primarily using Weinbau and Sagemoor vineyard fruit — proves that. Their Merlot (14%) is off Spring Creek and Kilian vineyards, while the drizzle of Carménère (2%) from Dwelley Vineyard, which adds to the herbal aromas of crushed leaf and cigar tobacco, but there’s plenty of black cherry, blackberry, chocolate and vanilla from beginning to end. Bright acidity, well-managed tannins and a thread of minerality made this extra special — and best of show at the second annual Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition. The judging helps raise money for scholarships at the renowned Walla Walla Community College winemaking program that Anderson founded.
Production: 588 cases