At one point in the winemaking history of this little Walla Walla Valley schoolhouse, a charming iteration of this blend was known as Recess Red. Last year, Marty Clubb purchased the Frenchtown brand from Dunham Cellars, just in time for the centennial celebration of the Lowden building in Washington state school district No. 41. The wine is 70 percent Bordeaux varieties and 30 percent of Rhône Valley grapes, a stylish blend built from a selection of estate plantings – Ferguson, Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills – as well as venerable Sagemoor and Wahluke Slope sites StoneTree and Weinbau. The platform of Merlot (30%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (22%) is made remarkably approachable with Syrah (24%), leading to a plummy nose with blueberry pie, Marionberry and licorice. What follows is a fistful of Marionberry and strawberry flavors. Nicely integrated tannins and juicy acidity allow this to shine immediately but also cellar nicely, thanks to the finish of black currant and pomegranate. Look for this at wine merchants and in restaurants as a glass pour that’s a bargain.
Production: 5,000 cases