Cal Schmidt, a product of Kansas wheat ranchers, began transforming Bennett Ranch on the Kubli Bench in Oregon’s Applegate Valley in 2000, and now grows more than a 13 grape varieties. This lesser-known red Bordeaux grape isn’t the easiest for his team, and it tends to be the final to ripen. Here, it produces dark blue notes of elderberry, Jolly Rancher grape candy, Icelandic black licorice and cherry pipe tobacco. Inside, it brings impressive flavors of blueberry pie and blackcap raspberries, backed by pomegranate acidity and a finish of black cherry skin tannins. On each bottle, the Schmidts spotlight artwork of an herb they believe pairs well with that wine, which is why thyme appears on the label. So the family also offers its recipe for Spanish-style Beef Pork Ragu, which calls for five springs of fresh thyme.
Production: 124 cases