L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $28
Looking back, Marty Clubb views the quality of the 2013 vintage alongside those of 1998 and 2003, and the acclaimed Walla Walla winemaker sourced from many of Washington state’s top vineyards for this particularly remarkable Merlot. Historic Sagemoor sites Bacchus and Dionysus, StoneTree, Klipsun, Candy Mountain and Pepper Bridge are blended with estate vineyards Ferguson and Seven Hills. The theme of blueberry jam, dusty black cherry, fresh cedar and lavender also offers minerality with crushed basalt. Fine-grained tannins and good acidity make for an easy finish that lingers. The scale of production for their Columbia Valley Merlot remains consistent, which makes it a good fit in the portfolio for savvy wine merchants. And for those who go prime rib on Thanksgiving, you can’t get much better than this.
Production: 4,800 cases