Best Buy! Bob Bertheau’s red wine team, headed by Ray McKee, delivers something that’s not easy to pull off with Merlot in Washington — produce something that’s supple and elegant. A span of 14 months in 32% new oak creates aromas of dark toast, toffee and cherry pipe tobacco with black currant, Rainier cherry, raspberry jam, sweet thyme and a whiff of caramel corn. Just as with the previous vintage, there’s a deft use of Syrah (11%) to sand down the tannin structure, allowing for an expression of Bing cherry, chocolate-covered pomegranate and dark blueberries. The flash of green tea in the finish makes for pleasing length. Suggested pairings include beef, lamb, grilled salmon and hearty pastas dishes. And reach for herbs and spices such as basil, oregano, allspice, nutmeg and star anise along the way.
Production: 100,000 cases