The early pages of this storied collaboration of Norm McKibben and Jean-François Pellet include the first vintage of estate Merlot in 1999, and this release serves as an introduction to (at least) three consecutive warm vintages of Merlot from the Walla Walla Valley American Viticultural Area. Their blend of Salmon Safe estate plantings Seven Hills (48%), Pepper Bridge (45%) and Octave opens with hints of ripe, dark and plump blueberry, Bing cherry, malt extract, vanilla and toast from the 17 months in French oak – 38 percent of those barrels as fresh. Smooth and round flavors of black cherry, blueberry and black currant pick up more toast on the midpalate. Beveled edges to the ample tannins and juicy acidity leads to a finish of Brown & Haley Cherry Mountain Bar.
Production: 1,346 cases