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Latah Creek Wine Cellars 2012 Monarch Primitivo, Horse Heaven Hills, $30
The Conway family began its reserve tier — the Monarch series — in 2008, and their work with Zephyr Ridge Vineyard near Paterson, Wash., continues to shine with several varieties, including this grape native to the Italian region of Puglia near the Adriatic Sea. It’s a complex and hedonistic release with notes of cherry candy and blood orange, backed by hints of lovely herbs and spices such as cinnamon, cumin, anise and crushed oregano. This earned a silver medal at the 2015 Savor NW Wine Awards before attaining gold at the Great Northwest Wine Competition. Suggested pairings include tomato-based pasta dishes, Rabbit Cacciatore and Ellena Conway’s Cracked Pepper Steak.
Production: 200 cases