Milbrandt Vineyards 2012 Clifton Vineyards Grenache, Wahluke Slope, $28
As part of its “Vineyard Series,” the Milbrandt team gets to drill down on a specific site, and this hot and sandy vineyard near iconic Sentinel Gap is their most coveted spot for Rhône varieties. Clifton typically gets picked earlier than most of their other plantings on the Wahluke Slope, and the dark nose here offers black cherry, plum and Mission fig with sweet herbs, chai spices and toast. Inside, there’s a rewarding continuation of that dark fruit, backed by caramel and coffee, good grip from tannins, refreshing boysenberry juiciness and green tea. Suggested pairings include Toulouse-style Cassoulet, and Jan. 9 marks National Cassoulet Day.
Production: 485 cases