Basalt Cellars 2013 Dwelley Vineyard Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $24
Lewis-Clark Valley winemaker Rick Wasem pulls this Merlot from The Dwelley Vineyard, a 1,400-foot- elevation site prized by a number of renowned Walla Walla Valley producers for its work with Bordeaux and Italian varieties. The Clarkston, Wash., pharmacist devoted 17 months of barrel time to 50% new oak, and the nose is sweet, spicy and smoky with blackberry pie, blueberry, hazelnut skins and tobacco leaf. Inside, there’s a dense juiciness to the structure of dark cherry, black mission fig and dried Western serviceberry. The finish of dark toast and elderberry acidity add to its appeal.
Production: 200 cases