North Carolina product Matt Driscoll, a product of Chemeketa Community College’s Northwest Viticulture Center, has turned three barrel’s worth of Block 25 Shea Vineyard fruit into a marvelously suave wine. He also provides an interesting contrast between the 2011 and 2012 vintages, bringing in this lot of Wadenswil clone berries on Oct. 9 — more than two weeks earlier than in 2011. In this instance, his traditional 10-month regimen of 33% new St. Martin barrels from France offers aromas of dark plum and cherry with fanciful hints of brown sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cherry tomato vine, pink peppercorns and cedar. What follows are round and juicy flavors of plum and Marionberry that are smooth from start to finish. Its supple tannin structure, not always associated with this renowned vineyard, is reminiscent of some warm-climate Syrah. Their tasting room in Gaston, near Halsey Veterans Memorial Park, is open by appointment only, but WildAire Cellars can ship to 32 states, plus the nation’s capital.
Production: 73 cases