Ruby Magdalena Vineyards 2011 Tempranillo, Rattlesnake Hills, $34
Yakima Valley winemaker/grower Marty Johnson spent years at Tefft Cellars before taking over the winemaking program at Eaton Hill. Those wines now go straight to China, but Johnson and his wife, Ryan, are developing a small estate vineyard along Gilbert Road in Zillah and this young brand, which they’ve named as a tribute to Marty’s mother in his native New Mexico. At Ruby Magdelana, the focus is on small lots using Iberian Peninsula varieties, and this two-barrel release from their young Tempranillo vines spent 21 months in French barriques refurbished and toasted by reWine Barrels in Salem, Ore. Its aromatic profile casts out hints of red currant, plum and blackberry with cola, lilac and anise undertones. Inside, those dark purple fruits come to life with flavors of blueberry, cherry and elderberry. Plum skin tannins add a sense of finesse to the structure, which finishes with juicy food-friendly acidity and tamed alcohol. The Johnsons enjoy serving this with grilled meats, garlic-influenced Italian dishes or beef stew.
Production: 46 cases